Snell & Wilmer Mourns the Death of Former Chair John J. Bouma
Legal giant led firm for more than 30 years; influenced legal and civic landscapes across Arizona and beyond
By: Snell & Wilmer
"John was a lawyer's lawyer, an Arizona and national leader in the bar, a community champion and a man deeply committed to access to justice for all," said Matthew P. Feeney, chair of Snell & Wilmer. "For his colleagues at Snell & Wilmer, he was first and foremost our deeply respected long-time leader and a mentor and friend. We join John's wife, Bonnie, their four children and 12 grandchildren in mourning the loss of a truly good man. John will be missed but his lifelong commitment to our clients, our communities and our firm colleagues, which is woven into our culture, will live on."
Bouma joined Snell & Wilmer in 1962 and built a celebrated career. He was named chair in 1983 and led the firm for more than 30 years, officially stepping down in early 2015. Following that transition, he remained active in his practice and continued to serve on the firm's executive and compensation committees. During Bouma's tenure, the firm grew to become one of the largest in the West, employing more than 1,000 attorneys and staff.
Bouma practiced in complex commercial litigation, including antitrust, commercial and business torts, professional malpractice defense and alternative dispute resolution. He served as president of the Maricopa County Bar Association, the State Bar of Arizona, the Western States Bar Conference and the National Conference of Bar Presidents. He had been a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates and its Board of Governors. He was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and served on the board of directors and as chair of Attorneys' Liability Assurance Society, the professional liability insurer for many of the country's large law firms.
Among his many regional and national awards and recognitions, Bouma was included in annual editions of The Best Lawyers in America© consecutively for the 36 years it has been published and was named by the National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America." Bouma served as president of the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Opera, and on the boards of directors for the Art Museum, Valley of the Sun United Way and Greater Phoenix Leadership. He also co-founded the Arizona Equal Justice Campaign, Wildlife for Tomorrow and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Chapter. In addition, the lobby of the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law was named after Bouma in recognition of his contributions to the school and the community during his more than five decades as a practicing attorney.
Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Bouma earned his B.A. from the University of Iowa and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law. He served on the board of trustees and as vice president of the Iowa Law School Foundation, was recognized as part of the University of Iowa College of Law's Top 150 Alumni and received the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
About Snell & Wilmer
Founded in 1938, Snell & Wilmer is a full-service business law firm with more than 425 attorneys practicing in 12 locations throughout the United States and in Mexico, including Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Los Angeles and Orange County, California; Denver, Colorado; Washington, D.C.; Boise, Idaho; Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Los Cabos, Mexico. The firm represents clients ranging from large, publicly traded corporations to small businesses, individuals and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.swlaw.com.