2014 Honors Attorneys
Left to Right: Kyle Joseph, Fatimah Stokley, Jonathan Bringewatt, Courtney Freeman, Nicole Starman, Kari Hicks, Stephanie Anderson, and Jared Hatch (Not pictured: Michael Tien)
Stephanie Anderson, a native of Utah, is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center (’14) and the University of California, Berkeley (’11) (B.A. in Philosophy, Public Policy). During law school, Stephanie served as a student attorney for Georgetown’s Domestic Violence Clinic and as a Law Fellow for the Legal Research and Writing Department. Stephanie also interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of Columbia and the Southern District of New York, as well as at other public service organizations.
Simply put, DOT’s Honors Attorney Program is exceptional. During my first year in the Program, I completed rotations at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the Office of the General Counsel, Office of International Law. In each rotation, I was able to explore and dive into a wide array of legal subject areas, including enforcement of Federal safety regulations, application of environmental and privacy laws, and interpretation of international transportation agreements. Further, as an Honors Attorney, I was entrusted with significant responsibility from the outset—serving as second chair in administrative litigation and drafting multiple notices published in the Federal Register—and I received tremendous support from mentors, senior attorneys, and my fellow Honors Attorneys along the way. DOT’s Honors Attorney Program is a valuable and gratifying place to begin and build your legal career in public service!
Jonathan Bringewatt, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law ('14) and the University of Minnesota, Morris ('09) (B.A. in Economics, History). Before joining DOT, Jonathan externed for two Federal Magistrate Judges and clerked with the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP. Prior to law school, Jonathan worked as a high school math teacher in Greenville, Mississippi, as part of the Teach for America, Mississippi Delta Corps.
My time in DOT’s Honors Attorney Program has been rewarding and invaluable. During my first year in the Program, I completed rotations at the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Regulations, and the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Within my first month at PHMSA, I was drafting guidance for the Ebola crisis and working with attorneys from multiple Federal agencies. Later, in OIG, I helped provide legal support for multiple ongoing audits and criminal investigations. My colleagues are incredible, and I can’t imagine a better place to work!
Courtney Freeman, a native of Birmingham, Michigan, is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School ('13) and Northwestern University ('10) (B.A. in History, Political Science). Prior to joining DOT's Honors Program, Courtney interned for the Department of Justice and the Chicago Transit Authority as a law student and for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow as an undergraduate. Courtney enjoys playing tennis, attempting to golf, and visiting Walt Disney World.
I had heard about DOT's Honors Attorney Program for a few years before 3L recruiting – I knew it was a very prestigious federal Honors Program, and I was delighted when I accepted my offer to join the class of 2014. Through my rotations in the Office of the General Counsel, Office of International Law, the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), I had the opportunity to practice both in areas of law that I had no experience in, such as rulemaking, and areas of law where I already had skills that I wanted to further develop, such as litigation. Additionally, I’m fortunate enough to count my fellow Honors Attorneys as some of my closest friends. Everyone at DOT is very invested in making sure that the Honors Attorneys not only have intellectually stimulating work and the resources to do a good job, but also that their career development is the best it could possibly be. I could not have had a better job opportunity as a new attorney.
Jared Hatch is a military brat from Herndon, Virginia. He is a graduate of BYU Law School ('14) and BYU ('11) (B.A. in American Studies). During law school, Jared served as a Lead Note & Comment Editor for the BYU Law Review, and he delved into public service work at the Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor, in Salt Lake City and the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. Jared is a fantasy football junkie, loves running 5Ks on Thanksgiving, and enjoys a good Avett Brothers concert with his wife, Alexandra.
The most attractive feature of DOT’s Honors Attorney Program is its diversity. From attending oral argument at the Supreme Court to drafting opinions of railroad administrative boards, the program has afforded me broad exposure to a wide variety of practice areas. Going into the Program, I had little conception of what DOT did, let alone what a DOT attorney might do. Since then, I’ve learned that DOT has significant authority in terms of regulating safety, meaning that a DOT lawyer can specialize in administrative law, enforcement procedure, appropriations and procurement, litigation, legislation, international law, civil rights, or even transportation security and emergency response. In my first year of the Program, I worked at the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Litigation, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the Maritime Administration (MARAD).
Through my rotations, I’ve had the opportunity to author a substantive motion for a federal court case, resolve discovery disputes between private industry and government, explore environmental implications for significant governmental projects, navigate sensitive personnel issues, and moderate a panel on international maritime issues. I’ve also had meaningful opportunities in my interactions with senior attorneys, particularly as they’ve taken the time to mentor me by providing career advice, guiding me through difficult research assignments, and offering insightful feedback. That type of mentorship was exactly what I was looking for coming out of law school, and each office I’ve rotated through has been more than happy to provide it. Although moving to a new office every four months can be difficult, the office’s supervising attorneys and the attorneys who coordinate the Program will make every effort to ensure that you have substantive, meaningful experiences. Plus, you will have a group of instant friends in the other Honors Attorneys. Overall, I would highly recommend the DOT Honors Attorney program to any law student who values public service and wants exposure to a variety of practice areas.
