Michelle Shamblin Stratton, a 2009 graduate of the LSU Law Center, has been selected to serve as a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for the 2011-12 term of the Court. Stratton is the first LSU Law graduate to serve as a Supreme Court law clerk, announced LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss upon receiving official word of Stratton’s appointment.
“This is a proud moment for Michelle and an equally proud moment for LSU Law,” Weiss said.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to clerk for Justice Thomas,” said Stratton. “I greatly admire Justice Thomas’s approach to the law and the reasoning of his opinions, and I look forward to learning from and working with him and a great set of co-clerks. The time that I spent with the Justice during my interview also confirmed what so many people had glowingly reported—he is warm, engaging, honest, and kind — and I am honored to work for someone of his character and integrity.”
“Michelle was a stellar law student,” noted Weiss as he recalled her many accomplishments while at LSU Law and in her early professional life. “She’s set the bar for the future,” he said. “But Michelle also has opened some very important doors for LSU Law students who come after her and share Michelle’s desire to contribute to the development of the law on a national level.”
In fall 2010, Stratton was named to one of only four Bristow Fellowships in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States. She was the first LSU Law graduate to receive the prestigious fellowship. The fellowships are named for the first U.S. Solicitor General, Benjamin H. Bristow of Kentucky.
Stratton noted that her opportunity to clerk at the Supreme Court might not have been possible without the Bristow Fellowship and assistance from others who mentored and coached her along the way.
“I would be remiss if I did not highlight my experience as a Bristow fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General, where the incredible attorneys in the Office have exemplified the highest standards of appellate advocacy and helped prepare me for my work at the Court.”
In 2009-10, following her graduation from LSU Law, Stratton clerked in Houston for Chief Judge Edith Hollan Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. “Judge Jones was enormously helpful throughout the application processes for the Bristow fellowship and the Supreme Court clerkship, but beyond that, she is a great judge and mentor from whom I have learned a great deal,”
Stratton commented. “Additionally, Chancellor Jack Weiss and other Supreme Court law clerks, past and present, have provided me with invaluable guidance and insight along the way. Last, but certainly not least, my husband and family have offered priceless support, perhaps most poignantly demonstrated by the fact that I know they love me whether I clerk for the Supreme Court or a traffic court!”
Stratton graduated first in her law class, earning Summa Cum Laude and The Order of the Coif honors. As a third-year law student, Stratton was awarded the 2009 Scribes Law-Review Award for her article, Silencing Chicken Little: Options for School Districts after “Parents Involved“, 69 La. Law Review 219 (2008). She was the first student in the history of the Law Center to receive the national award, which honors the best student-written article of the year published in a law review or journal.
Stratton received CALI Awards (highest grade in the course) in 20 individual classes while in law school. She was a member of the Louisiana Law Review, LSU’s National Moot Court Team, and the American Association for Justice Trial Advocacy Team. She was named to the Chancellor’s List during all of her semesters at LSU Law. In addition, she was the recipient of the Vinson & Elkins Outstanding Case Note or Comment Award for Excellence in Legal Writing in 2007-08.
“To be the first LSU law student to receive a Supreme Court clerkship is special to me, particularly because I get to play a role in continuing and enhancing the traditions of excellence that characterize an LSU law education,” Stratton replied. “I hope that my clerkship at the Court encourages LSU law students, professors, judges, and employers to recognize the potential of LSU students to compete nationally and that it opens doors for more LSU law students to be successful. In honor of the occasion, perhaps I can convince Justice Thomas to let me slip “geaux” into an opinion draft (though I doubt that’ll get past my co-clerks!),” she concluded.
Chancellor Weiss, however, expressed doubt whether Stratton would succeed in achieving this last goal. Said Weiss: “I am thrilled to hear that Michelle will try to achieve recognition for “geaux” in the United States Reports. Unfortunately, however, I doubt she will be successful given that this version of the word “go”, however compelling, was unknown to the Founding Fathers.”
Stratton earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Louisiana College in Pineville, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2006.
Ms. Stratton’s resume is attached.
