College of Law outstanding graduate will serve as U.S. District Court clerk

College of Law student Kaleb Byars has been selected as the outstanding graduate of the class of 2021.

During an event at the college last week, Interim Dean Doug Blaze praised Byars for his accomplishments throughout his three years of law school.

“Kaleb has distinguished himself not only through his exceptional academic performance, but also through his outstanding leadership and service,” Blaze said.

Byars, a first-generation college student from Rives, Tennessee, attended the University of Tennessee at Martin to earn his undergraduate degree in economics and finance. At the College of Law, Byars earned the top GPA and received recognition for his exceptional academic work throughout his three years. 

He also excelled during the College of Law Advocate’s Prize intramural moot court competition earning recognition as the best oralist and a member of the best team. Byars served as editor-in-chief of the Tennessee Law Review and as a staff editor for Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law.

Byars said the experiences he’s had as a law student have been remarkable and have exposed him to new and diverse points of view.

“I specifically enjoyed arguing the final round of the Advocate’s Prize Competition,” he said. “Arguing in front of federal appellate judges is an extreme privilege for any law student.

“The practical skills I learned during moot court competitions and in the advocacy concentration will follow me throughout my career,” he said.

Outside the College of Law, Byars has been a legal extern with the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, a judicial extern for former Judge Pamela L. Reeves of the Eastern District of Tennessee and a judicial intern for U.S. Magistrate Judges H. Bruce Guyton and Debra C. Poplin.

Byars will begin work in August as a judicial clerk for Judge Thomas A. Varlan of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He also has secured a second judicial clerk position that will begin in August 2022 for Judge Ralph R. Erickson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.