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Wake Law Professor Stratos Pahis wins coveted Francis Deák Prize from the American Journal of International Law and the American Society of International Law

Wake Forest School of Law Professor Stratos Pahis was awarded the prestigious Francis Deák Prize by the American Journal of International Law and the American Society of International Law. The prize is awarded annually to honor a younger author who has made “a meritorious contribution to international legal scholarship.”

Professor Pahis was awarded the prize for his article, titled “BITs and Bonds: The International Law and Economics of Sovereign Debt,” 115 Am. J. Int’l L. 242 (2021). In the article, Professor Pahis demonstrates that applying international investment treaties to sovereign debt threatens to raise the overall cost of sovereign debt for creditors and States alike. He proposes an interpretative solution to this problem that leads to the equal treatment of creditors.

“It’s a huge honor, and I’m grateful that the ideas in the paper are being recognized,” said Professor Pahis when asked about his award. “We appear to be heading for a series of debt crises around the world – because of COVID and the war in Ukraine, among other reasons. The human toll of these crises threatens to be enormous. What I point out in the paper is that international investment law may end up making things worse, not better. There’s a solution, but first we need to recognize there’s a problem. I hope the award helps to bring the problem to greater light.”

The prize has been awarded annually since 1973 for the best scholarly article written by a younger author published by the American Journal of International Law. The Board of Editors of the journal voted to give Professor Pahis the Francis Deák Prize at their annual meeting on April 12, 2022.

Professor Pahis’ article can be downloaded here.

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Wake Forest Law student Darrien Jones receives Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service

Wake Forest University School of Law student Darrien Jones has been honored as the recipient of the 2022 Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service for his passion, creativity, dedication and commitment to serving people in need.

Smith Anderson, the largest business and litigation law firm based in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, funded the Smith Anderson Office of Community Outreach establishment eight years ago at Wake Forest Law, which houses the pro bono project and expungement clinic. Since then, Smith Anderson has honored a superb law student annually with the Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service.


“Darrien’s commitment to community service and justice reflects well on the entire law school, and we applaud his exemplary dedication to pro bono work,” said Gerald Roach, Smith Anderson’s chair and immediate past chair of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees.

Among his pro bono service, Darrien is the co-coordinator of the law school’s expungement clinic. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped transition the program to an online/call platform. This year alone, volunteers completed 175 criminal record reviews and expunged the criminal records of 50 people.


“Pro bono work isn’t just an afterthought at Wake Forest Law,” said Jane Aiken, dean of Wake Forest Law. “It is a fundamental part of a solid education for future members of the Bar, and Darrien is the epitome of what it means to use that education to help others.”

Darrien has served as vice president of the Student Bar Association. While he was vice president, the Greater Community Committee was created. Each week, the committee highlights a minority-owned and small business, and Wake Forest Law students, staff and faculty are encouraged to support and visit that business. While in law school, Darrien also tutored his fellow students in Torts and Constitutional Law and volunteered as a kindergarten teaching assistant.


Darrien accepted the award on April 23 at the law school’s Pro Bono Honor Society dinner.

“Pro Bono presents unique opportunities to make people’s lives better,” Darrien said. “It may allow people to obtain a job, to buy a house, to receive custody of their children, keep their business open another day, or, at the very least, make them smile – for moment, a day, a time in their life may be better. That is always worth it.”


Eligible candidates for the Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service must:

  • Be a Pro Bono Honor Society member (society members are students who complete 75 hours of pro bono service over a three-year period or 50 hours in one year);

  • Have 100 or more pro bono hours within three years or 75 hours or more within one year; and

  • Through a written nomination the recipient exhibits the passion, creativity, dedication and commitment to serving those in need in a way that results in demonstrated impact or increased access to legal information among an underserved population


For more details about the award, contact Bill Cresenzo, Communications and PR Coordinator for Smith Anderson, at wcresenzo@smithlaw.com or Wake Forest Law Marketing and Communications at lawcomm@wfu.edu.

