Empowering Others Through Service

November 19, 2018

Tim Overton (Class of ‘07) equates serving others with empowering them as he draws on his unique life experiences, personal values, and the ideals instilled at BYU Law.  Tim’s legal education at BYU Law engrained the importance of learning and practicing the laws of men in the light of the laws of God and reinforced his personal creed that legal skills are not simply a means to making money but a means to our ultimate goal of helping others.  Tim lives a life that exemplifies these principles.

Tim is keenly aware of the challenges faced by attorneys of color, and he has worked through both formal organizations and personal outreach to serve those of this community. His awareness of these challenges led him to join the Arizona Black Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.  Tim has combined outreach through these organizations with his own personal efforts to make a difference in countless lives. Tim utilizes the powers of formal associations to participate in organized mentoring programs and support the Black Law Student Associations at the Sandra Day O’Connor Law School at Arizona State University and at BYU Law. He also teaches a course titled “Race and the Law” at ASU’s law school, helping students understand how the social construct of race  has influenced our nation’s legal system from its foundation through the present day, and raising their awareness about the impact of race on the legal system and vice versa.

Tim also maximizes opportunities from his association with Steptoe and Johnson where he works as a partner in its Phoenix office.  He serves on his firm’s diversity committee and uses this platform to train attorneys and staff members at his firm, empowering women and minority attorneys and staff members.  In his own words, he “loves equipping women and minority attorneys to overcome challenges that uniquely face them.” He also leverages his firm’s contacts to reach out to other entities and train managers and employees on unconscious bias, teaching them about the value every person brings regardless of their appearance. He values working through formal structures because they are visible organizations that people can turn to for guidance and support. He finds that being associated with these organizations opens doors while also legitimizing his personal outreach.  

Tim’s personal outreach includes giving pro bono legal services, volunteering at his children’s schools, and serving in his faith community—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tim identifies people to mentor in part by simply being aware of those around him who may share challenges he uniquely understands. For example, he engages with an informal group of young men, 18-24 years of age, who get together to play basketball on a weekly basis. Through this interaction, he develops personal relationships where he can empower individuals from this group to recognize and develop their potential.  He believes deeply in the power that arises from strong personal relationships and is committed to building those relationships in a wide range of settings.

Although Tim’s motivation does not stem from personal recognition, his efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Arizona Black Bar Organization recently selected Tim as the 2018 Individual Excellence in Diversity Award recipient for his contributions to the legal profession and the community at large. In 2017, Tim was selected as a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow.  In 2016, the Phoenix Business Journal named him to its “40 Under 40” list. He has also been recognized multiple times on the Southwest Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list. 

Our BYU Law community is grateful for the service Tim so generously renders.