Tyler Barton, Nicholas Gutmann, Denali Hedrick, Blake Humphrey and Lauren Trumble
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Five 2021 graduates of the West Virginia University College of Law are headed to prestigious year-long positions in the federal court system.
As federal law clerks, Tyler Barton, Denali Hedrick, Blake Humphrey, Nick Gutmann and Lauren Trumble will gain an intimate perspective on the inner workings of the courts while sharpening vital career-defining skills.
“A clerkship is an unparalleled learning experience, providing the opportunity to hone research and writing skills on various, weighty matters while guided by respected, seasoned, and accomplished legal professionals,” said law professor Joshua Weishart. “Because they are so formative, provide such a unique perspective, and are relatively few in number, federal clerkships are highly coveted — a prized credential sought by prospective employers — which can grant law clerks access to prestigious networks and relationships that can influence the trajectory of their legal careers.”
Barton will clerk for Chief Judge Thomas E. Johnston of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Johnston is a 1992 graduate of WVU Law.
“By the conclusion of my clerkship, I hope to have taken away valuable insight into the judicial decision-making process,” Barton said. “I view my clerkship as a wonderful opportunity to have a front-row seat to learn the ins and outs of federal practice and litigation from one of the brightest legal professionals in our state.”
Hedrick will also be a clerk in the U.S. Southern District, but for Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. He is a 1970 graduate of WVU Law.
“The opportunity to learn from an experienced judge in a busy federal court is absolutely invaluable for my career,” Hedrick said. “Attorneys who have clerked always speak highly of the experience and carry the lessons with them through their advocacy, and I am excited to grow my skills similarly.”
Humphrey will clerk for Judge Robert B. King at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. King is a 1968 WVU Law graduate.
Humphrey was drawn to a federal clerkship after completing an externship with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
“WVU Law has helped me better understand and explore different areas of the law, and to think about issues from all perspectives. I have developed an interest in Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure and Jurisdiction –– as well as Appellate Advocacy –– so clerking for a federal court became my goal,” said Humphrey.
Gutmann will clerk for Senior Judge Irene M. Keeley in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia and for Judge Frank W. Volk in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Keeley is a 1980 and Volk is a 1992 WVU Law graduate.
Gutmann credits his law professors for not only giving him a comprehensive legal education, but also for giving him real-world advice to prepare him for life after law school.
“Aside from teaching me the necessary substantive law, my professors at WVU Law were very encouraging throughout the application process as I pursued my clerkships,” he said. “Moreover, they provided me with great practical tips for the position.”
Trumble will clerk for Chief Judge Johnston of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
“Clerking provides the opportunity to observe countless advocates presenting to the court, all while sitting at the right hand of a judge who is your daily mentor,” she said. “This allows you to hear the judge's perspective on everything, from what is effective to what you should never do. I cannot think of a more advantageous start to my career as an advocate.”
Did you know?
WVU Law’s recent placement rate for federal clerkships is among the top 25 in the country, including No. 8 in the South. That's according to independent research conducted by a University of Iowa law professor.