Baylor Law Announces New Endowed Chair in Business and Transactional Law

Baylor Law has announced the creation of the M. Stephen and Alyce A. Beard Chair in Business and Transactional Law that will be funded through a generous gift from M. Stephen (J.D. ’73) and Alyce A. Beard. Proceeds from the endowment will support this faculty position in perpetuity, allowing Baylor Law to enhance practical training and scholarship in this critical discipline.

Baylor Law has named leading national scholar and expert in business organizations law, Elizabeth (Beth) Miller, the chair’s inaugural holder. Professor Miller is the foremost authority on Texas business organizations law as well as a nationally recognized expert on the law of limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships. She frequently speaks on these topics at continuing legal education programs in Texas and across the country. Professor Miller has held leadership positions in the American Bar Association Business Law Section as well as the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. She served as chair of the LLCs, Partnerships and Unincorporated Entities Committee of the ABA Business Law Section as well as chair of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and chair of the Texas Partnership and Limited Liability Company Law Committee. She received the 2011 Jean Allard “Glass Cutter” Award presented by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association and the 2013 Martin I. Lubaroff Award presented by the LLCs, Partnerships and Unincorporated Entities Committee of the ABA Business Law Section. Professor Miller is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation, and the Texas Bar Foundation.

“The opportunity to name Prof. Beth Miller to this position is so ideally appropriate,” stated Baylor Law Dean Brad Toben, “Rarely is there a legislation on business organizations, considered or passed by the Texas Legislature, that does not have Beth’s imprint on it. She is held in high esteem by her colleagues in the profession across the nation. Her influence on future Baylor Lawyers who practice business and transactional law is and will be profound.”

True to Baylor Law’s mission to prepare practice-ready lawyers, Professor Miller created Baylor Law’s “Business Law Boot Camp,” an intensive intersession course held between the spring and summer quarters. Taught by a team of adjunct professors who are well-established, highly-regarded transactional lawyers, the Business Law Boot Camp offers practical training on multiple aspects of business formation, commercial borrowing, raising capital, trademark and advertising issues, succession planning, selling a business, basic tax and accounting, contract drafting, and negotiation skills. Every year, the visiting adjuncts commend Professor Miller for providing her students with an invaluable and unique experience.

Professor Miller is also responsible for creating The Closer, a one-of-a-kind national transactional law competition. Unlike other transactional law contests, when law students from around the nation arrive at Baylor Law to participate in this invitational transactional competition, they will not have spent weeks to prepare. Competitors see the problem for the first time and have only twenty-four hours to prepare to negotiate the deal. This tight timeline reflects Baylor Law’s commitment to training practice-ready lawyers by pushing competitors to identify the legal issues and devise and negotiate solutions that best serve their client’s wishes with the efficiency required of lawyers under realistic time constraints.

“Baylor Law’s capacity to continue to develop leaders in business and transactional law depends on strong academic programs led by exceptional, inspirational professors,” Steve Beard said. “I personally have participated in, and benefitted from, the intense academic training that Baylor Law offers. I am inspired to invest in its future by supporting this important faculty position. Alyce and I are committed to the principle of giving and sharing the blessings we have received.”

Baylor stands today at the forefront of practice-oriented law schools nationally. One of the top-five ranked law schools in the nation for litigation and advocacy training, the establishment of this chair recognizes Baylor Law’s prominence in training business and transactional attorneys as well. Baylor’s fully integrated transactional program prepares students for all types of positions within transactional areas of practice. Students interested in pursuing transactional practice can choose from among several professional tracks that provide deeper dives into specialized areas such as business planning, estate planning, healthcare law, intellectual property, and transactions involving real estate and natural resources.