Baylor Law students claim top three scores on Texas Bar exam

Posted at 7:57 PM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-15 22:42:42-05

This year, the Texas Board of Law Examiners reported more than 1,500 people took the bar exam here, and they needed at least a score of 675 out of one thousand to pass.

Well, not only did Baylor law students pass at their normally high rate, Baylor students accomplished something nobody can remember happening before.

Stephen Burbank became the top of three Baylor law students, who for the first time anybody can remember, made the highest three scores on the 2018 Texas Bar exam.

"Well, they call Baylor the boot camp or the Marine Corps of law schools and I’d say that holds up," said Burbank.

Burbank credits good study habits for his success, setting aside a few hours a day, and even printing out study material which he’d recite out loud as he walked the sprawling campus.

You see, Baylor doesn’t just train lawyers, professors here train “servants to society”.

”We approach it instead, as a vehicle that can be mastered and then is used to serve others and solve problems people have,” explained Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben.

Dean Toben says Baylor always has a high success rate on the bar exam, but producing the top three scorers, shows this law school’s formula, works.

Actually, Burbank got the top score, while Rachel Koehn and Kyle Steingraeber, tied for number two.

Students here, credit professors with real-world experience.

”Most of the professors, they’ve actually practiced and done the law and I think that’s the secret.  They’ll tell you the real practical side of the law that you might not get elsewhere,” said Burbank.

They also motivate students to study even in their free time.

In fact, we found a classroom filled with students after class, studying intensely.

When these students say law school is tough, they’re not kidding.  Case in point:  24-hundred pages of multiple cases all for just one class.

Highly motivated professors here, make for highly motivated students like Ariana Bradford who wants to practice criminal law.

”I wanna be of service to my community and I feel like that’s one of the best ways I can do that. You gonna be the top bar scorer when this is done?  That’s the goal,” said Bradford.

And that’s just the kind of student Dean Toben says, Baylor wants to turn out.

”The legal profession is a serving profession and they have to have hearts for serving other people.  I want them to know we’re going to push them and push them hard,” said Toben.

And they do, with hundreds of pages of reading a night, regular courtroom practice, and high expectations.

That’s what leads to success on the notoriously hard Texas Bar exam… and life… though Burbank doesn’t see it right now.

”Getting the top score on the bar exam, does that get you anything special in Texas?  Absolutely not,” he said.

It’s led him so far, to a prestigious clerkship with a federal judge… and professors here, believe, a very successful future, thanks to the seeds planted in Waco.

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