Glenn Roper (‘05) on Gifts of the Law School: Passion, Preparation, and Opportunity

By Ashleigh Wilson January 25, 2023

For Glenn Roper, BYU Law is a family affair. Both his parents, several uncles, and one brother graduated from the school, and his sister now works there as a professor. But after graduating from BYU with his undergraduate degree, Glenn originally wanted to attend medical school. He had a keen interest in understanding difficult concepts and using his work to help others, both of which are hallmarks of the medical profession. However, when he realized he was a little too squeamish to be a doctor, he joined the family tradition and decided to use his problem-solving skills in the field of law. This decision changed his life for the better. BYU Law has given Glenn a passion for law and leadership, the preparation to succeed, and professional opportunities that he never would have thought possible.

Glenn credits at least part of his opportunities to one of his law school professors. Tom Lee taught his civil procedure course and “opened [his] eyes to the possibilities of law.” Glenn was able to work as Professor Lee’s teaching assistant and Lee later wrote him letters of recommendation. Glenn wants to inspire others the same way Lee inspired him when he was younger and he encourages his fellow alumni to do the same. He knows there is a willing group of alumni like himself and a wanting group of students; all they need to do is find a way to reach out and connect.

BYU Law was vital in preparing Glenn to succeed. For example, after law school, Glenn was fortunate enough to clerk on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado. Before law school, he did not even know what a clerkship was! He now views clerkships as one of the most valuable jobs you can have out of law school. While still in school, he joined a study group and worked with other students to understand especially difficult class concepts and study for finals. This was beneficial not only in greatly improving his grades but also in granting him many memories and friendships. Glenn shared that this study group was his favorite part of law school. BYU Law was also a financial blessing to Glenn because, without the high level of debt that is common at other law schools, he was able to jump into opportunities without the pressure of monetary burden.

Glenn received some of these professional opportunities through connections he made at BYU Law. While working as a new associate at a big law firm, he got a call from BYU alumnus John Smith, who was working in the White House Counsel’s office. Smith asked Glenn if he would like to interview for a position as an attorney under President George W. Bush. After getting the job and moving to Northern Virginia, Glenn had a fascinating experience working next to the West Wing. Looking back, he explained that because he knew the job was temporary, he was able to enjoy the defined period of fun with his young family. His next move was back to Denver, where he became a partner at a litigation firm; then to the Colorado Attorney General’s office as Deputy Solicitor General, then to his current role at Pacific Legal Foundation. At PLF, Glenn represents individuals and clients pro bono and litigates important constitutional issues such as property rights and free speech.  

Today, in addition to his legal career, Glenn teaches Sunday School to teens, coaches high school tennis, and mentors graduate students. He loves these roles as they allow him to see excitement in younger people. He also leads the Denver Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society as its Chapter Chair.

BYU Law school gifted Glenn passion, preparation, and opportunity, and he continues to be grateful for those gifts. While back on campus for an alumni event, Glenn reflected on his time as a student. “I really love the law. It’s easy to get caught up in a particular case, but coming back to the Law School reminds me of the joy of working through issues, impacting people and even enjoying the mental challenges of thorny legal questions.” His advice to current and prospective law students is to be open to new experiences, even if they are not what you were expecting. “Follow your own track.” Glenn encourages. “With those lessons learned and gifts received through an education at BYU Law, you will be on your way to a successful and satisfying career.”