Winter 2020

Beauty image of the Arches in the Law Quad at the University of Michigan Law School

Ramer, ’17, Receives Prestigious Bristow Fellowship

 John Ramer, ’17

When his clerkship with The Hon. Raymond Kethledge, ’93, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ended last July, John Ramer, ’17, departed for Washington, D.C., to begin his Bristow Fellowship in the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). 

Only four to five Bristow Fellowships are awarded annually by the U.S. Department of Justice. A prestigious honor, its holders are allowed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Ramer has a unique understanding of its prominence after having worked for the Solicitor General (SG) as a Phillips Fellow in 2018. 

“Both fellowships involve supporting the Office’s attorneys, but Bristow Fellows have much more responsibility,” Ramer says.

In his current role, Ramer conducts research, helps attorneys prepare for arguments, and assists with brief writing. 

“Bristows work hard to improve the career attorneys’ chances of winning their cases before the Supreme Court,” he says. 

The Fellows also assist with the SG’s authorization of appeals in the lower courts. 

“When the government loses in trial court, the local U.S. attorney’s office must seek permission from the SG to appeal,” Ramer explains. “Bristow Fellows craft recommendations on each case so the SG can decide whether it deserves to be appealed.”

Most Bristow Fellowship applicants have completed a one-year judicial clerkship; all must have stellar law school credentials. Upon learning of his selection, Ramer was understandably excited, but also overwhelmed with gratitude. 

“My immediate reaction was thanking everyone who helped me along the way, since I received this honor only because of their support.”—KD