Alumnus Joseph Schroeder, ’15, who was known at the Law School for his sharp insights, strong writing, and active engagement in the school community, has been chosen for the highly competitive Bristow Fellowship in the Office of the Solicitor General in the US Department of Justice. Schroeder, the second consecutive Law School student to win a Bristow Fellowship, is scheduled to begin the one-year program this summer after completing a clerkship for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
“The Law School is enormously proud of Joe,” said Dean Thomas J. Miles, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law. “Having taught Joe in a seminar, I have seen firsthand his brilliance and enthusiasm for law. He will be an outstanding Bristow Fellow.”
Schroeder—who was a Kirkland & Ellis Scholar, a Rubenstein Scholar, a member of Order of the Coif, and the recipient of the Thomas R. Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy—said US Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. called him personally last week with the offer. “I was in my office when the phone rang and the judicial assistant said, ‘I’ve got a Don Verrilli on the line for you,’” Schroeder said. “And I thought, ‘Oh boy, I better take this.’”
Verrilli told him to think on it overnight—but Schroeder told him that wasn’t necessary. He accepted the fellowship on the spot.
“It’s a chance to spend a year learning from really fantastic lawyers and working with them on really interesting cases,” said Schroeder, who also was a Hinton Moot Court semifinalist, a staff member of the University of Chicago Law Review, and a member of Outlaw. “I hope to become a better writer and a better advocate in oral argument. It’s a great opportunity.”
Fellows help draft briefs in opposition to certiorari filed against the government in the US Supreme Court and prepare recommendations to the Solicitor General regarding authorization of government appeals in the lower courts. They also assist staff lawyers in preparing petitions for certiorari and briefs on the merits in Supreme Court cases, work on special projects, and assist the Solicitor General and other lawyers in the office in preparing oral arguments in the Supreme Court.
“Joe will be a terrific Bristow Fellow—enormous ability, great work ethic, and fresh from a clerkship with one of the most distinguished federal judges in the country,” said Senior Lecturer Dennis J. Hutchinson, who is also the Associate Dean of the College. “His insights in my legal history class seemed to be a standard deviation above everyone else, but always quietly and modestly delivered. He was the antithesis of a gunner. Beyond his remarkable academic accomplishments, he seemed to be everywhere during his Law School career: Law Review, moot court, Outlaw—you name it. A very active, but very quiet, citizen."
Added Lior Strahilevitz, the Sidley Austin Professor of Law: “Joe is an extraordinarily smart and quick thinker, and a great writer to boot. The examination he wrote in 1L Property was the best I have ever graded, and then he authored a terrific Takings Clause-related research paper as a 2L. Joe has a wonderful, offbeat sense of humor, and a warm, enthusiastic personality. He has an identical twin brother, but Joe Schroeder is still one of a kind."
Schroeder said his Law School experience taught him the tremendous value in getting to know and learn from professors at the top of the field, and he hopes to have a similar experience working with and learning from the lawyers he’ll encounter as a Bristow Fellow.
The Law School, he said, gave him a strong foundation.
“My professors made me a better writer, and helped me understand the nuances, policies, and arguments behind the law in many areas,” he said. “Those kinds of nuanced policy arguments and perspectives will be really valuable. I’m grateful to have met so many wonderful teachers during my time in Hyde Park.”