By Jamie L. Freedman
The many who came to Washington as Smoots protégés and studied at GW Law include luminaries like David M. Kennedy, BL 35, BA 37, Hon. DL 65, chairman of the board and CEO of Continental Illinois Bank and secretary of the treasury under President Richard M. Nixon; Ernest L. Wilkinson, JD 26, who served as president of Brigham Young University from 1951 to 1971, spearheading its growth into the largest religious university in the United States, and George W. Romney, JD 30, governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, chairman of American Motors Corp. from 1954 to 1962, and secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 until 1973.
If you wanted to go East from Utah to study law, The George Washington University was the place to go, says James A. Holtkamp, JD 75. As the group grew in number, they organized, forming The Utah Legal Club at GW in 1921 with more than 30 members, led by president Vernon Romney, JD 22. The group thrived, holding monthly meetings on campus and stimulating the formation of several other state legal clubs, according to a 1922 issue of GWs student newspaper, The Hatchet. The club remained active through the 1960s.
Many alumni who returned to Utah to practice became ardent supporters of GW Law and of the rich experience of living and studying in the nations capital. The tradition begun by Smoot has contributed substantially to both the development of the legal community in Utah and to GWs growth as an internationally regarded law school. The legacy continues. This May, Brennan Moss, grandson of distinguished GW Law alumnus Frank E. Moss, JD 37, U.S. senator from Utah from 1959 to 1977, will graduate from the Law School, joining hundreds of Utahns who preceded him across the commencement stage. On the pages that follow, we share stories from a few of them.
Left to right: Frank E. Moss, JD 37, U.S. Senator from Utah from 1959 to 1977; Michigan governor from 1963 to 1969, George W. Romney, JD 30, on the November 16, 1962 cover of TIME magazine; Ernest L. Wilkinson, JD 26, who served as president of Brigham Young University from 1951 to 1971; and David M. Kennedy, BL 35, BA 37, Hon. DL 65, Treasury secretary under President Nixon.
James A. Holtkamp, JD 75
Environmental lawyer James A. Holtkamp, JD 75, says that once he decided that he wanted to go to law school, there was little doubt in his mind which school he would choose.
GW is very well known here in the Intermountain West, since so many prominent lawyers in Utah went to GW Law, he says. In addition to GWs special connection to Utah, I actually fell in love with Washington at the age of 15, when I visited the city for the first time for the 1964 National Boy Scout Jamboree. As I ran around in my khaki shorts and red scarf, I dreamed of the day when I could come back and live there. I was just fascinated by the city, as well as by the process of government.
James A. Holtkamp, JD 75
A partner at the Salt Lake City office of Holland & Hart, Holtkamp specializes in environmental law, with an emphasis on climate change and sustainable development. He has actively represented industry and government clients in various environmental, natural resources, and project development issues throughout the western United States. Holtkamp also has worked as an adjunct law professor since 1979, first at Brigham Young University and now at the University of Utah.
Well-versed in the special relationship between GW Law and the people of Utah, he explains, Senator Smoot was determined to bring Utah into the United States politically, culturally, and socially following statehood in 1896, and, immediately after taking office in Washington, he began to encourage young people from Utah to come to the capital to work and study. He helped find them jobs in congressional offices while they studied at GW, and that great tradition of Utahns attending GW has a momentum that continues straight through to the present.
Holtkamp says that hes proud to be part of Smoots legacy. I have a lot of affection for GW Law School, as well as for Washington, he says. I tell prospective law students that they should definitely consider GW, because its an excellent school surrounded by so many outstanding opportunities. Ive always been grateful that I got my start there.
A Family Affair
GW Law is truly a family affair for Thomas A. Quinn, JD 63, and Mary Anne Q. Wood, JD 76. Their grandfather, Carlous Badger, they believe, was the first of Smoots protégés to attend the Law School while serving as the senators secretary on Capitol Hill in 1907 and 1908. He took great pride in the fact that he had the chance to go to law school at GW, says Quinn of his grandfather.
The brother and sister each decided for their own unique reasons to follow in his footsteps.
I started law school at a time when borrowing money for your education was rather rare, which meant that I had to work days while attending law school at night, says Quinn, who worked as a contract negotiator with the Office of Naval Research and, later, with the Bureau of Weapons, while attending GW Law. It was absolutely invaluable to have the opportunity to attend a reputable law school at night while working days, and I feel very indebted to GW for making it possible.
