July 8, 2011
Bill Thompson, a third-year Baylor law student who will graduate in August, was named the Baylor Law School's latest Top Gun on Monday, May 23. Thompson won the intrascholastic Bob and Karen Wortham mini-trial competition and took home the "Mad Dog," 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.
Thompson battled Travis Plummer for three hours to win the coveted trophy and the title of the top Baylor Law student trial advocate. As winner of the Wortham competition, Thompson will receive $3,000. As runner up, Plummer received $1,000. Semifinalists were Jessica MacCarty and Brook Fulks, who received $500 each.
In the finals, Thompson and Plummer tried a fictional case that was actually used in the 2010 National Top Gun Mock Trial Competition. The case concerned the guardianship of "T Bone" Thompson, a wealthy elderly man who supposedly had been showing signs of dementia. The case was also used during the preliminary rounds, but before the finals Thompson and Plummer learned about the addition of expert witnesses to the case.
"The expert witness doctors both had conflicting medical opinions as to the cognitive abilities of 'T-Bone.' In my opinion, the addition of the doctors made the case much more interesting," Thompson said.
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna and assistant district attorney JR Vilcha served as judges for the finals. Baylor Law Professor Jeremy Counseller served as presiding judge.
Thompson received his undergraduate degree from SMU and worked as an airline pilot before arriving at law school. While at Baylor Law, he was on the National Entertainment Law Moot Court team and the National Products Liability Moot Court team. After graduation, he will start work at the Fort Worth law firm of Simpson, Boyd and Powers.
Plummer hails from San Antonio, received his undergraduate degree from Baylor and has been on the National Moot Court Team and the National Pretrial Competition team. He also is a member of Baylor Law Review and is involved with the Student Bar Association. After graduation, he will return to San Antonio to work for Cox Smith Matthews.
The Honorable Bob and Karen Wortham sponsor the intrascholastic competition. Wortham, now judge of 58th District Court in Jefferson County, 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. He began his career as a Jefferson County assistant district attorney and, at age 31, was appointed to serve an unexpired term as judge of 60th District Court - the youngest district judge in the state. In 1993, he received the Department of Justice Award for Outstanding Service. The couple's son, Baylor, also is an alumnus of the school and, following in his father's footsteps, works at the District Attorney's Office in Jefferson County.
"Judge Wortham, a seasoned trial lawyer before he took the bench, appreciates deeply the character of advocacy education and training at Baylor Law. He and Karen are class acts and are always 'there' for our program," said Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben.