May 2022 Business Law Bootcamp
In 2022, Baylor Law School’s Business Law Boot Camp completed another year of its unique, week-long program covering a wide range of business law subjects. Distinguished transactional attorneys from all over Texas once again came together to offer their real-world perspective in delivering dynamic classroom sessions covering everything from contract drafting to issues in intellectual property. Additionally, members of this year’s visiting faculty gave the students access to their wisdom and experience through luncheon conversations and other informal gatherings throughout the week. Business Law Boot Camp is generously underwritten by Kim and Bill Shaddock and sponsored by Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson, PLLC, and Haynes and Boone, LLP. The 26 Baylor Law students received three credit hours for the course, attended over a dozen different sessions, completed a pre-course outside reading requirement and other assignments, and took three exams.
The director of Business Law Boot Camp and the M. Stephen and Alyce A. Beard Professor of Business and Transactional Law at Baylor Law School, Professor Elizabeth (Beth) Miller, again worked tirelessly to see her vision come to life. From its inception, Professor Miller’s goal for the program has been to offer students an opportunity to engage with a multitude of business law concepts and see them applied by experienced transactional lawyers who come right from the front lines of practice. Over the course of the week, students are exposed to practitioners from varied size firms, geographic areas, and backgrounds.
The program kicked off on Sunday, May 2 with dinner and a classroom session on the tax considerations related to business entity formation and operation. The session was taught by Professor Miller and Dan Baucum, Shareholder at the Dallas office of Ferguson Braswell.
On Monday morning, Traci Cotton, Deputy Director of the Business and Public Filings Division of the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, along with Chase Howell, Managing Attorney for the Business and Public Filings Division, and David Eskew, Staff Attorney with the Division, gave the students an inside view of business formation issues from the trenches of the Secretary of State’s Office. The students were provided with helpful resources specifically prepared for the Business Law Boot Camp as well as tips and tricks in navigating the Secretary of State’s business filing system.
Following an ice breaker activity at lunch, students returned to the classroom for an afternoon session with Mollie Duckworth, Partner and Local Chair of the Austin Corporate Department at Latham & Watkins, who taught them about legal and practical issues associated with raising capital—focusing on federal securities laws and start-up and venture capital fundraising.
On Monday evening, the class broke into smaller groups for a happy hour with Dan Baucum featuring Dr Pepper Bluebell Ice Cream Floats.
Tuesday started off with a spirited lecture on the Seven Deadly Sins of Contract Drafting given by Hull Youngblood, Of Counsel with Ford Murray of San Antonio. He dazzled the class with his extensive knowledge of best practices for contract drafting and an impressive array of magic tricks. The students also spent lunch with Youngblood where he was able to share wisdom and insights from his vast experience in practicing law, serving in leadership positions in the Bar, and educating lawyers at continuing legal education programs.
On Tuesday afternoon, Baylor Law Professor Allen Page provided students an overview of basic principles in accounting and finance. Tuesday night, the students took the first of three exams.
Wednesday was a packed day that began with a panel discussion on commercial loan transactions led by Beard Kultgen Brophy Bostwick & Dickson Partners Rick Brophy, Jennifer Lindsey, and Matt Czimskey. The panel of experienced Waco attorneys took students through a set of commercial loan documents and explored with them practical and legal considerations in commercial lending.
Students were treated to a lunch session on Wednesday with Greg Looser, Director at Major, Lindsey, & Africa. Looser shared his experience, perspective and passion regarding the topics of corporate culture, governance, ethics, and compliance. After lunch, John (Andy) Powell from Naman Howell in Waco gave the class a crash course on intellectual property and advertising issues.
Wednesday was capped off in the evening by a reception in the President’s Suite of the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium. The students were joined by members of the week’s visiting faculty, as well as members of the Business Law Boot Camp Class of 2020. The 2020 program took place early in the COVID-19 pandemic and had to be conducted in an entirely virtual format. This year’s reception provided an opportunity for the 2020 participants to gather and meet with each other, the 2022 class, and members of the visiting faculty.
Students came back Thursday morning to an enlightening session on M&A transactions led by Tom Harris, Chair of the Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group and Administrative Partner of the Dallas office of Haynes & Boone. Midway through the class, students took a break for a brunch with Harris provided by Haynes & Boone.
On Thursday afternoon, Paul Williamson, Partner at Burdett, Morgan, Williamson, & Boykin in Amarillo, and Joe Hinton, of the same firm, delivered a dynamic presentation on family business succession planning in which students were able to learn how to handle a litany of real-world scenarios involving family business issues. The students then attended an ice cream social with Williamson and Hinton where the pair shared stories, advice, and bits of wisdom from their experience in practice. Later that evening, the students took the second of their three exams.
Friday, the final day of Business Law Boot Camp, featured a panel discussion on communication and negotiation by Steve Bolden, Partner at Bracewell in Dallas, Shanna Nugent, Counsel at McGuireWoods in Dallas, and Kayla Landeros, a Lecturer at Baylor Law School and former City Attorney in Temple, Texas. The class session finished with a negotiation exercise and a conversation over lunch with the panelists where students were able to ask questions about transactional practice and professional development.
After lunch, Professor Miller offered closing remarks and presented Business Law Boot Camp t-shirts to each of the students as mementos of their unique learning experiences before the students took their final exam.
The students from this year’s class were blown away by the experience. When asked for her feedback, Ashley Deatherage wrote “You will be able to see what you have learned in your transactional classes come to life and see how different practice areas involve and apply what you have been learning in your coursework.” Another Boot Camp student, Adan Abu-Hakmeh, noticed the visiting faculty’s candidness and willingness to engage with students. She wrote “I was so surprised that the lawyers that came in to talk to us have spoken openly and candidly about the trials and tribulations of their careers and paths to transactional law. Overall, I deeply appreciate how excited every attorney has been to meet us, talk to us, get to know us, and help us.”