Baylor Law School realizes that public service is an integral part of the legal profession. After all, the legal profession is viewed as one of the most honorable service professions. To that end, Baylor Law School nurtures its commitment to and responsibility for public service by stressing to its students, through teaching and modeling, the need to serve others in the practice of law. This education and training is not solely reserved for those who have an interest in public service. Because our faculty members have a duty that not only extends to our students but also to those people and communities that our students will serve, the faculty develops in each and every one of our students the desire to serve others. The Texas Access to Justice Commission honored Baylor Law with the 2010 Commitment to Service Award for actively educating students about access to justice issues.
BearPAWS (People at Work and Service)
If you want to further enhance your interest in public service, you may participate in the law school’s voluntary public service program, BearPAWS. BearPAWS connects our students with pro bono work and service, tracks their community involvement, and recognizes their contributions to the greater community. On a practical level, BearPAWS teaches students how to make time for pro bono work while managing a heavy workload. Students seek out opportunities everywhere, from Catholic Charities immigration services to National Adoption Day. For last November's Adoption Day, they converted a classroom into a courtroom where Judge Gary Coley conducted adoption proceedings for more than 25 foster children from birth to age 16.
Public Interest Fellowship
Baylor Law School provides Public Interest Summer Fellowships to students interning during the summer for not-for-profit or governmental organizations serving underrepresented populations. Public interest employers have included government programs and not-for-profit organizations that serve indigent populations, legal aid, and public defenders’ offices. Typical issues include poverty and welfare, domestic and family rights, immigration, civil rights, workers' compensation, and bankruptcy. Except in unusual circumstances, fellowships will not be awarded to students working in prosecution or for the judiciary. Fellowship recipients receive $400 per week of work and must work a minimum of five weeks and a maximum of ten weeks with the qualifying organization. Summer fellows must also be supervised by attorneys.
Public Interest Society
The Public Interest Legal Society is a service-oriented organization that exists to serve Baylor Law School and the Waco community by facilitating the involvement of students in public interest institutions and programs. The Society coordinates and encourages the efforts of students, faculty, and administration in promoting public interest issues on campus and in the community. The Society also assists students in obtaining internships, externships, and employment in public interest fields in coordination with Baylor Law School's faculty and administration.