Classroom studies lay the foundation for legal theory, procedure and evidence. Advocacy exercises introduce skills critical to the practice of law. Competitions bring all of those elements together, enabling students to step into the shoes of a practicing attorney, counsel clients, draft agreements, negotiate deals, interview witnesses, make arguments, appeal decisions, and try cases all the way to final verdict.
Under the watchful eyes of accomplished professors, practicing lawyers and sitting judges, Baylor students have the chance to go head to head with their peers—from here and around the country—to see how their skills stack up. Some competitions are required. Some are elective. Some students travel to face off against the top teams in the nation. Some even offer cash prizes. All offer students valuable, hands-on experiences that will make them more confident and capable advocates.
The practice of law is competitive. And whether aspiring lawyers find themselves squaring off against opposing counsel or competing against themselves to become the best lawyers they can be, having the skills necessary to overcome adversity, think strategically, argue convincingly and prevail on behalf of their client is crucial to success.
For many students, it’s their first chance to be outside the classroom, to see if they have what it takes to stand and think on their feet and match wits against their classmates. One-on-one opportunities to work with professors over prolonged periods lead to a mastery of the nuts and bolts of oral and written skills—the very skills they will draw on while in Practice Court during their third year of law school. Competitive experiences translate into resume builders, as prospective employers look for young lawyers who have been tested. And in the end, students who face off against competition come away much better prepared for the challenges of real-world practice.
Students who elect to compete soon discover that their coaches dedicate as much (if not more) time as they do—working side-by-side, one-on-one, nights and weekends—helping them formulate their strategies, polish their skills, craft their arguments, and prepare them for the competitions ahead. Few law schools, if any, offer the degree of full-time involvement—coaching and mentoring students throughout the rigors of competitions—as Baylor Law.
Students also have access to some of the nation’s most accomplished litigators, sitting judges, transactional attorneys and written advocates—as Baylor Lawyers return as adjuncts—adding their insight and expertise to the preparation for competition. Working hand-in-hand with real-world experts, many of whom earned their spurs competing in these same competitions, it is not surprising that Baylor students enter tournaments with a distinct advantage. And that Baylor teams consistently place among the top ranked in America.
Students who have tasted competition emerge with a core of confidence that only comes from having been tested under fire. Most come away with a newfound sense of what they’re made of, and more importantly, what they’re capable of doing. Having stepped up and continually delivered under pressure, they enter practice with the additional polish, precision, poise and resilience to become successful advocates.
“I have come back to judge mock trial competitions over the past few years. Watching students from other schools sometimes struggle with basic courtroom procedure and tactics drives home the point that Baylor Law provides a high quality learning experience not duplicated in any other academic setting I have seen.”