Graduate Awarded Prestigious Fellowship in U.S. Solicitor General’s Office

Jack Starcher '14 Will Spend a Year Working for U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. '83

New York, April 1, 2016—Jack Starcher ’14 picked up the phone and heard the voice of U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli ’83 on the other end of the line. 

“It was a little bit of a shock,” said Starcher, who was informed by Verrilli that he had been chosen to serve as a 2016-2017 Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General in Washington, D.C. Starcher was thrilled with the news, but Verrilli advised him to take some time to consider the opportunity. “I waited until the next day to call him back to accept.” 

Starcher will begin the one-year fellowship this summer after completing a clerkship for Judge Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

As a Bristow Fellow, Starcher, a native of McLean, VA, will assist attorneys representing the United States before the Supreme Court. Duties include drafting briefs in opposition to petitions for certiorari filed against the government; helping to draft petitions for certiorari and briefs on the merits in Supreme Court cases; making recommendations to the Solicitor General regarding the authorization of government appeals in lower courts; and helping to prepare oral arguments.

Jack Starcher' 14 will serve as a 2016-2017 Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General in Washington, D.C. 

The coveted opportunity will allow Starcher to pursue a legal career in the public interest. Before attending law school, he earned a master’s degree in education from Arizona State University, and then taught remedial math at the Tolleson Union High School District in Phoenix through Teach for America.

“I had always wanted to go to law school in the long term,” Starcher said. “But being a school teacher was a way to follow my interest in public service.” 

Starcher was a stellar student at Columbia Law School. He earned the John Ordronaux Prize for graduating first in his class, and he was named a James Kent Scholar all three years, which resulted in his receiving the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Prize. In addition, Starcher was a teaching assistant to Professors Michael Heller and Bert Huang, and served as executive essays and reviews editor of the Columbia Law Review

Immediately after graduation, Starcher clerked for Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, during the 2014-15 term, an experience that sparked his interest in applying for the Bristow Fellowship.  Although he wasn’t sure if he “had a shot at it,” Starcher said, “the chance to work for the Solicitor General was worth a try.”

“I’m very excited to work for Solicitor General Verrilli,” Starcher said. “I’ve heard him speak several times. He’s such a pleasant person, and obviously a brilliant lawyer.”

After completing the fellowship, Starcher hopes to work in government or public interest law in Washington. 

“I think public service is the most exciting area of the law,” Starcher said. “Law school didn’t change that.”  Starcher is the third graduate of Columbia to receive the honor in recent years . Lena Husani Hughes ’12 was named a 2015-2016 Bristow Fellow, and Z. Payvand Ahdout ’13 served as a Bristow Fellow in 2013-14.