As the second law school established west of the Mississippi river, the Baylor University of Law School has played a critical role in the Texas legal community for over 150 years. Located in the small town of Waco, Baylor Law School was also the first law school in the state of Texas. Since reopening after the second world war, Baylor Law has grown into a modern law school now housed in one of the most technologically advanced law school buildings in the country. Baylor Law’s third-year curriculum is almost completely dedicated to practice skills which prepare lawyers to meet the demands of their future careers. Since opening its doors, Baylor Law has educated three justices of the Texas Supreme Court as well as numerous US Congressman and local politicians.
Baylor Law utilizes a unique quarter system–unlike traditional semesters–which allows students to begin their studies in the spring, summer, or fall quarter. Regardless of when their studies begin, first-year students complete four quarters of coursework that combines traditional core courses with practical, skill-based courses in legal research, writing, and advocacy. First-year students take courses in the traditional subjects of civil procedure, contract, criminal law, property, and torts. In addition to their research and writing classes each quarter, students also take an introductory course in taxation principles. If students opt to take courses during the fourth quarter, they also have the option of studying constitutional law and remedies. Regardless, both remedies and constitutional law are required courses. The additional quarter allows for more flexibility in their second and third years.
Baylor requires additional coursework in several novel practice areas including practice in the court systems, trusts and estates, and business organizations. While these requirements are atypical of most law schools, Baylor Law students are equipped with an array of practical skills grounded on a broad slice of legal subjects that help prepare them for the practice of law. Additionally, students whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.4 after the third quarter must complete an additional slate of required courses to ensure they graduate with a foundation that will allow them to be successful in their future careers.
Baylor Law also offers 13 areas of professional distinction that allows student to specialize in a professional practice area.
Along with its Juris Doctor degree, Baylor Law also offers a Master of Law (LL.M) in litigation management. Unlike most law schools, the LL.M focus in litigation management instructs students in the increasingly complicated and technical world of managing large scale litigation using electronic discovery tools and artificial intelligence. The program requires 24 credit hours for completion and grounds students in technical skills but also project management skills that help students understand the cost implications of large scale litigation.
For students who wish to pair their Juris Doctor with another professional program, Baylor Law offers five different dual degree programs which allow students to obtain both degrees in reduced time by sharing credits between programs. Students are required to admitted to both programs separately and complete their first year of law school with their classmates before working on their second degree. Dual degree programs include pairing the Juris Doctor with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) or a Master of Taxation. Dual degree programs equip students to succeed in the increasingly cross-disciplinary nature of law.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent employment data, over 93% of Baylor law graduates were employed in positions that either required a law license or preferred a candidate with a Juris Doctor within 10 months of graduation. Over 25% of those graduates accepted positions in small law firms with 2-10 attorneys. Other popular career choices included work in government offices (22%) or slight larger law firm of 10-15 attorneys (13%). Texas was overwhelmingly the choice of residence for graduates of Baylor Law with 92% of graduates remaining in the state.
Baylor Law students benefit from the school’s small class size and a Career Development Office (CDO) focused on one-on-one attention. The CDO meets with all students in the first quarter of their educational journey to assess their career goals and strengths. The emphasis is on students charting their career path with the professionals of the CDO leveraging their extensive resources to help students achieve their goals. The CDO organizes on-campus interviews and collects resumes for job postings throughout the year. The law school’s excellent career statistics reflect Baylor Law’s commitment to educating the most sought after lawyers in the country.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Baylor Law is a pioneer and curriculum leader in experiential education. From their very first quarter at Baylor Law, students receive an introduction to the legal practice in skill-based coursework on courtroom practice. The three-quarter program introduces students to all phases of practicing law in a courtroom. Later, students can participate in the law school’s clinical program which offers students an opportunity to work with real clients in one of the school’s five clinics. These clinics offer a variety of practice areas where students can apply their academic lessons to real-world legal problems.
Baylor Law students who wish to practice transactional law can participate in the school’s pioneering transactional capstone classes where students work through a transactional legal problem to help build real-world skills. Baylor also offers students the opportunity for a semester long externship which places students in legal offices throughout the community to gain invaluable insight into the daily practice of lawyers in their chosen field. Students may also participate in the legal mapping program which provides students a roadmap to starting and running their own law practice.
With its notably small class size and picturesque location, Baylor Law offers its students a unique blend of academic rigor and a vibrant life both on and off-campus. The school affords students a host of organization and a streamlined process for creating new organizations to meet the ever-changing needs of the student body. Baylor Law also plays hosts to a number of programs each year that encourage its students to practice a healthy balance of work and play. The university, in general, offers students lots of opportunities to experience high-level collegiate sports and entertainment.
Set right on the banks of the Brazos river that runs through the heart of Waco, Texas, the Baylor Law school provides a small, tight knit community that provides affordable housing and countless outdoor recreation activities. Students can float down the Brazos river in a kayak before spending an afternoon at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame followed by dinner in Waco’s renowned culinary scene which if full of world class Tex-Mex and barbecue.