Practice Court Curriculum
During the first two years at Baylor Law, students receive much of the same traditional theory and courses prominent in other law schools. The goal is to give a foundational understanding of the law and how to think and reason like a lawyer.
It's the third year at Baylor Law that differs from any other law school in the nation.
With its mix of civil, criminal, and transactional cases, students emerge from Practice Court with the hands-on, real-world experiences that will serve them no matter what area of the law they pursue.
The program is comprised of four courses taught over two quarters:
- Practice Court 1: Pre-Trial Practice & Procedure
- Practice Court 2: Trial Evidence, Procedure & Practice
- Practice Court 3: Trial and Post-Trial Practice, Procedure & Evidence
- Professional Responsibility
HOW IT WORKS
Students spend their mornings in class, focused on the law of trial evidence and procedure, and their afternoons in advocacy exercises. The advocacy training begins with opening statements, then moves to direct and cross-examinations. Then students put it all together, conducting a full jury trial from opening statement through closing argument and verdict.
A second trial adds in experts. Students then go on to handle an evidentiary hearing in a third case in front of a judge without a jury. At the same time, they’re writing motions and responses to briefs that are woven into the very cases they are trying.
They’re also taking in the experience from all three sides, serving not only as an attorney, but also on various days as the trial judge ruling on objections or as a juror evaluating the evidence, because those additional perspectives round out the educational experience, all under the continuous supervision of a Practice Court advocacy professor.
These first cases are only the start. Students then build a case from scratch. They learn to develop a case theory and pleadings from a collection of facts. They conduct expert interviews, witness depositions, and written discovery necessary to prepare the case for trial. Motion hearings, jury selection, and ultimately trial of the case – before a panel of real jurors – follows, all under the observation of Practice Court professors, legal writing professors, and Baylor Law’s Jaworski Fellows.
For this final “big trial” case, students have the opportunity to request a case that matches their transactional or advocacy Professional Track, in order to tie Practice Court and the Professional Track together into one complete Baylor Law experience.
This is why it’s called the "Marine Corps of law schools." It’s why students who want to be challenged to be the best in the nation come to Baylor Law. And why, for over 160 years, many of the best lawyers in the nation began their journeys right here.