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Published October 19, 2020
The University of Wyoming College of Law is pleased to recognize this year’s Brimmer Scholars, Brittney Bulawa of Parker, Colo., and Brenna Fisher of Manassas, Va.
Established in 2011, the Brimmer Scholarship is the largest and most prestigious scholarship offered by the College of Law. It is named to honor the long and distinguished service of Judge Clarence A. Brimmer, and to ensure that his renowned career serves as an inspiration to up-and-coming generations of legal professionals.
2020 marks the tenth year of the Brimmer Scholarship Program and Bulawa and Fisher join the ranks of an impressive list of recipients (see past recipients here).
Along with the title of Brimmer Scholar, there is a responsibility of the recipient to make a lasting commitment to excellence and service throughout the remainder of their legal education and career. It is an incredible honor to be selected as a Brimmer Scholar, let alone a finalist.
The Brimmer Scholar is selected from a pool of finalists who interview before the Brimmer Scholarship Selection Committee. The Committee consists of representatives from the judiciary, the bar, the College of Law faculty, former clerks of Judge Brimmer, and members of the Brimmer family. Under rather unusual circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s finalists underwent the intense interview process with the Brimmer Scholarship Selection Committee over zoom.
This year not only presented an uncommonly dynamic and remarkable selection of accomplished students, it was also the first time that the finalist pool was entirely comprised of women. In years when the finalist pool is particularly strong, the Committee will often select two recipients.
In addition to Bulawa and Fisher, finalists included Haley Richards of Laramie, Wyo., TaLise Hansen of Granby, Colo., Jewel Marsh of Joseph, Utah, and Emily Sloan of Aurora, Colo.
Bulawa’s path through law school has been less traditional. She earned her duel bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Spanish, graduating Magna Cum Laude in both areas in 2017. Prior to her admission to law school, she worked for several nonprofits and came with the intention of practicing law in the public interest sector. While in law school, however, she has taken advantage of all that law school has afforded her, trying to gain as much experience as possible over a diverse range of topics.
In addition to her studies, Bulawa has been involved in a myriad of student opportunities and often took on the leadership role for those organizations. She has been a member of the Women’s Law Forum, the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association Student Chapter, the Spence Law Firm Historic Trial, the Natural Resources Law Club, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity where she served as the Pro Bono Coordinator, the Equal Justice Wyoming Student Chapter where she served as President, and the Wyoming Society for International Law where she served as Secretary. She has also run the bookstore for the Potter Law Club over the past year.
Her involvement in the law school doesn’t stop at student organizations. She has also sharpened her legal practice skills through student competitions as well as through important work experience. She competed in both the ABA Energy Negotiations Competition, as well as the Richard E. Day Client Counseling Competition, and won. She went on to represent the College of Law at the regional Client Counseling Competition in Portland, Ore. She has also worked in both the Defender Aid Clinic and the Family and Child Legal Advocacy Clinic, excelling in both civil and criminal areas of the law.
Bulawa broadened her educational net even further by gaining experience in both private practice, as well as within the walls of a judicial chamber. She spent a summer working as an associate at the Denver law firm Ritsema & Lyon, P.C. where she worked on cases ranging from immigration issues to workers’ compensation rights. She also clerked for the Honorable Robert A. Castor (B.S. ’71; J.D. ’75) in the Wyoming Circuit Court for the Second Judicial District.
One might look at Bulawa and wonder how a person could accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, but Bulawa has proven that not only can it done, it can be done exceedingly well. Her fearlessness in stepping outside her comfort zone and her passion for success has molded her into a well-rounded and highly skilled individual.
With a cheery disposition, Bulawa has persevered and strived for excellence in all of her endeavors and is on track to graduate early in December. Following graduation, Bulawa will join the ranks of the District Attorney’s Office in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I am so honored to be awarded the Brimmer Scholarship,” she says. “Judge Brimmer has made a lasting impact on the Wyoming legal community for his sense of fairness and service, and I hope to follow in his footsteps as a young lawyer.”
“Thank you to the Brimmer family and all of the panelists who gave me the opportunity to interview. It was a privilege to interview with such distinguished panelists, and be considered in a group of incredible female colleagues. This scholarship is truly life changing for me and I look forward to making the College of Law proud with my legal career.”
Brenna Fisher has forged her own path of excellence. Fueled by a healthy dose of competition and a desire to prove herself, Fisher has gone above and beyond in ever aspect of her life. Not only has she continually achieved success, she has done so with grace and humility.
A 2018 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Fisher earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Criminology and Sociology, Magna Cum Laude. She also minored in Military Studies, which led her to join the United States Army Reserves, where she is currently a First Lieutenant.
While in law school, Fisher has shined in both her academics and her involvement. She has been involved in the Equal Justice Wyoming Student Chapter, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, the Women’s Law Forum, and College of Law Mentor Program. She has competed in the Robert Rose Voir Dire Competition, the ABA Negotiations Competition, and the Richard E. Day Client Counseling Competition.
A gifted writer, Fisher is a member of the Wyoming Law Review editorial board, serving as an Article Editor. She has even published her own comment in the fall 2019 edition of the publication, a piece entitled “Losing Control: The Effect of Wyoming’s Communicable Disease Laws on Human Trafficking Victims,” (20 Wyo. L. Rev. 67 (2019).
She has also diligently worked to gain valuable legal experience. She has clerked for the Honorable Tori R. A. Kricken (B.S. ’96; J.D. ’00) in the District Court for the Second Judicial District of Wyoming, and served as an extern for the Honorable Gregory A. Phillips (B.S. ’83; J.D. ’87) in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She spent a summer working at the respected law firm Holland and Hart, and she has employed her research abilities for both Professor Melissa Alexander at the College of Law, as well as Professor Lauren McLane.
Fisher’s perseverance for improving her own life is rivaled only by her drive to help improve the lives of others. She is a huge proponent of service and volunteer work. She has volunteered with the College of Law Defender Aid Clinic, and currently volunteers with the VITA Income Tax Filing Program and the Albany County SAFE Project. Additionally, she shared her desire to help with other law students, co-founding the Wyoming Law Service Organization. The student-run program arranges volunteer opportunities specifically for law students to give back to the Laramie community.
Following graduation in the spring, Fisher will be clerking for the Honorable Scott Skavdahl (B.S. ’89; J.D. ’92), Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, and subsequently will return to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals where she will clerk for the Honorable Gregory A. Phillips.
“Being selected as a Brimmer Scholar is a tremendous honor, especially because all of the finalists were such amazing candidates,” comments Fisher. “The program is just another example of all the amazing opportunities for students at the University of Wyoming College of Law. I am so thankful for my experience at the school and for the opportunity to carry on Judge Brimmer’s incredible legacy.”