Over the last 10 years, through the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, ADF has provided practical training and enduring inspiration for hundreds of the nation’s finest Christian law students, preparing them for positions of unique influence that will allow them to transform the legal system.
Fellowship Affirms Student’s “Responsibility to Do Good”
Of the 160 students that the Rogers Law School at the University of Arizona is graduating this May, Aaron Martin is the only one already hired to clerk for a federal judge. He’s also one of only two to complete from the ADF Blackstone Legal Fellowship and be commissioned a fellow. That may not be a coincidence.
A clerk is a judge’s right hand, doing the homework, the legwork, and the heavy-duty research the judge will use in formulating his rulings and opinions. It’s a dream job for a student just out of law school, and Martin attributes the opportunity in large part to his Blackstone experience.
“Blackstone gives you a background in constitutional law that you can’t get in a typical law school,” he says, adding that in many of his classes, the originalism of the Constitution is often “either glossed over or downplayed as a ‘minority’ view.” Distressed by that attitude, and by the eagerness of so many of his fellow students to embrace it, Martin was intrigued when ADF President Alan Sears spoke at his church about the very different philosophy of ADF attorneys.
“What should I do if I want to work for you someday?” he asked Mr. Sears, after the event. Sears suggested the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, where Martin was able not only to “fill in the gaps” academically, but to build a nationwide network of other Christian law students and attorneys who are “praying for me, because they’re going through the same things I am.”
"There are times when the battle must be fought out in the courtroom."
Martin did his Blackstone internship with the Center for Arizona Policy, working to get a marriage amendment on the 2008 ballot. He says the experience “expanded my idea of what can be achieved through litigation and the legal process,” and convinced him that “there are times when the battle must be fought out in the courtroom.
“As Christian lawyers, we have a debt to pay – a responsibility to use our gifts and talents to do good through the law.” That’s why, Martin says, he has “no doubt” that, as a staff attorney, an allied attorney, or a Ministry Friend, “I’ll be working with ADF someday.”