Seventh Annual Baylor Law Alumni Weekend

November 1, 2016

Seventh Annual Baylor Law Alumni Weekend

WACO, Texas -

On October 21-22, Baylor Law School hosted the Seventh Annual Baylor Law Alumni Weekend that included a special celebration of decades of leadership.

Celebrating Decades of Leadership

To kick off the Seventh Annual Alumni Weekend, Baylor Law School honored Dean Brad Toben, Associate Dean Leah Teague, and faculty and staff colleagues who have served for 25 or more years with "Dinner and Dancing at the Baylor Club."

Dean Toben is the second longest tenured law school dean in the country and the longest tenured dean in Baylor Law’s history. Associate Dean Teague has served alongside Dean Toben for the entirety of his deanship. With the average tenure of law school deans being six years, their longevity—especially together—is unprecedented in legal education.

Not only have the deans faithfully served Baylor Law for 25 years—nine faculty and one staff member have served 25 or more years as well. Baylor Law was honored to recognize Professors David Guinn, Mike Morrison, Tom Featherston, David Swenson, Ron Beal, Mike Rogers, Jerry Powell, Brian Serr, Beth Miller, and Registrar Jerri Cunningham.

Professor Jerry Powell, Professor Brian Serr, Professor Tom Featherston, Professor Beth Miller, Registrar Jerri Cunningham, Professor Ron Beal, Professor David Guinn, Associate Dean Leah Teague, Dean Brad Toben, Professor David Swenson, Professor Mike Morrison

Dinner, Dancing, and Fellowship

During the "Dinner and Dancing" celebration, Judge Ed Kinkeade served as master of ceremonies and "roasted" the honorees; George Chandler provided the invocation; and John Eddie Williams "roasted" Dean Toben. Dean Teague led the audience through a celebration of 25 years of progress at Baylor Law. She highlighted the new and innovative programs that complement the school’s tradition of excellence in the classroom. Dean Toben expressed his heartfelt gratitude and shared his thoughts on why Baylor Law continues to succeed. The evening was full of laughter, fellowship, memories, and fun times on the dance floor shared by Baylor Lawyers and friends.

A special thank you to the Baylor Lawyers and friends who graciously supported Dinner and Dancing at the Baylor Club:

Sheila and Walter Umphrey
Sheridan and John Eddie Williams

Scott Douglass & McConnico

Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson
Harrison Davis Steakley & Morrison
Jackson Walker
Martha and George Chandler
Norton Rose Fulbright
Pakis Giotes Page & Burleson
Provost Umphrey

"Legal Innovation: Where Do Lawyers and Law Schools Need to Be Going?"

The following morning, Alumni Weekend continued with breakfast and an Ethics CLE at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center.

The Ethic CLE was a panel discussion on "Legal Innovation: Where Do Lawyers and Law Schools Need to Be Going?" The CLE was approved for two hours of ethics credits.

Tom Harris, Partner of Haynes and Boone, LLP
Hayes Fuller, President of Naman Howell Smith & Lee, PLLC
Thomas Baird, President of Baird, Crews, Schiller & Whitaker, P.C.
Keith Calcote, Associate General Counsel and Head of Litigation for Motiva Enterprises LLC
Judge Rebecca Simmons
Professor Jim Wren
Associate Dean Leah Jackson Teague

Moderator: Dean Brad Toben

Topic: The speed of legal innovation is increasing, driven by demands for limits on attorney fees and the desire of lawyers to preserve profitability. In the midst of these pressures there exists an access to justice problem, with more than half of the American public facing legal problems without legal representation. In August, the American Bar Association released its Report on the Future of Legal Services. How will legal practice change in the next decade, and how does legal education need to adjust to help lawyers both thrive and meet the ethical obligation to provide affordable legal counsel to the public?

During the CLE, the panel, in a rapid-fire format, tackled these professional, educational, and ethical issues, responding to the new ABA Report and the issues it raises. The panelists represented small and large law firms, corporate general counsel, the judiciary, and legal academia, and there was great audience participation and input.

Burgers and Blue Bell

Following the CLE, Baylor Lawyers and friends headed to the home of Leah and Ted Teague for the annual Burgers and Blue Bell party. Thank you to Paul Kruse, JD ’80 and CEO and President of Blue Bell, for, once again, donating the Blue Bell!

The Seventh Annual Alumni Weekend was a special weekend that will be long remembered. Thank you to the Baylor Lawyers and friends who attended. Here’s to the next 25 years of our beloved Baylor Law School!

CONTACT: Berkley Knas, Alumni Relations
PHOTOS BY: Nick Teixeira, Baylor Law School, Robbie Rogers, Baylor University, and Eric Guel

Established in 1857, Baylor Law School was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law School has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature, among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as #4 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #55 in the magazine’s 2017 edition of "America’s Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 D1 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big XII Conference. Learn more at

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