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Students rank Baylor Law best in state

Sept. 19, 2003

By Jacob Ford, reporter

The Baylor Law School was the top ranked law program in the state according to a Sept. 8 survey by Texas Lawyer.

The survey asked law students to evaluate their law schools. More than 1,000 students from eight Texas law schools participated in the poll.

In a recent press release, Brad Toben, dean of Baylor Law School, said he was proud of the results.

'The article is very complimentary and highly affirming - especially coming from our most important constituency - our students,' Toben said.

The survey addressed many different areas of the law school experience. Instruction quality, preparation for practice, placement operations, library services and technology were just a few of the topics that were presented for students to evaluate.

Toben also showed a great appreciation for the professors in the law school for their hard work.

'The ranking makes me very proud of our faculty,' he said. 'They create the magic that makes this program succeed.'

Instructors also were excited about the results. Ron Beal, a Baylor law professor, said it is crucial that the students are enjoying their experience in the law school.

'We have really worked hard to only recruit students who truly want to work very hard for three years with the knowledge that they will benefit from that hard work for the next 50 years,' Beal said.

'This poll confirms what we already knew. We have a highly motivated student body who want to be the best they can be.'

Beal has taught at Baylor for 20 years and is excited about the recognition.

Baylor finished the survey with a cumulative score of 4.25 out of a possible five points. Scores were given to each school in each category and the final score was an average of all the categories.

According to the survey, Baylor law students felt the program was best at preparing them for practice and the field of library services.

Professor Melissa Essary said she believed that it is important and rewarding to see how the law students feel well prepared for the real-life courtroom.

'As a professor, it is gratifying to see how prepared our students are for real clients,' Essary said.

Baylor not only received the highest overall score, the students ranked Baylor's law school first in the technology category and second in the placement office category and the quality of instruction category.

Essary said that the law school at Baylor is known for its toughness, but it also is known to produce good lawyers as a result.

'Because students come here knowing the rigors of our program, yet they endure it and appreciate it, says a lot,' she said.

Toben agreed with Essary concerning the challenges of the program.

'It is gratifying to see that the students understand the purpose behind the program.'

Essary also said she thought that one advantage that Baylor Law School has over other Texas programs is the courtroom experience among the faculty. Essary believed it played an important role in the students preparation for practice.

'Our faculty has practiced law. We are able to incorporate experience into the classroom,' she said.

According to Usnews.com, Baylor ranks 51st in the nation in overall law schools. Toben said that any additional attention to the law school is beneficial.

'Everytime you get recognition, it helps the program.'