Quinn practiced law for more than two decades in Washington, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City before founding Far West Capital Inc. in 1983. He serves as vice president and general counsel of the company, which has developed and oversees the operation of four geothermal power plants and nine limited service hotels.
Wood was drawn to GW Law for very different reasons. As a young mother of two, the Utahn moved to Washington with her family when her husband, Stephen, landed a job at a D.C. law firm. Already enrolled in the law program at the University of Utah, Wood transferred to GW Law to complete her degree. Graduating first in her class, she says she was absolutely overwhelmed by the faculty at GW. They were superb back then, and I know that theyre even better now, she says. Even though there were 350 students in my graduating class, a lot of faculty members took a personal interest in me, and that still stands out in my mind today.
A highly respected attorney, Wood founded her own law firm, Wood Crapo LLC, in 1990, specializing in commercial litigation and employment law. Weve managed to maintain a Fortune 500 practice in a small setting, she says, noting that she opened her practice in the same downtown Salt Lake City building where her grandfather had started his firm 90 years earlier. Weve handled everything from an important Clean Air Act case in the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals to trademark and copyright infringement.
The mother of five says that she strives to make the workplace as flexible and user friendly as possible for working moms. We have women on our staff who telecommute, work part time, and even bring their babies into the office, she says. Wherever Ive worked, Ive tried to increase womens opportunities in the legal profession and to create an environment where women can progress professionally while integrating home and family responsibilities with work. Theres an immense amount of talent that can be tapped.
Earlier in her career, Wood served for two decades as a law professor at Brigham Young University, publishing numerous books and articles, including the first casebook in the field of employment law. An active community member, she served for 12 years on the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Civil Procedure and is currently a member of the board of directors of Beneficial Life Insurance Co.
Shes pleased to be a link in the century-long chain connecting GW Law and the people of Utah. The relationship has opened up professional opportunities for lots of young men and women from Utah and broadened many prospective lawyers horizons, she says. Theres definitely a great deal of loyalty there, and Im proud that my grandfather was the first of the Utah boys to make the journey to GW Law.
An Alumnus of Olympic Stature
Francis H. Suitter, JD 67, with his wife, Renee, in Budapest, Hungary
As the eyes of the world collectively focused on Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Francis H. Suitter, JD 67, was much more than just a local face in the crowd. The founder and president of Suitter Axland in Salt Lake City served two terms as a member of the Utah Sports Authority, charged with locating sites for, constructing, and maintaining athletic facilities for the 2002 Games.
Long before he stepped onto the world Olympic stage, Suitter was a very visible presence in community, state, and national affairs in his native Utah. He chaired the Utah State Republican Party during the 1996 presidential election and currently serves as the Utah State Finance Chairman for Bush-Cheney 04. Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt appointed him chairman of the Judicial Nominating Commission of the Third Judicial District Court, as well as co-chairman of the No! Coalition, formed to stop the storage of high-level nuclear waste in Utah.
Suitters love for politics was one of the chief reasons he chose GW Law. I was aware that Ernest Wilkinson and other prominent Utahns had attended the law school, but my main motivation for choosing GW was the attraction of attending law school right in the heart of the seat of government, says Suitter, who worked days as a financial analyst for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission while attending classes at night. It was an opportunity that wouldnt occur anywhere else, and I found it very exciting.
After earning his juris doctor degree with honors from GW Law, Suitter returned to Utah and associated with a Salt Lake City firm before founding Suitter Axland in 1975. He serves as president and managing director of the 20-attorney firm, where he specializes in government, corporate, business, and banking law.
Suitter says that he thoroughly enjoyed his GW experience and values the myriad opportunities that it offered him. Its an outstanding law school that provides people from the western states with some diversity and a different point of view, he says. My GW Law degree has definitely been a big help in my career.
A True Maverick
Brad Call, JD 93, general counsel and vice president of Maverik Stores
If youve ever driven through Utah, chances are good that you filled up your tank or bought a snack at a Maverik Store. The largest independent marketer of gasoline and convenience products in the Intermountain West, Maverik operates 170 convenience stores in seven western states. Brad Call, JD 93, serves as general counsel and vice president of the family-owned and operated company, founded in 1928 by his grandfather, Reuel T. Call.
