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Baylor University (Baylor Law School)

Baylor University is dedicated to the traditional responsibilities of higher education: dissemination of knowledge, transmission of culture, search for new knowledge, and application of knowledge. Moreover, within the context of a culturally diverse community, Baylor University strives to develop responsible citizens, educated leaders, dedicated scholars, and skilled professionals who are sensitive to the needs of a pluralistic society.

As a professional school, the School of Law has a particular obligation to develop students who have the character, maturity, skills, and values needed to assume leadership positions in a profession charged with responsibility for maintaining and improving our nation's system of justice. Given that the legal profession is dedicated to providing service to clients, this obligation mandates first that the School of Law provide a program of education that endeavors to prepare students to provide legal services competently upon graduation.

The School of Law therefore seeks to expose students to those basic legal principles that serve as the foundation for our system of justice; to develop in students the core lawyering skills of clear thinking, writing, and speaking; and to provide students experience using this knowledge and skill to perform a reasonable range of lawyering tasks.

The obligation to develop students prepared for professional leadership also mandates that the School of Law expose students to the history, traditions, and values of the legal profession. Among these values is a commitment to public service and leadership within one's community and profession, a commitment to ensuring meaningful public access to our system of justice, and respect for and adherence to the ethical standards of the profession.

Perhaps the most fundamental value in a profession dedicated to service of clients, however, is the value of attaining and maintaining competence in one's field of practice. Meeting the obligation of preparing students to assume their responsibilities within an honorable profession therefore is the principal mission of the School of Law.

As part of the University's mission, the search for new knowledge is necessarily a part of the mission of the School of Law as well. The search for knowledge through scholarship, by faculty and students alike, is accordingly encouraged within the context of the principal mission of teaching and the School of Law, but this pursuit is secondary to and in service of the principal mission of preparing students for the practice of law.

You belong at Baylor Law School if you not only want to be educated in all facets of the law. . . but also want to learn how to practice it more effectively than your peers. While all law schools teach theory, ethics and modern legal doctrine, a recent national survey showed that only a small fraction of law students felt that law school had adequately prepared them for the practice of law. That will not happen to you at Baylor. Through our unsurpassed Trial Advocacy Program and rigorous instruction in problem-solving techniques, you will be equipped with the practical, hands-on lawyering skills you need to graduate from law school ready and able to represent your first client. That's an important advantage to have, and Baylor lawyers have it.

You can be assured, too, that while our curriculum is rigorous, Baylor surrounds you with all the necessary resources, including faculty mentoring, state of the art technology, and a caring and supportive environment to ensure your success. Moreover, you'll see the excellence of our program reflected in our new home on the banks of the Brazos River. The Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center is truly one of the finest law school facilities in the nation. If you want to be a well-rounded lawyer, a confident lawyer, and an ethical, honorable and responsible lawyer who is equipped to succeed no matter where your career takes you, you belong at Baylor. I invite your further inquiry, and my staff and I will assist you in any way we can.

The curriculum at Baylor is rigorous, but the demands we place on you are necessary if we are to produce outstanding practicing lawyers. You will complete a broad course of study in the fundamentals of legal theory and doctrine, as well as skills t raining in legal writing and research, and trial and appellate advocacy. We also provide hands-on training in planning, drafting, negotiating and client counseling skills. You'll learn legal theory as it exists on a nationwide basis with specific emphasis, where appropriate, on Texas jurisprudence.

The curriculum is structured to provide a logical progression of legal study from fundamental legal doctrine in first-year courses to increasingly more sophisticated and complex issues in second- and third-year courses. You'll find the broad exposure to legal fundamentals and the well-rounded education and training of our curriculum prepares you to be an outstanding lawyer--one who is prepared to pass the bar exam and is sought after by legal employers, including top law firms, business corporations, government and the judiciary. Our graduates enjoy unequaled success on the Texas bar exam and are employed quickly (98% of our 2003 class found employment either prior to graduation or shortly after passing the bar).

