Dean Emeritus and M.C. & Mattie Caston Professor of Law
Brad Toben returned to the Baylor Law faculty at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year after a 31 year tenure as dean of Baylor Law.
Dean Emeritus Brad Toben looked upon his position as dean of Baylor Law from 1991 to 2023—indeed he looks upon the profession of law—as a way to help individuals, his community, and our larger society.
Dean Toben completed his B.A., with honors, in political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. As the result of AP credit, heavy course loads, summer school work, and a skipped grade in elementary school, he was just beyond his 20th birthday when he graduated in two-and-a-half-years from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
He enrolled in Baylor Law, sight unseen, because he could start law school at mid-year, owing to the school’s quarter system. He arrived the day before classes started and went on to graduate from Baylor Law with a J.D. with honors in 1977, thereafter being admitted to the bar in Texas and Missouri at age 22.
Following three-and-a-half years of practice with a St. Louis firm that subsequently merged into the current Husch Blackwell, Dean Toben returned to law studies at Harvard Law School in 1980, from which he received the LL.M. degree in 1981.
After Harvard, he taught at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis from 1981-83. In 1983, Dean Toben jumped at an opportunity to join the Baylor Law faculty, returning to a place he had come to regard as a sort of professional home. In 1991, when he was 36, he was named dean of the Law School, then the youngest law school dean in the nation. At the time he stepped out of the dean’s role in June 2023, he was the longest-serving law school dean in the nation among the 199 ABA accredited law schools.
His academic interests during his faculty career at Baylor have focused in the areas of commercial law and the relationship of debtors and creditors under state and federal law, although he also has maintained active interests in constitutional law and public policy studies. On occasion, Dean Toben has also partnered with a minister to teach a seminar course on “Law, Public Policy, and Scripture,” inspired by his lifelong interest in theology, and its intersection with his work in the law.
Dean Toben is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has served by appointment of the governor of Texas as a Commissioner to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. He has been recognized as an Outstanding Young Alumnus of Baylor University. He also has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and has received the University of Missouri-St. Louis Distinguished Alumni Political Science Award.
Dean Toben has been honored as the 2023 Baylor Lawyer of the Year, and as the 2023 Champion of Justice of Texas Watch, a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy group dedicated to the rights of consumers, policyholders, patients, and workers. He also has been recognized by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association at a reception in his honor, for “exemplary service and commitment as a guiding light in legal scholarship and the pursuit of justice.” He has participated regularly in accreditation and membership inspections of law schools for the American Bar Association and Association of American Law Schools and has been active in the State Bar of Texas, especially in the bankruptcy specialization certification program. He also was previously of counsel to the firm of Dawson & Sodd in Texas. He is a Master of the Bench in the Judge Abner V. McCall American Inn of Court and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation.
Dean Toben has been active in numerous civic and charitable activities and has served as an elder, trustee, deacon, and chair of the board of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For many years, he has taught an adult Sunday School class at Central Christian.
His wife, Beth, is a longtime child sexual abuse prosecutor. The Tobens have two children: John, a graduate of Oklahoma State University; and Sarah Beth, a graduate of Baylor University, a former Lady Bear softball player, and a Baylor Law graduate. The members of the Toben family are animal lovers, and Dean Toben once had aspirations to be a veterinarian. His home is outside of Waco in a semi-rural area, and the family menagerie includes several rescues.
Dean Toben enjoys any activity that involves being with his family and was for many years deeply involved in Sarah Beth’s softball endeavors. He also enjoys reading, especially biography, history, science, and theology.
Supreme Court Seminar