Ranked fifth in the nation for Advocacy by US News and World Report, Baylor Law School stands at the forefront of practice-oriented law schools, because it doesn't deviate from its singular mission: to teach and equip lawyers to practice law effectively and ethically. The curriculum at Baylor Law School is rigorous and intense but is intended to train and produce outstanding practicing lawyers. Coursework is designed to provide a logical progression of study from fundamental legal doctrine in the first year to more sophisticated and complex issues during the second and third years.
Recognizing the importance of practical training, the ABA recently added a practical component to its curriculum requirements. While other schools scramble to develop relevant programs, Baylor Law School continues to sharpen its long-standing and award-winning Practice Court Program and its tradition of integrated teaching of practical skills and professionalism across the curriculum. Baylor Law School students have countless opportunities to learn by doing while working one-on-one with professors through class projects, capstones, and independent studies. Professors draw upon their experience in practice to create exercises and projects similar to the scenarios students will face in their future careers.
Students' practical training intensifies in the third year as they participate in our nationally-acclaimed Practice Court Program. Even if you don't intend to be a trial lawyer, this rigorous, six-month experience teaches you, among other things, how to conduct initial interviews with clients, how to think critically and pragmatically about complex situations, and how to confidently advocate during a discussion or negotiation on behalf of your client.
Over the course of two quarters, you will try multiple lawsuits from beginning to end and immerse yourself in the study of procedural law, developing the kind of precision and attention to detail essential to a skilled lawyer. You will also learn fundamental techniques for the trial of a jury case––direct and cross examination of witnesses, jury argument, evidence skills, voir dire examination, and jury selection––as well as the realities of modern legal practice.
Most importantly, your professors will challenge you to become a resilient individual who can break down complicated, overwhelming quantities of information into useful, compelling arguments on behalf of your client. You will sharpen your analytical skills, thought patterns, and methods of persuasive delivery, all of which will prove invaluable to you regardless of what field of legal practice you choose to pursue.
THE ART OF PERSUASION
A good lawyer is competent, prepared, and confident. Baylor Law School believes that the tools and techniques used in and out of the courtroom are best learned by practice, not just by study and recitation. Our commitment to training practicing lawyers is evident in our trial advocacy program, the cornerstone of a Baylor Law School education.
Beyond the classroom, externships, and clerkships, many Baylor Law School students hone their skills through competitions.
It all starts with Baylor Law School’s internal competitions for mock trial, moot court and client counseling. Mock trial is a simulated jury or bench trial, while moot court is a simulated appellate hearing. Client counseling competitions focus on a student’s ability to consult with a potential client, evaluate the client's needs, and offer a recommended plan of action.
Students who excel at the inter-school competitions are then invited to try out for the mock trial, moot court, and client counseling teams who will represent Baylor Law School at regional and national events. Baylor Law School has a strong reputation as a formidable competitor.
In 2010, Baylor Law School hosted the first-ever Top Gun competition. This is an invitation-only event for the top competitors of moot court and mock trial competitions nationwide. There are no teams here, only a show-down of the best of the best facing off to determine the nation’s Top Gun. The competition is unique because the competitors receive their case files 24 hours prior to their arguments.