American Bar Association survey shows over 96% employment rate for Wake Forest Law in 2021

The American Bar Association (ABA) recently released the law school employment results for 2021 graduates from law schools across the country. Wake Forest Law ranked No. 3 out of 196 law schools in the number of graduates employed in full-time, long-term positions requiring a bar license or for which the JD is an advantage. As of March 15, 2022, 96.53% of Wake Forest Law’s 2021 graduates have employment in these “gold standard” jobs.

The class of 2021 has made its mark at the Wake Forest University School of Law. Graduates play an integral part in the institution’s future. When students come to law school, they have the reasonable expectation that they will pass the bar, get a meaningful job and not have enormous debt. Wake Forest Law is meeting those expectations. Being ranked No. 3 further confirms that a Wake Forest Law education propels students forward.

“These positive outcomes certainly reflect the quality of our students and the education they receive, but it is also a result of the investment of the law school in working with students from their first year of law school on the formation of a professional identity: understanding the career options available, internalizing the character qualities of a lawyer, and having the right tools to seek out and obtain the opportunities they want” said Francie Scott, Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development. “We have a highly professional staff that provides key industry knowledge, maintains strong relationships with alumni and other stakeholders, and is deeply committed to seeing each student succeed.”

The ABA employment ranking is just the latest news involving Wake Forest Law’s outstanding reputation. On March 29, 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked Wake Forest Law No. 37 out of the top 50 law schools in the country, tying with Boston College (MA), Fordham University (NY), University of California–Davis, University of California–Irvine, and University of Utah (Quinney). While the school consistently ranks among the top-tier law schools, this is the second rise in the rankings in the last two years.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Wake Forest Students are getting wonderful jobs. They are smart, strategic, collaborative and, despite all their talent, do not act as if they are entitled,” said Dean Jane Aiken. “The class of 2021 shows that what we are doing at Wake Forest Law is working!”

Worrell Professional Building

Wake Forest Law once again ranked among top law schools by U.S. News

Wake Forest University School of Law has been placed once again among the top 50 law schools in the U.S. News & World Report’s national rankings released March 29, 2022.

Up four spots from last year, the law school ranked No. 37 tied with Boston College (MA), Fordham University (NY), University of California–Davis, University of California–Irvine, and University of Utah (Quinney). While the school consistently ranks among the top-tier law schools, this is the second rise in the rankings in the last two years.

The Legal Writing Program at Wake Forest Law was also ranked No. 6 tied with Georgetown University (D.C.), Seattle University (WA), and University of Denver–Strum (CO).

The rankings from U.S. News & World Report weigh student metrics such as GPA and LSAT scores of an incoming class, as well as employment, bar passage rate, and student debt after graduation for graduating students. In addition to Wake Forest Law’s rigorous academic program, small class sizes, and a focus on providing a personalized education, the school also works hard to prepare students to achieve the best possible career outcomes upon graduation. This approach to educating the whole individual in a manner that is consistent with the University’s motto of pro humanitate is what sets the law school apart.

“I want to thank you all for everything that you do, and I look forward to continuing to build on our impressive reputation,” said Wake Forest School of Law Dean Jane Aiken in a message to the Wake Forest Law community about the new ranking.

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Kerrie Edmondson (JD ’18), a team player through and through

Kerrie Edmondson (JD ‘18) is an Associate Attorney at Winston & Strawn LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the law firms representing the U.S. women’s soccer team in their lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. It was the dream assignment for her, as she is both a soccer player and an attorney who is passionate about helping athletes. Being part of the team that helped U.S. women’s soccer achieve a landmark settlement that is being seen as a significant precedent in the ongoing struggle for women to achieve equal pay for equal work is already a highlight in her young career.

After graduating from Wake Forest Law, Edmondson went to work in the New York City office of Winston & Strawn before moving to Charlotte. She is licensed to practice in both states, so many of the cases she takes on are from both locations.