I wear a number of different hats, says Call, who is vice president of marketing, human resources, and public relations for Maverik, as well as the companys legal adviser. Although he knew there was a good chance that hed ultimately make his career at Maverik, he was attracted to GW Law by his passion for politics. He got right into the spirit of things, serving as president of GW Republican Student Lawyers for a year. Call also was motivated by the rich tradition between the Law School and the people of Utah. For many years, GW Law was referred to as Brigham Young University of the east, since Brigham Young didnt offer a law school until the 1970s, he says. But beyond that, I knew I wanted to be a lobbyist and loved the fact that GW is located in the heart of the political world.
Calls dream was quickly realized, when, as a law student, he landed an internship as a lobbyist at the Fluor Corp., the largest engineering and construction company in the world, which turned into a full-time job. I worked in the companys Washington office for four years and, after graduation, spent some time in their Irvine, Calif., corporate legal office, he says.
Call returned to Washington from 1995 to 1998 to work on a Fluor Corp. project to bring high speed rail to Florida, based on French TGV technology. The trains would have resembled a ground-based airline, operating at 200 miles per hour, and would have significantly alleviated airport congestion in the state, says Call, whose team successfully secured a $1 billion loan from the federal government for the project. We had a great deal of support, but the project was ultimately killed by the newly elected governor.
Soon after, Calls father announced his retirement from Maverik and asked his son to return to the family business. Calls first order of business was retooling the companys corporate image and marketing strategy to broaden Maveriks appeal. Part of the problem with the convenience store industry is that its very generic, so we implemented a fun adventure theme to distinguish ourselves from the crowd, explains Call. We run adventure TV ads, have adventure murals in all our stores, and our tanker trucks sport jeeps and wave runners.
Call estimates that he devotes 25 percent of his time to company legal matters, primarily contract law and issues involving Maveriks 2,500 employees. He thanks GW Law for helping lay the foundation for his successful career. GW lived up to all my expectations, he says. Its a terrific school with a great reputation, and I hold my professors and colleagues there in the highest regard. It was just a great experience all around.
And The List Goes On
Salt Lake City Mayor Ross Rocky Anderson, JD 78
The great tradition begun by Reed Smoot continues to link prominent Utahns across the generations. One current luminary is Salt Lake City Mayor Ross C. Rocky Anderson, JD 78, who was recently re-elected to a second four-year term (see article on Anderson in the April 2002 issue of GW Law School magazine). A longtime civil litigation attorney in Salt Lake City, Anderson skillfully steered the city through the 2002 Winter Olympics and is now focusing his attention on urban revitalization, fighting suburban sprawl, and reforming drug policies.
Other well-known Utah alumni include Howard L. Edwards, JD 59, who served in lead positions at Atlantic Richfield Co. for nearly three decades; Tom Welch, JD 72, president of the Salt Lake City Bid Committee for the Olympic Winter Games, and numerous judges and politicians.
Many distinguished GW Law alumni from Utah have sadly passed on, but their great accomplishments continue to shine brightly. One example is George W. Romney, JD 30, whose illustrious career included serving three terms as governor of Michigan in the 1960s and as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As chairman of American Motors Corp. from 1954 to 1962, Romney played a key role in bringing the compact economy car to the U.S. public. His son Mitt Romney is the current governor of Massachusetts.
Another prominent alumnus was U.S. Sen. Frank E. Moss, JD 37. During his 18 years of service in the U.S. Senate (1959-1976), Moss gained national attention for his work on environmental, consumer, and health care issues. A member of the Interior committee for many years, he was a powerful figure in the areas of water reclamation, energy use and conservation, and national parks, working to secure additional national parks for Utah. Moss also initiated important investigations into the care of the elderly in nursing homes, and into Medicare-Medicaid fraud. He was perhaps most famous for sponsoring a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television and requiring improved labeling on cigarette packages about the health hazards of smoking.
Utah-born David M. Kennedy, MA 35, LLD 37, Hon. DL 65, enjoyed a stellar career, serving as secretary of the Treasury under President M. Richard Nixon and chairman of the board and CEO of Continental Illinois Bank. Kennedy served on numerous advisory panels under both Democratic and Republican administrations and was a long-time member of the staff of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Two prominent brothers included among this prestigious group were Brigham Young University President Ernest L. Wilkinson, JD 26, and Glen A. Wilkinson, JD 38, a prominent Washington law practitioner who chaired GWs board of trustees. Ernest Wilkinson, who graduated at the head of his GW Law class, headed Brigham Young for two decades (1951-1971), spearheading its growth into the largest religious university in the United States. Earlier in his career, he founded his own law firm in Washington, which gained fame for its work representing the Ute Indians.
The list goes on and on, very much like the special relationship between GW Law and the people of Utah.
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