Baylor Law School is the oldest law school in Texas. Baylor Law School is affiliated with Baylor University and located in Waco, Texas. The school has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1931, and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1938. The program offers training in all facets of law, including theoretical analysis, practical application, legal writing, advocacy, professional responsibility, and negotiation and counseling skills.
Established in 1849, Baylor Law School was the first law school in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River.
Baylor Law School at dusk.
Baylor originally established the law school in 1849; at that time it was the second law school established west of the Mississippi. Law classes continued until 1883 when the school was discontinued. In 1920, the Board of Trustees reestablished the law school (called the Law Department at that time) under the direction of Dean Allen G. Flowers. The school was temporarily suspended from 1943-1946 as a result of World War II. Bradley J.B. Toben currently serves as Dean of the Law School.
Baylor Law School on the banks of the Brazos River.
Unlike the rest of Baylor's programs, the Baylor Law School operates on a quarter system; a student may begin classes in either February (spring quarter), May (summer quarter), or August (fall quarter). The Law School also has four graduating classes per year (coinciding with the end of each quarter including the winter quarter). Each matriculate class has a separate application pool, and applicants are required to apply to the quarter in which they would like to begin (if a student wants to be considered for admission in different quarters a separate application package is required for each).
A typical academic year consists of three quarters, with students choosing to take off the fourth quarter of the year to complete a clerkship or internship. However, students may elect to complete the program in only 27 months by attending every quarter.
- First-year students are required to take 13 mandatory courses (41 credit hours) with no electives permitted. The required courses are in appellate advocacy and procedure; basic taxation principles for lawyers; civil procedure; contracts (I and II); criminal law; criminal procedure; legal analysis, research and communication (LARC, I and II), legislation, administrative power and procedure (LAPP); property (I and II); and torts (I and II).
- The second-year program consists of a mix of mandatory and elective courses. The four mandatory classes (which must be taken in the student's fourth and fifth quarters) are business organization (I), constitutional law, remedies, and trust and estates (I). At this point students can choose to concentrate in one of nine specialized areas of law (administrative practice, business litigation, business transactions, criminal practice, estate planning, general civil litigation, healthcare law, intellectual property, and real estate and natural resources), though a concentration is not required for graduation.
- The third-year program consists primarily of the School's Practice Court Program. Practice Court traces its roots to the original school, and was returned in 1922 shortly after the school was reinstituted. Though Practice Court is designed primarily for students who will practice law before trial courts; it is mandatory for all students. Practice Court consists of four classes. The first three classes (Professional Responsibility, Practice Court I: Pre-Trial Practice and Procedure, and Practice Court II: Trial Evidence, Procedure, and Practice) must be taken as a package within a quarter (and students cannot be enrolled in any other courses during that quarter); Practice Court III: Trial and Post-Trial Practice, Procedure, and Evidence must be taken immediately thereafter in the following quarter (and though students may take electives, any elective cannot be in a class scheduled after 2:15 pm). The Practice Court program covers not only mock trials but all aspects of the law and procedure process from the filing of a suit to post-verdict motions.
In addition to the standard Juris Doctor degree, Baylor Law students can obtain a combined JD with either the Master of Business Administration (both traditional and with an emphasis in healthcare administration), the Master of Taxation, the Master of Public Policy and Administration, or the Master of Divinity degree.
In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as the second best in the nation. Baylor Law School is ranked No. 48 in the magazine's 2020 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." Above the Law ranked Baylor Law School at No. 33 in 2016.
According to Baylor's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 67.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. Baylor's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 17%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
This section needs to be updated. (May 2019)
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Baylor for the 2013-2014 academic year is $69,113. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $262,761.
Baylor University School of Law as seen from the front
- James B. Adams- Texas legislator, and former acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (February 15 to February 23,1978)
- Phillip Benjamin Baldwin- Justice, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- Charles Wallace Barrow- Former Justice, Texas Supreme Court
- Roy Bass - Waco native and mayor of Lubbock from 1974-1978
- Ed Blizzard - Pharmaceutical injury attorney
- Beau Boulter- U.S. Congressman (1985-1989)
- Bob Bullock - Texas' 38th Lieutenant Governor and considered one of the most outstanding Texas political leaders of the 20th century.
- Tim Curry - District attorney of Tarrant County from 1972 to 2009
- Marion Price Daniel (1932) - United States Senator (1953--1957); Governor of Texas (1957--1963); Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives (1943-1945); Justice, Texas Supreme Court (1971-1978).
- Leonard Davis - Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (2002-2015)
- Jack M. Fields- U.S. Congressman (1981-1997)
- Sidney A. Fitzwater - Judge, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (1986-present)
- James Rodney Gilstrap - Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (2011-present)
- Louie Gohmert- U.S. Congressman (2005-present)
- Sam Blakely Hall Jr. - U.S. Congressman (1975-1985) and U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of Texas
- John Lee Hancock - Screenplay writer and director of The Rookie, The Alamo, and The Blind Side.
- Andrew S. Hanen - Judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (2002-present)
- VADM John G. Hannink - 44th Judge Advocate General of the Navy
- Robert Heard - Reporter and journalist for the Associated Press
- Jack English Hightower (1951) - U.S. House of Representatives, (1975-1985)
- Bryan Hughes (1995) - Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives from Wood County
- COL Leon Jaworski (1924) - Watergate Special Prosecutor; Senior Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski Houston, Texas; Served on the Warren Commission; President, American Bar Association (1971-1972); Chief of War Crimes detachment of the JAG Corps of the US Army (1944-1946); Treasurer and co-founder, Democrats for Reagan.
- Tim Kleinschmidt, J.D. (1981) - Member of the Texas House of Representatives from Giddings; city attorney in Giddings and Lexington
- Tryon D. Lewis, J.D. - Member of the Texas House of Representatives from Odessa; former 161st State Judicial District judge
- Thomas C. Mann- U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador (1955-1957) and US Ambassador to Mexico (1961-1963)
- K. Nicole Mitchell, J.D. (2006) - U.S. Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (2013-present)
- Priscilla Owen, J.D. (1977) - Judge, U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (2005 - present); Former Texas Supreme Court Justice (1994-2005).
- William Robert (Bob) Poage (1924) - U.S. House of Representatives, (1937-1978)
- Graham B. Purcell, Jr., LL.B (1949) - U.S. representative from Texas' 13th congressional district from 1962 to 1973
- Kevin Reynolds - Former Texas lawyer and director of Fandango, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Waterworld.
- J.T. Rutherford - Representative from Texas' 16th congressional district from 1955 to 1963; attended Baylor Law School from 1948 to 1950.
- Max Sandlin- Judge, U.S. Congressman (1997-2005)
- William Sessions- Director of the FBI (1987-1993)
- Justice Rebecca Simmons- Justice, Fourth Court of Appeals, Texas
- Byron Tunnell - Former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
- T. John Ward - Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas(1999-present)
- Kirk Watson- Former mayor of Austin and current state senator
- Mark Wells White- Governor of Texas (1983-1987)
- John Eddie Williams - Counsel, Texas Tobacco Settlement (Baylor University's football field is named John Eddie Williams Field in recognition of Williams' donation to the program)
- Frank Wilson - U.S. Congressman (1947-1955)
- James E. Kinkeade - Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (2002-Present) 
Coordinates: 31°33?16?N 97°06?55?W / 31.5545°N 97.1154°W