The Simon Karas Fellowship
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The Simon Karas Fellowship 2023-2024

The Ohio Attorney General invites talented new lawyers to apply for the Simon Karas Fellowship.  This Fellowship offers one new lawyer each year the chance to work as an appellate advocate on cases involving significant legal issues.  Those interested in constitutional law, public policy, and public service should consider applying.

The Fellowship Experience

Work on major cases and issues

The Simon “Si” Karas Fellow works with our Solicitor General, our Deputy Solicitors General, and other top lawyers in the Office on the State’s major appellate cases.  These cases often involve significant questions of law and public policy, and involve constitutional questions or hotly debated issues of the day.  Many cases are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court—others are there already.  Our office’s recent cases illustrate the kind of opportunities that a Karas Fellow can expect:

  • Ohio has a busy practice in the U.S. Supreme Court covering a wide variety of cases.  In the last term, the Office briefed and argued two cases:  Shoop v. Twyford, No. 21-511 (a challenge to a transportation order issued under the All Writs Act in a habeas case) and Ohio v. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, No 21A247 (arguing that OSHA lacked the authority to issue its vaccine mandate).  In recent terms we have briefed many other cases, including a First Amendment challenge to Ohio’s ballot-initiative process, an Eighth Amendment case about the prohibition on executing the intellectually disabled, a statutory-interpretation case about the actual-innocence exception to filing an untimely habeas petition, and a case concerning whether federal law preempts state laws that forbid tampering with emission systems in vehicles.  We often file amicus briefs in the Court as well.
  • Over the years, Fellows have worked on other U.S. Supreme Court cases involving standing, double jeopardy, school vouchers, free exercise of religion, free speech, federalism, state immunity, interstate commerce, and more.
  • The Karas Fellow also assists with cases in the Ohio Supreme Court, where the Office appears often, both as a party and as an amicus.  Some of our recent cases include a constitutional challenge to the State’s traffic-camera revenue-taxation program, the illegal discharge of drilling fluids into state waters, and a challenge to an agency’s execution protocol. We also regularly assist county prosecutors in their criminal appeals in the Ohio Supreme Court.
  • The Office also briefs and argues many cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the Karas Fellow assists with those appeals as well.  We, for example, recently briefed and argued a case in the Sixth Circuit concerning the constitutionality of Ohio’s treatment of prisoners diagnosed with Hepatitis C.  Johnson v. Peterson, 847 Fed. Appx. 343 (6th Cir. 2021).  The Karas Fellow presented oral argument in that case.
  • A component of the Karas Fellow’s duties will include evaluating the Ohio Supreme Court’s docket to help advise the Attorney General on whether he should appear as an amicus in cases accepted for argument.

In short, our appellate practice in the Ohio Attorney General’s office touches almost every area of state law.

During their terms, Fellows have the opportunity to argue cases before the Ohio Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Ohio’s intermediate appellate courts.  Our previous Fellows have argued multiple appeals over the course of the year.  The most recent Fellow argued six cases.

Learn from nationally recognized appellate advocates

The Karas Fellow works directly with the Solicitor General, along with the Deputy Solicitors General in the Office of the Solicitor General.  These lawyers know the importance of one-on-one training and mentoring, and we work hard to make sure that each year’s Karas Fellow hones the research and writing skills that are critical for future success in the legal profession.

Moreover, we work on cases that attract other excellent attorneys.  Our allies and adversaries often include the U.S. Solicitor General and top-notch law firms from around the country.  This experience gives the Fellow the chance to meet, work with, and learn from some of the most accomplished lawyers in the nation.

Qualifications

Applicants should be new to the practice of law.  For example, the Office encourages current or recent judicial law clerks, and attorneys with limited experience in private or public sector practice, to apply.  Candidates with judicial clerkship experience in the Ohio Supreme Court or the federal appellate courts are given preference.  In evaluating applications, we look for excellent academic records, along with particularly strong writing and analytical abilities.

Previous Karas Fellows have graduated from schools including the University of Virginia Law School, Northwestern University Law School, Columbia Law School, Harvard Law School, Notre Dame Law School, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Stanford Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  Likewise, Karas Fellows have worked at large private firms and have held a variety of clerkships including at the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Previous Karas Fellows have gone on to clerk at the Supreme Court of the United States, and to work for the Department of Justice in the Office of Legal Counsel and in U.S. Attorneys’ Offices.

Application Date and Fellowship Term

Interested candidates should apply by November 15.  Earlier applications are encouraged, as we will review applications on a rolling basis and will interview promising candidates as their applications are received.  One Karas Fellow will be hired to serve full-time in the Ohio Attorney General’s Columbus office from roughly September 2023 to September 2024.

The Fellowship pays a salary of $71,000, along with the same benefits given to other State of Ohio employees.  The salary includes a supplement above the usual starting salary for new graduates joining our office.  That supplement is included to recognize the importance of this Fellowship to our office, and to enable talented law school graduates to consider public service despite the burdens of student loans.

Application Process and Materials Required

Please email applications for the 2023-2024 Simon Karas Fellowship no later than November 15, 2022, to:

Stephanie Cruz-Warner

HR Analyst—Human Resources

Stephanie.Cruz-Warner@OhioAGO.gov

The application should consist of a cover letter, resume, transcript, writing sample, and two letters of recommendation, emailed directly by the writers of those letters.  Items should be in PDF format.

After reviewing the applications, our office will select candidates for interviews.  We hope to announce this year’s Fellowship award in late 2022.  Offers are made on a rolling basis.

If you have any questions about the Karas Fellowship, please contact the Office of the Solicitor General at 614‑466‑8980.

About Simon Karas

The Simon Karas Fellowship was established as a living memorial to a person who embodied the values of advocacy, professionalism, and public service—values that Si spent his life imparting to new lawyers, and that we hope to instill in the Fellows.  Si Karas was a model of integrity, excellence, and commitment.  He joined the office straight from law school, and in a quarter-century here, he became an exceptionally dedicated and accomplished appellate advocate, as well as a respected and beloved mentor to many junior lawyers.  By training new lawyers in this way, we carry on his work.