“I think Wake Forest Law helped prepare me for my work by encouraging me to think analytically and tackle legal issues with confidence” said Edmondson when asked about her success, “I know how to analyze the legal issues and facts for each case, think critically, and frame things persuasively. The conversations we had with professors in small classes where we explored theories and ideas freely are unique to Wake Law.”

Edmondson reflects on her time at Wake Forest Law often, mostly on the relationships she developed with faculty.

“I am still in touch with many of my professors and go to them for advice” said Edmondson, “They were always available for advice on the class subject matter or career decisions. I know my colleagues from other law schools did not have the same experiences with their professors that I did.”

Edmondson could not comment much on the USWNT’s settlement in the equal pay lawsuit, as the settlement process is still ongoing. Her motivation to help athletes, partnered with her passion for learning new processes and bettering her skillset has driven her success in sports law.

When asked what it meant to be a part of such a historic case, Edmondson said, “I am proud to be a part of this case as a female soccer player and a female lawyer.”

Wake Forest Law alumna and Board of Visitor member Cheslie Kryst (JD/MBA ’17) (right) with Alison Ashe-Card (left), Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Wake Forest Law, at the 2018 Black Law Student Association Banquet.

Wake Forest University’s School of Law and School of Business mourn the passing of Cheslie Kryst (JD/MBA ’17)

Wake Forest University School of Law and School of Business alumna and Law Board of Visitor member Cheslie Kryst (JD/MBA ’17), an attorney who fought for social justice, the 2019 winner of the Miss North Carolina and Miss USA pageants, and television host and correspondent, passed away on Jan. 30 at the age of 30.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Cheslie Kryst, who was a treasured friend, classmate, and mentor to so many in our Wake Forest Law community,” said Wake Forest Law Dean Jane Aiken. “She was a persistent advocate for social justice, and her kindness, generosity, and inspiring spirit left a lasting impact on all those who had the privilege of knowing her. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Cheslie’s family and loved ones.”

While a student at Wake Forest Law, Kryst concurrently pursued her MBA at Wake Forest School of Business and was involved in a variety of organizations, including the Black Business Students Association.

“While in the MBA program, Cheslie was an engaged student, a committed teammate, and a bright light,” said Sherry Moss, the Benson Pruitt Professor in Business. “Her passing is beyond tragic and our hearts go out to her family and friends. She will always be remembered as a person who made a difference in the world.”

As an alumna, Kryst generously supported the law school and its students, including by serving as a member of the Law Board of Visitors.

During her first year in law school, Kryst won the 1L Trial Bar Competition, and later went on to become a member of the Moot Court Team, a member of the law school’s first national championship-winning AAJ Trial Team, and president of the Sports Entertainment Law Society.

“I remember Cheslie from her first day of law school in my contracts class,” said Dean and Professor of Law Emerita Suzanne Reynolds, who served as dean of the law school from 2014-2019. “She always brought out the human side of the cases we studied, a gift that led her after graduation into pro bono work on death penalty cases. I grieve with her beloved family, classmates, and the thousands she touched, especially for the pain she must have endured before we lost her.”

Photo credit Poyner Spruill LLP

Photo credit Poyner Spruill LLP

As the coach of the 2017 AAJ Trial Team of which Kryst was a member, Matthew Breeding (JD ’06) recalled that her incredible advocacy skills were matched by a deep sense of compassion.

“More than her charm and wit, her intellectual agility, and her effortless beauty, the one trait that exemplifies her the most is compassion,” said Breeding. “She loved her classmates without fear or shame, she fought for her teammates with every breath she could muster, and she showed actual, genuine empathy to everyone fortunate enough to cross her path.”

Kryst was also an active member of Wake Forest Law’s Black Law Student Association, and was awarded a scholarship from the organization in both 2015 and 2017. She also served as National Parliamentarian for the National Black Law Student Association from 2015-2016. Throughout her career, Kryst continued to support Wake Forest Law’s BLSA by speaking on panels, mentoring students, and facilitating connections between current students and other alumni.

