After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2014, 2022 JD graduate Daniel Bowman took a few years to think about what he wanted to do next. He waited tables for a few months before getting a job as a 911 dispatcher for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
“It was a good way to serve people, which is what I wanted to do with my criminal justice degree, try to help people when they needed it,” says Bowman of his time as a dispatcher. “I liked it, but I also felt like I could do a little more, so that led me to law school.”
He began to dive into different areas of interest but quickly decided he wanted to work with and help undocumented populations.
“I grew up in trailer parks, worked minimum wage jobs since I was thirteen, and always had a lot of co-workers who did not have [legal] status,” says Bowman. “The Trump administration’s policies, specifically, made me feel concerned with how we talked about and treated immigrants in this country. So, I started looking for ways to get involved and help."
Bowman knew he wanted to stay in Arizona and was drawn to University of Arizona Law after learning about the law school’s strong commitment to public interest, the opportunities available for immigration law students, and its small class sizes.
“Those were big things for me,” said Bowman. “The small class sizes felt like a chance to meet most of my peers and professors – which I have.”
Bowman says he will always think back fondly to Professor Andy Silverman ending his classes by raising a fist and telling his students, “Power to you all,” Dean Emerita Toni Massaro affectionately calling her students peaches, and the many late nights that he spent talking to classmates in the library instead of studying.
“I have great memories of conversations or experiences with most of the people in my class, things I will cherish," says Bowman. “There is a very strong community that I found here.”
Outside of Arizona Law, Bowman volunteered with Keep Tucson Together (KTT), a grassroot, pro-bono legal group working with volunteer attorneys to stop deportations and the separation of families in Southern Arizona. As a volunteer, he provided appellate writing for pro se individuals who were appealing their removal orders to the Ninth Circuit, which he says were some of his proudest moments as a student.
“That very real threat of deportation for mothers and fathers, people working and living around us, was frequently halted by the work we have done....it was cool to see people whose lives were positively affected,” says Bowman. “It's been a rewarding experience and it wouldn’t have been possible without me being part of this law school.”
Bowman says his time volunteering outside of school and writing for KTT helped him become a better writer, a skill he advises future JD students to invest the time in.
“Learn how to write clearly. That is going to help both in law school and in practice. Judges do not want to read things that are convoluted any more than law professors do,” says Bowman. “It is a real-world useful skill. Nobody is going to become an IP expert in law school, but you can become a good writer.”
After graduation, Bowman will be spending time clerking, first for Chief Justice Robert M. Brutinel (‘82) in the Arizona Supreme Court and then for U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, where he hopes to get involved with immigration law during his free time.
“The overall goal is learning how to be a competent lawyer, and then trying to do the best job I can to help people.”