St. Mary’s Law graduates nine alumni from one family

January 31, 2023

The magnificent nine

by Nathaniel Miller­

The St. Mary’s University School of Law graduates alumni from all over the world, but the Dowd family from St. Louis produces School of Law graduates en masse.

The Dowds — a prominent law family in Missouri — found their way to San Antonio after Edward L. Dowd Jr. (J.D. ’77) and his brothers were looking to continue receiving a Marinast-based education after attending high school at Chaminade College Preparatory in St. Louis.

Along with several brothers, the Hon. James R. Dowd (J.D. ’77); Richard K. Dowd (B.A. ’78, J.D. ’83) and William T. Dowd (J.D. ’89); and even more cousins, the Hon. Robert G. Dowd Jr. (J.D. ’77), Bernard P. McDonnell (J.D. ’77), the Hon. Mark M. Dowd (J.D. ’81) and the Hon. David L. Dowd (J.D. ’83), each Dowd family member graduated from St. Mary’s Law before going out to make their own marks on the
legal profession.

The most recent to follow this path is Lia Obata Dowd (J.D. ’08), niece to Edward L. Dowd Jr. and an assistant county counselor in the St. Louis County Counselor’s Office.

Edward L. Dowd Jr. said he has high praise for the School of Law. He went into private practice after serving as a federal prosecutor and as special counsel to the investigation into the 1993 raid of the Branch Davidians in Waco.

“I’ve always recommended St. Mary’s to anybody who wants to go to law school,” Edward L. Dowd Jr. said. “It’s a great place.”

The Hon. Robert G. Dowd Jr. retired in 2020 from his role as the chief judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-serving judge in Missouri. After first being elected as a magistrate judge in St. Louis in 1978, he served more than four decades on the bench.

“I’ve always recommended St. Mary’s to anybody who wants to go to law school.”

Edward L. Dowd Jr.

When talking about his career success, Robert G. Dowd Jr. praises the School of Law’s focus on educating students to be competent lawyers instead of teaching them how just to pass the bar.

“I am extremely grateful for what St. Mary’s did for me,” Robert G. Dowd Jr. said. “I couldn’t have done any of this without St. Mary’s.”

After her grandfather’s funeral, Lia Obata Dowd remembered how many of his former legal clients came to pay their respects. Along with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi on the prayer card — “For it is in giving that we receive” — those two moments had a lasting impact on how she views the role of an attorney.

“Each client knows that their case is the most important one, and I enjoy ensuring they know I feel the same way,” Lia Obata Dowd said.

Are you a legacy family from the School of Law with multiple graduates? If you would like to be considered for possible inclusion in a future issue, contact Noel Vella at

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