Two-time alumna named one of four U.S. Supreme Court Fellows - The University of Tulsa
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Two-time alumna named one of four U.S. Supreme Court Fellows

Hope Forsyth

The Supreme Court Fellows Commission has announced the appointment of University of Tulsa alumna Hope Forsyth (B.A. ’15, J.D. ’18) as one of four 2024-25 U.S. Supreme Court Fellows.

Forsyth begins this prestigious, nonpartisan, and extraordinarily selective yearlong term in September. She will have an unparalleled opportunity to observe and participate in the work of the federal judiciary at the highest level.

“We are incredibly proud of Hope and the hard work she has expended to attain this fellowship,” said UTulsa President Brad R. Carson. “The University of Tulsa offers a unique amalgam of liberal arts, experiential learning, global exposure, and civic engagement necessary to shape future leaders. Access to world-class professors and a 9:1 student-faculty ratio give our students an edge when vying for such competitive awards.”

Forsyth received her undergraduate degree in communication and media studies in Kendall College of Arts & Sciences in 2015 then went on to the College of Law, where she was honored as valedictorian three years later.

Forsyth, who grew up in Cushing, Oklahoma, has built expertise in communication and conflict since joining The University of Tulsa as a first-year student in fall 2011. In her media studies courses, she combined analytic rigor and critical thinking to build out a powerful worldview around mediation, media, and modern society. As an Honors student, she immersed herself in the great texts, examining Socratic dialogue with the foundation of civilizations, ethics, and jurisprudence. Upon graduation, she returned to UTulsa for law school, where she served as executive editor of the Tulsa Law Review and interned at three levels of the federal court system.

Forsyth credits many of her successes to her education in Tulsa. “At The University of Tulsa, I learned from internationally acclaimed and experienced professors who were unpretentious, dedicated, and energetic,” she said. “I formed mentorship relationships that continue to this day, was challenged to approach a variety of topics with curiosity and persistence, and benefitted from broad opportunities in an intimate setting. I’m truly grateful for the investment the university and its people have made in me, and I look forward to giving back as I continue through my life’s chapters.”

Forsyth has worked in private practice as a commercial litigation attorney as well as in public service as a law clerk for a federal judge. While clerking, her undergraduate foundations in communication theory led her to earn an advanced law degree in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University. “In the legal profession, I have the satisfaction of connecting abstract and concrete, the opportunity to work with people who believe in something bigger than themselves, and the honor of furthering justice and mercy,” she said.

“Hope will be an outstanding U.S. Supreme Court Fellow,” said Professor of Law Lyn Entzeroth, who served as dean of The University of Tulsa’s College of Law from 2015 to 2021. “As a student, Hope thrived in the small, intellectual law school environment where she worked closely with several faculty who recognized her keen intellect and helped guide her as a student and as an attorney. I feel fortunate to have been able to know and support Hope during her time as a law student and have enjoyed staying connected with her since her graduation. I am certain she will thrive as a Supreme Court Fellow, and I am thrilled for her.”

The other three 2024-25 Supreme Court Fellows are Elizabeth C. Adler, B.A. and J.D., University of Virginia; Joshua D. Blecher-Cohen, A.B. Harvard College, M.St. University of Oxford, and J.D. Yale Law School; and Samantha C. Smith, B.A. and J.D., Vanderbilt University.

Combining a classical curriculum homeschool education before college, a broad foundation in the liberal arts and legal matters, and an exemplary record in corporate legal firms and court systems, Forsyth has honed her expertise in public communication and conflict resolution.

In a chapter of “Digital Keywords,” published by Princeton University Press and edited by UTulsa’s Hazel Rogers Associate Professor of Media Studies, Benjamin Peters, Forsyth shows how 2,000 years of “history, legislation, applications, and context converge in the keyword ‘forum.’” She argues for an understanding of the public as a forum, or a “spatially grounded, physically embodied place of action, gathering, and societal interaction.”

“Ms. Forsyth is simply the perfect choice for this fellowship. She not only has the obvious capacity and expertise to lead public thought around contested topics, she has a long track record of having already done so,” Peters said. “As an undergraduate, for example, she helped organize and build an international workshop on campus that eventually became ‘Digital Keywords.’ A community builder and mediator par excellence, she practices what she preaches.”

Forsyth’s community building is evident in the flourishing growth of the Northern/Eastern Oklahoma chapter of the Federal Bar Association, which she helped revitalize in 2020. The chapter quickly grew in breadth and depth, winning FBA Presidential Achievement Awards in 2021, 2022, and 2023 and substantially increasing membership by providing top-tier continuing legal education opportunities and networking events for judges, practitioners, and students, as well as community outreach events centered on civics education and civil discourse. Forsyth served as president of the chapter in 2022-23.

Her subsequent publications also advance understanding of contested public spaces. For example, “Mutually Assured Protection: Dmitri Shostakovich and Russian Influence on American Copyright Law,” her comment selected for publication in the Tulsa Law Review, focuses on “the personalities, power struggles, and stories at the heart of cases and controversies involving the work product of human creativity.”

The COVID-19 pandemic offered a potent example of contested publics in physical spaces, which she examined in “The Whole Country Has Been Sick: Orderly Administration of Justice During the Pandemic,” a publication summarizing the federal judiciary’s response to the pandemic through meticulous research and candid interviews with judges across the country. Her newest work, which she describes as examining constitutional paradoxes involved in publishing private letters following their author’s death, received a Sponsored Scholarship Grant from The Honorable Nancy F. Atlas Intellectual Property American Inn of Court and the University of Houston Law Center’s Institute for Intellectual Property and Information Law.

Forsyth will be honored with the College of Law Outstanding Junior Alumna Award on July 10 at the Oklahoma Bar Association Annual Meeting in Norman, Oklahoma.