A Supreme Surprise

by | May 30, 2016 | Alumni Profiles, Spring 2016

Craig Stowers, J.D. ’85, began his three-year term as chief justice of the Alaska Supreme Court — an achievement he said would have shocked his younger self — last summer. “I had no plan or intention of being a lawyer,” said Stowers, who came to UC Davis hoping a law background would prepare him for a career in natural resources public policy. Professor Daniel Fessler helped change Stowers’ plan. While at King Hall, Stowers worked with Fessler on what eventually became the Alaska Corporations Code and the Alaska Nonprofit Corporations Code. That project led him to become a judicial law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Juneau and the Alaska Supreme Court in Anchorage. “If Professor Fessler were aware that I am now on the Supreme Court and am interpreting this act that he drafted with my assistance, I think that would bring a smile to his face,” Stowers said. Stowers annually visits UC Davis as part of his national law clerk recruitment tour. “One thing is for sure,” said Stowers, who has donated to the King Hall expansion project, “the best UC Davis student is in every respect just as qualified, if not more so, as the best student from any other university.”