Professor Emily Hammond hopes to inspire and demystify law for students

Photo of Professor Emily Hammond

Professor Emily Hammond

Emily Hammond started law school with the goal of better understanding the many environmental regulations that had governed her work as a civil engineer. But while at University of Georgia School of Law, she was inspired by her professors’ dedication to teaching, scholarship, and service.

“I was so grateful for everything they did for me, and I could see that they were also active thinkers and scholars,” she says. “I thought that making a difference for students, coupled with the creativity of scholarly engagement, would fuel a career for a lifetime.”

As a professor at Wake Forest Law who specializes in administrative, energy and environmental law, Hammond hopes to inspire her students and play a role in demystifying law for a new generation who may or may not go on to actually practice law.  Further, she works hard to instill a love of learning and commitment to professionalism that will serve students regardless of their career choices.

“These values transcend any particular subject matter,” Hammond says.  “Our legacy as legal educators lies in the choices of future generations.  To have a chance to be a part of that is a humbling responsibility.”

Hammond grew up on a family farm in southwestern Virginia only a few hours from Winston-Salem, so in many ways, Wake Forest University feels like coming home. She had another early tie to the School of Law when she was teaching administrative law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She emailed Wake Forest Law Professor Sidney Shapiro, the author of the textbook she was using, and they began a regular email correspondence.

Hammond observes, “that spirit of collegiality at Wake Forest Law is palpable, and it extends throughout the faculty.  This is an enjoyable place to work, and it shows.”

Another part of what attracted Hammond to the School of Law is its willingness to be nimble and creative in the face of change.

“Both the legal profession and legal education and undergoing profound metamorphoses,” says Hammond.  “While we can’t be certain precisely what the future will look like, we can give students the tools they need to be flexible.”

Moreover, innovating in the classroom is part of what keeps teaching interesting from year to year.  Hammond maintains, “a good professor will work every year and with every course, no matter how often they teach each course, to stay fresh and to maintain a sense of excitement.”