WACO, Texas -
Stephen Rispoli, BA '09, JD '12, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs at Baylor Law has been named the Outstanding Young Lawyer of McLennan County for 2017.
"I am deeply honored to receive the McLennan County Outstanding Young Lawyer Award," Dean Rispoli said, "This award is really about the great work that the McLennan County Young Lawyers have been doing for the past few years. I am proud to work with a great group of young lawyers." He serves as the MCYLA Vice President and chair of the Pro Bono Committee, and serves on national and statewide pro bono committees.
In Fall 2014, Dean Rispoli proposed and developed the annual MCYLA Pro Bono Challenge. This program has led to a resurgence in pro bono activity among the bar in McLennan County and has resulted in over 4,700 recorded hours of pro bono services in the last two years. At the average hourly rate for local lawyers, this is the equivalent of over $1,000,000 worth of legal services volunteered by local lawyers to benefit Central Texans. The program led to MCYLA winning statewide honors–the Award of Merit from the State Bar of Texas, the Deborah G. Hankinson Access to Justice Award from the Texas Access to Justice Commission–as well as the local recognition of a Lone Star Legal Aid Pro Bono Award.
"Dean Rispoli sees the future of our profession as giving each new lawyer the tools to be a servant leader," said the Honorable Ed Kinkeade, Judge for the United States District Court of the Northern District of Texas. "His creativity for our profession is driven by his inner desire to help pull lives out of ditches."
"Dean Rispoli wants [Baylor Law] students to do more than serve," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. "He encourages them to become servant leaders. Not only is it his mission to ignite a fire in our students that lasts well beyond graduation, but he also aims to inspire them to take up the mantle of pro bono service, as both advocates and practitioners." To illustrate this point, Dean Toben points to Legal Mapmaker™, a program Dean Rispoli was integral in creating. Legal Mapmaker™ is a practice development template that assists young lawyers in building successful law firms, while also addressing the widening access to justice gap.
To find out more about Baylor Law's Public Service initiative, visit www.baylor.edu/law/public or email Dean Stephen Rispoli at email@example.com. To join McLennan County's Pro Bono Challenge, and to record pro bono hours, visit the Pro Bono Challenge webpage.
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