MAD Conference 2017

MAD Conference 2017

Inaugural Making a Difference Conference

Hosted by Baylor Law and LEAD Counsel

2:00 - 6:00 p.m., February 17, 2017
Jim Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Classroom & Courtroom,
Room 127, Sheila & Walter Umphrey Law Center
1114 South University Parks Drive Waco, TX 76706


The purpose of this conference is to inspire law students and young lawyers to use their legal training to make meaningful contributions to their communities and to equip them to think critically and strategically about public service.

The Leadership Engagement and Development (LEAD) Counsel hopes to inspire attendees with stories from those in the legal profession who have modeled exemplary public service.

We also hope to equip law students and young lawyers for service in their communities. Attendees will gain practical advice and be given suggested action items that will enable them to develop a strategic plan for their future public service, whether serving on a non-profit board, running for office, lobbying for legislation, or testifying at the Capitol.

This conference is open to the general public. Any interested person is welcome to attend.

Baylor law students will receive dual professional and leadership development credits for attending the full conference.*

This course has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of 2 credit hours, of which 2 credit hours will apply to legal ethics/professional responsibility credit.

*If you are a non-Baylor law student but have a similar requirement for professional development at your institution, please email with the correct contact information at your law school. We will contact your school regarding credit for your attendance.


Schedule of Events

2:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Keynote Address

The Importance of Community Involvement (How a Lawyer Can Lead)
Senator Kirk Watson

2:35 - 3:05 p.m.
Session 1:

Run For It. Don’t just complain about problems in your community; do something about them
Chet Edwards, Former U.S. Congressman
Councilman Dillon Meek, Member, Waco City Council
Mayor Ken Shetter, Mayor of Burleson, Texas

3:05 - 3:15 p.m.
Dr. Pepper Float Break

3:15 - 3:45 p.m.
Session 2:

Breaking the Code. How you can impact legislation during your legal career, and why you should want to
Joe. B. Allen, Attorney and Lobbyist (retired)
Bill Miller, Lobbyist, HillCo Partners

3:50 - 4:20 p.m.
Session 3:

You Want to Help - Now What? Charting a path toward leadership roles in non-profit organizations
Ashley Allison, Director, Waco Foundation
Abby Griffith, 1L at Baylor Law, Founder of Golden Door Foundation
Berkley Knas, Alumni Relations, Baylor Law, Waco Civic Leader
Leah W. Teague, Associate Dean, Baylor Law, Founder, LEAD Mentoring Program

4:25 - 4:45 p.m.
Closing Panel:

Roadblocks. What obstacles will you face when trying to get involved in the public sphere in your community, and how can you overcome them?

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Dean's Reception

Gibson Gayle Jr. and Uriel Dutton Reading Room
2nd Floor, Baylor Law Library

The Dean’s Reception Honoring the Speakers is exclusively for the speakers and their guests, LEAD Counsel Members, and Leadership Development Program Participants.

For information on how to join LEAD Counsel, please contact
For information on how to join the Leadership Development Program, please contact

About the Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Kirk Watson

Kirk Watson
State of Texas Senator, Senate District 14

Senator Kirk Watson graduated first in his class from Baylor Law. After clerking for a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, he worked at a law firm in Austin before starting his own firm. As a young lawyer, he served as the President of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and was named the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas. He served as Mayor of Austin from 1997 - 2001 and currently serves as the State Senator from Austin, representing Senate District 14, where he also works as a partner in litigation and business services at the law firm Husch Blackwell. Senator Watson has served the public throughout his career, most recently through his successful effort to establish the Dell Medical School in Austin. Today, he’s working to improve the community in Austin through his #10IN10ATX initiative.

Session 1 Speakers

Chet Edwards

Chet Edwards
Former U.S. Congressman,
House of Representatives District 17

In 28 years of public service, Chet Edwards has made a positive difference for Texas and the nation. As a Texas State Senator from 1983 - 1990, and as a U.S. Representative from 1991 - 2010, he earned the reputation of a bipartisan leader and champion of America’s military troops, veterans and their families. As a private citizen, he continues that service as a Board Member of the Military Child Education Coalition and as a Member of the Army National Cemeteries Advisory Commission, which is helping develop a long-term plan for the future of Arlington National Cemetery.

Dillon Meek

Dillon Meek
Council Member, Waco City Council

An alumni of Baylor Law, Dillon Meek was elected to the Waco City Council on May 9, 2015 as the representative for District IV. He was elected as Mayor Pro Tem on May 17, 2016. Dillon serves as the general counsel of Rydell Holdings, a local investment company, and directs the operations of the real estate investment division of the company. Dillon is currently on the board of Unbound and the McLennan County Pack of Hope. Prior to joining Rydell Holdings, Dillon practiced law at Haley & Olson, P.C., where he primarily represented local governments and financial institutions.

