David J. Feder

2018 Temple Bar Scholar Report

The Temple Bar Scholarship was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’d consider myself lucky if I was able to see the things and meet the people I did during the program in an entire career—let alone a single month.

The first week of the program was jam-packed with events, from attending the opening of the legal year at Westminster Abbey, to visiting Temple Church, and getting a tour of all 4 of the Inns of Court.

The next two weeks were spent shadowing barristers in various chambers. During these weeks, I got to see what life was like in barrister’s chambers and watch all sorts of court proceedings.

But it was the last week at the U.K. Supreme Court that was undoubtedly the highlight of the program. I was lucky enough to shadow Lord Reed and he treated me exactly like one of his judicial assistants—debating the merits of cases set to be heard that week, working on draft opinions, and discussing which cases the court should hear.

When I wasn’t busy with the program, I greatly enjoyed taking in the wide variety of sights and attractions that London has to offer. Perhaps no other city blends the ancient and modern as well as London. You can be visiting a castle built almost 1,000 years ago one moment and the next admiring the latest in modern art. 

Without a doubt, I took back to the United States much that I learned from my time in the U.K. Watching how the U.K. legal system has developed differently than ours has given me a new perspective on our own legal system. And having discussions with U.K. lawyers and judges has deepened my understanding of issues, like access to justice issues that both our legal systems face.

Thank you to the American Inns of Court for this amazing opportunity.

David J. Feder is a law clerk to Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch of the Supreme Court of the United States; he also clerked for Gorsuch when he was on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He previously served as an associate with the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. Feder received his JD summa cum laude from Harvard Law School, as well as the Fay Diploma for graduating first in his class. He served as articles editor of the Harvard Law Review, and as editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review. After graduating, he returned to Cambridge to complete the Olin-Searle Part-Time Fellowship, where he researched constitutional and administrative veil-of-ignorance rules. A graduate of California Polytechnic State University, Feder earned his bachelor of arts degree in communication studies. He received the Communication Studies Department Community Service Award and was named Outstanding Student in Organizational Communication.