Most law school associate deans last only 3 to 6 years. When asked why she’s been the associate dean for Baylor Law School for more than 25 years, Leah Teague feels privileged to be part of such a special place. "Baylor has a rich history of faculty, staff and deans who love what we do, believe in our mission and love Baylor. I know how blessed I am to be here.” Dean Brad Toben and Associate Dean Teague have been the leadership team for the Law School for over 25 years and continue to be committed to leading a talented and dedicated faculty and staff who are focused on excellence in teaching, training and developing their students. Dean Teague said, “We proudly create a culture where hard work is expected and passionate commitment to our responsibilities is modeled. The lawyers on our faculty and staff have practiced law and they well understand the opportunities, and responsibilities, our students will have as they serve their clients and lead in their communities. We stand committed to continuing our proud heritage of producing the next generations of Baylor Lawyers – that’s capital B, capital L."
Dean Teague comes from a Baylor family. She followed in the footsteps of her father and brother and attended Baylor University and Baylor Law School. After earning her BBA, summa cum laude, she never looked at another law school even though she was fairly certain at the time she entered Baylor Law School that, with her accounting background, she was not likely to want to be a trial lawyer. She recalls being surprised to find that she "enjoyed" the Practice Court experience, "as much as one can," she added.
After earning her J.D. cum laude in 1985, she entered private practice with the Waco law firm of Naman Howell Smith & Lee, P.C., where she practiced for almost five years in the firm's business section. Her primary interest and focus was tax planning. In practice her appreciation for Baylor Law School's approach to legal education grew exponentially as she recognized that the skills taught in Practice Court translate impeccably into a transactional practice as well the many leadership positions she has held.
For over 20 years, Teague was the primary tax professor at Baylor and she taught almost a full load of courses in addition to her administrative duties. She currently teaches Tax and Financial Planning for Individuals and Small Business Owners. "Making tax interesting and appealing to law students from all backgrounds is tough. Balancing my teaching duties with my administrative and other responsibilities is also a real challenge much of the time, but is well worth the effort. Through an integrated approach to teaching the practical applications of tax planning I can expose my students to common business and investment transactions that will impact them and their clients, while also discussing difficult, and sometimes delicate, professional responsibility issues they will face in practice."
She also currently teaches the Leadership Development class as part of a newly created Leadership Development Program. With the Baylor’s emphasis on public service and leadership, Dean Teague is excited to offer Baylor Law students the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills while thoughtfully reflecting on the leadership roles that lawyers have played throughout history. “This program will better prepare our graduates as they step into their own leadership roles within our profession and in their communities."
Dean Teague recognizes that being a lawyer is a privilege that requires her to give back to society both professionally and personally. She has been heavily in worthy effort from local to national organizations. On a national level, she is an appointed member of the American Council on Education's Women Network Executive Council, a national advisory council to the Women's State Network. She chairs the council’s New Initiative Committee which is leading the Moving the Needle Initiative aimed at increasing the national awareness of the economic and social benefits of, and therefore importance of, greater diversity in leadership. She also joined other academic leaders from the U.S. and abroad to discuss the status of women leaders in society when she was invited to participate in two Oxford Round Tables.
In Texas, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Texas Federal Tax Institute. Appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas, she served on the Professional Ethics Committee of the State Bar of Texas. She is an elected member of the Texas Bar Foundation. She is an alumnae of the Leadership Texas, as well as the Leadership America program. She was selected as a Woman of Distinction by the Blue Bonnet Council of Girl Scouts. She was founding co-chair the Texas Women in Higher Education, Inc.
Locally, Teague is a past president of the Waco McLennan County Bar Association. She has been actively involved in organizations that support the education of the community's young people. She was a founding member of the Greater Waco Community Education Alliance leadership team working with other community leaders to increase the community's active involvement in supporting the education of every student in the greater Waco community. She was also a founding member of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s LEAD program which provides promising high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a mentor from the business community. She was a founding member of the Midway Education Foundation board of directors. She served as a member of Waco ISD's Partners in Education Advisory Board. She taught Sunday school for elementary and intermediate grade school children for over 15 years. She was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus for Leadership Waco and a Distinguished Alumni of Midway High School. She served as the chair of the American Heart Association Waco Heart Walk.
She writes and speaks on tax, business, non-profit and leadership topics and she is frequently asked to give motivational speeches to youth delivering a message that emphasizes the importance of education, commitment and perseverance in pursuing their dreams.
When her daughters were young, she spent significant time assisting her two daughters' softball and volleyball teams. "We spent countless nights and weekends practicing and training, and we traveled to more places than I can remember, but I treasure every experience with them, even my broken fingers and other minor injuries along the way. My daughters (and I) learned many valuable life lessons through their athletic experiences. I’m so proud of what they accomplished. Not many mothers can brag about having a daughter who was the winning pitcher for four Little League World Series Championship Teams. I’m even more proud of the incredible women they have become."
Dean Teague also believes in heart-healthy living. She participated in numerous triathlons, marathons, trail runs and other such events. She remembers her first full marathon and her first full Ironman triathlon as some of her most challenging experiences in life. "Endurance races are true tests of your physical and mental tenacity. When my son-in-law first said we should sign up for an Ironman (swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and run 26. 2 miles) I told him he was crazy! That sounded impossible. Finding the training time, as well as the resolve, to push one's body to its physical limits and beyond while meeting all your professional and personal commitments was a daunting juggling act," she adds, "but training with good friends and my son-in-law – as well as that feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line – made it all worthwhile." Her favorite place to train is Cameron Park in Waco. "The trails and hills are daunting but the park and river are beautiful. Truly experiencing the outdoors and pushing yourself to accomplish challenging feats are experiences that renew my soul and deepen my admiration for the majesty of God's spectacular creations all around us."
Dean Teague and her husband Ted are active members of the Waco community. Dean Teague also enjoys oil painting, cooking, baking, traveling, although she readily admits she has little time for these activities. Time with her grandchildren, however, is a priority and a joy.