2022 Fellowship


9th Annual James Wilson Fellowship

Alexandria, VA

July 31-August 5, 2022

Professor Hadley Arkes, joined by other distinguished scholars, will offer a seminar over six days on Natural Law and its bearing on our jurisprudence. The course will focus on discussing the central points of a jurisprudence of Natural Law, such as the classic connection between the “logic of morals” and the “logic of law,” the properties of moral truths and the principles of judgment, and how we would see certain landmark cases differently if they were viewed through the lens of Natural Law. Our main objective is to restore a moral coherence to our jurisprudence. 

Topics discussed in past seminars have included, “The Natural Law, the Positive Law, and the American Regime”; “The Natural Law and Ordinary Language: Recovering the Philosophic ground for the Restriction of Assaulting Speech Acts”; “Abortion, Privacy, and the Law: Who is the Bearer of Natural Rights?’”; and “Religion and the Law.” To read the biographies of our 2021 faculty, please visit here

We are pleased to present the James Wilson Fellows Class of 2022:


Alexa Acquista


Alexa is a law clerk for the Honorable Brantley Starr of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Next, she will clerk for the Honorable Nathan L. Hecht of the Supreme Court of Texas and then for the Honorable Don R. Willett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Alexa graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 2021, where she served as President of the SMU Law Federalist Society and Managing Editor of the SMU Law Review. Alexa also holds a B.A. in politics from the University of Dallas.


 Dominic Bayer


Dominic Bayer is a rising 3L at Northwestern University's Pritzker School of Law, where he serves as Executive Vice President for the school's chapter of the Federalist Society and President of the school's chapter of Law Students for Life. After graduating, he will clerk for Judge John B. Nalbandian of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Paul B. Matey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Previously, he has worked as a Summer Associate at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., and Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dominic has also worked as an intern at the Heritage Foundation's Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and as a summer researcher at Cooper & Kirk. Dominic earned his B.A. in economics and political science magna cum laude from Northwestern University.


 Mateusz Bendisz


Matt Bendisz graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2022. While at Harvard, Matt was a Supervising Editor for the Harvard Law Review and a member of the Ames Moot Court Competition's winning team. He spent his 1L summer at Consovoy McCarthy PLLC and his 2L summer at the Missouri Attorney General's Office. Before law school, Matt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in economics and film, television, and theatre. There, he competed in mock trial and was a Sorin Fellow with the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. He will soon clerk for Judge Kyle Duncan of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and then for Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the District Court for the District of Columbia. In his free time, Matt enjoys hiking, playing the piano, and cheering for the Fighting Irish football team.



 Zach Carstens


Zach Carstens is a law clerk for Justice Jeffrey S. Boyd of the Supreme Court of Texas. He will clerk for Judge Brantley Starr of the Northern District of Texas for the 2022-2023 term. He graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Pepperdine Law Review and Vice President of Pepperdine's chapter of the Federalist Society. Zach is a Blackstone Fellow, and his published student note on physician-assisted suicide and religious liberty received the Ronald M. Sorenson Writing Award. During law school, he worked at the Office of the Solicitor General of Texas and as a research assistant for several professors. Before law school, he worked in ministry as a preacher in Texas. He holds a B.A. in English and Biblical text from Abilene Christian University.  


Howard Chang


Howard Chang is an associate at K&L Gates LLP. His practice focuses on space law & policy, appellate litigation, and white-collar defense. Previously, he served as a law clerk to Judge Peter J. Phipps on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Reed C. O’Connor on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Howard holds a B.S. in neuroscience from Baylor University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.




Meredith Criner


Meredith Criner recently graduated from Duke University School of Law in May of 2022, receiving the Justin Miller Award for Leadership and Certificate in Public Interest and Public Service. At Duke, Meredith served as a research assistant for the Bolch Judicial Institute, student editor of Judicature, Lead Articles Editor for Law & Contemporary Problems, member of the Moot Court and Mock Trial Boards, and President of the Duke Federalist Society. Prior to attending law school, Meredith grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina and attended Cornell University where she played soccer and participated in the Cornell in Washington program before transferring to North Carolina State University. She graduated from North Carolina State as valedictorian, majoring in history and philosophy. Following graduation, Meredith will clerk for Judge James C. Dever III of the Eastern District of North Carolina, then Judge Michael B. Brennan of the Seventh Circuit.



Alexander Evans


Alexander Evans is currently a law clerk to the Honorable Judge M. Miller Baker of the U.S. Court of International Trade. He graduated from Yale Law School in 2021, transferring after a year at Columbia, where he won the Lipson Prize for Contracts and the Young B. Smith Prize for Torts. Alexander has a Ph.D. in philosophy and has served as an assistant professor at Baruch College in New York for more than ten years. His research focuses on Japanese law and on the philosophical foundations of private law. Prior to law school, Alexander served as a congressional speechwriter and as a diplomatic adviser for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. He is a National Master of chess and one of the highest rated shogi players in the United States. He lives in New York with his two fluffy dogs and three wonderful children. 