“Cheslie was not only a brilliant person, but she also had a pure heart. She made it clear that we can do whatever we set our mind to,” said Cedric James (JD ’22), the current president of Wake Forest Law’s BLSA. “She consistently used her voice to speak up for those ignored and silenced. She was steadfast in her support of women and used her platform to uplift those around her.”

After graduating from Wake Forest in 2017, Kryst worked as an associate at Poyner Spruill in Charlotte, NC, where she practiced complex civil litigation and provided pro bono legal services to incarcerated people. In 2019, she won the Miss North Carolina pageant and went on to become the first attorney to win the Miss USA pageant. After serving as Miss USA, Kryst became an entertainment news correspondent and host for ExtraTV.

“Cheslie’s spirit was as bright as the torch she carried during the Miss Universe competition. She cared deeply about her community, and she used her platform to speak out on social justice issues and to bring light to causes about which she was passionate,” said Alison Ashe-Card, Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Wake Forest Law. “Cheslie often returned to Wake Law and served as a mentor to many students. Her light and legacy will live on through those whose lives she touched.”

Wake Forest offers support and counseling services for all students, faculty, and staff. The Counseling Center may be reached at 336-758-5273 and the Chaplain’s Office at 336-758-5210. For faculty and staff, there is also the Employee Assistance Program at 336-716-5493. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255.

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Wake Forest Law to expand courses & programming focused on leadership & character with investment from the Kern Family Foundation

Nearly $1 million of a generous grant from the Kern Family Foundation will directly expand Wake Forest University School of Law’s collaboration with the University’s Program for Leadership and Character, bolstering the law school’s efforts to grow instruction and programming for law students to develop their character and professional identity.

The grant is part of an $8.6 million investment from the Kern Family Foundation to support the Program for Leadership and Character’s work in the University’s professional schools, including the School of Law, School of Medicine, and pre-professional undergraduate programs. It builds upon the Foundation’s previous support for the Program for Leadership and Character, which was launched in 2017 to inspire, educate, and empower leaders of character to serve humanity.

“This investment is transformational for our ability to equip Wake Forest Law students with not only the knowledge and skills, but also the virtues and values, that contribute to a meaningful career beyond graduation,” said Wake Forest Law Dean Jane Aiken. “Too often, legal education separates values from work, yet the most impactful lawyers are those who are as committed to personal integrity and the public good as they are to professional excellence. We’re eager to grow our successful collaboration with the Program for Leadership and Character, and continue to impress upon our law graduates the importance of integrity and purpose in all they do.”

With this investment, the law school will redesign and create new courses and programming opportunities focused on the intersections of leadership, character, professional identity, and professional responsibilities. It will also begin the development of a new “clerkship college” centered around character for law students who will be working for judges upon graduation in positions that have a particularly significant impact on how the law is interpreted and practiced.

In collaboration with the Program for Leadership and Character, Wake Forest Law will also begin exploring steps to bring together law schools across the country who are committed to character-based leadership development in an effort to empower other institutions to undertake similar work.

“This grant from the Kern Family Foundation will allow us to build upon growing energy in Wake Forest’s School of Law and other professional schools to prioritize leadership and character education at this university and other institutions,” said Wake Forest Law Scholar-in-Residence Kenneth Townsend, who leads the Program for Leadership and Character in the professional schools. “We want to act as a model and translator for others interested in integrating leadership and character into professional education and practice.”

More law faculty have participated in leadership and character course development and redesign workshops than any other department or school at the University, resulting in new courses, the most recent of which are “Practical Wisdom and the Law,” “Women, Leadership, and the Law,” and “Health Justice: Theory and Practice.” Additionally, new leadership- and character-oriented modules have been introduced in existing courses including “Criminal Law,” “Essential Business Concepts,” and “Race, Social Science, and the Law.” Law faculty have also been the most active of any department or school in the Program for Leadership and Character’s departmental grant program, receiving support for initiatives such as “Lawyers as Leaders,” “Ethics of Software Development,” and “Leadership and Character in Bioethics.”

