Law graduates embark on diverse career tracks

Do law school graduates automatically become attorneys? That’s the assumption of many, but a law degree can lead a graduate to many places that are far outside the courtroom.

A lot can be said about the character and identity of University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law alumni. Many graduates take the path to become general counsel of a multi-national corporation, a senior partner in an international law firms, an elected official or a judge. Dozens of others seek out opportunities to become prosecutors, defense attorneys, small firm owners, solo practitioners and public service attorneys. And there are many law graduates who forge career paths separate from traditional legal occupations altogether, applying their law school skill set to other industries.

“It is easy to see the impact S.J. Quinney College of Law graduates have on our communities. That impact isn’t limited to Utah as it extends far beyond Utah’s borders as our alumni settle in other parts of the country and world,” said Lori Nelson, director of alumni relations at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. Examples of law school graduates with international work experience include Steve Rodgers, ’92, general counsel for Intel and George Petrow, ’79, Sidley Austin’s Global Finance practice co-leader, who is based on London and has an international practice.

“U of U law graduates are having an impact for good all over. The education obtained at the U is unique in providing a small environment with rigorous intellectual instruction and extensive hands-on clinic opportunities,” said Nelson. “The benefits of the education cannot be overstated for the attorneys who graduate from this institution. But those individual benefits pale in comparison to the greater good being practiced by U law graduates every day as they go about the business of being some of the finest attorneys in the world,” Nelson added.

The “average” law graduate, in short, is anything but average, Nelson said. Here’s a look at the career tracks of several S.J. Quinney College of Law graduates:

RichesWaine Riches
Riches, ’83, worked tirelessly to create a free clinic for self-represented litigants at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City. After the first five years of operation, Riches estimated that he helped approximately 8,000 people a year. Riches was working full-time at Utah Legal Services when he created the free clinic and in addition to his full-time job, Riches also worked an additional 30 hours a week at the clinic.


maycockEllen Maycock
Maycock, ’75, was one of the first 100 female attorneys sworn into the Utah State Bar. She has created an enviable family law practice, dealing with clients who find themselves in one of the worst situations of their lives. Maycock’s selfless acts in helping people through complex and emotionally charged legal matters has changed and bettered the lives of hundreds of Utahns. Added to her work with individual litigants, Maycock has mentored and served as an example to hundreds of attorneys in Utah, including mentoring women on how to succeed in law with professionalism, grace and true legal skill.


DriggsMatt Driggs
Driggs, ’92, a personal injury attorney, launched a law firm right after graduation. Helping those injured in accidents find ways to remain happy, productive members of society has been Driggs’ life goal. But Driggs’ activities don’t stop there. Driggs has created a firm that is heavily engaged in community activities, ensuring his business gives back to people in need during difficult times, such as holidays.


kendallKate Kendell
Kendall, ’88, has dedicated her life to ensuring equality in the law for all individuals. She has spent the better part of her career working to establish and safeguard rights for those in LGBTQ community and currently leads the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Kendall determined early in her career to help those whose rights were at risk or not defined to protect those individuals’ legal rights to live in a free society.


barrosLauren Barros
Barros, ’93, has created a niche sub-practice, complimenting her family law practice, by helping those involved in surrogacy cases. Surrogacy law is complicated and inconsistent, not only nationally but internationally. Barros, and other like her who work in the Assisted Reproductive Technology arena, find their reward when a family can bring a new child into their home.


bugdenWally Bugden
Bugden, ’77, has spent his entire career trying over 225 jury trials, helping defendants in criminal cases ensure they are given a fair trial. Bugden’s efforts in protecting the constitutional rights of defendants and ensuring the “state” does its job in proving guilt, has protected many people from receiving an unfair verdict. Bugden’s efforts don’t stop there. Bugden has participated in the law school’s trial practice program for years, ensuring new graduates have a good foundation in trial practice with a thorough knowledge of evidentiary requirements.


kudiyaNajeeb Kudiya
Kudiya, ’06, works in Silicon Valley at iPass, a company which provides easy to access internet hot-spots for everyone. Kudiya has worked his way up to the position of senior corporate counsel after having worked at Google and eBay, using the startup skills he learned in law school and gaining expertise in advising startup companies in forming and operating their businesses.


beyClaire Bey
Bey, ‘02, has devoted her career to philanthropy. As Bey states, “Philanthropy means ‘love of humanity’” and allows her to “see the best in people every day.” Bey is the vice president of advancement at Family Services of Greater Houston. A quick look at Bey’s work history shows that her devotion to helping others has been the mainstay of her career, including working at Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Ethics and the Working Family Resource Center.


millsCarol Keating Mills
Mills, ’92, is a staff attorney in the United States Federal Court Bankruptcy Courts. Mills started out clerking for a trial judge before moving to private practice, and later, to her current position. She teaches continuing legal education in the area of bankruptcy, but she has been a permanent law clerk for most of her career. Mills has a comprehensive understanding of federal bankruptcy law and is frequently sought after as a speaker.


ralphsStewart Ralphs
Ralphs, ’90, has made a career in public interest law, serving first as a staff attorney and then director of Legal Aid Society of Utah since 1991. Ralphs was the director of the Domestic Violence Program beginning in 1992 and then was appointed Director in 1994. Not only has Ralphs served tirelessly at Legal Aid, he is extensively involved in public policy issues and is the legislative representative for the Utah State Bar Family Law Section.