Northwestern Law Alumna to Clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2015

December 17, 2014

Elana Nightingale Dawson (JD ’11) will serve as a law clerk for Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court for the 2015 term.  Nightingale Dawson described the clerkship as “a privilege and an honor.”

Nightingale Dawson, a member of the Law School’s inaugural class of accelerated JD students, most recently served as a Bristow Fellow, a one year fellowship at the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States, which gave her exposure to Supreme Court practice.  Prior to serving as a Bristow Fellow, Nightingale Dawson clerked for Judge Raymond Kethledge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Gary Feinerman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Nightingale Dawson’s first experience in a judicial chambers occurred during her externship with Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier of the Northern District of Illinois, who also serves as an adjunct professor at Northwestern Law. She cites the wide and varied exposure she received in the accelerated JD program in tandem with the small group setting as instrumental to building her professional interests. Nightingale Dawson distinguished herself with her participation in the Supreme Court Clinic and the Senior Research Program.  The clinic, housed inside the Bluhm Legal Clinic, provides an intensive opportunity for students to engage with cases on the Supreme Court docket, becoming professional persuasive advocates through the nuts and bolts of researching and writing cogent briefs and presenting their case in moot courts. “Elana was very passionate about the work. In every case she dug deep into the heart of the case. I never felt like it was a job or class for her,” noted Professor Sarah O’ Rourke Schrup, director of the Northwestern Law Appellate Advocacy Center. 

While at the Supreme Court, Nightingale Dawson will serve alongside alumnus Sopan Joshi (JD ’13), who will clerk for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in the 2015 Term, and who previously clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and who now clerks for Judge Feinerman.  This marks the ninth Northwestern Law graduate to serve in a Supreme Court clerkship in the last decade, and eight years since a graduate worked for Justice Kennedy.