Baylor Law, with its unwavering commitment to public service and community engagement, in partnership with Baylor University’s Office of External Affairs, celebrated Pro Bono week by shining a spotlight on the outstanding work of faculty and staff who volunteer their professional expertise at Baylor Law Clinics and other community-focused programs throughout the year. Seven faculty and staff were presented with ‘Solid Gold Neighbor’ Awards. Those honored were: Professor Pat Wilson for her work with the People’s Law school; Professor Bridget Fuselier for Adoption Day and Baylor Law’s Veterans Clinic; Josh Borderud for his work with Baylor Law Clinics; Professor Laura Hernandez for Baylor Law’s Immigration/Naturalization Clinics; Professor Tom Featherston for working with Baylor Law’s Estate Planning Clinic; Professor Connie Nichols and Adjunct Professor David G. Henry for their dedication to Baylor Law’s Patent and Intellectual Property Law Clinic.
“We believe that a key part of our mission at Baylor Law is to educate our students about the importance of service, community engagement, and pro bono work,” said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben. “Today we honor these seven faculty and staff who not only teach about the importance of pro bono work, but who have volunteered a tremendous amount of their time and talents to actively improve access to legal services and information to our neighbors in Central Texas.” Dean Leah Teague added, “Communities across the nation, including Waco, have tremendous needs that can be met by lawyers who care and are willing to give of their time and talents. We want our students to recognize that with their legal training and law degrees, they will have the tools to help and an obligation to serve. It is our hope that these examples will ignite a fire in the hearts of our Baylor Law students that will grow as they leave and enter the legal profession.”
Speaking about the Solid Gold Neighbors program, Dr. Jeremy Vickers, Associate Vice President for External Affairs at Baylor University stated, “Solid Gold Neighbors are those individuals, organizations and programs that exemplify servant leadership and community engagement at the highest level. It is exciting to honor these Baylor Law faculty and staff for their outstanding and forward-thinking efforts to advance our community towards economic and social progress.”
Pro Bono Week is an annual opportunity in which legal organizations and law schools across the globe take a week in October to celebrate the amazing work done by pro bono lawyers, paralegals, and law students.
Professor of Law Pat Wilson is the architect of the Baylor Law’s People’s Law School, one of Baylor Law’s largest public events. Every year, Prof. Wilson invites lawyers from this community and beyond to present a wide variety of interesting and timely legal topics to hundreds of Central Texans who gain a better understanding of the law and their legal rights.
Professor of Law Bridget Fuselier was the driving force behind the creation of Baylor Law’s award-winning Veterans Clinic and founder of the nationally-recognized Adoption Day at Baylor Law. In partnership with McLennan County Department of Families and Child Protective Services, Baylor Law celebrates National Adoption Day each year with more than two dozen central Texas families as their adoptions are finalized at the law school.
Professor of Law Tom Featherston, The Mills Cox Chair of Law, was instrumental in the development of Baylor Law’s Estate Planning Clinic for veterans and first-responders. Prof. Featherston provides oversight to student volunteers and personally reviews the wills for veterans, first-responders, and their spouses, which includes more than 100 wills in the last twelve months.
Josh Borderud, Director of Clinical Programs, oversees the work of Baylor Law Veterans Clinic, which has provided free legal services and advice to over 1,000 veterans and first-responders and their spouses. Through Baylor Law’s Trial Advocacy Clinic, Borderud also supervises third-year law students to help resolve cases in Waco Municipal Court and to provide legal representation for juveniles at initial detention hearings in the 74th District Court in Waco.
Professor of Law Laura Hernández is the creator and driving force behind Baylor Law’s Immigration, DACA Renewal, and Naturalization Clinics. Prof. Hernández has coordinated dozens of student volunteers as they have assisted hundreds of Central Texas families with their immigration applications and other immigration needs.
Professor of Law Connie Nichols is the founder and director of Baylor Law’s Intellectual Property Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic. The clinic is one of 63 programs authorized by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), and is one of only 27 in the nation, and four in Texas, qualified to provide both patent and trademark services.
Adjunct Professor David Henry supervises students in Baylor Law’s Intellectual Property Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic. David works with Baylor Law students as they counsel with clients, complete patent and register searches, and draft patent applications
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ABOUT 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 7,500 living alumni. Accredited by the American Bar Association and 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 among its notable alumni 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. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as among the best in the nation at No. 2. Baylor Law School also is ranked No. 48 in the magazine’s 2020 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the “Best School for Practical Training” and No. 4 in the nation in its most recent “Best Law School Facilities” listing. 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 its inception in 1984. Learn more at baylor.edu/law
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
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 baylor.edu