Honoring a beloved professor

A new endowed scholarship recently announced at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law is designed to pay tribute to longtime professor Jim Holbrook through providing assistance to law students who have a passion for pursuing law careers.

The James R. Holbrook Scholarship was unveiled at the 2017 commencement ceremony. Preference in awarding the scholarship will be given to students who have served or are currently serving in any branch of the United States military, single parents, or first generation college students. 

To establish an endowed scholarship, the university requires a minimum contribution of $25,000 and donations quickly exceeded that amount as the scholarship was being developed, said Kevin Carrillo, director of development.  Currently, contributions and pledges total $88,000.

The new scholarship will generate a $3,500 student scholarship annually through perpetuity, but additional contributions will increase the amount available each year. (For more information on giving to the College of Law, visit www.law.utah.edu/give ).

The new scholarship is a fitting tribute to a man who has influenced many people during his tenure at the law school.

Holbrook received a bachelor’s degree in 1966 from Grinnell College where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Honorary Fellowship. In 1968, he received a master’s degree from Indiana University, which he attended as a National Science Foundation Fellow. He fought in combat in Vietnam in 1969, for which service he was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for Valor. In 1974, he received a J.D. from the University of Utah where he was an articles editor of the Journal of Contemporary Law. After law school, he clerked for Judge Willis Ritter, the chief judge of the federal district court for Utah, and later served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Salt Lake City.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2002, he practiced law for 28 years, primarily in the areas of complex civil and federal white-collar criminal litigation. Since 1987, he has mediated and arbitrated over 800 disputes dealing with a wide range of legal issues. He is a frequent speaker on alternative dispute resolution (ADR), has taught mediator and arbitrator skills courses around the country and abroad, and has numerous ADR publications.  In 2007, he taught negotiation and mediation skills courses at three law schools in southwest India.  In 2009, he served as chief of party and principal investigator for the Global Justice Program: Iraq, which provided legal assistance to the government and judiciary of Iraq.

Holbrook has accumulated numerous accolades. In 2002, he received from the Utah State Bar its Peter W. Billings Award for Outstanding Dispute Resolution Service. In 2010, he received the International Academy of Mediators’ Sid Lezak Award for Excellence.

He received the first Peacekeeper Award from BYU in 2015 for his international work in mediation and arbitration.  He received the Amicus Curiae Award from the Utah Judicial Council in 2016 for making an outstanding contribution to the improvement of Utah’s judicial system. Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant praised Holbrook for his work on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Utah Administrative Office of the Courts since the committee’s inception in 1993.  In 2016, he also received the Emeritus Board Merit of Honor Award from the University of Utah Alumni Association.