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Tom Lee and his mother Janet


BYU Law 50th Anniversary: Celebrating the Life and Example of Rex E. Lee

Chamberlain attributes Lee’s success as dean, advocate, parent and friend to his complete engagement in “whatever he was doing—he was focused on the present.” Lee is remembered for his gusto and for his genuine excitement about others’ accomplishments and talents, whether a colleague’s intellect or his daughter’s cheerleading moves. Professor Thomas Lee expressed his admiration for his father’s authenticity and integrity and shared excerpts from Lee’s last address to BYU students in 1995 in which Lee emphasized the importance of ethics and “the distinction between what you have a right to do and what is the right thing to do.” Above all, Lee was committed to the eternal truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and he admonished students that these are truths more important than anything learned in law school.






New Endowed Trial Advocacy Scholarship Honoring James and Susan Parkinson


“You just heard more words from me than I spoke during law school,” admitted BYU Law charter class member and venerable trial attorney James W. Parkinson after captivating the packed Moot Courtroom for one of the Law School’s 50th anniversary lectures.


James W. Parkinson (BYU Law ’76) addresses students in the Law School’s Moot Courtroom on October 12, 2023.

It’s hard to imagine Parkinson at a loss for words. He’s a brilliant raconteur. Fellow charter classmate Judge Paul Warner introduced “Parky” as a Renaissance man with a big personality and an even bigger heart: “Everything about Parky is big!” He also wins big jury verdicts from defendants such as Big Tobacco.

Expressing his admiration for the high caliber of current BYU Law students (“Paul Warner and I couldn’t get in if we added our LSAT scores together!”), Parkinson shared his advice for law school and beyond. “It’s all about the client – helping people who can’t help themselves. You can change lives.” He warned students to shed arrogance at the courthouse steps: “Nothing is as sobering as your first jury trial. There you are. Are you ready?” Yet Parkinson recalled that as he delivered his first closing argument, he felt confident because “Rex Lee, Carl Hawkins, Bruce Hafen, Cliff Fleming, and all of my BYU Law professors were with me, making me want to succeed, to be better, and to serve.” Parkinson concluded by challenging students to build on the legacy of the remarkable charter class by “taking the baton the rest of the way.”


Professor J. Clifton Fleming Jr., the only still-serving member of the Law School’s original faculty, reminisces with Parkinson, his former student.

Following Parkinson’s remarks, Dean David Moore thanked him and his wife, Susan, for their generosity to the Law School (including a donation that helped create BYU Law’s Trial Courtroom) and announced the new James and Susan Parkinson Trial Advocacy Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship’s first recipient is 3L Jehicob Torres.


Inaugural James and Susan Parkinson Trial Advocacy Endowed Scholarship recipient, Jehicob Torres, poses for a photo with the Parkinsons (left) and Dean David Moore (right).