September 17, 2010
By the time they receive their juris doctor degrees, Baylor Law students have competed in moot court, but few can say they actually founded a moot court program, especially when they were undergraduates. Not only can Erik Baumann make that claim, but he also can boast that he was runner up in the national undergraduate moot court competition. Because of his outstanding achievements in moot court, Baylor Law has awarded Baumann its prestigious Leon Jaworski Scholarship.
The full-tuition scholarship, named for the Baylor Law alumnus who served as Special Prosecutor during the Watergate crisis, is awarded to incoming law students who have outstanding records in advocacy programs, such as debate, mock trial and moot court.
Baumann competed in debate during his high school years in Houston, but wanted something with a different format when he came to Baylor University as an undergraduate.
"I wanted something a little more substantive than debate," he said. "I looked into moot court and discovered there was an undergraduate circuit."
The only problem was that Baylor didn't have an undergraduate moot court program, but that didn't discourage Baumann; he just decided to start the program himself.
"I found a partner the fall semester of my junior year, and we just practiced the best we could because we didn't have a coach," said Baumann, who majored in political science and philosophy at Baylor. "I remember our first competition hosted by Texas Tech. We did terrible. We didn't know anything about procedure, but we learned from the experience, and I really enjoyed it."
The second year went much better. Baumann started teaching other students how to compete in moot court, and the program found itself a coach. When Baumann and partner Ray Panneton returned to the regional tournament at Texas Tech, they placed first and qualified for the national tournament. And they didn't stop there. The two claimed second place at the 2010 American Collegiate Moot Court Association's national tournament in Miami in January.
Baumann began law school in August, and is enjoying the Baylor Law experience. His favorite course is Civil Procedure.
"I really like the way the course is taught. In fact, the advocacy training and the appellate program is why I chose to come to Baylor Law School," he said.
Baumann is eager to compete on one of Baylor Law's advocacy teams. He ultimately wants to practice criminal law.
"A legal job that puts me away from the courtroom sounds terrible. I am a debater at heart, and I love arguing issues of law," he said.
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