Baylor Law alumni and Director of Clinical Programs, Joshua G. (Josh) Borderud (JD ‘09) has been selected to receive the prestigious Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service from the American Inns of Court. The Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service is awarded each year to honor an American Inn of Court member in practice for ten or fewer years for excellence in public interest or pro bono activities. The award will be presented at the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence Dinner, hosted by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. at the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C. The event is tentatively scheduled for October 31, 2020.
Josh is the Director of Clinical Programs at Baylor Law, where he serves as the supervising attorney for the Veterans Clinic, the Trial Advocacy Clinic, and the Estate Planning Clinic.
“Josh is the embodiment of Baylor Law’s commitment to service and the values promoted by the American Inns of Court,” stated Baylor Law’s Dean Brad Toben, who added, “from his time as a student where he was instrumental in the creation of the Baylor Public Interest Legal Society to his current civic involvement and leadership in the legal community, Josh selflessly serves those in need and cheerfully models and promotes this life of service to our students and others in the legal profession.”
Upon receiving notice of the award, Josh stated, “I am honored to be selected for the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service. The work of mentoring law students in service to others is a joy. I am grateful to the American Inns of Court for validating the good work of our students who serve those in need through the Legal Clinics,” and added, “A great deal of credit for this recognition should go to the Baylor Law administration, faculty, and staff for their enduring support of our clinical programs. I owe a large debt of gratitude to Professor Bridget Fuselier and Professor Tom Featherston for their vision, commitment, and guidance, and to Judge Gary Coley and Judge Christopher Taylor for their abiding partnership with our clinics. Finally, our work would not be possible without the support of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Cooper Foundation.”
After graduating from Baylor Law in 2009, Josh began his legal career as a prosecutor in Milam County, Texas. As an assistant district attorney, he prosecuted criminal cases and served as legal adviser to the county judge. Josh later joined the Waco law firm of Pakis, Giotes, Page & Burleson, P.C. as a civil litigator. While in private practice, he was named the Outstanding Young Lawyer of McLennan County and was very active in civic affairs, local bar service projects, and was a dedicated Baylor Law Veterans Clinic volunteer.
In 2016, thanks to a grant from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Baylor Law hired Josh as its first full-time clinic director. Under his leadership, the Veterans Clinic has been extremely successful in serving the civil legal needs of Central Texas veterans. At monthly legal advice clinics, under Josh’s direction, students, law school faculty and staff, and local lawyers, partner to serve McLennan County's population of over 16,000 military veterans, offering pro bono aid to veterans and their spouses.
In addition to supporting veterans at the monthly clinics, in 2018 Josh was instrumental in spearheading the creation of a Veterans Treatment Court in McLennan County that focuses on meeting veterans’ mental health needs and emphasizes rehabilitation over punishment, and recently was appointed to the East Gulf Region COVID-19 Task Force Military-Veterans Work Group for legal aid providers working together to find innovative ways to serve veterans during the pandemic.
In 2017, Josh obtained a grant from the Cooper Foundation to establish the Trial Advocacy Clinic at Baylor Law. The clinic is a partnership with two local courts where, under his supervision, law student advocates represent defendants whose cases are set for trial in Waco Municipal Court and represent children in their initial juvenile detention hearings in the 74th District Court of McLennan County. The students, utilizing their State Bar of Texas supervised practice cards under his supervision, perform all the tasks at trial in municipal court – from jury selection to closing argument. Additionally, law students have appeared in over 300 juvenile hearings.
Josh is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, a member of the State Bar of Texas Local Bar Services Committee, a Barrister in the Judge Abner V. McCall American Inn of Court, and serves on the board of directors of the Waco-McLennan County Bar Association. He serves as the chair of the McLennan County Law Library Committee, which advised the county commissioners on the relocation of the historic courthouse library. He is a past president of the Waco-McLennan County Young Lawyers Association. During his tenure as president, this organization won statewide awards from the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Access to Justice Commission for programming with a strong emphasis on pro bono and public service.
In addition to his clinical work and service to the legal community, Josh has been extremely active in civic affairs in the City of Waco. He chairs the Waco Plan Commission and serves on the board of trustees of the Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center, the local mental health authority for a six-county region. He is the past president of his neighborhood association, serves as a deacon and Sunday School leader in his church, and is a current candidate for Waco City Council, District 3.
The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. The organization’s membership includes more than 30,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in more than 360 chapters nationwide and more than 97,000 alumni members.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Nelson, Director of Marketing & Communications
ABOUT BAYLOR LAW
Established in 1857, Baylor University School of Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, Baylor Law has more than 7,600 living alumni and a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School 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 ranks Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as among the best in the nation at No. 2, while the Law School is ranked in the Top 50 of the 2021 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the “Best School for Practical Training,” and in the top 15 “Best Law School Facilities” in the country. 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. 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