Law student Tyler Hubbard inspired to give back after receiving second annual Hanni award

Tyler Hubbard’s early career ambitions set him on a path far different than practicing the law.

Born in Fallon, Nevada, Hubbard moved to Utah in 2010 to attend Brigham Young University in Provo as an undergraduate with his sights set on becoming a chemical engineer. He excelled in his coursework, but after serving an LDS mission to Mexico City, Hubbard returned to find his interests had shifted.

“I realized that I didn’t want to do chemical engineering. I liked the math and science, but I didn’t love it,” said Hubbard, now a student at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Law student Tyler Hubbard

While at BYU, he married his wife, Lauren. His new father-in-law was a judge in Nevada and through conversations with him, Hubbard realized that becoming an attorney would allow a chance to merge his growing interest in business with his ambition to be a creative problem solver. So, Hubbard decided to take a different career route. He graduated from BYU in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in general studies and enrolled as a law student at the U at the same time as Lauren began as a student at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Hubbard quickly adapted to law school, earning prestigious clerkships and internships along the way while also obtaining a near flawless academic record. His success prior to starting his third year of law school this month earned him the Glenn C. and and Bruhneild R. Hanni Scholarship. The award is given annually to a top-performing law student before his or her final year of law school.

Hubbard is the second recipient of the recently created scholarship — launched in 2017 —thanks to the generosity of the Hanni family. Glenn Hanni, who died in December 2015, attended the University of Utah and graduated “Order of the Coif” (number one in his class) from the law school. In 1962 he joined with Gordon Strong and their combined practice formed Strong and Hanni Law Firm which traces its roots back to 1888. He was named “Utah Trial Attorney of the Year” twice, was a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He and his wife were passionate about recognizing a standout law student with the creation of the award.

The honor is both a surprise and a thrill for Hubbard, who said the unexpected scholarship money has inspired him to give back to others in the future once he has established himself in the legal profession.

“I’m so touched at the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Hanni. It really has just left me speechless,” said Hubbard. “It has also left me with the feeling of wanting to pay it forward in the future and help those who come behind me —as I’ve been helped by those who have come ahead of me,” he added.

Bob Keiter, who recently served as acting dean and is also a professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, said Hubbard is a notable student among his classmates and is deserving of the award.

“Like Glen Hanni, Tyler sits atop his class, having excelled in his coursework throughout his first two years at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, and having taken full advantage of the diverse curricular and internship opportunities available to our students,” said Keiter.

“Mr. Hanni would be pleased with Tyler’s various accomplishments, which suggest he can look forward to a full and rewarding career in the law. We’re certainly happy that he chose law over chemical engineering for his professional education,” added Keiter.

Hubbard said his time in law school so far has been filled with countless learning opportunities. He enrolled in a course called judicial process, which is part of the law school’s clinical program. (Clinics include a classroom component, which helps students prepare for their legal work and offers a forum for students to reflect on their experiences. Clinical placements help students to develop a range of practice-related skills and to gain insights into their strengths and career preferences). Through this opportunity, Hubbard completed judicial internships with Justice Thomas Lee of the Utah Supreme Court and Judge Carolyn McHugh of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He was also a Faust Research Fellow under the guidance of professor Ross McPhail, where he completed a diverse set of legal research assignments.

This summer, Hubbard is gaining additional experience working for law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP, where he’s working in a variety of practice groups, including bankruptcy and litigation.  After he graduates in May 2019, he’ll complete clerkships with Justice Deno Himonas of the Utah Supreme Court and Judge Scott Matheson of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In moving closer to a legal career, Hubbard said he’s realizing the profession shares some similarities to his one-time goal of becoming a chemical engineer.

“A lot of the skills (from chemical engineering) transfer over to the legal profession more than people would realize. In math and science classes, you are finding a formula. In law school, those formulas don’t come from equations, but from case law and statutes,” said Hubbard.

“A lot of law school is finding the equation or the right case or the right statute and applying your facts to it. Science and the law are more related than people would think.”