This past academic year, the law school also launched an inaugural Leadership and Character in the Law Scholars cohort, made up of two law students from each class. Students in the cohort have the opportunity to collaborate with cohort groups in other professional schools, engage in personalized discussions, workshops, and modules organized by the Program for Leadership and Character, participate in networking events with lawyer-leaders from various sectors and backgrounds, and interact with senior University leaders, including Dean Aiken.

Since Wake Forest Law and the Program for Leadership and Character began working together in 2019, more than 300 law students have participated in the range of courses, leadership workshops, retreats, and other programming led by law faculty in partnership with the Program.

In addition to growing the law school’s efforts focused on leadership and character development, the larger grant will also fund the creation of a Center for Personal and Professional Development at the School of Medicine, among other initiatives. With this support, the University also plans to expand character-based initiatives already underway in the department of engineering; integrate larger questions of character, purpose, and professional identity into advising for pre-law and pre-med undergraduate students; and foster interdisciplinary learning opportunities for professional school students and faculty outside of the classroom.

The mission of Wake Forest Law is to advance the cause of justice by creating knowledge and educating students to meet the legal needs of the world with confidence, character, and creativity. We instill in students a respect for the law, a devotion to the ideal of service, and a commitment to professional values. We educate students from around the world in a richly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Learn more at law.wfu.edu, and stay up to date on what’s happening in the Wake Forest Law community by following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Graduates from the Wake Forest Law classes of 2020 and 2021 listen as Dean Jane Aiken delivers remarks at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 17. (Photo credit Robert Ross)

Classes of 2020 and 2021 called upon to meet future challenges as “the lawyers with heart”

Following a law school experience that was unlike any of the classes before them, the Wake Forest Law graduates of 2020 and 2021 were called upon during this year’s commencement ceremony to remember the unique skills they developed from learning and living through a global pandemic and the nation’s renewed reckoning with race, and to use that knowledge to help advance justice.

“Because of these experiences, you are meeting this moment of historical uncertainty with strengths suited to meet the challenges of the moment: to not just reopen the old world, but to remake it,” said Wake Forest Law Dean Jane Aiken in her opening remarks.

Aiken urged the graduates to remember their deepened appreciation for justice, that they can make transformation happen, and that they already had through the various ways they adapted to the challenges they faced throughout their law school career. She also recalled how the classes of 2020 and 2021 maintained and created community ties at a time when they could no longer rely on having a community emerge just from physically being in it.

“[These skills] are likely to make you more effective, more compassionate, more creative — in short, a better human being and a better lawyer,” said Aiken. “This adversity has forged you into people who can take informed risks, be courageous, have an appetite for meaningful, real, and lasting change. And most of all, you can bear the weight of commencing this new world.”

Wake Forest Law alumnus and North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dietz (JD ’02) was the distinguished speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony. As the first person in his family to attend college, Dietz earned his bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania before attending Wake Forest Law, where he graduated first in his class and served as research editor of the Wake Forest Law Review. After graduating from law school in 2002, Dietz served as a judicial law clerk for judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. District Court in Virginia. He was also a research fellow at Kyushu University in Japan, where he studied comparative and international law issues. He went on to practice at Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C., and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in North Carolina before he was appointed to the court in 2014.

In his remarks, Dietz underscored the ways in which Wake Forest lawyers are particularly well-suited to meet today’s legal needs, and not simply because of their legal skills.

“There’s something about Wake Forest that does more than just train skilled lawyers,” said Dietz. “It’s in the bones of this place. We’re trained to be lawyers with heart, and that’s what we need right now more than ever.”

