Baylor Law Student Recognized as 'Top 10' Scorer on CPA Exam

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Baylor Law School student Nikki Laing
Dec. 16, 2009

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Nikki Laing, a Baylor Law School student, has been recognized as one of the Top 10 highest scorers in Texas on the CPA exam during swearing-in ceremonies in Austin.

The swearing-in ceremony was held Nov. 14. More than 900 new Certified Public Accountants were sworn in by William Treacy, Executive Director of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. Swearing-in ceremonies are staged twice a year by the TSBPA to honor newly licensed Certified Public Accountants.

To be eligible to be sworn in, Laing, who took the CPA exam in January 2007, had to complete 2,000 hours of work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA or lawyer. She works part-time as a CPA for the law firm of Norton & Wood LLP in Texarkana.

A non-traditional law student, Laing earned her bachelor's degree in accounting from Baylor University in 2006.

"I married and left school to start my own business in Texarkana when I was half way through my undergraduate degree," she said. "After being in business, I became interested in the legal aspects of running a business and decided I would like to go to law school."

However, Laing knew she had to earn an undergraduate degree before she could pursue her dream. She and her five-year-old son returned to Waco, where they lived in an apartment during the week, returning to Texarkana on weekends. When she graduated, Laing received Alpha Chi Honor Society's "4.0 GPA" medal for achieving a perfect GPA in her major honor society and was nominated as the top student in Baylor's Hankamer School of Business.

She was accepted to Baylor Law immediately following graduation, but decided to return to Texarkana to be with her husband and to enable her son to settle in to hometown activities. She began working for Norton & Wood as an accountant. She plans to remain at the firm after she receives her law degree.

"Never have I been associated with someone who is so committed to continuing improvement--improvement of self and improvement of business processes," said Fred R. Norton, Jr., partner at the firm and a Baylor Law alumnus. "She is driven, though in a healthy sense, to always be better, whether it means being a better student, a better professional, a better businesswoman or a better mom. Anyone who knows Nikki knows that she does it all. She has been an inspiration to us. Baylor Law School will be proud to number her among its graduates, and we will be even happier to have her as a member of our firm."

Laing, who started law school in summer 2008, is in her fifth quarter and is a member of Baylor Law Review. She also is working toward a double concentration in estate planning and business litigation. She continues the commute she began as an undergraduate, staying in Waco Monday through Friday and returning to Texarkana for the weekend, a 10-hour roundtrip by car.

"The most difficult part is being away from my family and living out of suitcases. But my professors are awesome, and I am so glad I decided to pursue my dream," she said.

Contact: Julie Carlson, Baylor Law School, 254-710-6681

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