From bike mechanic to bar exams: Meet Student Bar Association president Carter Moore

Oct 16, 2023 | Students

by Lindsay Wilcox

Student Bar Association president Carter Moore, a young white man with short brown hair wearing a navy blazer

Law school was never in the plans for 3L and Student Bar Association (SBA) president Carter Moore. In fact, he worked as a bike mechanic, river guide, and journalist before starting at Utah Law in 2021.

“After graduating with my bachelor’s (at USU, go Aggies), I found myself wanting to make a greater impact on issues I cared about, namely natural resources issues in the West. I realized being a natural resources attorney could allow me to use my writing and advocacy skills gained through journalism, while connecting me deeper to the places and communities that have already taught me so much,” Moore recalls. “S.J. Quinney (SJQ) was always my first-choice school, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Moore says his role as SBA president serves as a community builder in the school. While he advocates for the student body and raises issues to administration, he also aims for proactive rather than reactive engagement.

“My team’s focus has been on fostering traditions, creating events, and developing merchandise that best connect students to each other and the broader SJQ family,” Moore says. “A typical day looks like meetings with team members to gather feedback and determine how we can best meet these goals, with plenty of emailing administrators, reaching out to other resources, designing merch, and otherwise preparing for our many events.”

One of these events is the Quinney Open, which Moore is most proud of from his time at Utah Law.

Last year, we resurrected an old tradition, seemingly last held in 2013, to host a two-week ping pong tournament with all students, faculty, and staff. The final was hosted in the first-floor atrium with spectators looking down from every floor and included food, music, and live commentary,” Moore recalls. “The noise and energy from that event was so electric as all the students rallied around a 3L taking on Professor Chris Peterson in the final. That day was when I realized the powerful community building possible through SBA.”

Moore’s favorite part of being SBA president is making connections throughout the school.

I was able to speak to the 1L class on their first day of orientation (hopefully easing some of their anxieties), welcome the Master’s of Legal Studies cohorts, and participate in faculty and trustee meetings, ensuring that the students always take priority in decision-making,” Moore says. “I enjoy being in a problem-solving role and serving as the chief advocate for the current students, so I try to be as accessible as possible.”

As a busy student himself, Moore says the biggest challenge of serving as president is accepting his limits. He’s grateful the SBA team, especially Chief of Staff Grace Sponaugle, is there to help and says that the best part about Utah Law is “the feeling that you are cared for.”

“Even when I had no idea what was happening my first year, I knew I could go to anyone in the building and feel supported, or at least have someone with whom I could vent. I don’t know if that is our relatively small class sizes, the chill attitudes of the West, or just the stellar faculty and students,” Moore says. “Meeting with SBA presidents from across the nation just furthered my opinion that SJQ has something unique.”

Now that he has a few short months left until graduation, Moore is excited to be embarking on a career within natural resources law.

“After graduating and (hopefully) passing the bar, I will be returning to the Natural Resources Division of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, thanks to an amazing fellowship opportunity,” he says. “I love considering the nuances inherent in conservation, development, and protection of resources, while grappling with larger questions of environmental justice, constitutional issues, and our place on this planet. Natural resources law feels existential to me in a way that fosters my passion even more.”

While he doesn’t have much free time, Moore fills his breaks with activities outside.

“I love to bike, trail run, climb, and ski. I just picked up fly-fishing this summer (no, I still haven’t caught anything) and can’t wait to get better,” he says. “When inside, I love to bake and cook over-complicated dishes.”

Learn more about the Student Bar Association.