ALUMNI: Meet Judge Julie V. Lund

Julie V. Lund’s training as a lawyer was a deal.

Bored with her distribution job at Nordstrom, she took the LSAT and surprised herself with a good score. Her husband, John R. Lund, was a third-year student at the University of Utah College of Law when she joined him.

They were in Utah by chance, moving from Colorado so he could study environmental law. He never ended up practicing in that field and neither did Lund, but their decision to go the U still reverberates.

More than three decades after Lund graduated in the class of 1986, she credits her legal education as a crucial part of her life.

After working in private practice, she joined the Child Protection Division of the Utah Attorney General’s office, eventually becoming division chief. She was named Attorney of the Year in 2003, lauded for her tireless work to help reunite families affected by drug abuse.

Today, she is a juvenile court judge in the Third District, appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert in 2010.

Looking back, Lund says her degree was inexpensive—something like $1,000 a semester—compared to what students pay today. And that’s why she donates every year to her annual class fund. Her husband, a litigator with Parsons Behle & Latimer, gives to his class of 1984, too. And they donated during the capital campaign when the new College of Law was being built.

“People in my generation, what we paid for law school was such a bargain for the education that we got, we owe it to the school to help others if we can afford to,” she says. “Luckily, my husband and I can afford to do that.”

Law school affected her personal life, too. She and her classmates started a book club—“We wanted an excuse to read something besides law books,” she says—and it is still going strong.

Lund is glad that students today are being trained in a state-of-the-art law school. The College of Law’s new facility, which opened in 2015, is designed to facilitate hands-on learning, service learning and innovative education. Lund was involved in the decision to rebuild the school when she sat on the law school’s Board of Trustees from 2003 until this year.

The new school “fits more with an up and rising, important school,” she says, explaining why she and her husband donated to the capital campaign. “It is going to attract new students because it’s such an amazing structure.”

Lund started work at the Attorney General’s Office in 1995. She says it was the “perfect job for me,” combining her love for both prosecuting cases and her desire to help children, allowing her to act as a social worker of sorts. “I was basically helping people through my legal education.”

It led to her appointment as a judge, where she enjoys the fast-moving pace and how every day brings new challenges.

She says that her former work as a prosecutor and the decisions she makes as a judge profoundly affects the lives of the people who come before her. She attributes the difference she makes to going to law school. “You can use [a legal education] in so many different ways. It’s such a great education to have.”