6 reasons Baylor Law students are recognized for service
Over the years, Baylor Law School has received national recognition countless times — for the quality of its students, the quality of its graduates, and for its value. But if there’s one particular thing for which Baylor Law is best known, it’s service.
In the past few years alone, Baylor Law has earned six state and national awards for service, including the American Bar Association’s prestigious Pro Bono Publico Award in 2015 (one of just two schools so honored in 30 years) and the State Bar of Texas’ W. Frank Newton Award a year prior. (Fittingly, the latter award — bestowed on those who display outstanding pro bono legal service to the poor — was named after a Baylor graduate, W. Frank Newton BA ’66, JD’ 77.)
Baylor Law School has made service an integral part of the school and its students’ DNA by building in numerous ways to help students develop a passion for serving. Here are six ways Baylor Law students use their training for the greater good:
1. Veterans Clinic — Since 2012, Baylor students have provided free legal advice and assistance to veterans at monthly clinics in Waco. Last year alone, students drafted over 45 wills for veterans and their families.
2. Immigration Clinic — In the last five years, Baylor Law students have partnered with students from Baylor’s Garland School of Social Work to serve nearly 200 low-income Waco residents with immigration needs and obtain driver’s licenses and permission to work.
3. Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic — Students and faculty help area entrepreneurs with patents, trademarks and other intellectual property matters, in many cases assisting budding businessmen and women facing financial need to get their ideas started.
4. People’s Law School — For more than a decade, law school students and staff have partnered with local attorneys who volunteer their time to educate people about their legal rights and make the law more “user friendly,” all at no charge. The yearly event offers multiple courses for attendees to take based on their area of need or interest.
5. Adoption Day — There may be no more emotional event at the law school than Adoption Day. Each year, the school hosts McLennan County Adoption Day, and foster children and their soon-to-be parents are sworn in by a judge and united as families. Last year, 41 decrees of adoption were signed, officially creating forever families that have worked months or even years for the right to come together.
6. Pro Bono work — The law school’s Pro Bono and Public Service Program helps students recognize areas of need where they can help. Students are challenged to provide at least 50 hours of pro bono service, participating in Pro Bono Litigation and Transactional Teams to provide assistance helping area residents (including some Habitat for Humanity home recipients) avoid home foreclosures, draft wills and create estate planning documents. In recent years, students have donated thousands of hours to provide free legal service to those in need.
At the beginning of each year, Law School Dean Brad Toben, JD ’77, reminds students that “the legal profession is a service profession.” Clearly, Baylor Law students take that message to heart.
Sic ’em, Baylor Law School!