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Published November 22, 2021
By Chavawn Kelley
Jacob Vogt of Libertyville, Ill, and Celyn Whitt of Broomfield, Colo., have been named the University of Wyoming College of Law’s 2021-2022 Brimmer Scholars.
Established in 2011, the Brimmer Scholarship honors the career and service of Judge Clarence A. Brimmer. Brimmer practiced law in Rawlins before serving as Wyoming Attorney General from 1971 to 1974 and as U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming in 1975. He was nominated by President Gerald Ford to the U.S. District Court Bench for the District of Wyoming in 1975. He served as Chief Judge from 1986 to 1992 and stepped into senior status in 2006. He continued serving until his death in 2014.
Vogt and Whitt join the ranks of 13 other Brimmer Scholars who have held the distinction in the past ten years. (See past Brimmer Scholars HERE.) The Brimmer Scholarship is meant to ensure that Judge Brimmer’s legacy serves as an inspiration to up-and-coming generations of legal professionals. The title of Brimmer Scholar comes with an expectation that the recipient will make a lasting commitment to excellence and service throughout the remainder of their legal education and career.
In addition to Vogt and Whitt, scholarship finalists were Erick Hughes of Mankato, Minn., Joseph Layzell of Bloomington, Ill, Briana Long of Gillette and Krystle Somers of Iola, Wis. All interviewed in person with the Brimmer Scholarship Selection Committee, which included representatives from the College of Law faculty, the judiciary, and the Wyoming Bar, former clerks of Judge Brimmer and members of the Brimmer family.
Vogt is the 2021-2022 editor-in-chief of the Wyoming Law Review. Vogt is editing a special issue commemorating the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, which will be celebrated with an anniversary symposium in Cody on May 19-20, 2022, in collaboration with UW’s Haub School.
Vogt also serves as vice president of an organization he co-founded at UW, called Beyond the Law. The group has hosted more than a half dozen speakers and events based on the premise that a law education is an asset in virtually any field or profession. As a 2020 summer associate at Hirst Applegate LLP in Cheyenne, Vogt researched and analyzed legal issues, gained experience with civil law and assisted in the publication of the Wyoming Chapter of Product Liability Desk Reference 2020.
After law school, Vogt will clerk for Chief Justice Kate Fox at the Wyoming Supreme Court for a year then move to Hirst Applegate LLP as an associate.
Whitt’s commitment to the legal profession began long before law school, when her cousin was killed by a drunk driver. She says this tragic event guided her to her calling in life – becoming a lawyer. Today, Whitt volunteers as a mentor in a pipeline program called “Law School…Yes We Can!” The program was pioneered by Justice Christine Arguello, US District Court of Colorado, to provide diverse students with legal mentors.
During the summer of 2020, Whitt served as a law clerk for Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLC, a law firm of more than 100 trial lawyers and litigators in Denver. There, she gained a first-hand introduction to high-stakes civil trials, appeals, pre-trial litigation motions and oral arguments, hearings and more. She accepted an offer with the firm to start after graduation.
During law school, Whitt externed for the Colorado Court of Appeals and UW’s NCAA compliance director. As student representative to the American Bar Association, she was named the national Representative of the Year in 2020. She also serves on the editorial staff of the Wyoming Law Review and mentors first- and second-year students at the College of Law. She and two other students were recognized during the 2021 Summer Trial Institute with the Judge James Barrett Excellence in Trial Skills Award.