“You just heard more words from me than I spoke during law school,” admitted BYU Law charter class member and venerable trial attorney James W. Parkinson after captivating the packed Moot Courtroom for one of the Law School’s 50th anniversary lectures.
It’s hard to imagine Parkinson at a loss for words. He’s a brilliant raconteur. Fellow charter classmate Judge Paul Warner introduced “Parky” as a Renaissance man with a big personality and an even bigger heart: “Everything about Parky is big!” He also wins big jury verdicts from defendants such as Big Tobacco.
Expressing his admiration for the high caliber of current BYU Law students (“Paul Warner and I couldn’t get in if we added our LSAT scores together!"), Parkinson shared his advice for law school and beyond. “It’s all about the client – helping people who can’t help themselves. You can change lives.” He warned students to shed arrogance at the courthouse steps: “Nothing is as sobering as your first jury trial. There you are. Are you ready?” Yet Parkinson recalled that as he delivered his first closing argument, he felt confident because “Rex Lee, Carl Hawkins, Bruce Hafen, Cliff Fleming, and all of my BYU Law professors were with me, making me want to succeed, to be better, and to serve.” Parkinson concluded by challenging students to build on the legacy of the remarkable charter class by “taking the baton the rest of the way.”
Following Parkinson’s remarks, Dean David Moore thanked him and his wife, Susan, for their generosity to the Law School (including a donation that helped create BYU Law’s Trial Courtroom) and announced the new James and Susan Parkinson Trial Advocacy Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship’s first recipient is 3L Jehicob Torres.