Dietz recalled how he personally experienced the kindness and compassion of Wake Forest Law students during his time in law school. When Dietz’s mother was diagnosed with cancer while he was a law student, he returned home to be with her. His first week at home, he unexpectedly received a package containing a stack of VHS tapes and another stack of papers. Unbeknownst to him, his classmates had coordinated with one another and the faculty to record each of his classes, photocopy the notes of the students with the best handwriting, and send it all to Dietz in Pennsylvania. The packages continued to arrive every couple of days, and at the end of the semester Dietz, who initially feared he would have to drop out of law school, was instead able to sit for his end of semester exams.

“I imagine a lot of you, hearing this, are not surprised by the kindness of my classmates,” Dietz said.

It is this kind of lawyer that the world needs now more than ever, he told the graduates, as people recover from unemployment and economic instability because of the pandemic, grapple with new technologies, adapt to transformed economies and workplaces, fight for racial justice, and seek to reform the justice system.

“This is our time to show up as the best of what the legal profession — and this is our profession now, this is you — the best of what we represent,” said Dietz. “And what we need most is not just people who show up with legal skills. With all these people in crisis, all these causes that need champions, we need the lawyers with heart, and that’s you.”

Student Bar Association President Hank Niblock (JD ’21) and Professor Rebecca Morrow were also selected by the class of 2021 to address the graduates in recorded remarks.

Morrow reminded the graduates that while faculty members wanted them to understand the content they learned in the classroom and develop their legal skills, they also had another goal in mind: for students to become braver learners and braver lawyers.

“Not only has your success in law school made you braver, more capable of learning new and difficult things, and better able to see that your capabilities exceed your expectations, your bravery is needed,” said Morrow. “It’s not that I want you to feel responsible for having all of the answers — you aren’t — or worse that you have to fake it to make it, you don’t. Instead, I want you to see that you learned something new and very difficult and very valuable, and you can do it again and again.”

Niblock encouraged his classmates to remember their strong legal education and, most importantly, to be themselves when tackling the varied legal issues they will face in their careers.

“Wake Forest lawyers are team players, work together, and help each other,” said Niblock. “You have all the tools necessary, and in a world that is obsessed with bigger and better, you are enough, and you always will be.”

Watch the commencement ceremony, held May 17 at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and remarks from each speaker on the Wake Forest Law 2021 commencement website.

The mission of Wake Forest Law is to advance the cause of justice by creating knowledge and educating students to meet the legal needs of the world with confidence, character, and creativity. We instill in students a respect for the law, a devotion to the ideal of service, and a commitment to professional values. We educate students from around the world in a richly diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Learn more at law.wfu.edu, and stay up to date on what’s happening in the Wake Forest Law community by following us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Tyler Parent has joined Wake Forest Law as Assistant Director for Law Enrollment in the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid.

Wake Forest Law welcomes Tyler Parent as Assistant Director for Law Enrollment

Wake Forest Law is excited to welcome Tyler Parent as the new Assistant Director for Law Enrollment in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. In this role, he will serve as the primary recruiter for the law school’s Juris Doctor program and develop programming for prospective and accepted students, as well as colleges and student groups.

Previously an admissions counselor at Arizona’s A.T. Still University and Bryan University, Parent said he is most looking forward to learning from and building relationships with Wake Forest Law’s faculty and staff, as well as interacting and establishing connections with prospective students and their families.

“When I applied to law school, I relied heavily on admissions personnel to help navigate the application process,” said Parent. “It’s important to me to draw upon my past experiences and serve as a resource for applicants and prospective students.”

As a 2018 graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, he was actively involved in the Public Interest Law Association, Environmental Law Society and Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity.

At Wake Forest Law, Parent will advise students on the admissions process, programmatic opportunities, and financial aid and scholarships. Part of his role will also focus on expanding efforts to support a diverse and inclusive recruitment and enrollment process at Wake Forest Law.

Parent will also oversee prospective student tours and visits, and the admissions ambassadors program, which engages current students with accepted students to strengthen relationships within the Wake Forest Law community. Parent recalled that his own exposure to student affairs and admissions stemmed from his involvement as a law student ambassador, and grew from there through his work as an admissions counselor.

