Kelley Marsden (‘06): A Space for All Alumni at BYU Law

By Ashleigh Wilson June 16, 2023

Kelley Marsden’s (‘06) love for BYU Law School began early. Her father, William Marsden, graduated in the Charter Class (1976) and provided her plenty of opportunities to become acquainted with his alma mater. After football games, or on other visits to BYU campus, Kelley and her dad would swing by the Law School, so applying for BYU Law was an easy choice for Kelley. 

After graduation, Kelley gained experience in both transactional and litigation spheres. She clerked on the 9th Circuit for Judge J. Clifford Wallace and practiced in the corporate and finance departments at the D.C. office of Latham & Watkins, and then gained experience with commercial litigation in Salt Lake City at Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy. Kelley has worked for the past decade as an Associate General Counsel for the University of Utah, where she advises on litigation strategy, employment, Title IX, and giving. The University’s priorities of research, clinical care, knowledge, and teaching are all things that Kelley deeply cares about. She has found it rewarding to work for an institution whose mission aligns her goals and values. 

Kelley with husband (Cal Bode) and daughters (Holland and Amelie)

Kelley’s favorite pastimes are spending time with her husband, Cal, and twin daughters, Holland and Amelie, who just finished kindergarten. Their family enjoys hiking the Wasatch, traveling, and reading good books. 

According to Kelley, one of the greatest benefits of attending BYU Law was creating lasting relationships and connections that she treasures to this day. “It’s powerful to have good and wise friends in your life, but it is even more impactful when you have friends who can strategize about professional life,” she said. Having friends who understand the stresses and pressures often associated with an education or career in the law has given Kelley a lifelong community of strength and support. In fact, she’s in a book club with former law school classmates–they have met monthly for nearly fifteen years to discuss everything from Anna Karenina to litigation strategy to child sleep schedules. 

Last year, while attending the Alumni Development Summit, Kelley decided to become directly involved again with Law School. At the Summit, Dean Gordon Smith and BYU Alumni leadership emphasized that there is a space for every graduate of the BYU Law School. 

Kelley and her Law School book club at her wedding. From left to right: Betsy Haws (‘06), Breanne Fors (‘05), Rachel Terry (‘05), Liz Liljenquist (‘09), Heather Waite-Grover (‘05), Jamie Nopper (‘05), Kelley Marsden (‘06), Jenn Diehl, Heidi Neville (‘05), Jen Somers, Sara Holmberg (‘06).

At the Alumni Summit, there was a focus on the Law School’s mission statement, which is centered on the law-related roles of Christ: healer, mediator, counselor, peacemaker, advocate, lawgiver, and judge. This reminds Kelley of the example her dad set about how to be a great lawyer—his kindness toward opposing counsel, his ability to create solutions and connections, and his passion to advocate in a powerful and respectful way throughout his career. In addition, she was struck by the portion of the Law School’s mission statement that states “BYU Law recognizes the inherent dignity and equality of each individual and welcomes people from the full range of human experience.” Kelley believes strongly that BYU Law benefits from the connection and involvement of all graduates, and especially those who may feel marginalized in an alumni association of a faith-based school.

Since the Summit, Kelley Marsden has stepped into service on the Alumni Board as the Giving Co-Chair. Her goal is to invite and include everyone in the alumni community to be involved with the Law School, because “there is room at the table for everyone, and everyone has the ability to make a difference for the incredible and diverse BYU Law students and alumni.” She invites all BYU Law alumni to look for their own roles and opportunities that strengthen and improve BYU Law. BYU’s students and alumni benefit from connecting with those from all walks of life. “Find ways to give back, whether that's making a monetary donation, becoming a mentor, or volunteering for moot court,” Kelley said.

Kelley with parents (Bill and Karla Marsden) and daughters