Going to law school was a delay tactic for Tyler Buswell.
He had graduated with an undergraduate degree in American Studies from Utah State University and wasn’t sure what to do next.
“The idea of being a lawyer seemed like it provided me lots of options—more school!—instead of getting a job,” Buswell jokes.
He graduated from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2008 and “fell into” becoming a real estate lawyer after a summer working for a litigation firm during law school and getting an offer to go into real estate.
It may not have been his plan, but more than a decade after graduating from law school, Buswell is a top attorney specializing in real estate transactions and land use planning as a shareholder at Kirton McConkie in Salt Lake City. He credits his time at the U for honing skills on how to think, analyze and present an argument, providing lifelong friends and developing an ethos of giving back to the community.
That’s why he volunteered on the law school’s Young Alumni Association board, joined the college’s Board of Trustees and donated to help rebuild the law school, which was completed in 2015. He continues to give money for law school scholarships, too, because he remembers how stressful law school was and how the financial aid he received helped.
“I didn’t get a ton of scholarships in law school,” he said, but the ones he received “made a big difference. I didn’t have to get as many loans, and I could focus on studying. Having a little extra money in scholarships can make the law school experience significantly better. I had heard that was a need right now and I was happy to contribute.”
Buswell oversees large real estate transactions around the country and specializes in self-storage, agricultural, healthcare, industrial, office, retail, condo and hospitality. The notable Utah projects he is involved in include the City Creek mall in downtown Salt Lake City, the new hotel project next to the Salt Palace Convention Center and various acquisitions and dispositions of property for Intermountain Healthcare.
He notes that he uses his law degree to help large companies make money, but law school also helped him analyze how his work impacts people and how he can give back in other ways. “That’s part of the ethos of law school,” he says. “A law degree is essentially a liberal arts graduate degree. You are learning to think about a bunch of different things, you learn ways to think. Most lawyers that I know are very thoughtful and caring people,” he says.
He remains fond of his professors who he says helped him expand his way of thinking and for how they showed students they wanted them to succeed, including Dan Medwed, who taught evidence, Amy Wildermuth, who taught civil procedure and legal theory professor Terry Kogan. Buswell recalls giving a response in Kogan’s class and being told that lawyers don’t speak in platitudes. “’I want you to give me direct, clear answers. You’re going to be a lawyer,’” he remembers Kogan saying. “I knew that he cared and wanted me to succeed. He was trying to push us. I could say that with lot of professors.”
One of the lasting ways law school shaped Buswell’s life is through his classmates. He counts the class of 120 students as friends, relationships that were forged through a difficult but exhilarating time of friendly competition. “There was something about the U law school community that really did foster and encourage people to have good relationships,” he says. “I really care about those people.”