Baylor Law Dean Elected to American Law InstituteApril 14, 2009
Contact: Julie Carlson, Baylor Law School, (254) 710-6681
Founded in 1923 for the purpose of improving American law, the Institute's membership consists primarily of judges, law professors, law school deans and lawyers, who are selected on the basis of manifest professional standing, high character and ability, and significant contributions to the legal profession. The ALI is the leading independent organization in the U.S. producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and improve the law. The Institute publishes Restatements of the Law, model statutes and principles of the law that are enormously influential in the U.S. courts and legislatures, as well as internationally.
Professor Paul George of Texas Wesleyan School of Law nominated Toben for election to the Institute. The Honorable Ed Kinkeade, judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Roland Johnson, president-elect of the State Bar of Texas, and William Underwood, former Baylor Law professor and interim president of Baylor University, and currently president of Mercer University, seconded the nomination.
"Dean Toben epitomizes the ALI attorney: a very bright, service-oriented lawyer with unquestioned ethics," Kinkeade said. "He has built the finest facility for law students in the country, not as a monument, but as a laboratory to produce ethical legal warriors. I am honored to serve in the ALI with such a great lawyer and great man."
"Our system of law in the United States is the envy of the world," Toben said. "One of its singular strengths is a culture which recognizes that, through reason and experience, even that which is great often can be made better. Our laws and our justice system can, over time, benefit from reform and improvement. For this reason, the work of the American Law Institute is vital to maintaining our legal system as an on-going object of international admiration. I am so honored to be elected to the Institute."
Toben graduated from Baylor Law School with the J.D. degree with honors in 1977, after completing his B.A. with honors in political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He received the LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1981, and then taught at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis.
He joined the Baylor Law School faculty in 1983 and was named dean of the Law School in 1991. His academic interests have focused in the areas of commercial law and the relationship of debtors and creditors under state and federal law.
Toben, The M.C. and Mattie Caston Professor of Law, has served by appointment of the Governor of Texas as a Commissioner to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and has been recognized as an Outstanding Young Alumnus of Baylor. He also has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and has received the University of Missouri-St. Louis Distinguished Alumni Political Science Award. Toben recently was honored by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association at a reception for "exemplary service and commitment as a guiding light in legal scholarship and the pursuit of justice."
Additionally, Toben has participated regularly in accreditation and membership inspections of law schools for the American Bar Association and Association of American Law Schools, and has been active in the State Bar of Texas, especially in the bankruptcy specialization certification program. He is licensed in Texas and Missouri, practiced in St. Louis, and was previously of counsel to the firm of Dawson & Sodd in Texas. He is a Master of the Bench in the Judge Abner V. McCall American Inns of Court and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation.
Toben was one of only seven lawyers in Texas elected to ALI membership; the others receiving this honor include a federal judge, a Texas Tech University law professor, and a former president of the Dallas Bar Association.
Toben and the other newly-elected members will be recognized at a formal ceremony during the Institute's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in May.