James Wilson Summer Legal Fellowship - 2017



From July 30-August 4, we were joined by 15 outstanding young lawyers and law students who comprised our fourth class of James Wilson Fellows. Most of the Fellows were on their way to clerkships with judges, or coming out of clerkships; some are currently in practice, with one finishing his law degree. By the end of the Fellowship, we found we would be hard-pressed to assemble a group as tightly-knit and congenial as our 2017 class had become.

As in the previous three years, our sessions demanded much from the Fellows, and also much from our faculty. Prof. Arkes conducted fourteen lectures/discussions over the course of six days! From this very first session, the Fellows found a rather different lens for viewing the whole landscape of the law.

Prof. Arkes was aided throughout the week by veterans of this program, Profs. David Forte and Michael Uhlmann. We remain ever grateful for their continued presence as faculty, imparting the gift of wisdom accumulated from many years of teaching.  However, this year's Fellowship was notable for its inclusion of some younger faculty as well: Profs. Justin Dyer and Daniel Mark, two "rising stars" in the academy, along with Gunnar Gundersen, an attorney in private practice and one of the most devoted figures in this project. We were proud of our faculty for their devotion to teaching our Fellows throughout the week. 

Reflecting on his time with us, one Fellow remarked, "What differentiates the James Wilson Fellowship, or the 'Hadley Arkes approach' to law, is that we are learning the idea of law, not just the processes and case law. We’re understanding what makes good law, what makes bad law. That all informs how we take the next steps of deciding cases about law, deciding what laws to enact, and, at the end of the day, how to be a good citizen and how to interact with the law.”

Of course it is only fitting to express our happiness that we could partner for the third time with the Wheatley Institution of Brigham Young University for this Fellowship. Our Institute and Wheatley share the same goal of trying to restore civic virtue through cultivating a better understanding of those fundamental principles of natural right at the core of our law. Special thanks to Prof. Richard Williams, Wheatley's executive director, for his collaboration.