Baylor Law School has been selected to receive the 2015 American Bar Association (ABA) Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since 1984.
Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service presents five awards to individual lawyers and institutions in the legal profession that have demonstrated outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. Since 2010, Baylor Law School students have devoted more than 3,600 recorded hours to pro bono efforts.
"We believe that it is our duty as professionals to assist our neighbors in their time of need. With so many of our fellow Americans unable to afford legal services, we believe it is a key part of our mission at Baylor Law School to educate our students about the importance of pro bono work," Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben said. "We hope that in serving citizens in need we will ignite a fire in the hearts of our Baylor Law students that will grow as they go forward in their legal careers."
Baylor Law School has devoted meaningful resources to create opportunities for students to assist with the delivery of quality pro bono legal services to those who are in need of legal services, but who cannot afford to pay for them. Since the Law School began tracking efforts through clinics and programs, approximately 380 people have been or are being represented in legal matters or cases, and approximately 125 clients have received legal advice.
Baylor Law School's many pro bono and public service programs include:
"From the beginning of their education, we help our students understand and embrace becoming servant leaders," Toben said. "This theme, which starts at the first-year orientation, continues through graduation. We have endeavored to create innovative partnerships among local lawyers, legal services providers and law students to accomplish our goal of serving as many in our community as possible."
In June 2014, the State Bar of Texas and its Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee honored Baylor Law School with the 2014 W. Frank Newton Award, which recognizes the pro bono contribution of attorney groups, including law school faculty, whose members have made an outstanding contribution in the provision of, or access to, legal services to the poor. In 2014 the American Bar Association awarded the ABA Public Interest Award to Baylor Law School for its implementation of the annual Adoption Day program. In 2012, the Texas Access to Justice Commission awarded the Law Student Pro Bono Award to Brittany Wray for the significant impact her pro bono work had on the community. In 2010, the Texas Access to Justice Commission awarded Baylor Law School with the Law School Commitment to Service Award for being the law school that has most distinguished itself by actively educating its students about access-to-justice issues.
Baylor Law School hosted a luncheon May 5 in Austin to honor Clements, who is chair of the international firm Locke Lord, as a distinguished leader in her professional achievements and service to the community.
"I am humbled and honored to be counted among a group of such prestigious Baylor Lawyers of the Year," said Clements, who serves on Baylor's Board of Regents. "Baylor Law School gave me a wonderful education, many dear friends and the opportunity to achieve things that this girl from Fort Worth could never have imagined. For that, I am forever grateful and indebted."
Clements has practiced law for more than 30 years. As chair of Locke Lord, with approximately 1,000 attorneys and 23 offices worldwide, Clements specializes in commercial litigation with clients in Fortune 500 companies.
She has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers by the National Law Journal and named one of the 30 Extraordinary Women in Texas by Texas Lawyer. Clements has a fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Clements is a lifetime member and past president of the Baylor Law Alumni Association. Clements is an active member of the United Way of Central Texas and Dallas and serves on the board of directors of the National Women's Council. Former Gov. Rick Perry selected her as a Yellow Rose of Texas.