Ken Shetter

Ken Shetter
Mayor, City of Burleson, Texas

An alumni of Baylor Law, Ken Shetter currently serves as the Mayor for the City of Burleson, a position he was elected to in 2004. In addition to his public service, Mayor Shetter is the President of One Safe Place, a nonprofit organization focused on preventing crime and violence. Prior to leading One Safe Place, he practiced in the areas of general civil litigation and real estate transactions.

Session 2 Speakers

Joe B. Alle

Joe B. Allen
Attorney and Lobbyist (retired)

Joe B. Allen graduated from Baylor in 1965 (B.A.) and Baylor Law in 1967. He practiced for eight years at Naman Howell Smith and Chase (Partner 1972-1975) where his principal client was the Urban Renewal Agency that acquired hundreds of acres in downtown Waco and some of what is now the Baylor campus. From 1975-2003, he practiced at Vinson & Elkins (Partner 1977-2003) in Houston, specializing in public finance, local government, special districts, lobbying and politics. He also served as Co-Chair of the Public Finance Section. In 2003, with 10 other VE lawyers, he formed Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP, where he served as Managing Partner. ABHR limits its practice to public finance and local government and is now the largest public finance firm in Texas. Allen was a practicing attorney who successfully lobbied the legislature for over 30 years on legislation affecting his clients and practice. During this time, he authored and lobbied the passage of major revisions to the Texas Water Code and other statutes related to local government. Allen retired December 31, 2012. ABHR honored him by establishing the Joe B. Allen Fund at Baylor Law to promote the study of local and state government.


Bill Miller
Lobbyist, HillCo Partners

The Houston Press has voted Bill Miller "Best Lobbyist" twice. Texas Monthly magazine has twice named him one of the "25 Most Powerful People in Texas." Capitol Inside has named him as one of three persons who are "Lobby Legends - in a League of their Own." He is quoted extensively on politics in national publications such as the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and the New York Times along with Texas newspapers across the state. He is a founding partner of HillCo Partners, an Austin-based public affairs company that is the largest lobby firm in Texas.

Session 3 Speakers

Ashley Allison

Ashley Allison
Director, Waco Foundation

Ashley Allison is the executive director of the Waco Foundation, where she manages all aspects of a $76 million community foundation with the mission of improving the quality of life in McLennan County. During her career, she has raised over $25 million in grants and contributions for various community foundation efforts. Allison is a member of the Waco Business League, Waco Leadership Forum and Waco Rotary. Locally, she serves on the boards of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and Today’s Action Tomorrow’s Leaders, and she is a member of the Prosper Waco Financial Security Steering Committee, Waco Foundation’s Capacity Building Advisory Council and the City Center Waco Organization and Policy Committee.

Abby Griffith

Abby Griffith
1L at Baylor Law, Founder of Golden Door Foundation

Abby Griffith is the founder of the Golden Door Foundation, a nonprofit organization which provides need-based scholarships for permanent residents applying for their U.S. citizenships. Funds distributed to scholarship recipients cover the cost of the application, as well as a civics course to prepare them for the interview process. Griffith has a B.A. from Boston University, and an M.A. from The George Washington University. She is currently a J.D. Candidate at Baylor Law.

Berkley Knas

Berkley Knas
Alumni Relations, Baylor Law
Waco Community Leader

Berkley Knas graduated from Baylor Law in 2010 and has been honored to lead the alumni relations department at Baylor Law for the past seven years. While a student at Baylor Law, Knas was the Executive President of the Student Bar Association and was heavily involved in Baylor Law’s Adopt-a-School partnership. She is an alumna of Leadership Waco and has served on the Board of Directors of the Junior League of Waco, the Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center Ambassador Board, Baylor Round Table Board, Baylor Club Membership Council, the Kappa Alpha Theta Advisory Board and Waco Cotton Palace. Knas has mentored several high school students through the Greater Waco Chamber’s LEAD program and has served as a CASA advocate to six children.

Leah W. Teague

Leah W. Teague
Associate Dean, Baylor Law
Founder, LEAD Mentoring Program

Leah W. Teague is Associate Dean and Professor of Law at Baylor Law. After graduating from Baylor Law, she worked for the law firm of Naman Howell Smith & Lee, PLLC where she focused on business and tax law. She has been a member of the Baylor Law faculty for 27 years and the associate dean for 25 years. In addition to her administrative duties she currently teaches Tax and Financial Planning for Individuals and Small Business Owners, and Leadership Development. She writes and speaks on tax, non-profit, and leadership topics.