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Law Professor David Shores retiring after nearly four decades at WFU

Fayetteville, N.C., home to the Army’s Fort Bragg, and Winston-Salem are separated by a short two-hour drive. For David Shores, that trip – which took him to Washington, D.C., and the University of Iowa — lasted several years.  
But when Shores, who was stationed at Fort Bragg in the early 1960s, returned to North Carolina in 1972 to teach at Wake Forest University, he found home. Shores, a law professor and specialist in taxation and anti-trust law, is retiring from the university this summer after 37 years.
“David has been an incredible asset to Wake Forest,” said Law School Dean Blake Morant. “While he will be missed as an active member of the faculty, we look forward to his continuing association with our law school.”
Shores will be honored in May at a luncheon at the Piedmont Club.
For the past three years, Shores has been in phased retirement, teaching half time, and he’s comfortable with his decision to step away from the university and the people he has come to love.
“It’s been a wonderful place to work, certainly,” said Shores, who has served as a visiting professor at the University of Missouri School of Law and as a distinguished visiting professor at William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, Minn.
“I’ve pretty much been able to teach what I wanted to teach; I found a niche. It’s been a really good career.”
When he came to Wake Forest, Shores said, the university and law school were more oriented to attracting students from within North Carolina and the region. The university, and especially the law school, now share a spot on the coveted national – even international – stage.
“We’ve always had a strong teaching faculty, but we’ve become equally strong as a publishing faculty. There is a great deal more emphasis now on scholarship.
“We’re strong in both areas – which are the essential activities of university teaching. There has been a very positive change over the years that I’ve been there.”
Shores grew up on a farm in Northeast Iowa and earned his bachelor’s degree and J.D. from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He worked on the legal staff of the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., and, after earning a LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University, joined the law firm of Porter, Stanley, Treffinger & Platt (now Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur) in Columbus, Ohio.
He welcomed the chance to return to the Tar Heel State.
“I had fond memories of North Carolina and, when I decided to go into teaching after practicing about five years, the offer from Wake Forest certainly appealed to me. The course package that was offered was very good; things worked out well and I have been here ever since.”
Joel Newman, a law professor at Wake Forest, began teaching at the university about four years after Shores arrived. Newman knew that he, too, had found a home.
“In 1976, it was a comfort and a privilege to come to Wake Forest to begin my teaching career, knowing that David Shores was already here. David has been a wonderful mentor and colleague to me ever since. Whenever I couldn’t figure out something in the law, or I couldn’t figure out how to present something in the law to the students, David was always there to help. His calm good sense and quiet good humor were always appreciated by everyone.
“David’s scholarship and writing style also reflect who he is. Often, after I read one of his pieces, something which had heretofore been puzzling to me now seems clear and obvious. I ask myself, ‘Why didn’t I think of it that way before?’
“My family has also enjoyed a warm relationship with David and his family for decades. Our children have kept up, and we have been delighted to be included in weddings and other happy family events. David’s retirement, of course, will change none of that.”
Professors retire, but their lessons remain with the students who absorbed them. In a way, good teachers never stop teaching. Shores always stressed the importance of living up to the standards and expectations inherent in the law profession.
“My professional life, the main focus has been on being a well-respected teacher, and I feel that I’ve basically achieved that over the years,” Shores said. “It’s probably the one thing I’m most proud of working for the law school.”
Shores has had a long and distinguished career, but he hasn’t decided exactly what’s next for him and his wife, Kathy.
“I really don’t have any specific plans,” he said. “I’ll do some writing, travel a little more. I’ll have more time to do things I enjoy doing. I’m pretty good at loafing.
“We’ve done quite a bit of traveling in the summer, but it will be nice to travel other times of the year, particularly in the fall.”
But the Shoreses, David says, will always return home to Winston-Salem.
Shores began taking college courses while a soldier assigned to Fort Bragg. And if he wants to reminisce about his introduction to North Carolina, the Army post is still just a short two-hour drive from home.

– By John Trump