Closing Argument

Issue: Winter 2022

A Career Change from the Classroom to the Courtroom

Trent Lowe always knew he wanted to be a lawyer. But before he got to the courtroom as a civil litigator, he decided to spend time in the classroom as an 8th grade teacher. It sparked a passion for education equity that would last, as he used skills gained at the College of Law to continue to help youth.

While he was applying to law schools, Lowe learned about Teach for America, which recruits college grads and places them in low-income schools. He spent three years as an English teacher in Memphis. “It was a wonderful experience. I sometimes miss it,” he said. “It was definitely hard work. You weren’t only a teacher but also a camp counselor, a classroom dad and advice giver. You had to fill all of those roles for students who didn’t have the family support or community support growing up that I had.”

He loved it so much he considered committing to education, but the economic realities of teaching led him back to his first goal of becoming a lawyer. It was a no-brainer for him to return to the University of Utah, where he completed his undergraduate degree. “From birth, I’ve been a Ute,” he said.

He was drawn to civil and business litigation after his first-year civil procedure class, and the passion was sealed after work-ing as a summer associate at Clyde Snow, where he works as an associate focusing on business litigation and employment law. Litigation, he said, “just fits my personality. I’m a talker and I enjoy being in the courtroom. I enjoy the adversarial nature of it. I knew I wanted to be engaging with other attorneys and working on the strategy of litigation.”

Lowe said the learning that took place in the law school classrooms led to his understanding of the law. And the clinical experiences at the U “prepared me to understand how the law is actually practiced.” He was an intern at the Utah Court of Appeals and the federal district court, and he earned a slot on the national trial advocacy team.

As a second-year law student, Lowe worked as a policy intern at the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office, where he worked on a Pay for Success model that funds high-quality social interventions if they achieve outcomes. Lowe’s work led to a $1.15 million grant in 2014 from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund for the Policy Innovation Lab to help state and local governments implement Pay for Success projects across the country. The project is now housed at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and it is funding projects that include reducing chronic homelessness and recidivism, along with improving outcomes for children through programs that improve kindergarten readiness and help students with disabilities.

Lowe continues to give back to the community by volunteering for the U Alumni Association’s Board of Governors and the College of Law’s Young Alumni Board, where he helps organize events like mock interviews and the fall and spring “crawls” that introduce students to law firms. That’s where he was first introduced to his own law firm. He says he wants to give back to an institution that gave him so many great opportunities.

“If I could contribute to and help out the law students to have experiences that could potentially get them jobs like I did, I wanted to be a part of that,” he said.