LEAD Counsel Inspires at Baylor Law's Inaugural Making a Difference Conference

February 25, 2017

LEAD Counsel Inspires at Baylor Law's Inaugural Making a Difference Conference

a Packed house listens to LEAD Counsel at Baylor Law

WACO, Texas -

On February 17th, Baylor Law's LEAD (Leadership Engagement and Development) Counsel hosted the inaugural Making a Difference Conference at the Sheila & Walter Umphrey Law Center.

A packed classroom listens as a LEAD speaker gives a presentation
A speaker at the LEAD Counsel holds the room's attention
a panel of women lawyers lead a discussion on new paths to leadership roles

The purpose of the conference was to inspire 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. Attendees were given practical advice and actionable items to enable them to develop strategic plans for future public service, whether serving on a non-profit board, running for office, lobbying for legislation, or testifying at the Capitol.

The conference featured Texas Senator Kirk Watson, JD '81, of Senate District 14, who delivered a keynote address on "The Importance of Community Involvement (How a Lawyer Can Lead)."

In the first session following the keynote, a panel consisting of Congressman Chet Edwards, House of Representatives District 17, Councilman Dillon Meek, JD '10, member, Waco City Council, and Mayor Ken Shetter, JD '98, of Burleson, Texas, discussed ways leaders get involved in making a difference in their communities, in a session titled "Run for It. Don't Just Complain About Problems in Your Community; Do Something About Them."

In the second session, Joe B. Allen, JD '67, a lawyer and lobbyist, and Bill Miller, a lobbyist with HillCo Partners, spoke on "Breaking the Code. How You Can Impact Legislation During Your Legal Career, and Why You Should Want To."

In the third session, Ashley Allison, director of the Waco Foundation, Abby Griffith, a second year student at Baylor Law and a founder of the Golden Door Foundation, Berkley Knas, JD '10, of Baylor Law's Alumni Relations and a Waco Community Leader, and Leah Teague, JD '85, Associate Dean of Baylor Law School and a founder of the LEAD mentorship program spoke on a panel called "You Want to Help – Now What? Charting a Path Toward Leadership Roles in Non-Profit Organizations."

In the closing panel, Dean Teague, Berkley Knas, Ashley Allison, Abby Griffith, Chet Edwards, Ken Shetter, Joe B. Allen, and Bill Miller spoke on "Roadblocks. What obstacles Will You Face When Trying to Get Involved in the Public Sphere in Your Community and How Can You Overcome Them?"

LEAD Counsel members in a group photo
LEAD Counsel members pose with the conference speakers at a reception held in their honor.

"The conference surpassed our expectations," said Jenny Forgey, President of LEAD Counsel. "I've heard from several attendees that the advice given by the speakers has inspired them, and they are thinking through how they can get involved and make a difference. Because it was so well received, we are already starting to plan for next year."

The LEAD Counsel hopes that the stories told at the conference and exemplary models set by the speakers will inspire new generations of leaders who give back to the community, and building on the success of the inaugural conference, plans to host the Making a Difference Conference as an annual event. For more information on this year's conference visit the LEAD Counsel webpage.

CONTACT: Joshua Weaver, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist
EMAIL: josh_weaver@baylor.edu
PHONE: 254.710.6681

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 #3 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #51 in the magazine's 2018 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 baylor.edu

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