Law School Welcomes 72 New StudentsAug. 28, 2007
by Julie Carlson, director of communications, Baylor Law School, (254) 710-6681
Baylor Law School welcomed 72 new students Wednesday, Aug. 22, for three days of orientation that included talks by staff and faculty, lunch with Baylor law alumnus Harper Estes, president-elect of the State Bar of Texas, and social activities. Classes for all Baylor law students began Monday, Aug. 27.
"While our students are with us for the next three years, we will be preparing them to enter the legal profession as competent, ethical and caring lawyers who will serve as counselors and problem-solvers to their future clients," said Associate Law Dean Leah Jackson, who opened orientation with a welcome message. "Orientation is the important first step on the student's path to becoming a trusted member of our profession. We talk to them about the responsibilities that come with the privilege of being a member of this noble profession. We talk about the role that lawyers play in our society as protectors of the rights and liberties that we all enjoy as citizens in a free society. We talk about what it means to conduct themselves as a professional beginning on day one of law school.
"We also discuss how life as a law student will differ from their previous endeavors. We tell them they will work long hours, but the effort will be worth it. We encourage them to fully invest themselves in this time of personal and professional growth. We also caution them to remember to seek some balance with all of their many responsibilities."
Ed Cloutman, a new law student who received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, said Jackson gave a highly motivational welcome. "Dean Jackson just commanded the room. She got me fired up and ready to go," he said.
After Jackson's welcome, Becky Beck-Chollett, assistant dean of admissions, finalized registration with the students. They then attended various information sessions, including an introduction to the Sheridan and John Eddie Williams Legal Research and Technology Center, the technology requirements for a law student, health services for students, financial management and an introduction to the Law School's career services office.
Friday morning, Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben gave an introduction to the study of law, Professor Mark Osler discussed Training the Competent Practitioner, and Jackson covered the Lawyer as a Professional. Heather Creed, assistant dean of professional development and student relations, spoke on the ins and outs of being a law student.
Final orientation events included a talk by Jack Marshall, director of character and fitness for the Texas Board of Law Examiners, on the declaration of intent to study law, and small group sessions with current law students.
New students also attended law night at the Baylor Book Store, a class party sponsored by the Student Bar Association, and student information fair.
"The orientation sessions certainly get students settled into a new academic environment filled with new opportunities and expectations," Toben said. "The most important message that I want the students to absorb, however, is that they are entering a serving profession. I want them to reflect upon their motivations for being here and to be sure that they are ready to serve. I also want them to come to understand that only if they take personal responsibility for their own achievement and excellence will they be good stewards of the gifts and talents that they have been given to serve others."
The Law School's entering class is almost equally divided along gender lines with 38 males and 34 females. The class has strong academic credentials with a median undergraduate GPA of 3.74 and LSAT score of 163. Although the lion's share of the new students is from Texas, the entering class has 20 students who hail from 14 other states, from far off Wyoming, Massachusetts and Michigan to Texas' neighbors Arkansas and Louisiana.
Baylor Law School continues to draw students from the major universities in Texas, as well as from schools out of state. The university that was the top feeder school was the University of Texas at Austin, with 16 students receiving their undergraduate degrees from there, but Texas A&M and TCU also were well represented. Students also received undergraduate degrees from such universities as USC, Vanderbilt, Boston College, the University of Minnesota, NYU, and the University of Florida. One student is an ensign in the U.S. Navy, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.
Law also attracted students from a wide variety of academic disciplines. The fall class obtained degrees in such diverse fields as finance, management, political science, economics, art, Russian, public relations and marine transportation, among others.
With the new class, Baylor Law School has 413 students enrolled.