Professor Tanya Marsh receives Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award

Photo of Professor of Law Tanya Marsh

Professor of Law Tanya Marsh, an expert in human remains, created the first Funeral and Cemetery Law course in an American law school.

The Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Associate Professor of Law Tanya Marsh at the Wake Forest Founders’ Day Convocation on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Wait Chapel.

Marsh joined Wake Forest Law in 2010  and is considered an inspirational teacher and innovative designer of curriculum.

“Professor Marsh is so beloved by her students that when she created a new course in her particular area of interest, Funeral and Cemetery Law, the law school had to find a bigger room to accommodate the student demand,” explained Executive Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Suzanne Reynolds.

Among her other courses, Marsh teaches Property, Real Estate Transactions, a Seminar on Law, Business, and the Economy and Professional Development. Her scholarship addresses commercial real estate, the regulation of community banks, and the laws regarding the status, treatment, and disposition of human remains.

“A curricular innovator, Professor Marsh is the co-creator of a new program for first-year law students – Professional Development – that provides students with significant help in designing their career paths and acquiring the skills to help them on those journeys,” Reynolds said. “Tanya has won this award for her teaching – as she should.  She is a masterful teacher, inspiring her students to love whatever course they have with her.  They love her also because of the depth of her concern for them.  She uses her connections to help students network with people in her field.  But she is an equally wonderful scholar and colleague.  The law school is proud to shine the spotlight on Tanya Marsh.”

A graduate of Indiana University and Harvard Law School, before joining the Wake Forest faculty in 2010, Marsh clerked for the Indiana Supreme Court, practiced commercial real estate and corporate law with two large Indianapolis law firms, and spent five years as in-house counsel with a public shopping center REIT. Marsh is involved in the leadership of the American Bar Association’s Real Property Trust & Estate Law Section and is a frequent contributor to that section’s CLE offerings.

In addition, Marsh also writes for The Huffington Post, PropertyProf Blog (, and The Funeral Law Blog (

The Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1985 to honor Wake Forest alumnus Joseph Branch (JD ’38, LLD ’83) upon his retirement from the North Carolina Supreme Court.  Branch embodied the humanistic, student-centered approach to legal education that is the law school’s heritage. Recipients are chosen from the School of Law faculty on the basis of outstanding teaching and service to the legal profession.