Pre-law students to benefit from donation of Schacht Law Library

PLAINVIEW, TX —Wayland Baptist University’s pre-law program got a boost recently when the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences received the multi-volume law library of the late Lubbock attorney Otto Jackie-Don “J-D” Schacht.

At the suggestion of her brother-in-law, David Cameron, Madonna Schacht contacted Wayland officials about donating her son’s law library to the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences. J-D, who passed away May 2, was a managing partner in the Lubbock office of Eggleston & Briscoe, LLP, for 11 years and previously taught a Business Law class at Wayland.

“Nothing would have made my husband happier than to know that these books will benefit students at Wayland,” said Madonna Schacht, who is also the widow of Dr. Otto B. Schacht, a Professor of Business at Wayland for almost 20 years, who passed away in October 2022. “He was passionate about students and about education, and J-D was similar when it came to the law. He loved talking about it and his whole demeanor changed when he talked about having anything to do with the law.”

Dr. Rebekah Crowe, Dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Professor of History, along with four other faculty members didn’t know what to expect when they went to pick up the books last month. What they discovered was more than 400 volumes in pristine condition ready to be moved. The estimated value of the library is about $15,000, although it would be closer to $50,000 if the books were brand new.

“We had no clue those books were so expensive, and it’s an honor to get to donate them,” Madonna Schacht said. “What would make Otto so happy is not only are we able to donate them but that they are going to be used by students and really help them.”

“This is massive,” Dr. Crowe said of the library which is currently being stored in multiple classrooms. “We’ve never had a gift like this in terms of the sheer volume. Right now, we’re just going through organizing and cataloging.”

That’s something pre-law students will get to assist with next semester. “Right now, we're just trying to get them on shelves,” Dr. Crowe said.

“We are going to use these as a law library,” the dean explained. “It will be for our pre-law students in Criminal Justice, as well as Political Science and History students. We’re hoping they’ll really interact with these books in a variety of ways.”

Dr. Justin Lawrence, Associate Dean and Professor of Criminal Justice and Public Administration, was like a kid in a candy shop as he looked through the volumes he was placing on shelves.

“The first volume we have goes back to 1886, so this kind of sets the sound foundation of Texas law,” he said. “We have been gifted with the first edition of the Southwest Reporter that has all the Texas cases. It's really important for students to be able to see the foundation of the law — how it started, how we've progressed.”

The library also includes the second edition of Southwest that include court rules, as well as a mixed set of New York Supplements that go back to June 1939, a set of Texas Juris Prudence, volumes of legal forms, and a few other “old legal books”. For a pre-law student or his professor, it’s a treasure chest of legal knowledge.

“This is pretty awesome and pretty significant,” Dr. Lawrence said. “A lot of big law firms — this is what they have in their law libraries. We can use it for a lot of students who want to go to law school, so they can get that kind of practice. We can do assignments where they actually go through and do the legal research. Instead of just doing it on the Internet, they are actually going to be getting in the books and finding those nuggets that could make or break a case.”

“This is huge for Wayland to have legal volumes like this,” Crowe said. “Eventually, we would love to have them set up in a mock courtroom, where they could be, maybe set up in a judge’s chamber sort of situation, where they'd be on the wall. We have a variety of ideas of how we'd like them to be used, but really to have them be used as much as possible in honor and in thanks to the Schacht family.”

The dean noted that pre-law students won’t have to travel Texas Tech or another law library to conduct research or complete assignments. “We have it all here now,” she said.

A Levelland High School graduate, J-D Schacht did his undergraduate work at Texas A&M University before earning a Doctorate of Juris Prudence degree at South Texas College of Law in Houston. He was a trial lawyer whose practice concentrated on insurance and business litigation. He was named to the Texas Rising Stars List in 2013. The list honors attorneys under 40 who had practiced less than 10 years.