The bedrock of Baylor's renowned advocacy training is the third-year practice court course. This ten-hour required course is dedicated to rigorous instruction in procedure and trial advocacy skills. You will study procedural law in great depth, developing the kind of precision essential to a skilled lawyer. You will also learn fundamental techniques for the trial of a jury case––direct and cross examination of witnesses, jury argument, evidence skills, voir dire examination, and jury selection––as well as the realities of modern legal practice. During the two quarters of Practice Court, you will try lawsuits from beginning to end. Your professors will challenge you to become a personally resilient individual and you will develop a new appreciation for precision in analysis, thought, expression and communication––skills that will prove invaluable to you regardless of what field of legal practice you choose to pursue. Most importantly, whether you ever see the inside of a courtroom during your career, this course prepares you to be a competent, responsible, ethical lawyer and human being. Its value will last you a lifetime.

Another advantage of Baylor Law School is our unique quarter system. Whereas the semester system divides the school year into two parts of four and one-half months each, the quarter system divides the school year into three parts of three months each. The summer session is a full-schedule fourth quarter. Sixty percent (60%) of our students attend the summer quarter to accelerate their graduation. Under this system you can attain your law degree within 27 months of the time you enter law school.

Entering classes are accepted in the Fall (August), Spring (February) and Summer (May) quarters. After completing the first three consecutive quarters, you may elect at any time during the year to take time off from your legal studies to pursue a clerkship, an externship, or other programs that allow you to apply the principles and skills developed in school. Thus, your legal education can be as creative and innovative as desired.

Completing a concentrated course of study gives you a competitive edge in today’s job market. Law practice is becoming increasingly technical and specialized, creating a demand for lawyers whose education has prepared them for particular fields. At Baylor Law School, you will have the opportunity to obtain this exposure by completing a concentrated course of study in one or more of six areas of interest: General Civil Litigation, Business Litigation, Criminal Practice, Business Transactions, Estate Planning, and Administrative Practice.

Your concentrated study builds upon the foundational theory and doctrine of the first two years and culminates in your performing, through externships or skills exercises, specialized lawyering tasks under the direct supervision of accomplished lawyers. While you are not required to complete a concentrated course of study, no other law school in the nation offers its students a similar broad exposure to legal fundamentals and the opportunity to graduate with such a focused concentration on particular practice areas. We strongly encourage you to consider a concentrated area of study.

Outstanding legal scholars are regularly brought to campus through the Law School’s distinguished lecture series. Recent lectures have been delivered by Congressman Max A. Sandlin; Congressman Chet Edwards; Honorable Carolyn Dineen King, Chief Justice, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; Brett Kavanaugh, Staff Secretary to President George W. Bush; Ann Richards, former Governor of the State of Texas; and Morris Dees, founder and Chief Trial Counsel, Southern Poverty Law Center.

Each August, we also offer a two-week study-abroad program at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Mexico. Students may earn up to five quarter hour credits selecting from courses such as North American Legal System, International Human Rights and International and Comparative Intellectual Property.

We also offer joint degree programs. The Law School and the Hankamer School of Business offer joint degree programs that lead to the simultaneous award of the Juris Doctor (JD) and the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, or the Juris Doctor (JD) and the Master of Taxation (MTax) degree. Students interested in governmental service can complete their law degree along with a Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) degree offered by the political science department of Baylor University.

Our externship programs give you the advantage of practical experience in handling actual cases and dealing with clients. The Law School offers several clinical programs for which credit may be earned. Criminal clinical experience may be gained in externship programs offered in the office of the McLennan County District Attorney and the office of the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas in Waco. Judicial externships are available in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Waco Division), the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas (Austin and Waco Divisions), and the 10th Court of Appeals in Waco.

You may also participate in several other externship programs, for example, the Heart of Texas Legal Services Office, where students assist poverty-level clients in legal matters under the supervision of a staff attorney. These and other externships carry two quarter hours of credit and require a minimum of 90 hours of supervised work. Students may also participate in the Supreme Court of Texas and Court of Criminal Appeals externships which carries five quarter hours of credit and requires approximately 225 hours of supervised work.

