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Graduating Student Finds Inspiration for Law Career at Bowen

Johanna Baker Wade
Johanna Baker Wade

When future lawyer Johanna Baker Wade was an undergraduate student at Henderson State University, she recalls two events that shaped her life.

First, this is where she met her husband, a student at Ouachita Baptist University at the time.

“I was a Reddie, and he was an OBU tiger,” she said. “These schools are directly across the street from each other, so I married the enemy.”

Second, she recalls a memorable mock classroom visit by the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law that convinced her to go to law school.

“The total nerd inside of me thought it was so fun,” she said. “Before then, I didn’t know much about being a lawyer. No one in my life has been a lawyer but my life has been affected by lawyers in a positive way. A lawyer is the reason my stepfather was able to adopt me. It took a lawyer advocating for us, to better my life. Coming to law school helped me understand how big a deal it really was. It has made me aware of how important it is to be a lawyer, to be ready to advocate and do good in the world.”

The Magnolia, Arkansas native will graduate this month from the William H. Bowen School of Law. After graduation, her top priority is to study for and pass the bar exam. Inspired by her time as a law clerk in the Sixth Judicial District Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Baker Wake is planning to pursue prosecutorial work.

“It has shocked me how much I have enjoyed being in the prosecuting attorney’s office,” she said. “I love transactional law, but I want to give litigation a shot by working in a prosecuting attorney’s office.”

While at Bowen, Baker served as president of the Christian Legal Society and a senator with the Student Government Association. She was also a student mentor, assisting first-year law students in their clerk searches, as well as an academic fellow who mentored first-year law students.

She is grateful to professors andre douglas pond cummings, Philip Oliver (retired), Jessie Burchfield, Aaron Schwabach, and others for inspiring her at law school.

Throughout her time at Bowen, Baker has gained plenty of legal experience through clerkships at the Bowen Tax Clinic; Winburn, Wilson, Schader & Shram; and the Sixth Judicial District Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.

“It is paying your dues as best as I can explain it,” she said. “I am very grateful for every clerkship I have done. For every attorney that was willing to tell me hard truths and give me feedback that was invaluable. I’ve learned what it really takes to work at a law firm and to be a lawyer. It’s not something you can learn just in a textbook. It’s been very eye opening in a good way.”

As the end of the law school looms, Baker Wade recalls her time at Bowen with fondness and feels that she’s “accomplished something pretty cool.”

“Law school is a great decision,” she said. “These past couple of weeks, I’ve realized how fast it’s gone by and how much I enjoyed my time here. It taught me a lot, and it’s an accomplishment I am really proud of.”