December 14, 2010
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Ringing Out 2010

Whew! Baylor Law School has had an incredibly busy fall 2010. Competitions, both intra- and intermural, alumni events, awards, commencement and public service opportunities have abounded. In this issue of the Rocket Docket, you'll read about some of our major news, but you also will want to visit the Baylor Law website to read some fun feature stories, look at some great photos and find out what will be going on in the New Year. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and an excellent 2011!

Baylor Law School Claims Highest Pass Rate on Texas Bar Exam

For the 14th time since 2001, Baylor Law School students claimed the top pass rate on the bi-annual Texas State Bar Exam with 94.64 percent success rate, the highest pass rate for students from the nine Texas law schools. Of the 112 Baylor students who took the three-day exam in July, 106 passed on their first try.

The overall state pass rate was 86.37 percent, with 1470 successful candidates out of the 1702 who took the exam for the first time. The University of Texas was second behind Baylor with a 92.80 percent pass rate, while the University of Houston was third with an 90.39 percent pass rate.

Judge Ed Kinkeade Named 2010 Baylor Lawyer of the Year

The Honorable Ed Kinkeade, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, was named the 2010 Baylor Lawyer of the Year by Baylor Law Alumni Association. Judge Kinkeade was honored at a luncheon at noon Nov. 19 at the Petroleum Club in Dallas.

Kinkeade's son, Brad, who recently graduated from Baylor Law, made an eloquent introduction of the congenial Judge at the luncheon.

"He refuses to put on airs, no matter who he is dealing with," Brad said. "He does something few people do. He treats everyone as an equal."

Also praising the Judge at the luncheon were Baylor President Ken Starr, Baylor Law Alumni Association President Jerry Clements, and Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben.

"Judge Ed Kinkeade personifies the selection criteria for the Baylor Lawyer of the Year recognition," Toben said. "I have known Judge Kinkeade for over 25 years. I have, with others, followed his progression from being a respected and admired practitioner, to taking the criminal court trial bench, then to quick elevation to the state district court bench, and thence to appointment on the Texas Court of Appeals for the Fifth Judicial District. From this bench, Judge Kinkeade in 2002 was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush."

The day was made even more special when the Judge swore his son into the State Bar of Texas. Watch video from the luncheon.

Judge Kinkeade's many friends and associates know how important Baylor Law School is to him and hence we initiated an effort to establish the "Judge Ed Kinkeade Endowed Scholarship in Law" at Baylor Law School.  We want to give you, as a friend of the Judge and his family, the opportunity to join this effort to honor Judge Kinkeade for his years of esteemed service.
If you desire to join us as we honor Judge Kinkeade in this way,  you can give online or send your contribution to: 

Dean Brad Toben
Baylor Law School
One Bear Place #97288
Waco, TX 76798-7288

Baylor Law School Receives the 2010 Commitment to Service Award from Access to Justice Commission

Baylor Law School received the 2010 Law School Commitment to Service Award that is presented by the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The award honors the law school that has most distinguished itself by actively educating its students about access to justice issues, thereby carrying forward one of the finest traditions of the legal profession. It is open to each of the nine accredited law schools in Texas. The Law School was recognized at the New Lawyer Induction Ceremony on Nov. 22 in Austin. more

Baylor Law Team Wins ABA Labor Law Mock Trial Regional Competition

A Baylor Law School team clinched the regional championship at the ABA Labor Law Mock Trial Competition in November in Dallas. Danielle Odom, Joel Towner, Brian Harrison and Steven Lopez defeated teams from Loyola University - New Orleans, The University of Houston, Mississippi College and The University of Colorado en route to taking first place. With the win the Baylor team qualified for the national competition. Another Baylor Law team of Caleena Svatek, Shawn Latchford, Huma Patel and Mark Walraven also competed. The teams were coached by Professor Jeremy Counseller and Adjunct Professor Dan Tilly. more

Meet Erik Baumann: Recipient of Baylor Law School's Prestigious Leon Jaworski Scholarship

By the time they receive their juris doctor degrees, Baylor Law students have competed in moot court, but few can say they actually founded a moot court program, especially when they were undergraduates. Not only can Erik Baumann make that claim, but he also can boast that he was runner up in the national undergraduate moot court competition. Because of his outstanding achievements in moot court and promise for the future,Baylor Law has awarded Baumann its prestigious Leon Jaworski Scholarship.

