Volunteer Profile: Steve Boutin '72
Even more than most King Hall alumni, Steve Boutin ’72 understands the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and what it means to the UC Davis School of Law.
Boutin, a founder and principal of the Sacramento business law firm Boutin Gibson Di Giusto Hodell Inc. who also finds time to serve as the UC Davis School of Law’s Alumni Board President, spent the day with Dr. King as a student during the 1960s, attended King Hall during the formative years of the Law School, and has carried the lessons learned through a highly successful career as one of the capital region’s most successful and respected business litigators.
Boutin met Dr. King when the civil rights leader was visiting Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1967, and Boutin, an undergraduate there, was assigned to escort him around campus. “I met him as he arrived, and spent the day with him,” Boutin recalled. “I was sitting in the front row as he gave an impassioned speech, the likes of which most of us had never heard.”
Like so many young people of the time, Boutin was profoundly affected by King’s assassination, the Vietnam War, and other issues of the time, and felt the need to contribute to the building of a better society. He enrolled at the new Law School at UC Davis and found many kindred spirits. “It was a time of great ferment, and there was a lot of ferment at King Hall,” he said. “There was a lot of interaction between the new faculty and the student body, who were primarily very idealistic. There was an incredible amount of passion for the causes of the time.”
Born in Sacramento, Boutin worked after graduation for Downey, Brand, Seymour and Rohwer, appearing before the First and Third Appellate District Courts and the Supreme Court of California and representing clients including General Motors and then-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. He became a partner in 1978 and in 1986 co-founded the firm that would become Boutin Gibson Di Giusto Hodell Inc., one of the capital region’s most successful civil litigation and business firms.
Boutin credits lessons taught by Professors James Hogan, Ed Rabin, John Poulos, Dick Wydick, and others as being critical to his success. “Those professors taught me indelible lessons, and there were many others,” said Boutin. “I can draw direct lines between what I learned at King Hall and what I’ve been able to do in the community, and between having a King Hall education and my family’s fiscal well-being. Those are two reasons I’ve felt it was important to support King Hall.”
Boutin says that volunteering to serve on the alumni board is another way to support the Law School and to help ensure that King Hall continues to offer outstanding and accessible public legal education. “I feel like we’re stewards of the legal profession, and we have a responsibility to provide the same opportunities to the next generation,” said Boutin.