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Baseball and Law: A Tale of Two Passions

Bob Dowd

California Western alum, Bob Dowd ‘76 had two passions growing up in Hanford, Calif. To play baseball and be a lawyer.

Baseball came naturally to him; becoming a lawyer was an unknown.

“In college, one could say I ‘majored’ in baseball,” says Dowd. “After graduating from high school and turning down a professional baseball contract with the Minnesota Twins I enrolled at the University of Arizona—because of baseball,” continues Dowd. “My time at Arizona did not turn out as expected, so I returned to California for my second year at the College of Sequoias—where I played baseball.”

Dowd then went on to San Francisco State University, where he was selected as the all-conference catcher both years. While at SFSU he became aware of the Marine Corps baseball program and so decided to join up.

“I told the recruiter I wanted to join the Marines ‘so I could play baseball’ in San Diego,” recalls Dowd.

But baseball seemed the last thing on the minds of Dowd’s superiors. After training and achieving the rank of second lieutenant, he received orders to go to Vietnam. It was 1968.

“No one seemed to recall I was supposed to be playing baseball in San Diego,” says Dowd.

Following his deployment to Vietnam, Dowd returned to San Diego as an officer recruiter visiting colleges in the greater San Diego area and unbeknownst to him he was about to realize his second passion—becoming a lawyer. His duty took him to California Western’s  Point Loma campus and an encounter with Dean Robert Castetter.

“In one of my conversations with the Dean, I told him of my desire to become a lawyer. We discussed my less than stellar LSAT score and my so-so college grades. He still seemed receptive, so I applied,” says Dowd.

Bob Dowd graduated from California Western in 1976 with honors.

Following five years prosecuting and defending criminal cases with the Marines, Dowd retired from active duty in 1981. He subsequently joined the Griswold LaSalle law firm in Hanford, Calif.

Dowd served in the Marine Corps Reserve until 1998 retiring as a colonel. His years of Reserve duty were spent teaching trial advocacy in Okinawa, Japan; Seoul, Korea; and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Headquartered in the San Joaquin Valley, one of Dowd‘s specialty areas of practice is agriculture which has taken him to courtrooms not only in California but also in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Delaware, and around the world.

Through the years, Dowd has been honored by admittance into three invitation-only trial lawyer associations: The American Board of Trial Advocates; The American College of Trial Lawyers; and The International Society of Barristers. He has also been recognized as a Northern California “super lawyer” for the past 12 years.

After more than 40 years of law practice, Dowd shows no signs of slowing down and credits Dean Castetter for allowing him to fulfil his passion for the law.

 “After all these years, I remain enthused and forever grateful to Dean Castetter for seeing something in me and for allowing me to attend California Western School of Law,” says Dowd.