The full-tuition scholarship, named for the Baylor Law alumnus who served as Special Prosecutor during the Watergate crisis, is awarded to incoming law students who have outstanding records in advocacy programs, such as debate, mock trial and moot court. more

Jennifer Salim Crowned Baylor Law's Newest Top Gun

Jennifer Salim, a third-year law student from Natchitoches, La., was named Baylor Law School's latest Top Gun on Monday, Dec. 6. Salim won the intrascholastic Bob and Karen Wortham mini-trial competition and took home the "Mad Dog," an 18-inch bronze statuette of Matt "Mad Dog" Dawson, the legendary Baylor Law professor who started the tradition of mini-trial competitions during his tenure as director of Baylor Law's Practice Court Program.

Salim battled Robert Wharton for three hours to win the coveted trophy and the title of the top Baylor Law student trial advocate. As winner of the Wortham competition, Salim will receive $3,000. As runner up, Wharton received $1,000. Semifinalists Wes LeRouax and James Robert Ray each received $500.

Watch video clips of Salim and Wharton's closing arguments and learn more about what these top advocates had to say about the competition.

Czimskey and Smith Win 2010 Dawson & Sodd Moot Court Competition

Baylor Law students Matt Czimskey and Matt Smith both liked representing the Petitioner in the fictional Mills v. United States in the Law School's 2010 Dawson & Sodd P.C. Fall Moot Court Competition and hoped to do so in the finals. They thought they could give a more passionate argument to judges regarding a case that dealt with a controversial and relevant topic: the enhanced interrogation techniques used on al-Qaeda terrorists.

They didn't get their wish. In the competition finals on Oct. 4, the pair instead represented the Respondent. But both gave compelling, well-researched arguments, and when the judges voted, Czimskey and Smith were proclaimed the winners. Richard Sterling and Michael Morgan represented the Petitioner in the finals. more

Baylor Law Team Wins Texas Admin Law Competition for Fifth Consecutive Year

It was Baylor Law vs. Baylor Law in the finals of the 13th annual Mack Kidd Administrative Law Moot Court Competition held Oct. 16 at the Austin Third Court of Appeals. The Baylor Law team of Sarah Judge and Jose Magana defeated the Baylor Law team of Joel Towner and James Willis by half a point, which marked the fifth consecutive year a Baylor Law team has won the prestigious competition. more

Competition Round Up

You've read about wins by the ABA Labor Law Regional team and the Administrative Law team, but those aren't the only successes enjoyed by Baylor Law's advocacy competitors this fall.

A Baylor Law School team that participated in the National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition received an award for Best Brief on the Respondent's side in the Competition. The team of Adrienne Morris and Rafael Rodriguez also reached the round of 16, while Rodriguez was named the third best speaker in the entire competition.

For the second year in a row, Baylor advanced beyond the preliminary rounds in the Emory Civil Rights Moot Court Competition, this year getting to the quarterfinals before being knocked out. Baylor was the only school of the 18 schools participating to have both of its teams make the break. Unfortunately Baylor played Baylor in the first elimination round following the break which of course meant only one Baylor team could advance to the quarterfinal round. After the dust settled on that round, the team of Brittney Johnson, David Schlottman, and Lacy Gallier had edged out Baylor's other team -- Reagan Vernon, Andee Hartig, and Holly Raines to advance to the quarterfinals. The Vernon-Hartig-Raines team's brief picked up the award for fifth best brief in the Competition.

Bill "TGB" Thompson, Akilah "Kiki" Craig, Kelly "Big Daddy" Hodge and coach Laura A. Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Law, had a semifinalist finish at the 13th Annual Pepperdine School of Law National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition. Additionally, Craig was named Third Best Speaker while Hodge led the team to Best Respondent's Brief, Second Place. This was the first time Baylor Law School sent a team to the competition.

The Baylor Technology and Privacy Law Moot Court Team of Kristen Blakely, Huma Patel, and Eric Pursley competed in Chicago at the John Marshall Law School during the weekend of October 28-30, 2010. The Baylor team made the break to the octofinal round before losing to the team from Michigan State by less than two points.

Wesley LeRouaxWon Best Opening Statement Award at Lone Star Competition.