“My evolution as a professional ignited when I began to broaden my exposure to other graduate programs. Over the past several years I’ve gained substantial experience working with graduate health science students, which has helped make me a more well rounded and knowledgeable admissions professional,” he said.

As a Detroit native and University of Michigan alumnus, Parent is a fan of the football teams of both, and regularly attends Lions and Wolverines games with his family. And after spending three years in the Arizona desert, he is looking forward to exploring the local trails and hiking in destinations like Pilot Mountain State Park and Hanging Rock State Park. Since his move to North Carolina, Parent said he is enjoying living in downtown Winston-Salem, though as a self-proclaimed “pizza snob,” has promised to continue to advocate for the famed deep-dish delicacy of Detroit.

“Regular pilgrimages back to Detroit for pizza at Buddy’s will always be a requirement for me,” he said.

However, his passion for pizza was outmatched by his long standing passion for the law school experience and culture.

“After completing law school, it was important to me to not only absorb as much as possible about admissions and student affairs but to demonstrate my commitment to higher education,” he said. “I hoped to eventually return as a professional if I found the right fit.”

And Wake Forest Law, he says, was exactly the fit that he was searching for.

Welcome, Tyler!

The nine winners of the 2021 Transactional Law Competition at Wake Forest Law on Zoom.

Transactional Law Competition Board names winners of fifth-annual competition at Wake Forest Law

Wake Forest Law students Walker Abbott (JD ’23), Michael Riedl (JD ’23) and Maya Wiemokly (JD ’23) were named the overall team champions and the best 1L overall team of the 2021 Transactional Law Competition. Now in its fifth year, the student-run competition challenges participants to draw upon the contract analysis, drafting and negotiation skills learned in their law school courses to represent two sides of a contract in a simulated transaction.

In this year’s competition, students represented either an actor or a film company in an actor employment agreement. The 52 students who participated worked in 18 teams to draft an actor employment agreement, mark up another team’s draft and negotiate aspects of the agreement with an opposing team.

Other award winners from the competition included:

  • Madison Boyer (JD ’23), Shelby Gilmer (JD ’23) and Karen Surian (JD ’23), who were recognized as the best team negotiators.
  • Abbie Hibsch (JD ’22), Emily Solley (JD ’22) and Aidan Williams (JD ’22), who were recognized for the best team mark-up and best team draft.

The competition took place throughout February and March, and the final negotiation round was held on March 20 over Zoom. It is run by the Transactional Law Competition Board, which includes President Olivia Bane (JD ’21), Vice President Golzar Yazdanshenas (JD ’21), Problem Chair Alex Hill (JD ’21), 2L Board Member Natalia Nino (JD ’22), 2L Board Member Samatha Jenkins (JD ’22) and 2L Board Member Jordan Mock (JD ’22).

Professor Hal Lloyd, who serves as the faculty sponsor for the competition, said that it continues to provide excellent transactional law and negotiation experience for both the students who compete and for the board members who oversee it.

“With such a competition, Wake continues its good example of adding transactional balance to legal education,” said Lloyd. “Each year, I’m thrilled to see both the hard work and the sheer fun the competition inspires in everyone involved, including the judges to whom we’re always deeply indebted.”

Each round of this year’s competition was scored by 20 volunteer judges.

“We really appreciate all 20 practicing attorneys who volunteered their time to serve as judges, providing valuable feedback for our students through all three rounds of the competition,” said Olivia Bane, president of the Transactional Law Competition Board and a third-year law student.

The judges included Wake Forest Law faculty, as well as individuals from various law firms and companies in North Carolina and across the country, including:

  • ALG Senior
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • Collins Aerospace
  • Davis Mangum
  • Hagan Barrett
  • Highwoods Properties
  • Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs
  • K&L Gates
  • Law Office of Anne C. Keays
  • Parker Poe
  • Purrington Moody Weil
  • Robinson & Lawing
  • Womble Bond Dickinson