Daniel Richardson, a 2018 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, will clerk for Justice Stephen Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court next term.
Richardson is currently serving as one of five Bristow Fellows in the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, helping attorneys draft briefs in Supreme Court cases and prepare for oral arguments.
He called the clerkship “a dream come true,” not only as a lawyer but for the chance to learn from some of the best legal minds in the profession.
“The opportunity to clerk is also very meaningful to me on a personal level,” he added. “I have spent my entire career since undergrad in federal service of some kind, and I feel so fortunate that I can continue that work at an institution that means so much to the country.”
Richardson’s first clerkship was with Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III ’72 of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Judge Wilkinson is an amazing teacher, so in many ways the year working with him is a continuation of your legal education,” Richardson said. “The time in his chambers was also incredibly important to my growth as a writer. More than any of that, though, my clerkship with the judge helped me clarify what it is that motivates me as a lawyer and a person, and that is what makes me most grateful to have had that opportunity.”
Richardson’s federal service has also included working as an analyst for the U.S. Judiciary and a research assistant for the Congressional Research Service prior to law school.
At UVA Law, Richardson earned the Faculty Award for Academic Excellence for graduating with the highest GPA in the Class of 2018. In addition, he was awarded the Traynor Prize at graduation, which recognizes written work by two graduating students each year. He also received the Jackson Walker LLP Award, and served as the editor-in-chief of the Virginia Law Review, president of the Virginia Employment and Labor Law Association, and vice chair for career and alumni engagement for Lambda Law Alliance. Like several other UVA Law graduates who have clerked for the court, he participated in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.
Richardson credits Dean Risa Goluboff; Vice Dean Leslie Kendrick ’06; Professors Michael Gilbert, Rachel Harmon, Toby Heytens ’00, Michael Livermore, Caleb Nelson and Micah Schwartzman ’05; and clinic lecturers John Elwood and Jeremy Marwell for contributing to his success.
“There are so many faculty who take the time outside of their usual jobs to make calls, do mock interviews and advise students about these positions,” he said. “I consider myself very lucky to be a part of a community that is so supportive of their students, both in this process and in everything else.”
Richardson graduated with a B.A. in political science and a B.S. in public management from James Madison University.
A record number of UVA Law alumni are clerking in courts across the nation during the 2019 term, including Jessica Wagner ’15, who is clerking for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Richardson’s clerkship begins this summer.
The Law School is fourth after Yale, Harvard and Stanford in placing clerks on the U.S. Supreme Court from 2005-19. UVA is also tied for No. 2 in the number of Bristow Fellows from the 2010-19 terms. The fellowship can be a steppingstone to clerking for the Supreme Court.
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.