Kari Hicks grew up in San Jose, CA, and is a graduate of UCLA School of Law ('14) and the University of California, Berkeley ('10) (B.A. in English). Before joining DOT, Kari interned for the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Enforcement Section and Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles. Kari also participated in UCLA’s Environmental Law Clinic and worked as a Research Assistant for the UCLA Law Library. Before law school, she worked for one year at a law firm in San Jose, CA.
I knew very little about transportation before joining DOT's Honors Attorney Program but have been thrilled by all the interesting legal issues I’ve had the opportunity to work on during my first year of the Program. As a new attorney at DOT, I enjoyed a great deal of responsibility and ownership over assignments right from the start. In my first year of the Program, I worked at the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Operations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). I have enjoyed working in practice areas including enforcement, environmental law, rulemaking, fiscal law, and privacy law. One of my favorite parts of the Program has been getting to know my fellow Honors Attorneys. They are a great, collegial group of people from all over the United States with diverse backgrounds, career paths, and legal interests – it has been so much fun working with them and exploring Washington, D.C. together. I have also enjoyed our weekly lunches during which we discuss our current positions and hear presentations from guest speakers about job opportunities and practice areas at DOT. I feel so lucky to have started my career at DOT in this amazing program.
Kyle Joseph, a native of Orange, CA, is a graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School Of Law ('14) and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign ('08) (B.A. in Pre-Law, Political Science). Prior to joining DOT's Honors Attorney Program, Kyle worked in the U.S. Senate for Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, handling issues related to foreign policy and defense. During his time at USC Law, Kyle was the Vice Chair of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program and spent summers interning with government offices and volunteering for public interest foundations.
I first heard about DOT's Honors Attorney Program during the on-campus interview process at USC Law. I knew that I wanted to continue my career working with the government on behalf of the public so when I heard about the Program, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. The Program seemed to be a perfect way for me to mesh my background in legislative affairs with my new law degree. To date, I’ve been afforded a number of fantastic opportunities within DOT to do so by rotating through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Due to the unique structure of the Program, I’ve been afforded a diverse experience and exposure to a litany of transportation-related legal issues that I’ve been fortunate to work on. I’ve done everything from draft motions during litigation while participating in settlement negotiations, to prepping top officials for hearings on the Hill, to inspecting airlines and airports across the country. The DOT Honors Attorney Program is one of the best experiences that I could have hoped for as a recent law school graduate. At least once a week I tell myself or someone else that I have one of the best jobs in the world.
Nicole Starman, a native of Florida, is a graduate of Suffolk Law, evening division ('14) and Brandeis University ('10) (B.A. in Sociology). Before joining DOT, Nicole worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and was a paralegal in a civil litigation firm. Nicole enjoys playing soccer and running.
I have been honored to be a part of DOT's Honors Attorney Program and believe it has been the best professional career decision to date. In my first year of the Program, I worked at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Operations. Since Day 1 of the Program, I have been given the responsibility of an attorney, tasked with substantive, high-level, and challenging assignments. One of my favorite parts about being an Honors Attorney has been the ability to attend multiple hearings held on the Hill and to brief DOT's General Counsel on pressing legal issues.
Fatimah Stokley, a native of California, is a graduate of Howard University School of Law (’14) and California State University, Los Angeles (’09) (B.S. in Sociology, Minor in Biology). While in college, Fatimah was a member of the Women’s Basketball team and full-time student athlete. Before joining DOT, Fatimah interned with DOT’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Participating in DOT’s Honors Attorney Program has been a very rewarding experience. During my first year in the Program, I completed rotations at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Office of the General Counsel, Office of General Law, and the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). From the beginning of the Program, I was given a wide variety of high-level assignments and felt like an integral part of the DOT team. For example, during my rotation at NHTSA, I assisted in analyzing information for a national airbag recall and participated in a deposition for a U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board case. Similarly, while at PHMSA, I drafted charging documents for hazardous materials enforcement cases and assisted in preparing senior officials for Congressional hearings.
Michael Tien, a native of Michigan, is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law ('14) and the University of Michigan ('11) (B.A. in Anthropology, Political Science). During law school, Michael served as the Student Bar Association President and Editor-at-Large of the Loyola Law Journal. Michael has interned at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, the American Bar Association, and the Michigan House of Representatives. Michael has also worked on a state-level political campaign, and enjoys running, volleyball, traveling, and baking
DOT's Honors Attorney Program has been one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have had to date. During my first year of the Program, I worked at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Legislation. I quickly became involved in issues of great importance to DOT as well as to the traveling public. For example, at FMCSA, I performed the research and drafted corresponding legal memoranda informing the agency of constitutional concerns that may arise upon issuance of a new safety rule for motor carriers in the United States. Then, at FHWA, I helped prepare Departmental witnesses for congressional hearings. Experiences such as these have allowed me to further hone analytical, writing, and oral communication skills that I developed during law school.
In addition to the fast-paced, challenging, and stimulating legal work assigned to me, I have enjoyed collaborating with and getting to know my fellow Honors Attorneys through field trips, weekly lunches, social events, and special team projects. The feeling of leaving work every day knowing that you made our transportation system a bit safer is both rewarding and humbling. I can think of no better way to have spent my first year as an attorney and I look forward to building a career here at DOT.