Wake Forest Law Welcomes New Faculty Members

Exterior photo of Wake Forest Law building

(Winston-Salem, N.C., May 21, 2020) — Wake Forest University School of Law welcomes four new full-time faculty members and a visiting professor for the 2020-2021 academic year. Their experience will bolster Wake Forest Law’s classrooms and clinics in areas ranging from health justice to environmental issues to food law policy and legal writing.

“These new teacher-scholars will bring remarkable thought leadership to our students and our community,” said Jane Aiken, dean of Wake Forest Law. “We look forward to enhancing our experiential learning opportunities and focus on important practice areas of law with their addition to our faculty.”

Alyse Bertenthal comes to Wake Forest Law as an assistant professor of law. She brings experience as the Mysun Clinical Fellow at the University of California-Irvine Law’s environmental law clinic, where she supervised student casework, connected academic centers and community leaders, examined community legal needs, and designed programs and projects to support those needs. Additionally, her recent research focuses on how assigning legal rights to nonhuman nature (like trees) can reframe relational and legal frameworks – in short, a community view of this environmental issue. Professor Bertenthal earned her PhD from the University of California-Irvine, her JD from the University of Chicago School of Law, and her BA from Yale University, with distinction.

Assistant Professor of Law Meghan Boone returns to Wake Forest Law to teach reproductive rights and family law. Boone served as a visiting assistant professor teaching civil procedure and other courses at Wake Forest from 2016-2018. Since that time, she served as an assistant professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, where her teaching and research focused on civil procedure, family law, and reproductive rights. Recent scholarship has focused on lactation law, reproductive law, and gender equality in the workplace. One of her articles “Reproductive Due Process” is the winner of the 2020 American Association of Law School (AALS) Scholarly Papers Competition. Professor Boone earned an LLM in Advocacy with Honors from Georgetown University, her JD from American University Washington College of Law, and her BA from Trinity College. She has also worked in the public and private sectors.

Brenda Gibson comes to Wake Forest Law as an associate professor of legal writing. For the last 14 years at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law, she was director of legal writing and oversaw enhancements to the program to both the curriculum and the faculty. While at NCCU, she served on the Student Performance Enhancement, Curriculum, and Admissions committees. Professor Gibson’s scholarship interests explore the intersection between history, the social sciences, and the law. She is co-author of “North Carolina Legal Research” — both the book and teacher’s manual. Professor Gibson was led to academia through her work as a staff attorney at the North Carolina Court of Appeals, where she also served as a judicial clerk at the beginning of her legal career. Professor Gibson earned her JD at North Carolina Central University School of Law and her BA at North Carolina State University.

Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Ellie Morales (JD ’10) returns to Wake Forest Law to play a major role in the Veteran’s Clinic. Professor Morales was the first female Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer to be awarded the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award. This prestigious honor is presented to fewer than 20 Army junior officers each year. Professor Morales joined the JAG Corps in 2010 which included a tour in Afghanistan. In 2015, she transitioned to the Army Reserves where she continues to serve as a JAG one weekend a month. She has also worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice. Professor Morales earned her JD from Wake Forest Law in 2010 and her BA from Davidson College.

Sarah Morath will bring her legal writing, teaching, and focus on agriculture and environmental law as an associate professor of legal writing.  She comes to Wake Forest from the University of Houston Law Center, where she was director of Lawyering Skills and Strategies. Previously she had served as associate professor of legal writing at University Akron School of Law. Before moving to academia, Morath held several clerkships in Maine. Her scholarly interests include single-use plastics, environmental and natural resources law, food law policy, organic farming, and legal writing education. Morath frequently presents at national and regional legal writing conferences and was elected to the editorial board of Legal Writing: Journal of the Legal Writing Institute in 2016. Professor Morath earned her JD from the University of Montana School of Law, her MES from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and her BA from Vassar College, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Well-known in the field of health justice, Emily Benfer joins Wake Forest Law as a visiting professor of law, where she will set up a medical-legal partnership. This clinic will offer JD students clinical experience with a focus on community legal needs. Her practice and research include social justice and health equity, environmental and racial justice, and medical-legal partnerships. Recently, she created housing policy scorecards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions enacted by many states and local communities. This project examined tenant protections and housing stability measures. Professor Benfer has served as a visiting associate clinical professor of law at Columbia and a visiting distinguished scholar and senior fellow at Yale Law School. She has also been a clinical professor of law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and Stritch School of Medicine where she founded the Health Justice Project. Benfer earned her LLM from Georgetown Law Center and JD from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Media contact: Stephanie Skordas, Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations skordas@wfu.edu or 336.758-5719.