Brinton Lucas '11 to Clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Brinton Lucas
January 28, 2014

Brinton Lucas, a 2011 University of Virginia School of Law graduate, will clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during the 2014-15 term.

"Thrilling and humbling," is how Lucas described the offer to clerk for the justice. "It was an honor just to be able to interview with Justice Thomas, so I'm deeply thankful for the opportunity to work for him."

Lucas said his post-graduation jobs and UVA education should serve him well when he starts the clerkship this summer.

Lucas, who currently works as an associate in the litigation department of Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C., served as a Bristow Fellow last year in the Office of the Solicitor General.

The Bristow was "an incredible experience," he said. "It provided a chance not only to get involved in a wide range of cases in the Supreme Court and the circuits, but to learn from some of the most brilliant advocates out there. I'm sure my time there will help in chambers next term."

Before the Bristow Fellowship, Lucas clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III '72 of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whom he described as "a gifted writer, an insightful judge and a steadfast supporter of his clerks." "I learned a great deal from him during my time in chambers," Lucas said. "He's been a huge help along the way."

Lucas said that he is excited about the upcoming year and getting to know Thomas. "Every former clerk of the justice that I've met has had only the highest praise for him," he said. "I'm also looking forward to working with a great group of co-clerks."

Lucas attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate before he enrolled at UVA Law. During law school, he served as articles development editor of the Virginia Law Review, worked as a research assistant, and was awarded the Roger and Madeleine Traynor Prize, which spotlights the best written work of two graduating students each year. His student note also won the Judge John R. Brown Scholarship Foundation's 2011 Brown Award for Excellence in Legal Writing.

Lucas was also a member of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic while at UVA. He noted that the training he received there continues to pay dividends as well.

"It was a great opportunity to work on a number of Supreme Court cases and to take advantage of the collective wisdom of those who ran the program," Lucas said.

Lucas credited law professors Caleb Nelson, Lillian BeVier and A. E. Dick Howard as well as the directors of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic for being tireless advocates on his behalf. Nelson said Thomas made a wise choice in selecting Lucas.

"Brinton is everything that a justice could want in a law clerk," Nelson said. "He's a tremendous lawyer — smart, careful, thoughtful and principled. In fact, when I taught Legislation the year after Brinton took it from me, I was struck by how often my lecture notes referred to subtle points that he had raised the previous year. He combines analytical rigor, legal precision and graceful expression. And he's a great person, too. I'm thrilled that he'll be clerking for Justice Thomas."

Lucas thanked his family, friends, and the faculty for all their support through both law school and the application process. "I owe this opportunity to a good number of professors and alums who were willing to go to bat for me," he said. "This wouldn't have been possible without the support of the UVA community."

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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