Ugonna Eze


Ugonna Eze is a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Steven J. Menashi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He will be an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell before clerking for the Honorable Judge Carl J. Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the 2023-2024 term. Previously, he served as a summer clerk in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, a legislative law clerk for Senator Mike Lee, and a summer associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. He was also a White House Intern in the Office of the Vice President during the Fall of 2020. He has also served as a Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the National Constitution Center. Ugonna holds a B.A. in global affairs from Yale College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.



Steve Jacobs


Steve Jacobs is an abortion scholar who has published research in a law review, a peer-reviewed journal, and multiple national media outlets. Previously, he wrote amicus briefs in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization while working as Illinois Right to Life's Program Director, served as an extern to Judge Robert W. Gettleman of the Northern District of Illinois, and worked as a summer associate at Dechert LLP in Chicago. Steve holds a B.A. summa cum laude from Northeastern Illinois University, a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.



 Jessica Lee


Jessica Lee is a judicial law clerk for Justice Jimmy Blacklock on the Supreme Court of Texas. After clerking for Justice Blacklock, she will clerk for the Honorable Don. R. Willett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Prior to clerking for Justice Blacklock, Jessica was an Assistant Solicitor General for the State of West Virginia and clerked for the Honorable Thomas E. Johnston, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Jessica graduated cum laude from Fordham Law School, where she was as an Articles and Notes Editor for the Fordham Law Review. Jessica holds a B.A. in politics, philosophy, and economics from The King’s College.



Caleb Orr


Caleb Orr is a law student in the Evening Program at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he has attended while serving previously as Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Deputy Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. While working on Capitol Hill, Caleb was a lead staffer for the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program, expansion of the Child Tax Credit, and development of Senator Rubio’s “common-good capitalism” agenda, among other economic and corporate governance policy initiatives. At Georgetown Law, he is senior staff on the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy and a member of the Federalist Society. This summer, he was a summer associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in political science from Abilene Christian University, where he was a Jack Pope Fellow. He has been published in Boston Review and featured in TIME Magazine.



Josh Pratt


Josh Pratt currently serves as a Deputy General Counsel to Governor Ron DeSantis of the great State of Florida. Previously, he clerked for Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater and Judge Lee Ann Reno on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and Justice Charles T. Canady on the Florida Supreme Court. Josh received both his J.D. and his B.A. from Florida State University. His passions are faith, family, and others.




Olivia Rogers


Olivia Rogers is a rising 3L at Notre Dame Law School, where she serves as the Executive Articles Editor for the Notre Dame Law Review and as President for the Federalist Society. She has also been involved in NDLS’s Religious Liberty Initiative, as well as moot court as an oralist. Before law school, Olivia graduated summa cum laude from Kansas State University, majoring in political science and minoring in philosophy. While at Kansas State, she worked as an intern for the Kansas legislature and as an opinion editor for her school newspaper. After law school, Olivia will clerk for Judge Newsom of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Stras of the Eighth Circuit. In her free time, Olivia enjoys long walks around Notre Dame’s lakes while listening to indie music.


Savannah Silver


Savannah Silver graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 2020. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jennifer Walker Elrod on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit during the 2020-2021 term and currently serves as a law clerk to the Honorable Brantley Starr on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In the fall of 2022, Savannah will join Gibson Dunn & Crutcher as an associate attorney in the firm’s Dallas office. During law school at Chicago, Savannah was a Chairman of the Edmund Burke Society, and Internal Vice President of the Federalist Society. Savannah is also a Blackstone Legal Fellow from the Class of 2020. Savannah attended Auburn University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in quantitative economics, interned for the United States Secret Service during the 2016 Presidential election, and owned a custom furniture shop.


Evan Ward


Evan Ward is a law clerk to the Hon. Judge Andrew Brasher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He previously worked as an associate at Jones Day in Washington, D.C. Evan received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Executive Editor of the Virginia Environmental Law Journal, editor of the symposium issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and a Hardy Cross Dillard scholar. During law school he served as a legal intern on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Office of Senator Ted Cruz, and on the executive board of Virginia's Federalist Society chapter. Evan graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Alabama, earning both a B.A. and M.A. in history. 



Daniel Whitehead


Daniel Whitehead clerks for Judge Manion on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and afterward is slated to work as an assistant general counsel for Governor Ron DeSantis. He previously clerked for Judge Joseph Toth on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Additionally, he was an appellate litigator in the appellate division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and also a civil rights analyst in the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Daniel graduated from Ave Maria School of Law and Ave Maria University with a degree in classics and literature. He is a Fellow of the Leonine Forum run by the Catholic Information Center, and a Law and Policy Fellow for Americans United for Life.


Conor Woodfin


Conor Woodfin is a law clerk for Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. He previously clerked for Judge David Porter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. During law school, Conor worked as a summer associate at Consovoy McCarthy PLLC and as a law clerk for Senator Ted Cruz on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He earned his J.D. from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he served as the Editor in Chief of the George Mason Law Review, an Alexander Hamilton Fellow for the C. Boyden Gray Center, and a research assistant to Professor Jennifer Mascott. He holds a B.S. in accounting from Hillsdale College.