Baylor Law School's interscholastic moot court program has been ranked the fifth best in the United States and will take part in the Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Championship in Houston in January 2013. Only the top 16 schools in the country compete in the national championship, which is sponsored by Andrews Kurth and the University of Houston Law Center.
Baylor Law Professor Larry Bates says the top-5 ranking is significant because it judges performance though out the year.
"Under the scoring system, this was our best year in program history, reflecting not just our success in a few competitions, but our consistent success throughout the entire year in competition after competition," he said.
The scoring methodology for the rankings divides competitions into four tiers, with only four competitions labeled as tier one. Points are assigned based on the size of the competition and its prestige. Teams receive points for winning and for placing as a finalist, semifinalist and quarterfinalist. Teams also can receive points for Best Brief and Best Speaker awards. To count toward points, a competition had to be open to moot court teams from throughout the U.S. Therefore, the Baylor Law win at the Mack Kidd Administative Law Competition, which is only open to Texas teams, didn't count.
Baylor Law received points based on its finish in nine competitions. Among Tier One competitions, Baylor Law received points for its win and second place finish in the regionals of the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition. It received the most points, 11 each, for taking the championship in the Emory Civil Rights and Liberties Competition, the Kaufman Security Law Competition and the HNBA Uvaldo Herrera Competition. It also earned Best Brief points at Emory and Best Speaker and Best Brief points at the Herrera competition.
Baylor Law also earned points in the Pace Environmental Law Competition (quarterfinalist), Duberstein Bankruptcy Competition (Best Speaker), NYU Immigration Law Competition (Best Brief), Evans Constitutional Law Competition (finalist) and the Pepperdine Entertainment Law Competition (semifinalist and Best Brief).
Baylor Law sent teams to six competitions it had never participated in before - the Chicago Bar Association, HNBA, Wisconsin Evans Constitutional Law, Southern Illinois School of Law National Health Law Competition, NYU Immigration Law and the Andrews Kurth National Championship.
Most schools use third-year law students for advocacy teams, but Bates pointed out that the majority of Baylor Law teams are made up of second-year law students. Baylor Law third years must take the highly demanding Practice Court program, which leaves them little time for advocacy competitions.
"Baylor Law students love advocacy and receive unmatched instruction and training in the art of advocacy during all their time at Baylor Law. We are thrilled with the Top 5 ranking, but we also believe that this ranking is something that just flows from the excellence of our program," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben.