Council of Inspiring Leaders

“At BYU Law, I hope that all of us are inspired with a simple but profound idea: we can change the world for the better. I refer to this idea as inspiring leadership actions that inspire members of our community to lead, as well as leadership that produces inspiration.” -Dean Gordon Smith

Law is a Leadership Degree

Help Build Tomorrow’s Leaders. Members of the Council of Inspiring Leaders make donations that change generations, giving $10,000 or more annually to support leadership initiatives at BYU Law.

Along with funding stipends for BYU Law’s Leadership Fellows, CIL Members act as mentors and role models for some of the Law School’s best and brightest. CIL benefits include participating with the Leadership Fellows on an annual Leadership Travel Study Tour.

An Inspired Program

The world needs more leaders who inspire by word and deed. We believe our students can better reach their potential by proximity to successful leaders. Engaged sponsorship can change lives. Hear what our student fellows have to say about their participation in this one-of-a-kind law school leadership program:


Meet Our 2022–2023 Leadership Fellows

Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson (’23) is focused on effective social policy. He is pursuing both JD and MAcc degrees, with an emphasis in taxation. With these degrees, he hopes to help both private companies and government entities create equitable policies that benefit the public. Matthew is involved with the BYU Community Legal Clinic (providing legal resources to underserved populations), Their Story is Our Story (offering resources to and advocating for refugees), and several BYU Law clubs. Although law school is a challenging undertaking, Matthew enjoys the opportunities available for law students to improve the world around them.

Amaris Leiataua

Amaris Leiataua (’24) is a first-generation Samoan American from Compton, California. Her upbringing informs her unwavering commitment to serving her community. The first in her family to graduate from college, she earned a BA from UC Berkeley and a MEd from UCLA. Amaris then dedicated over a decade to teaching and creating educational pipelines to higher education for historically underrepresented students. Her most important title is “aunt” to Moimoi Lopa and she is currently interning for Justice Pearce of the Utah Supreme Court while serving as president of the only Pacific Islander Law Student Association (PILSA) in the nation. She is a Utah Minority Bar Association scholarship recipient and is returning to Holland & Hart  in their Salt Lake City office next summer.

Tatenda Makanza

Tatenda Makanza (’24) is a first-generation law student from Zimbabwe. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Earlham College, she pursued a master’s degree in Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, and a master’s degree in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs from American University’s School of International Service. Tatenda has worked with international organizations in Switzerland and nonprofit organizations in Zimbabwe and the United States on various issues including democracy, governance, and human rights. She is on BYU Law’s moot court team and is the Corporate Law Society’s vice president of communications. Tatenda intends to pursue a career in international law. She spent her 1L summer as an I&D Client Summer Scholar with Baker McKenzie in Chicago and will be returning for her 2L summer.

Shubham Shah

Shubham Shah (’24) is passionate about immigration and record expungement. Prior to coming to law school, Shubham worked in the tech industry and at a commercial real estate firm. He received a BYU Achievement Fellowship, a Utah Minority Bar Association Fellowship, and a Racial Justice Fellowship sponsored by national law firm Ice Miller LLP, where he was a summer associate during summer 2022. Shubham also completed an externship at Stowell Crayk, a premier immigration law firm in Salt Lake City. Additionally, Shubham was selected by BYU Law faculty for the Wendy C. Archibald Meritorious Achievements and Distinguished Service Award. He is currently a leader in both the BYU Immigration Law Society and the Student Bar Association. In 2023, Shubham will work as a summer associate with Greenberg Traurig LLP in Salt Lake City.

Anna Mae Walker

Anna Mae Walker (’24) loves interacting with and serving people. She long dreamed of attending BYU Law for the quality of people it attracts and the education it provides. For Anna Mae, pursuing a legal education has always been about becoming a better communicator and leader. She loved working for Chief Justice Durant of the Utah Supreme Court this past summer, and she is excited to work as a summer associate at Kirkland & Ellis in New York City in 2023. 

Erin Wong

Erin Wong (’23) is passionate about justice and equality. She currently serves as president of BYU Women in Law. Erin was awarded Best Oralist in both the 1L Moot Court and Rex E. Lee Moot Court competitions and is a current member of BYU’s National Moot Court team. Throughout law school, Erin has found ways to serve her community by providing volunteer representation to underserved populations facing debt collection, eviction, and criminal actions. Erin was selected by BYU Law faculty for the Wendy C. Archibald Meritorious Achievements and Distinguished Service Award and the J. Reuben Clark Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, Integrity, High Ethical Standards, and Service. After graduation, Erin will join the litigation team at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. 

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​Tom Denton

LDS Philanthropies

Michael Middleton

BYU Law External Relations