Baylor is first a teaching school and one of the only law schools in the nation in which the granting of tenure is primarily based on a professor’s teaching effectiveness. Faculty members hold degrees from law schools and universities throughout the nation and have a strong dedication to teaching and scholarship. They are experts in their particular areas of the law and have significant practical experience as practicing lawyers––experience they bring to the classroom. Baylor Law School faculty have an average of 16 years teaching experience and an average of 6 years experience in the full-time practice of law.

Most important, all faculty members––unlike faculty at some other law schools––maintain generous and, in most cases, unrestricted hours for student consultation.

You’ll always find the doors to professors’ offices are open to you for scholarly discussion and individual mentoring––mentoring that improves and accelerates learning. At the same time, the faculty has produced a significant amount of legal scholarship which has led to their demand as speakers and lecturers at legal institutes and civic functions. All are dedicated to developing the highest quality lawyers who will positively impact the legal profession and the world around them.

Baylor Law School is small by choice, with entering classes of approximately 65 students in the spring, 30 in the summer and 65 in the fall. We keep our program small, because at Baylor, we are interested in producing quality, not quantity. More fundamentally, we have found that for our faculty to provide the kind of individual mentoring that sets Baylor apart from other law schools, we simply have to keep our enrollment limited. Our smaller enrollment affords you many advantages. You’ll discover a strong sense of caring and community among our students and faculty. You’ll build lifelong friendships, not only with your peers, but also with faculty members. And you’ll have plenty of opportunities to participate in co-curricular activities (including externships with judges, district attorneys’ offices and government agencies) and extra-curricular activities (including moot court, client counseling and mock trial competitions). In 2003, the student body included 42% women and 12% minority students.

Diversity at Baylor Law School At Baylor Law School, diversity is an important component of our educational mission. We believe that racial and ethnic diversity in our classrooms promotes cross-racial understanding and helps to break down ethnic stereotypes. We believe that classroom discussion is livelier, more spirited, and simply more enlightened and interesting when the students have the greatest possible variety of backgrounds. The law in particular is an area where removing barriers is critical. Inclusion and participation are key components in the educational process.

Minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply to Baylor Law School. We recognize that many racial and ethnic minorities are under-represented in the legal profession, and therefore, minority status may be considered as a “plus factor” in the context of individualized consideration of each and every applicant. Groups of people who are classified as racial minorities for affirmative action purposes include the following: Latino/Hispanic/Chicano; Black/African American; Asian/Pacific Islander; and Alaskan/Native Indian. Other groups, because of the richness they add to our student body, are also the focus of our diversity efforts, including those who have succeeded despite social, economic, or educational disadvantages; non-traditional students; and those with military experience.

We are committed to developing and implementing a program of nondiscrimination and affirmative action. Our society is rich in diversity, and so often, lawyers are the interpreters of culture, the peacemakers, the problem-solvers, and the voice of the people. It is our responsibility to ensure that our graduates are prepared to serve society at all levels, whether locally, as they represent clients with varied needs, or at the state and national levels, as policymakers.

Test your advocacy skills in intrascholastic Moot Court and Client Counseling competitions. Pursue a special interest in International Law or Civil Rights with student organizations. Develop your legal writing skills and scholarly abilities by contributing to the Baylor Law Review. You’ll find a stimulating variety of enjoyable student activities and organizations at Baylor Law School. Moot Court competitions require that you and a partner write a brief and argue your case before faculty and student barristers, with cash awards going to the finalists. Client Counseling competitions, in which you conduct mock client interviews, also provide cash awards.

You may also wish to compete interscholastically with Baylor’s nationally-recognized competitive teams. To hone your writing and legal scholarship abilities, the Baylor Law Review is a legal periodical published quarterly by the students under the supervision of faculty. Membership on the editorial board of the Baylor Law Review is considered highly desirable by prospective employers. Our students also enjoy participating in a wide variety of “special interest” student organizations focused on particular areas of law. All help you advance your skills, build your knowledge and make colleagues for life.

School name:Baylor UniversityBaylor Law School
Address:1114 South University Parks Drive
Zip & city:TX 76798 Texas

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