Faculty Profile – Steve Garland (JD ’80)

Photo of Professor Steve Garland (JD '80) outside of the Worrell Professional Center

Professor of Practice Steve Garland (JD '80)

From an afternoon daily newspaper to Charlotte and Winston-Salem law firms to serving as town attorney, Wake Forest Law Professor of Practice Steve Garland (JD ‘80) eventually found his way to the law school classroom.

After 25 years in private commercial law practice, Professor Garland joined the Wake Forest School of Law staff as an adjunct professor in 2006. He became a Professor of the Practice in August 2011 and now teaches the foundational Master of Studies in Law (MSL) course, “The Workplace: Its Legal Context,” as well as Decedents’ Estates and Trusts to JDs. Over the years, he has also taught Mortgages; Legal Analysis, Writing and Research I and II; and Business Drafting ULWR.

“To my surprise, I found that standing up and talking in front of a bunch of people was fun; it’s sort of like an hour of standup comedy,” Garland said. “You’ve got to get the information across in an entertaining way because you want the students to come back and actually care about the class.”

Garland earned an undergraduate degree from Duke University. Following his brother to Wake Forest Law, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Wake Forest Law Review. After graduation, he clerked for North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Branch (JD ‘38).

“It’s hard to say, but looking back I would credit that year to being the time I had the most fun as a lawyer,” Garland says.

Prior to joining the Wake Forest Law faculty, Garland was a private attorney at Moore and Van Allen in Charlotte in the early ’80s  and then spent most of his legal career in practice at Blanco Tackabery in Winston-Salem. There he specialized in commercial real estate, commercial financing and municipal law, including working on the creation of the Town of Lewisville.

Garland’s MSL course presents the fundamentals of law for the workplace and provides legal context of decision-making and risk management. The MSL program is aimed at students interested in navigating the law, but not practicing.

“I was a little leery of the idea at first. I thought, ‘Are we teaching people to be mini-lawyers, or are we doing something different?’” Garland said. “I discovered the value of our program to our MSL students when one of them told me he foresaw a future moving to management and administration where he would deal with administering contracts and supervising others, and he saw in the program a way to make that transition easier.”

Garland has a 36-year-old daughter and a 33-year-old son. He has served as chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s News Media and Administration of Justice Council  and is a member of the Citizen’s Steering Committee for the Legacy comprehensive plan for Forsyth County. He is a former president of the Little Theater of Winston-Salem.