MSU Law 3L tapped for federal clerkship with U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan


MSU Law student Shawn Brew has been selected for the coveted federal clerkship position with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. He was chosen for this prestigious two-year clerkship out of an applicant pool of law students nationwide.

Candidates for a federal clerkship must demonstrate exceptional research, writing, and analytical skills. Judges look for law students who have excelled in law school and have an extraordinary passion for the law. During the clerkship, from August 2024-2026, Brew will provide research and written legal analysis of cases for Federal Judge Thomas L. Ludington in Bay City. He will also have opportunities to support other federal trial tasks.

“I attended a clerkship event that the Career Services Office hosted and then did some follow-up research,” Brew said. “Based on the event and my research, I knew a federal clerkship was something that I wanted to pursue—it is a meaningful way to help serve the judiciary and learn a lot about the law. I learned how competitive federal clerkships are, so I did not have much of an expectation that I would earn one. But I wanted to pursue it because, as far as I could tell, it is a dream job for someone who loves research and writing and is passionate about public service and the law.”

“Shawn’s unwavering focus and determination in securing a federal clerkship have laid a solid foundation for his legal career,” said Veronica Valentine McNally, Director of Trial Advocacy & Director of Externships. “This notable accomplishment is not only a testament to his steadfast dedication but also his commitment to shaping a practice that makes a tangible difference. This prestigious position will give Shawn unparalleled experience, enriching his professional journey at every turn.”

The competition for federal clerkships is tough. Brew’s three years at MSU Law prepared him for challenging environments. Notably, his role as Vice President of the Board of Advocates and his success in moot court competitions. He and his partner finished second out of 26 teams in the Zehmer competition. Mr. Brew plans to compete in two competitions his final year at MSU Law.

“Two opportunities at Michigan State College of Law that have prepared me for this role are Moot Court and the Trial Practice Institute,” continued Brew. “They have helped me hone my legal research, writing, and analysis skills, and I have developed confidence through those programs. My participation in those programs has also elevated my passion for the law.”

As Vice President of the Board of Advocates, he and President Jake Putala enable law students to further develop written, oral, and team-based advocacy skills and employ these enhanced skills at competitions across the country. The Board has a proven track record of success and a national reputation for producing exemplary teams who are fierce competitors.

“Shawn represents MSU College of Law well in all that he does,” said 3L Jake Putala, Board of Advocates President and Shawn’s Moot Court partner. “He is a great example of how practical programs like Moot Court and Trial Practice Institute can equip students with analytical skills that easily transfer into practice.”

Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Competitions Program, Jennifer Copland spoke highly of Shawn, who she has coached in several competitions and also supervises his work as her research assistant. “Shawn’s work ethic, intellect, and talents prepare him well for this clerkship,” said Professor Copland, who also served as an appellate judicial clerk. “He excels at analyzing legal issues, both orally and in writing—no matter the topic. And he has a particular eye for nuance and detail. These skills are critical for judicial clerks. 

“Shawn’s skills were recently put to the test at the Zehmer National Moot Court Competition,” Professor Copland continued. “To prepare for that competition, Shawn and his teammate mastered Florida Workers Compensation Law—and applied it to a unique set of facts—in a short period of time over the summer. The result was a second place finish out of 26 teams, even besting teams from Florida law schools.”

When asked what he hoped to learn and achieve during this federal clerkship and how it fit in his future career plans, he said, “First, my goal is to serve the federal judiciary well and be an effective clerk. Second, I aim to deepen my understanding of federal law and litigation because, after the clerkship, I will be a litigator—hopefully litigating some matters in federal court.”

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