Will Gray Named Baylor Law’s Spring 2018 ‘Mad Dog’ Champion

June 6, 2018

Will Gray Named Baylor Law's Spring 2018 'Mad Dog' Champion

The Spring 2018 winner and runner-up pose with the competition judges after the final round. (L-R) Cathy Bailey, Courtney Huber, Mike Hartnett, Will Gray, and Jennifer King

Baylor Law student Will Gray is the latest Baylor Law School 'Mad Dog,' after winning the Spring 2018 Mad Dog Mock Trial Competition. Fellow student Mike Hartnett was the finalist.

A Competition In Honor of Professor Matt 'Mad Dog' Dawson

The Mad Dog statuette won by Will Hartnett

A strong part of Baylor Law tradition, every Practice Court class competes in the Bob and Karen Wortham "Mad Dog" Practice Court Competition, a week-long contest that occurs at the beginning of the second quarter of Practice Court. Mad Dog is a one-on-one (no partners) advocacy competition in which the students are given a case file merely 48 hours before the competition and then compete head-to-head in a single-elimination style tournament. This year's Summer 2018 Mad Dog competition was held Monday, May 21 through Thursday, May 24.

Will Gray battled with Mike Hartnett for three hours on May 24th to win the coveted trophy and the title of the top Baylor Law student trial advocate. As winner of the Mad Dog competition, Gray will also receive $3,000 and an 18-inch bronze statuette of Matt "Mad Dog" Dawson, the legendary Baylor Law professor who started the tradition of mini-trial competitions during his tenure as director of Baylor Law's Practice Court Program. As finalist, Hartnett received $1,000. Semifinalists Amy Thomas and Kush Patel each received $500.

“The Mad Dog competition was a great experience. It was fun to see how well everyone did handling the case despite the time constraints we had,” stated Gray after winning this year’s competition. “We've definitely come a long way since the beginning of P.C.,” he added.

The Final Round

In the finals, Gray and Hartnett tried a fictional civil case arising out of the death of ‘Zeke Fortenberry,’ as a result of a plane crash that occurred when the small single-engine Piper Cygnet he was ferrying for a friend ran out of fuel during a flight from Kansas City, Missouri to Dallas, Lone Star. Gray represented the defendant.

In this fictitious case, Fortenberry, an experienced pilot, contacted Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control declaring an emergency due to engine failure. He was told to look for a private airfield ten miles from his position belonging to BBQ magnate Thomas “T. Bone” Thompson. Because it was near midnight, the private field would not be visible from the air unless a pilot “keyed” his microphone, at which time the runway lights would illuminate. Fortenberry keyed his microphone, but no lights came on at the private strip.

Professor Elizabeth Fraley presents Will Gray with the Mad Dog statuette

Because his altitude was insufficient to allow him to navigate to any other field, Fortenberry crashed on Thompson’s South Fork Ranch. A subsequent NTSB investigation revealed that the plane’s engine was capable of producing power at the time of the crash, but had run out of fuel. The investigation also revealed that the pilot’s manual in the plane at the time of the crash was not the manual for the Piper Cygnet, and that the manual in the airplane incorrectly stated the fuel capacity. The investigation also showed that the Pilot Activated Lighting system on Thompson’s ranch was inoperative at the time of the crash.

The judges of the final round were Jaworski Fellows Cathy Bailey, Jennifer King, and Baylor Lawyer Courtney Huber.

The Honorable Bob and Karen Wortham sponsor this annual competition. Judge Wortham serves as the District Attorney for Jefferson County and previously served as the judge of 58th District Court in Jefferson County from 2007 to 2014. He also served 12 years as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas before becoming a partner in the Reaud, Morgan and Quinn law firm.

"Judge Bob and Karen Wortham are wonderful friends of Baylor Law and their support of the Mad Dog competition every year, and the training opportunity it provides our students, is invaluable,” stated Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben.

Will Gray received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from Baylor University in 2013. Hartnet holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia.

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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. Baylor Law 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 one of the top 5 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #50 in the magazine’s 2019 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. Learn more at

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 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. Learn more at

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