Michelle Shamblin Stratton
Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center (2006-2009): Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma of Civil Law; Summa Cum Laude and Order of the Coif (GPA: 3.761, Rank: 1/174)
- Louisiana Law Review, Volumes 68-69: Junior Associate (2007-2008); Senior Associate (2008-2009)
- Silencing Chicken Little: Options for School Districts after Parents Involved, 69 La. L. Rev. 219 (2008)
- Scribes Award (American Society of Legal Writers national award for best student-written article in a law review or journal) (2009)
- Vinson & Elkins Outstanding Case Note or Comment Award for Excellence in Legal Writing (2007-2008)
- New York City Bar/American College of Trial Lawyers National Moot Court Team (Fall 2008) (2008-2009 LSU Law moot court program ranked 12th nationally by the Blakely Advocacy Institute)
- American Association for Justice Trial Advocacy Team (Spring 2009)
- Federalist Society Member (2007-present)
- Trial Advocacy Board Member (2008-2009)
- Semifinalist, Ira S. Flory Trial Competition (Spring 2008)
- Finalist, Opening Statement Competition (Fall 2007)
- Wex Malone Inns of Court (for excellence in trial advocacy) (2008-2009)
- Chancellor’s List (all semesters)
- Student Advisory Board Member (Spring 2008)
- Faculty Merit Scholar
- CALI Awards (highest grade in course):
Administrative Law; Basic Civil Procedure I; Basic Civil Procedure II; Civil Law Property; Common Law Property; Constitutional Law II; Contracts; Criminal Law; Employment Law; European Union II; Evidence; Family Law; Federal Courts; Legal Profession; Legal Research & Writing I; Legal Research & Writing II; Obligations; Sales and Real Estate; Security Devices; Successions
Louisiana College (2002-2006): Bachelor of Arts in History, English minor; Summa Cum Laude (GPA: 4.0)
- Louisiana College Rhodes Scholarship Nominee
- Louisiana College Dean’s List (all semesters)
- National Dean’s List (all semesters)
- Who’s Who Among American College Students
- Collegiate All-American Scholar
- Alpha Chi (upperclassmen honors society, top 10%)
- Sigma Tau Delta (English honors society)
- Alpha Lambda Delta (Freshmen honors society)
- Louisiana College Gala Honor Court (academic/extracurricular achievement)
- Louisiana College Top Twenty Scholarship (full tuition)
- Louisiana College Union Board: Assistant Vice-President (2004-2005); Chairman, Off-Campus Activities Committee (2003-2004)
- Louisiana College Student Government Association: Academic Affairs Senator (2004-2005)
- Louisiana College Curriculum Committee: Student Representative
Supreme Court of the United States, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Washington, D.C. (July 2011 – present); Law Clerk
Office of the Solicitor General, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. (August 2010-July 2011); Bristow Fellow
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Chief Judge Edith Hollan Jones, Houston, TX (August 2009-present); Law Clerk
Louisiana Evidence Handbook, Professor George W. Pugh, Baton Rouge, LA (2008-2009); Research and Writing Assistant
Baker Botts LLP, Houston, TX (Summer 2008); Law Clerk
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Baton Rouge, LA (Summer 2008); Law Clerk
United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LA (Spring 2008); Law Clerk
Gold, Weems, Bruser, Sues & Rundell, Alexandria, LA (Winter 2007); Law Clerk
Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, Baton Rouge, LA (Spring 2008, Summer 2007); Law Clerk
Phelps Dunbar LLP, Baton Rouge, LA (Summer 2007); Law Clerk
United States Marshals Service, Special Operations Group, Pineville, LA (August 2003 – August 2006); Clerical/Accounting Specialist
Music: Voice (extensive experience in solo, large chorale, vocal team performance, and solo and ensemble competitions); Piano (thirteen years of formal training and competition); Flute (six years of formal training and competition)
Exercise: Pilates; Group Aerobics; Horseback Riding; Basketball (ten years of combined individual and team competition; three years of coaching YMCA and other elementary school league basketball)
Updated: June 2011