Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) featured in Chronicle of Higher Education regarding her passion for the law and social justice
The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 3, 2015
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently interviewed Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) about leading Wake Forest Law into the future.
The original story by Isaac Stein reads:
Suzanne Reynolds became interim dean of Wake Forest University’s School of Law last year, she hoped a new dean would bring a “fresh set of eyes” to the school where she has taught since 1981, she says. But as she was suggested repeatedly as a candidate, she came to embrace the new possibility.
Ms. Reynolds, who became permanent dean on July 1, is an expert on family law. That area has gone from being “a stepchild” to a mainstream part of the law curriculum, she notes. It has also shaped her own philosophy of teaching and administration. As in the practice of family law, it’s better for a leader “not to bring a position that she’s advocating” but to listen to different constituencies and analyze their points of view to determine the best course of action, she says.
As dean, Ms. Reynolds plans to “respond to the change in the delivery of legal services” and to give students a sense of active responsibility for maintaining social justice. She will also work on a new edition of her three-volume treatise on North Carolina family law, with updates that reflect the recent Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.
Outside of academe, Ms. Reynolds has served as an administrator of professional and judicial organizations dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence and the advancement of women in the legal profession.
Among the highlights of her career is working with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom she taught a course in comparative constitutional law in 2008 as part of a Wake Forest program in Venice. Justice Ginsburg “is a master teacher,” Ms. Reynolds says, “and we did some touristy things.”