Allen '08 to Clerk for Justice Alito

January 27, 2009

Winn Allen, a 2008 graduate of the Law School, has been hired to clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

AlitoAllen is currently in Columbus, Ohio, clerking for Judge Jeffrey Sutton on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and will begin his new job at the nation's highest court in July.

"I feel very lucky and very excited about the opportunity to serve and to be in Justice Alito's chambers," Allen said.

He was at work when Alito called him in Sutton's chambers and offered the job, Allen said. "It is still hard for me to believe. I feel deeply honored to be given this opportunity."

Professor Lillian BeVier said Allen was a "fabulous student" during his time at Virginia, a description that she said applies beyond his academic diligence.

"He was fabulous because he was interested and curious — always and about everything. And as a person, they don't come any nicer or more considerate or with more of the kinds of qualities one hopes for in every member of the legal profession, namely honesty, a solid sense of himself and excellent judgment," Bevier said.

Allen, an Atlanta native, will join two of his classmates who have already been announced as Supreme Court clerks for the upcoming term: Katherine Twomey '08, who will clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia, and Pamela Bookman '06, who will clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Allen said the success of Law School alums at the court reflects positively on the institution's faculty and administration, who he said were instrumental in providing help, advice and perspective as he was applying for the clerkship.

"I think it's a testament to everything UVA does to prepare its students to be professionals," he said.  "You hear this not only from UVA alumni, but from practitioners, judges and others: UVA is a special place and it goes to great lengths to support its students."

During his third year, Allen participated in the Law School's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and was part of a group of students who worked on Indiana v. Edwards, a case that clinic instructor Mark Stancil argued in front of the justices in March.

"I know it will be different on the other side, but I thought [the clinic] provided an excellent introduction to the function of the court, " he said.

"Working on Edwards allowed us to see the entire process of Supreme Court litigation, from the cert petition to the opinion on the merits. Aside from being a greatly enjoyable experience in its own right, working on Edwards hopefully gave me some insight into the sort of work I will be doing as a clerk."

Allen, who completed his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., also credited his past teachers, coaches and administrators at the Walker School and the Lovett School in the Atlanta area.

In addition to hiring a graduate to work in his chambers, Alito will be at the Law School this weekend to headline the annual Conference on Public Service and the Law.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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