Achievement is no stranger to University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law summa cum laude graduate Cara Tomlinson Butler. Making the highest score among all statewide participants on the Arkansas Bar Examination in July 2019 was just one of her many accomplishments.
Between 2016 and 2019, Bowen honored Butler with 12 Top Paper awards, including awards in the subjects of constitutional law, contracts, federal income taxation, research writing and analysis, and professionalism and the work of lawyers. Bowen also selected Butler among the top 10 percent of students to serve on the UA Little Rock Law Review Editorial Board as notes and comments editor.
Since graduating from Bowen in May 2019, Butler has been serving in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit as a clerk for Chief Judge Lavenski Smith. The Eighth Circuit has federal appellate jurisdiction over district courts in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
“Working as an appellate clerk in the Court of Appeals has been a great learning experience,” Butler said. “Not only have I sharpened my skills, but I now have a good sense of what types of legal cases appeal to me most.”
Next fall, Butler hopes to engage in public sector work, possibly civil litigation.
“I enjoyed my previous clerkships with the Arkansas Municipal League and state Attorney General’s office,” Butler said. “I look forward to expanding my opportunities to provide legal services for the public good.”
Public service was the inspiration that originally drew Butler to the Bowen School of Law.
“Bowen has a big push for public service, which was a good fit for me,” Butler said. “Bowen is also a really special school. There are opportunities to clerk in the capital city of Little Rock. Gaining hands-on experience while you are still in law school is a rare opportunity. It’s a really special school, and I’m glad to be a Bowen graduate.”
Butler is thankful for her professors at Bowen who helped provide her with opportunities.
“Professors George Mader and Josh Silverstein have been very influential in shaping my legal writing, which is so important,” Butler said. “They also helped provide me opportunities by writing letters of recommendation for clerkships, and I served as a research assistant for Silverstein.”
Originally from Searcy, Arkansas, Butler graduated in May 2016 from Lyon College with degrees in English and economics before pursuing a law degree at the William H. Bowen School of Law, which she completed in May 2019.
Story by Catherine Beynon / Photo by Benjamin Krain