Long before law schools across the country adopted the term “practice-ready,” Baylor Law led the nation in equipping students with the combination of analytical, problem-solving, and professional skills to prepare them for practice of law.
A leading voice in the national conversation for legal education, Baylor Law continues to set the pace as one of the premiere teaching law schools for future practitioners. Today, the school ranks 2nd in the nation in Advocacy by U.S. News & World Report, number one in the percentage of Super Lawyers by the National Jurist, and every year sees its students achieve one of the highest bar passage rates in America. Baylor’s rigorous program produces outstanding lawyers–one reason why courts, businesses, government agencies and communities recognize Baylor Law graduates as having the real-world skills necessary to make an immediate difference in the lives of the people they serve. And, why law firms looking to recruit young lawyers with the preparation, poise and proficiency to hit the ground running hire graduates of Baylor Law.
Formally organized in 1857, Baylor was the second university west of the Mississippi to teach law, and the first official law school in Texas. As an outgrowth of its practice-oriented mission, the school introduced “Practice Court” in the 1920s. Believed to be the first of its kind among law schools, Baylor Law’s Practice Court went on to become the benchmark for the practical training of aspiring young advocates. Today, Baylor Law is recognized as “the Marine Corps of law schools” and continues to lead the way in legal education. Building upon a strong foundation of legal theory, students advance through a carefully calibrated curriculum that enables them to apply what they’ve learned, culminating in what remains the nation’s most in-depth training ground for the practice of law. Along the way, they begin to develop the character, maturity, and skills needed to successfully lead their clients and become leaders in their profession and their communities.
Ranked 4th in the nation for ‘“Best Law School Facilities” by The National Jurist, Baylor Law occupies one of the most magnificent, spacious, and technologically-advanced law school facilities in the nation. Opened in 2001, the architecturally stunning, three-level, 128,000 square-foot Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center welcomes students and faculty from all over the United States and many foreign countries. Located just east of Interstate 35 in Waco, Texas, Baylor Law can be found nestled on the banks of the Brazos River on the beautiful campus of Baylor University. On the road to excellence running through legal education, Baylor Law can be found right where it has always been. Ahead of the curve.
The economic model of law firms has changed. Firms that once hired straight out of law school are now forced to re-evaluate efficiencies. Training young lawyers takes time and costs money that is increasingly difficult to justify. As a result, firms have pleaded with law schools—schools with curriculums steeped in theory with little attention devoted to the actual skills required to enter practice—to introduce practical training.
The history of Baylor Law is woven into the fabric of American Law. It was here where the first law school in Texas was born, and where the nation’s first “Practice Court” got its start. Over the years, generations of Baylor Lawyers went on to distinguish themselves as justices of the Texas Supreme Court, mayors, governors, federal judges, directors of the FBI and members of the United States Congress. Baylor Lawyers went on to try, and prevail, in some of the largest, most influential cases in American legal history. And the tiny law school that saw as its mission preparing students to “assume their responsibilities within our honorable profession and follow the call to service,” also saw it grow to become one of the premiere law schools in America.