2023 Founders Day: Celebrating 50 Years of BYU Law

By Ashleigh Wilson September 18, 2023

BYU Law’s 50th Anniversary celebration kicked off with a special Founders Day banquet on August 31st. Held at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, the evening was a chance to look back fondly on the Law School’s history of the Law School and to look forward with excitement towards the future. We were thrilled to welcome notable guests, including President Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, State Attorney General Sean Reyes, and former BYU Law Deans, Elder Bruce C. Hafen, H. Reese Hansen, and D. Gordon Smith.

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency and president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dean H. Reese Hansen, Dean of BYU Law 1990-2004

The event began with the presentation of two prestigious awards presented by BYU Law Alumni President Richard Salgado (‘06). Dean David H. Moore (‘96) was named the 2023 BYU Law Professor of the Year, as voted on by the three most-recently graduated classes of BYU Law alumni, and Steve Bennett (‘90) received the 2023 Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his professional excellence and continued support of Brigham Young University and BYU Law.

The first speaker of the evening was Clifton J. Fleming, Ernest L. Wilkinson Chair and faculty member at BYU Law since 1974. Professor Fleming spoke on the founding of the Law School and its mission to help students reach academic excellence, while maintaining a connection to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He discussed the most-significant changes that have occurred over his 49 years at BYU Law, including the increased presence and influence of women in the Law School–as students, faculty members, and administrators.

Professor Cliff Fleming, faculty member since 1974

Professor Fleming’s remarks were followed by a panel of family duos with ties to the Law School, moderated by BYU Law’s Director of Student Life, Denise Beatty (‘96). Panelists included: Erin E. Cranor (’20) and her daughter, Erin Cranor (‘23); Danny Walker (‘05) and his daughter, Anna Mae Walker Arner (3L); and Monte Stewart (‘76) and his granddaughter, Bonnie Stewart (2L). The panel touched on topics ranging from favorite study spots to what they wish they had known at the beginning of their law school career. Most notably, each duo discussed the importance of the Law School’s mission. While much has changed at the Law School over the past half century, the most important changes are those that BYU Law has made in the individual lives of its students. One institutional constant has been students becoming more like the Savior as they’ve learned about and begun the practice of law.

As stated in the BYU Law Mission Statement: “We are committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ and honor His many roles, including healer, mediator, counselor, peacemaker, advocate, lawgiver, and judge.”

Panelist Speakers (left to right): Monte Stewart ('76), Bonnie Stewart (2L), Anna Mae Walker Arner (3L), Danny Walker ('05), Erin E. Cranor ('20), Erin Cranor ('23)

Thank you to our Founders Day sponsors:


Bennett Tueller Johnson & Deere

David Bertoch



Snell & Wilmer | Kirton McConkie

Buchalter | Dorsey & Whitney | Kirkland & Ellis

Parr Brown Gee & Loveless 

Parsons Behle & Latimer

Daniel & Shera Mae Walker Family


Christensen & Jensen | Fillmore Spencer

Ray Quinney & Nebeker | Smith Hartvigsen