WACO, Texas -
The Business Law Boot Camp is an intensive week-long program that provides Baylor Law students with a practical overview of several areas of law that are integral to corporate and transactional practice. The 2021 Boot Camp took place May 2 – 7.
Now in its sixth year, Baylor Law's Business Law Boot Camp covers a number of substantive areas and skills—some of which are taught in a traditional manner in other law school classes—but the content is woven into the context of real-world experiences and delivered by distinguished transactional lawyers from around the country. The course is generously underwritten by Kim and Bill Shaddock and sponsored by Haynes and Boone, LLP, and Beth and Greg Looser. The 26 Baylor Law students received three credit hours for the course, attended over a dozen different sessions, completed a pre-course outside reading requirement and other assignments, and took three exams.
The inspiration and moving force behind the Business Law Boot Camp is Professor Elizabeth (Beth) Miller, the M. Stephen and Alyce A. Beard Professor of Business and Transactional Law at Baylor Law. Every year at the end of the spring quarter, Professor Miller coordinates a unique combination of accomplished and experienced business attorneys to give the students a first-hand, practical exposure to business transactional law.
“My goal with the Business Law Boot Camp has always been to give the students a practical view of the application and inter-relationship of numerous areas of business law that bear on the formation, funding, operation, and sale or succession of a business. Over the course of the week, students are exposed to practitioners from varied size firms, geographic areas, and backgrounds. They see the passion and dedication of these practitioners and have an opportunity to glean what their practices look like. Unlike litigation, which is widely depicted in the media and underlies the case method of study used in most law school classes, a transactional practice is hard for the students to envision. The visiting practitioner faculty provide a wealth of advice and insight with regard to the opportunities and choices facing the students as they chart their professional paths. The class also touches on some important fundamental skills, such as negotiation and contract drafting, as well as topics of professional development,” stated Professor Miller.
To learn these important lessons from professionals who have decades of experience and hundreds of transactions under their belt is invaluable.”
–Professor Beth Miller, Baylor Law
The Business Law Boot Camp began Sunday evening May 2, with dinner and a three-hour session on tax issues related to business entities conducted by Professor Miller and Dan Baucum, founding member of Daniel Baucum Law in Dallas.
Monday morning, Professor Miller taught the students about entity formation issues, including an inside view of the workings of the Office of the Secretary of State. Students were provided resources especially prepared for the Business Law Boot Camp by the Director of Business and Public Filings Division of the Secretary of State’s Office and members of the Legal Department.
After a special luncheon activity, students returned to the classroom to hear from Mollie Duckworth, Corporate Department Deputy Chair of Baker Botts and partner in charge of the Austin office. Duckworth taught the students about legal and practical issues associated with raising capital—focusing on federal securities laws and start-up and venture capital fundraising.
Tuesday morning, Hull Youngblood, of counsel at Ford Murray in San Antonio, delivered an entertaining and informative presentation entitled, “Contract Drafting 101: The Seven Deadly Sins of Contract Drafting.” To the students’ delight, Youngblood—who is an accomplished amateur magician—interspersed magic tricks in his presentation. The contract drafting session was followed by a luncheon session entitled “Hints from Hull,” in which Youngblood shared personal anecdotes, insights, and best practices learned over his three decades of work in transactional law.
After lunch on Tuesday, Baylor Law Professor Allen Page led a session on basic accounting for business lawyers, giving students an overview of accounting and financial concepts.
Monday and Tuesday afternoons also included small-group informal gatherings among the students and Dan Baucum. Tuesday night, the students took the first of three exams.
Wednesday morning, Rick Brophy, Jennifer Lindsey, and Matt Czimskey, all partners in the Waco office of Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, walked students through the practical and legal issues involved in commercial loan transactions. During lunch, Greg Looser, Co-Founder, Partner, and Chief Legal and Compliance Officer of Amritam Holdings, spoke with students about corporate culture, governance, ethics, and compliance.
After lunch, John A. (Andy) Powell, a member of Naman Howell, discussed trademark and copyright law, as well as other legal issues encountered in advertising.
The day ended with a special dinner at Dean Leah Teague’s home, where students had the opportunity to visit with Wayne Whitaker, founding member of Whitaker Chalk in Fort Worth, as well as Victoria Feather of Capital Title of Texas, A Shaddock Company, and several visiting Boot Camp faculty members. The students also heard from entrepreneur Jackson Wren, founder of the uber-successful Waco-based Nightlight Donuts & Coffee.On Thursday morning, Tom Harris, administrative partner in charge of the Dallas office of Haynes and Boone and head of the firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions practice group, gave the students a fascinating legal and practical overview of an M&A transaction. During a brunch break hosted by Haynes and Boone, students had the opportunity to converse informally with Harris.
Students—who were chosen based on applications submitted in a highly competitive process last fall—were universally appreciative of the unique opportunity that the Boot Camp provided them. Third-year law student Melissa Samano Ruiz stated, “The Baylor Law Business Law Boot Camp was an invaluable experience. The weeklong program was a crash course of business law essentials presented by phenomenal and passionate attorneys from across Texas. The Boot Camp provided opportunities to network, hear raw stories from private practice, and obtain personalized advice. I am grateful for the lessons I learned from this unique program that will help me begin my legal career with knowledge from experienced professionals.”
Second-year law student Reese Leonard commented, “The Business Law Boot Camp was a fantastic experience. The program presented incredible opportunities to connect with new groups of students, hear invaluable practical advice from accomplished attorneys in the transactional field, and further dissect a realm of the law I knew little to nothing about coming into the program. After the Boot Camp, I am further convinced this field is where I want to start my practice.”
The practitioners who served as visiting faculty were likewise enthusiastic about their experience. Hull Youngblood stated, “Every year, Professor Miller and her team put on a fabulous event that is a rewarding experience for both the students and visiting faculty like myself. I am so impressed with how engaged the students are, and it is a joy to participate.”
Once again, I was impressed by the students’ focus at the end of an intensive week, as well as by the smart questions they asked during our M&A discussion. I hope many of these young people will pursue careers as transactional lawyers as a result of Professor Miller’s Boot Camp.”
–Tom Harris, Haynes and Boone
Luncheon speakers and special guests included: Greg Looser, Co-Founder, Partner, and Chief Legal and Compliance Officer of Amritam Holdings, LLC; Wayne Whitaker, Founding Member, Whitaker Chalk Swindle & Schwartz PLLC; Victoria Feather, Capital Title of Texas, A Shaddock Company; and Jackson Wren, Founder of Nightlight Donuts & Coffee.
E. Steve Bolden, Partner, Bracewell LLP
Rick Brophy, Member and President, Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC
Matt Czimskey, Member, Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC
Mollie Duckworth, Partner, Baker Botts
Tom D. Harris, Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP
Joseph Hinton, Associate, Burdett, Morgan, Williamson & Boykin, L.L.P.
Jennifer Lindsey, Member, Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC
Christina Marshall, Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP
John A. (Andy) Powell, Member, Naman Howell Smith & Lee, PLLC
Paul Williamson, Partner, Burdett, Morgan, Williamson & Boykin, L.L.P.
D. Hull Youngblood, Jr., Of Counsel, Ford Murray PLLC
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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 7,600 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 number two in the magazine’s 2021 edition of "America’s Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and one of the '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
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