Posted: February 18th, 2016 | By: Maggie Garrison and Lisa Snedeker
The Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Professor Jonathan Cardi, the law school’s Associate Dean for Research and Development, by Provost Rogan Kersh at the Founder’s Day Convocation on Feb. 18 in Wait Chapel. Also, James T. Williams Jr. (’62, JD ’66) received the Medallion of Merit, the University’s highest honor, which is presented annually for outstanding achievement and distinguished contribution to the University. Williams is the long-time firm manager of Brooks Pierce.
Professor Cardi has been a member of the Wake Forest Law faculty since July 2010. He specializes in tort law, the law of remedies and the intersection of race and the law. He is the co-author of a torts casebook, a remedies casebook, two commercial outlines and is co-editor of a book entitled Critical Race Realism.
“In all of Professor Jonathan Cardi’s courses, he pushes his students to understand a concept so that they can take the next steps and appreciate what this legal principle means in the lives of everyday people,” Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) writes. “In his six years at Wake Forest law school, he has taught “Remedies,” “Race, Social Science and Law” and “Products Liability.” But it is in Professor Cardi’s Torts class, a part of the first-year, first-semester experience, where students regularly report that the course transformed them.”
She adds, “Students relate that ‘Professor Cardi steers our discussions like a captain navigating a small craft through a tempest of student questions’ and that ‘Professor Cardi makes sure that students have established clear reasoning pathways and flowcharts for each of the concepts.’ Students thank him for after class time in answering questions, and for his quizzes, problem sets and other formative assessments that keep them in the discussion throughout the semester.”
Professor Cardi earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his JD from the University of Iowa. He clerked for the Honorable Judge Alan Norris, U.S. Federal Court of Appeals Judge for the Sixth Circuit, before working as a litigator at the Washington, D.C., law firm Arnold & Porter. Prior to joining Wake Forest Law, Professor Cardi was a faculty member at the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he taught for eight years. He has served as president of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools and Chair of the Remedies Section of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) and he is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), serving as Associate Reporter of the Restatement (Third) of Torts. He is also a contributor to the European Group on Tort Law.
Provost Rogan Kersh held a reception immediately following the convocation in the Scales Lower Lobby.
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.
Dean Reynolds adds, “Professor Cardi’s devotion extends beyond his classes. In order to help all of the students face a challenging legal market, Professor Cardi collaborated with a career navigation platform company to develop a legal skills assessment and portfolio. The result is a career navigation experience for web and mobile environments free of charge for Wake Forest Law students and alumni. Professor Cardi spent hundreds of volunteer hours designing the instrument and training faculty, staff, and students in how to use it and how to make curricular and experiential choices based on the results.”