Congratulations to all the students and coaches for their great fall.

Lunchtime Becomes a Service Opportunity for Baylor Law Students

While the ideal legal profession has often been concentrated on the idea of service, law students may find it difficult to find time for much outside the bustling interior of the Baylor Law School.

However, it is in these years that habits are generated and often kept for the remainder of students' legal careers.

Each week the Student Bar Association members, in pairs, eat lunch with teacher-selected students from Sul Ross Elementary School, an inner-city Waco school. The Sul Ross teachers, who spend months (sometimes years) getting to know these students, select two children for each volunteer. more

Habitat for Humanity Benefits from Baylor Law School's Inaugural Service Saturday

Students, who began their attendance at the Baylor Law School in the last year and half, may remember serving the community as a part of orientation. On Saturday, Nov. 13, a number of law school students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to impact the local community as a part of Baylor Law's first Service Saturday.

The group worked at Waco Habitat for Humanity's warehouse.

"They (Waco Habitat) recently bought a warehouse. We painted and tore down some of the interior walls," said Dean Heather Creed, assistant dean of professional development and student relations.

In the past, orientation groups helped Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels and provided road-side and Brazos River clean up. The eventual goal is to have Service Saturdays once a month.

"We think group community service is a great way for the entering classes to get to know each other and get to know Waco a little more than they would as students," said Dean Creed, "It is also a way to embrace the fact that the legal profession is a service profession."

Take a look at how hard these people worked.

Baylor Law Alum Installed as President-Elect of Texas Trial Lawyers Association

Steve Harrison, a Baylor Law School alumnus and partner and founding member of the Waco law firm Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison, P.C., was installed as 2011 President-Elect of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association at its Annual Board and Membership Meeting on Dec. 3 in Austin. Harrison will be the fifth Baylor Lawyer to serve as TTLA president in the last decade, joining George Chandler, John Eddie Williams, Nelson Roach and immediate past president Tex Quesada. Houston lawyer Steve Mostyn will serve as 2011 President. more

Baylor Law Graduate Chosen As President of Litigation Counsel of America

Baylor Law School alumna Sharla J. Frost has been inducted as President of Litigation Counsel of America. The Litigation Counsel of America is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of fewer than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.  more

Baylor Law Alumnus Mike Baggett Receives Morris Harrell Professionalism Award

Baylor Law School alumnus W. Mike Baggett, Chairman Emeritus and Dallas Shareholder of Winstead, was named the 2010 recipient of the Morris Harrell Professionalism Award. The award is presented annually by the Dallas Bar Association and the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism to the "attorney who best exemplifies, by conduct and character, truly professional traits who others seek to emulate and who all in the bar admire." Baggett received the award at the Dallas Bar Association's Annual Meeting on Nov. 5 at the Belo Mansion. more 

Two Baylor Law School Alumni to Receive Baylor Meritorious Achievement Awards

Two Baylor Law School alumni received Meritorious Achievement Awards at a Board of Regents dinner on Oct. 21. Cary Gray was named Alumnus of the Year while Sen. Kirk Watson received the Pro Texana Medal (for Civic Service). Gray, Watson and eight other members of the Baylor family were honored for their contributions to the university and society and were special guests at several Homecoming events on Oct. 23. more

Jerry Powell to Lead Alaska Trip

Baylor Law students and newer graduates know him as The Hammer in Practice Court, but in July 2011 a different side of Jerry Powell will be on view. Powell, who is an expert in maritime history, will lead a trip to Alaska for the Baylor Alumni Association.

Travelers will get the chance to follow the path of British explorer Captain James Cook up the western coast of North America on an Alaskan cruise. Cook was responsible for mapping most of the coast from California to the Bering Strait.

The trip leaves from Vancouver. Powell will travel with the Baylor group and also will lead an optional pre-excursion into the backwaters of Vancouver Island for a tour of territories that Cook explored. For more information, contact Bob Anne Senter at 1.888.710.1859.

CASA the Big Winner at Baylor Law's Inaugural Professor Auction

Some fierce bidding wars broke out at an auction at Baylor Law School, but the big winner was the Waco chapter of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). On Friday, Dec. 3, Baylor Law's Phi Alpha Delta chapter held the inaugural Professor Auction in which students and staff bid on unique activities to share with Baylor Law professors. The auction raised more than $2,800 for CASA. more

Is Baylor Law on Your Gift List?

