By his own admission, Jim Wren is a person of very limited abilities. He knows how to talk to juries, and he knows how to teach law students and young lawyers to talk to juries. “I'm at a loss trying to list any other useful skills I might have,” he says.
It is true that Jim enjoyed a once-promising career in coaching, when he served as assistant coach for his twin sons' sixth-grade basketball team. Despite the team's city private school sixth grade championship that year, however, Jim resumed his career in litigation. “You have to be willing to make the tough career choices.”
Professor Wren was recruited to the faculty of Baylor Law School in 2006 to teach Practice Court. He comes from a specialization in business litigation, including business fraud, professional liability and fiduciary litigation. While in private practice he was named a Texas Super Lawyer in Business Litigation each year from the time the designation originated in 2002. He is board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy (by the National Board of Trial Advocacy) and in Civil Trial Law and in Personal Injury Trial Law (by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization). In December 2011, James Publishing (San Francisco) released Professor Wren’s book, Proving Damages to the Jury. He is also the co-author (Professor Jeremy Counseller) and editor of two other books—Texas Commercial Causes of Action and Texas Trial Procedure and Evidence, both published by ALM Publications. In 2012, he was designated as a Baylor Outstanding Professor.
At Baylor, Professor Wren subsists on minimal sleep and a bizarre diet of pistachios, cream and honey with a spot of tea, and a pack-a-day of red Tic-Tacs. He starts class each morning at 7:45 and insists that “in court and class there's no such thing as on time. You're either early or you're late.” (There are no late arrivals.) He teaches advocacy that is “respectfully but relentlessly persistent,” with cross examination built on demonstrating the truth “one undeniable fact at a time.” Classes run the same way, conducted in East Texas English, “spoken as God intended.”
From 2009 through 2011, Professor Wren served as President of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, which is the ABA-accredited national certifying board for civil trial, criminal trial, and other legal specializations. He continues to represent clients in various courts around the nation. He is licensed for federal practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the Western, Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas, and appears in other federal and state courts by special admission. He is a graduate of Trial Lawyers College in Dubois, Wyoming, and has served on the teaching faculty of Trial Advocacy College, sponsored by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. He also serves as director of the National Board of Trial Advocacy and is the former president of the Waco chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Professor Wren graduated with a J.D. cum laude from Baylor Law School in 1980. He added an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Kent at Canterbury in 1982. Prior to joining the Baylor Law School faculty, he served for many years as an adjunct professor teaching the Management of Complex Litigation course to third-year students.
As a graduate of Baylor and its Practice Court program, Jim is a staunch advocate for the rigors of a Baylor education. “We prepare leaders - regardless of what they plan to do professionally - to stand and deliver, to do what's hard. These folks - the ones who are willing to pay the price and do what others back away from - are exactly the people we want to be training.”
Professor Wren and his wife, Mindy, have a daughter, Stacy, and twin sons, Eric and Jackson. The Wrens are active members of University Baptist Church in Waco.