A graduate of Brigham Young University and of the University of Chicago Law School, Elder Oaks has been an officer or member of the board of many business, educational, and charitable organizations. He is also the author or co-author of many books and articles on religious and legal subjects. In May 2013, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty awarded Elder Oaks the Canterbury Medal for "courage in the defense of religious liberty." Elder Oaks is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a former law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court, Judge of the Utah Supreme Court, lawyer at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, and Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.