Growing up in New Hampshire, Devin R. Bates didn’t have aspirations to be a lawyer or educator.
But after graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in economics in 2009, he joined Teach for America, a nonprofit that placed him in the Lakeside School District in Lake Village.
“I just wanted to do something to work with people and make a difference,” Bates said.
After four years with the district, Bates said, he decided to go to law school to better understand the issues students were facing.
In 2016, he graduated from William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 2017, Bates joined the Little Rock law firm Mitchell Williams, where he handles complex legal matters including business disputes and education issues.
In 2020, he was the lead counsel for the Pulaski County School District in its four-decade-long desegregation case. A federal judge ruled the School District complied with the desegregation issues of student achievement and student discipline for the first time since 1984, releasing the district from federal court supervision.