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Christopher Martin Joins Wake Forest University School of Law as Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs

Chris Martin, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Chris Martin, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs


Chris Martin is the new Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at Wake Forest Law. He comes to this position from Northwestern University where he served in the same role. At Wake Forest Law, he will oversee the academic policies and procedures for all its academic programs, including the JD; international LLM, SJD, and visiting researchers; and MSLs. He is also responsible for managing the Registrar, developing initiatives that contribute to the strategic priorities of the school, and helping us evaluate and streamline academic processes in areas such as advising and degree requirement, course scheduling and exams, program and curriculum review, learning and outcomes, committees and academic events, enrollment, and registration.

While at Northwestern, he also taught several courses as Assistant Clinical Professor and served as faculty advisor for many years in an International Team Project that took him all over the world, including Morocco, France, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, Thailand, Myanmar, Peru, and Tanzania. When asked to share some memorable experiences from his travels, he began, “ITP is more like investigative journalism than traditional research.” Then went on to recall the work his students did in Argentina researching a statute that required children of the “Dirty War” of the late 1970s and early 1980s to submit DNA samples to try to identify their birth parents. It was a dark period in Argentina’s history, when about 30,000 Argentines disappeared after being abducted by the military. Women who were pregnant at the time of their abduction were kept alive to have their babies, who were then given to friends of the military. His students were able to interview many of the people affected, including Miriam Lewin, a woman who disappeared at 18. They learned her story of survival in captivity, which was only possible because her fluency in English was useful to the government.

It also happened that Wright Thompson, from ESPN The Magazine, was in Argentina at the same time. The ESPN journalist was so impressed with them that he took the group under his wing and facilitated interviews all over Buenos Aires, including one with Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, a group of women who had been marching weekly demanding to know what happened to the children of their children who had disappeared. It was “a very emotional interview,” Chris recalls.

During these trips, they sometimes paired countries that shared long borders for their studies. On the Argentina/Chile trip, for example, he says, “I was struck by the differences … Legally, legislatively, and culturally, the countries are so different.” In spite of their shared border, Argentina was battling corruption, economic instability and political disarray, while its neighbor Chile had the best and most consistent economy in South America and a strong democracy.

As he reflects on what drew him to Wake Forest and his new role, he shares, “I did not know that much about the school until my oldest son decided to enroll in the fall 2020 first-year undergraduate class at the University. Through the process of getting him on campus during a pandemic, I was extremely impressed by how the University worked with its students and their families. There is a sense of community that is very strong.” It was this connection to the people he encountered during the interview process—faculty, staff, and a group of about 15 students he met in October—that sealed the deal for him. “Of course, Winston-Salem winters compared to Chicago didn’t hurt!”

He is settling well in his new city, milder winter and all. He has already been hiking in Pilot Mountain State Park, which left him excited to explore North Carolina’s fantastic State Parks. “I’m looking forward to exploring them all,” he exclaimed. And on a foodie note, he shared, “I also grew up in Kansas City, so I am already comparing and contrasting North Carolina BBQ with what I had growing up. So far, so good!”

When asked how his philosophy as an educator and administrator has evolved, he shares: “Over the past 15 years, I have changed the perception of my role as an educator from one who stands in front of students lecturing to one of collaboration with students as I play a role in getting them to where they want to be. I find myself asking a lot more questions, and doing quite a bit more listening.”

The students, faculty, and staff at Wake Forest Law are lucky to have him.

Welcome, Chris!

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Wake Forest University School of Law Contributes to National Study on Housing Loss

Forsyth County highlighted in a groundbreaking report released today from New America

(Winston-Salem, N.C. – Sept. 9, 2020) – Nearly 5 million Americans lose their homes through eviction and foreclosure each year, and the numbers this year are expected to be higher as tens of millions lose jobs due to COVID-19 and the economic downturn. The Future of Property Rights Program at New America, in partnership with Wake Forest University, Wake Forest University School of Law, and Winston-Salem State University have been conducting research to understand where housing loss is most acute across the nation, with a spotlight on Forsyth County to determine who is most impacted and why.  Continue reading »

Outside of a United States Bankruptcy Court

Wake Forest Law Helps Small Businesses

(Winston-Salem, N.C., September 8, 2020) — Small businesses face unparalleled hardships in the current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them may even face bankruptcy for the first time. Continue reading »

Students in law classroom watch as prof Don Vaughan and Dean Jane Aiken announce the Kay Hagan Award

Kay Hagan Award established

Students in Wake Forest Law’s State and Local Government in a Federal System class face a 20-page paper at the end of the fall semester. But thanks to generous donors, one student will take home the Kay Hagan Award and an honorarium for the best paper in the class.
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Mattresses and household goods piled against garage door, illustrating eviction

Wake Forest Law prof urges Congressional action to halt eviction crisis

The United States may be facing the most severe housing crisis in its history, a new report published today finds. Wake Forest Law Professor Emily Benfer and her co-authors say without swift and significant federal intervention, the ripple effect of this unprecedented catastrophe will harm generations. Continue reading »

Exterior photo of the U.S. Supreme Court building

Wake Forest Law Expert: LGBTQ civil rights and SCOTUS

(Winston-Salem, N.C., June 15, 2020) — The Supreme Court has ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act federal anti-discrimination laws protect gay and transgender employees. Wake Forest University School of Law assistant professor and historian Marie-Amélie George says, “The Supreme Court’s decision is particularly important given that voters have been repealing LGBTQ rights protections at the state and local levels through ballot box measures. The opinion demonstrates just how important the Supreme Court is to protecting the rights of minorities.”
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Exterior of Wake Forest Law school with blooming honeysuckle in the foreground

Wake Forest Law offers Pro Bono assistance with unemployment insurance

(Winston-Salem, N.C., June 4, 2020) — Wake Forest University School of Law students, working under the supervision of faculty members, will offer guidance and consultation to North Carolina residents who have questions about unemployment insurance and federal supplements. There is no charge for the service.

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Exterior photo of Wake Forest Law building

Wake Forest Law Welcomes New Faculty Members

(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.
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Wake Forest Law rises to the challenge of COVID-19

As coronavirus restrictions have many employers to shifting internship and other strategies due to the unfolding economic crisis, Wake Forest Law has created professional development opportunities for rising second- and third-year JD students with new Summer Intensives. Continue reading »

photo of the inside of a quarantine tent with the words Isolated By The Law

Wake Forest School of Law Offers Online Symposium on Coronavirus Pandemic

As the United States and the world examine the effects of wide-scale quarantine in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding the legal, ethical, social, and economic impacts is crucial. The coronavirus has exposed numerous faults in our systems and finding solutions will be the focus as we move forward.

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