With Christmas around the corner, we know that gift lists are on everyone's mind. Have you considered giving a gift that will be around for years to come?

Making a year-end gift to the Law School Endowed Scholarship Fund will open the doors of Baylor Law for future generations of students—extraordinary students who otherwise could not afford this life-changing experience.  It's quick.  It's easy.  Go online & make your gift to Baylor Law today!

25 Ways to Stay Involved at Baylor Law

Today's spotlight is on #20 Update your contact information online at See all 25 Ways at

A Christmas Gift from Your Alumni Team!

As we wrap up 2010, we havea Christmas gift to wrap up for our alumni/ae.  Send us two of yourbusiness cards, and we will make you a personalized luggage tag featuringthe Baylor Law seal.  It's our gift to you!

Please send two business cards to:
Ms. Berkley Scroggins
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Baylor Law School
One Bear Place #97288
Waco, Texas 76798-7288

We will make your luggage tag, update your contact information in our records if needed, and mail your luggage tag to you.

Baylor Law Alumni Association Update

Thank you, Baylor Lawyers, for your help in making 2010-2011 a year like never before for the Baylor Law Alumni Association.  This summer, we challenged you to support the Alumni Association by renewing your annual dues or joining as a Lifetime Member – and you took on that challenge!  This year, nearly twice as many alumni/ae joined as Lifetime Members, and our dues revenue increased by approximately $4,000 from last year.  See who's a Lifetime Member, as of Dec. 13, at   A special thank you to those who have supported the Baylor Law Alumni Association – your support is invaluable as we continue to build our alumni programs.  If you haven't renewed your dues – it's not too late.

Annual Membership: $30
Lifetime Membership: $300
To renew, please mail your check, payable to Baylor Law Alumni Association to:
Ms. Berkley Scroggins
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations
Baylor Law School
One Bear Place #97288
Waco, Texas 76798-7288

Baylor Law Alumni Association Officers

2010-2011 Executive Committee
President: Jerry Clements, '81, Austin
President Elect: Traci Kenner, '87, Tyler
Past President: JoAl Cannon Sheridan, '92, Austin
Secretary / Treasurer: Leah Jackson, '85, Waco

Class Members
Vik Deivanayagam, '96, Waco (term expiring 2011)
Ed Blizzard, '78, Houston (term expiring 2012)
John Ginn, '89, Sulphur Springs (term expiring 2012)
Hon. Ed Kinkeade, '74, Dallas (term expiring 2012)
Hon. Robin Malone Darr, '82, Midland (term expiring 2013)
Casey Moore, '06, Dallas (term expiring 2013)
Roy Barrera III, '02, San Antonio (term expiring 2013)

Discover more about your Baylor Law Alumni Association.

Class Gift Initiative

In the September issue of The Rocket Docket, we went on a "hunt" for former SBA officers.  As a result of the hunt, we now have a record of 46 former SBA officers.  We want to continue to build this record.  If you are a former SBA officer or alumnus/a who remembers who served on SBA during your law school days, please click remember.  Our current students want to connect with former SBA officers for a new Class Gift initiative.

Sneak Preview of the 2011 Alumni Event Calendar

Here's a sneak preview of the cities we will host alumni events in 2011.  More cities and details to come.

Midland / Odessa
El Paso
East Texas
San Antonio - Alumni Reception held in conjunction with the State Bar Annual Meeting,
June 23-24, 2011


Baylor Law has lots of new photos on our website. Check out pictures from the Law Alumni Reunion Weekend, Homecoming, Commencement, the inaugural Service Saturday, and more.

Update Your Contact Information

We need YOUR current contact information!  You can update your contact information at: When updating your information, please make sure the"Preference" tab reflects the information you would like shared.

Your Alumni Team

In efforts to keep you connected to Baylor Law School and make your alumni experience rewarding, your Alumni Team is here for you.  Let us know how we can serve you.

Julie Corley, Director of Development

Julie Carlson, Director of Communications & Marketing

Berkley Scroggins, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations

connect to alumni
hire a bear
make a gift
submit a news story

Julie Carlson


254.710.6681 Direct

254.710.1911 Main

254.710.2316 Fax

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