This week, PDO concludes its focus on alums who work in higher education as administrators and professors with a spotlight on Troy Booher, SJQ 2002. Troy has been an adjunct professor at the law school, and recently took a position as Clinical Associate Professor of Law. He also works as a lawyer at Snell & Wilmer, but in August will start an appellate law firm with two partners.
1. Where are you from and why did you go to law school? I grew up in Holyoke, Colorado, a tiny town in the northeastern corner of the state. I moved to Utah for graduate school in the philosophy department at the U and eventually ended up going to law school at the U as well. I went to law school only to make myself more attractive in the philosophy academic job market. I never intended to practice law, but ended up loving it, so here I am.
2. What kinds of activities did you do in law school? My first summer, I participated in the Judicial Clinic, interning for then-Judge Pamela Greenwood at the Utah Court of Appeals. My second summer, I worked as a law clerk at Snell & Wilmer. I did not work during law school except in the summers. During law school, I joined a few organizations, but I was not too active in any of them. I was on the Utah Law Review my second and third years of law school. My experience on the journal was very helpful in becoming a better writer, and especially an editor of my own work. I also participated in moot court competitions, and enjoyed that experience very much in my final two years of law school. Trial advocacy was a helpful class to get a taste of the practice of law.
3. What are you doing now? How did you first make contact with your employer? I am in the process of starting a new law firm that will focus primarily on appeals. The firm’s name is Zimmerman Jones Booher LLC. My partners will be Michael Zimmerman, former Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and Linda Jones, who has been an appellate lawyer at Salt Lake Legal Defenders for more than 15 years. Before that, I was an appellate lawyer at Snell & Wilmer for 8 years. Snell & Wilmer offered me that job when my summer clerkship ended after my second year of law school. After law school, I was a judicial clerk for then-Judge Judith Billings at the Utah Court of Appeals.
For my job at the law school, I became Clinical Associate Professor of Law in 2011, after having taught as an Adjunct Professor for 5 years. I first became an Adjunct Professor when I agreed to start an appellate practice clinic for law students, which I have supervised ever since. For the next 2 years, I will teach a course in Appellate Practice, coordinate the Traynor Moot Court Program, and supervise the Appellate Practice Clinic.
4. How did you get this job? What kinds of things gave you an edge? I got the job at Snell & Wilmer primarily by doing good work during my summer clerkship. Summer clerkships should be viewed as extended job interviews, even more so now, where employers determine whether you can do good work and will be a good fit in the office on a personal level. Grades and personality were the primary factors leading to my being offered a clerkship at Snell. Once I was there during the summer, I had to do good work and fit into the office culture.
I got my current job at Zimmerman Jones Booher LLC by starting the law firm.
With regard to my job as a clinical associate law professor, it did not hurt to finish (finally) my dissertation to complete my Ph.D in Philosophy and graduate last December. To become an adjunct professor, agreeing to start a new appellate clinic helped to get my foot in the door. I also had academic teaching experience in the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science. Publishing a few articles and co-authoring a book along they way likely did not hurt either.
5. What tips do you have for students and alums who are job seeking? Treat law school like a job and do as well as you can. Build relationships every chance you get—including with fellow students. Treat staff with respect at the law school and anywhere you work. You never know who can help you.