Baylor Law Client Counseling Team Takes Second Place at ABA Regional Competition

February 22, 2018

Baylor Law Client Counseling Team Takes Second Place at ABA Regional Competition

Group photo of Baylor Law's competitors
Baylor Law's Jess Gambrell, Marylynn Smitherman and Brenda Carrillo at Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School.

WACO, Texas, February 2018 -

A group of law students shares ideas over a table
A male and female law student discuss a specific point in a counseling setting

Region 11 teams compete at Baylor Law, February 16-18, 2018

The Baylor Law Client Counseling Team of Jess Gambrell, Marylynn Smitherman and Brenda Carrillo took second place at the ABA Regional Client Counseling Competition on the Tampa, Florida campus of the Western Michigan University-Cooley Law School. A second Baylor Law team of Christina Grey, Dave Thomas, and coach Rebeckah Lawson also competed in Tampa.

Facing twelve opposing teams, the two Baylor Law teams competed in the Region 5 competition in Tampa February 16-18, while at the same time, Baylor Law was host to the Region 11 competition that included law schools from across Texas, Denver, and Chicago.

Coach and Adjunct Professor Vik Deivanayagam, judge of County Court at Law #1 in McLennan County, Texas, stated, "The competition itself is unique in nature because it asks students to exercise skills outside of the normal law school curriculum. They must combine their knowledge of the law in a particular field, as well as exhibit interpersonal skills in an informal setting, from interviewing a client that walks in the door, to providing empathy and guidance for that person's situation. The teams invest a considerable amount of time researching and practicing, and I am proud of both teams and the student-coaches."

"The teams invest a considerable amount of time researching and practicing, and I am proud of both teams and the student-coaches."
-Vik Deivanayagam, Team Coach
He added, "As a team, Ms. Smitherman and Mr. Gambrell exhibited a real chemistry that cannot be taught. Both are excellent listeners who have the ability to quickly process information as they are receiving it. Their ability to act natural in a completely unnatural setting is credit to their preparation and practice habits. While I understand winning is the goal of any competition at this level, I consider their performance as finalists to be a success and credit to the law school." Vik Deivanayagam has coached Baylor Law's Client Counseling teams for the last decade.

According to the ABA Law Student Division, the competition is designed to promote 'greater knowledge and interest' of preventative law and to encourage students to develop the necessary skills to be effective counselors when working with their clients.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Nelson, Director of Marketing & Communications
PHONE: 254-710-6681
PHOTOS: Nick Teixeira, Baylor Law

Established in 1857, Baylor Law 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 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 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 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

Are you looking for more News?