Professor Holbrook received a B.A. in 1966 from Grinnell College where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Honorary Fellowship. In 1968 he received an M.A. from Indiana University, which he attended as a National Science Foundation Fellow. He fought in combat in Vietnam in 1969, for which service he was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for Valor. In 1974 he received a J.D. from the University of Utah where he was an articles editor of the Journal of Contemporary Law. After law school, he clerked for the chief judge of the federal district court for Utah and later served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Salt Lake City.
Before joining the faculty at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2002, he practiced law for twenty-eight years, primarily in the areas of complex civil and federal white-collar criminal litigation. Since 1987, he has mediated and arbitrated over 700 disputes dealing with a wide range of legal issues. He is a frequent speaker on alternative dispute resolution (ADR), has taught mediator and arbitrator skills courses around the country and abroad, and has numerous ADR publications. In 2000 and 2012, he received the Peter W. Billings Sr. Award for excellence in Teaching. In 2002 he was awarded the Peter W. Billings Sr. Dispute Resolution Award by the Utah State Bar. In 2007 he taught negotiation and mediation skills courses at three law schools in southwest India. In 2008 he helped design and present a month-long rule-of-law training course for Afghan prosecutors in Salt Lake City. In 2009 he served as chief of party and principal investigator for the Global Justice Program: Iraq, which provided legal assistance to the government and judiciary of Iraq. In 2010, he received the International Academy of Mediators' Sid Lezak Award for Excellence (presented annually to a mediator who best represents the furtherance of mediation). In 2011, he received the Peacekeeper Award from the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution. In 2012, he received an Alumni Award from the Grinnell College for his work on conflict resolution.
Professor Holbrook teaches Lawyering Skills (interviewing, counseling and basic negotiation), Advanced Negotiation and Mediation, Arbitration, and a seminar on educating military veterans for continued national service.