Joshua G. Borderud, director of Baylor University School of Law’s clinical programs, was selected to receive the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service from the American Inns of Court.
The award honors an American Inn of Court member within his or her first 10 years in practice for excellence in public interest or pro bono work. This year’s award ceremony is tentatively scheduled for October 31, 2020, at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., with Chief Justice John G. Roberts hosting.
“I am honored to be selected for the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service,” Borderud said in a press release. “The work of mentoring law students in service to others is a joy. I am grateful to the American Inns of Court for validating the good work of our students who serve those in need through the Legal Clinics.”
Borderud graduated from Baylor Law in 2009 and began his legal career as a prosecutor in Milam County. He served as an assistant district attorney and prosecuted criminal cases and was a legal adviser to the county judge. In private practice, Borderud was a civil litigator for Pakis, Giotes, Page & Burleson in Waco, where he was also active in civic affairs, local bar service projects, and volunteer work at the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic.
In 2016, he returned to Baylor Law as the first full-time clinic director. Under Borderud’s leadership, the Veterans Clinic allows students, law school faculty and staff, and local lawyers to offer pro bono aid to McLennan County’s nearly 16,000 military veterans and their spouses.
In addition to the Veterans Clinic, he obtained a Cooper Foundation grant to establish Baylor Law’s Trial Advocacy Clinic. Supervised by Borderud, the clinic partners with two local courts to allow law student advocates to represent defendants whose cases are set for trial in Waco Municipal Court and represent children in their initial juvenile detention hearing in the 74th District Court in McLennan County. Law students have appeared in over 300 juvenile hearings.
“Josh is the embodiment of Baylor Law’s commitment to service and the values promoted by the American Inns of Court,” stated Baylor Law’s Dean Brad Toben. “From his time as a student where he was instrumental in the creation of the Baylor Public Interest Legal Society to his current civic involvement and leadership in the legal community, Josh selflessly serves those in need and cheerfully models and promotes this life of service to our students and others in the legal profession.”
Outside of Baylor, he is a Texas Bar Foundation fellow, a member of the State Bar of Texas Local Bar Services Committee, a barrister in the Judge Abner V. McCall American Inn of Court, and a board director of the Waco-McLennan County Bar Association. Borderud also chairs the McLennan County Law Library Committee and is a past president of the Waco-McLennan County Young Lawyers Association, where he helped the organization win awards from the State Bar and the Texas Access to Justice Commission for pro bono and public service work.
Borderud was also instrumental in spearheading the creation of the Veterans Treatment Court in McLennan County, focusing on meeting veterans’ mental health needs and emphasizing rehabilitation over punishment. Borderud recently was appointed to the East Gulf Region COVID-19 Task Force Military-Veterans Work Group to serve veterans during the pandemic.
Outside of legal work, he is active in civic affairs in Waco, chairing the city’s plan commission and serving on the board of trustees of the Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center, the local mental health authority for a six-county region. Borderud is also a past president of his neighborhood association and serves as a deacon and Sunday School leader in his church.
“A great deal of credit for this recognition should go to the Baylor Law administration, faculty, and staff for their enduring support of our clinical programs,” he said. “I owe a large debt of gratitude to Professor Bridget Fuselier and Professor Tom Featherston for their vision, commitment, and guidance, and to Judge Gary Coley and Judge Christopher Taylor for their abiding partnership with our clinics. Finally, our work would not be possible without the support of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Cooper Foundation.”
“A great deal of credit for this recognition should go to the Baylor Law administration, faculty, and staff for their enduring support of our clinical programs. I owe a large debt of gratitude to Professor Bridget Fuselier and Professor Tom Featherston for their vision, commitment, and guidance, and to Judge Gary Coley and Judge Christopher Taylor for their abiding partnership with our clinics. Finally, our work would not be possible without the support of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Cooper Foundation.”