The University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law will recognize three notable alumni Monday, Oct. 21, at the law school’s 10th anniversary alumni luncheon.
The event begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, 3 Statehouse Plaza, Little Rock. Tickets are $100 each and may be purchased online.
Distinguished Alumnus: The Honorable Dustin McDaniel (‘98)
McDaniel has dedicated his career to law enforcement, public service, and the practice of law. Upon leaving the Attorney General’s office in 2015 due to term limits, he founded the Little Rock law firm of McDaniel, Richardson, and Calhoun, which has become one of the most prominent bipartisan state attorney general practices in the United States. The Arkansas focus of the firm includes administrative and public policy law, as well as complex business litigation. In 2019, McDaniel, Richardson, and Calhoun announced its upcoming merger with the Little Rock firms of Wolff and Ward and Benca and Johnston. Upon completion of their new building adjacent to the State Capitol, the new firm of McDaniel, Wolff, and Benca, will begin in January 2020.
After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, McDaniel served as a full-time police officer with the Jonesboro Police Department from 1994-1996. He graduated cum laude from Bowen Law School in 1999 and returned to Jonesboro to practice in the law firm of McDaniel & Wells, when he was honored by Bowen Law School as its Outstanding Young Alumnus in 2003.
From 2005-2007, McDaniel served in the Arkansas House of Representatives. During his term, he sponsored Act 431 of 2005, which established the only dedicated stream of revenue to Arkansas’s law schools. The act has since generated millions of dollars for the William H. Bowen Law School and the University of Arkansas School of Law.
McDaniel served as Arkansas’s attorney general from 2007-2015. During his two terms, he led the historical settlement between the NAAG Tobacco Project and the tobacco industry, oversaw the implementation of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, resolved the Lake View School District case, effectively ended the payday-lending industry in Arkansas, and created the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit to find, capture, and prosecute those exploiting and harming children via the Internet, among many other accomplishments.
McDaniel is a dedicated and involved Bowen Law School alumnus. As attorney general, he committed millions of dollars in settlement funds to the school to be used on courtrooms, practice clinics, technology upgrades, and the student wellness center. Since leaving office, he has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council and continues to raise and give money to the school. To date, a library carrel, a student book award, and the student gym are named for McDaniel, and he has a long-term goal to endow a distinguished lecture series for Bowen.
Outstanding Alumnus in Public Service: Representative Jimmy Gazaway (’06)
Gazaway practices law with Snellgrove, Langley, Culpepper, Williams, and Mullally in Jonesboro and is serving his second term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He represents District 57, which includes the cities of Paragould and Oak Grove Heights.
Following the 2017-2018 legislative session, Gazaway was named the 2017 Consumer Advocate of the Year by the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association for his legislative contributions in protecting the civil justice system. He also received the Advocate of Justice Award from the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney’s Association, the Distinguished Legislator Award from the Arkansas Municipal League, and was named a 2018 Legislative Champion by the Arkansas Pharmacists Association.
Gazaway serves as co-chairperson of the Joint Performance Review Committee for the 92nd General Assembly. He also serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee. He sponsored HB 1410, the latest effort to give Arkansas tenants the right to a habitable residence. He also introduced HB 1530 to collect data concerning the cost—both financial and in harm to inmates—from use of solitary confinement or segregation in the state’s prisons. He received the First Branch Award from the Arkansas Judicial Council and the Legislative Leadership Award from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
A native of Paragould, Gazaway served as a deputy prosecuting attorney for the Second Judicial District of Arkansas from 2008-2017. He currently serves on the board of directors for Arkansas Right to Life.
Gazaway is a 2003 graduate of Arkansas State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science, where he graduated with honors and was recognized as the outstanding graduate in political science for 2003. He earned his J.D. from Bowen Law School in 2006.
Emerging Young Alumna: Tamika Edwards (’11)
Edwards has served as executive director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College since September 2018.
She has 20 years of experience in public policy and community development. She has served as director of governmental affairs at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, where she led the development and execution of the organization’s legislative strategy. Edwards has also served as community affairs specialist for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, where she worked to further community and economic development efforts and served as the senator’s grassroots representative.
Edwards was recognized by Arkansas Business in its “40 Under 40” class of 2010. In 2017, she was recognized in Arkansas Business Publishing Group’s inaugural edition of The Arkansas 200 as a leader “who influences the way we live, learn and do business in the state.”
In 2019, Edwards served as part of Mayor Frank Scott’s transition team to help plan Little Rock’s future. She chaired subcommittees on mobility and on public safety during his transition. The mobility committee was charged with modernizing Little Rock’s transportation infrastructure. Public safety shaped recommendations for services, entities, and organizations for implementation of Scott’s public safety agenda.
Edwards earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a Master of Arts in professional and technical writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a J.D. from Bowen Law School. In addition to serving in numerous community leadership roles, she is a contributor to Talk Business and Politics.