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Race and Guns_FB

Professor Gregory Parks hosts conversation on race and guns in the U.S.

On July 31, Wake Forest Law Professor Gregory Parks brought together a panel of academics and experts for a thoughtful and thought-provoking conversation on race and guns in the United States. The discussion examined how race intersects with the history of gun ownership in America, the roots of the Second Amendment, and the modern politics of guns. The panelists brought a historical, legal, psychological, and sociological lens to bear on the conversation around Black gun ownership in the U.S., which has increased by nearly 60% in the last year, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Panelists included:

  • Philip Smith, Founder and President of the National African American Gun Association
  • Jennifer Carlson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona, and author of “Policing the Second Amendment: Guns, Law Enforcement, and the Politics of Race”
  • Robert Cottrol, Professor of Law at the George Washington University School of Law, and author of “Gun Control and the Constitution: The Courts, Congress, and the Second Amendment”
  • Nicholas Johnson, Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, and author of “Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms”
  • Simon Wendt, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Frankfurt, and author of “The Spirit and the Shotgun: Armed Resistance and the Struggle for Civil Rights”
  • David Yamane, Professor of Sociology at Wake Forest University


Watch a recording of the conversation below.

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!

Wake Forest Law student Henna Shah (JD ’21) stands in the Worrell Professional Center Commons.

Wake Forest Law student Henna Shah receives Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service

Wake Forest University School of Law student Henna Shah (JD ’21) has been chosen as the recipient of the 2021 Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service in recognition of her outstanding pro bono service to the Winston-Salem community. Now in its seventh year, the award is given annually to a Wake Forest Law student who demonstrates a passion to serve people in need, and whose pro bono service has a positive impact on the community and increases access to legal information.

Shah provided nearly 600 hours of pro bono work while a full-time student at Wake Forest Law, where she has also served as the executive director of the Pro Bono Project, community outreach director of the Public Interest Law Organization, president of the International Law Society, communications director of the Environmental Law Society and a member of the editorial staff of the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy.

“Pro bono work is absolutely essential, and Henna’s work is reflective of Wake Forest University School of Law’s commitment to instilling its importance in each of our graduates so that they will continue to help those in need throughout their law careers,” said Wake Forest Law Dean Jane Aiken. “Henna sets an exceptional example of leadership for all of our students.”

The Triangle’s largest law firm, Smith Anderson, funded the establishment of the Smith Anderson Office of Community Outreach at Wake Forest Law, which houses the Public Interest Law Organization — a student-run organization that works in collaboration with Wake Forest Law to train future lawyers to serve both their clients and their communities — and the Pro Bono Project. Through the Pro Bono Project, students have the opportunity to provide assistance to attorneys who offer legal services at no fee or at a substantially reduced fee to individuals in need, fostering a life-long commitment to pro bono work among Wake Forest Law graduates.

“Pro bono work has taken on an added significance in the past year,” said Gerald Roach, Smith Anderson’s Firm Chair and Wake Forest University Board of Trustees’ Chair. “The pandemic created many needs, and Smith Anderson applauds Henna’s extraordinary dedication to serving others in these extraordinary times.”

In her application for the award, Shah described how the pro bono experiences she has had while at Wake Forest Law have been pivotal in her decision to pursue a career focused on pro bono work.

Of her time leading the Pro Bono Project, Shah said the experience she was most fond of was creating the Protesters’ Rights Project, which seeks to develop awareness around the legal rights of assembly and protest while building connections between law students and the community. In addition to that project, multiple others were established during her leadership, including the COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Project, the COVID-19 Housing Eviction Project and the Driver’s License Restoration Project.

“During law school, I had the privilege of serving my community through pro bono legal work and services both in and outside of the courtroom,” said Shah. “It is an honor to be named the recipient of the 2021 Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service.”

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

  • Be a Pro Bono Honor Society member, which requires students to 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
  • Exhibit 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 Amelia Nitz Kennedy, Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations for Wake Forest Law, at nitzkea@wfu.edu.

Wake Forest Law Dean Jane Aiken gives remarks at the presentation of the Kay Hagan Award to law student Katharine Batchelor (JD ’21), fourth from the right, on Thursday, April 29, 2021. (WFU/Ken Bennett)

Inaugural Kay Hagan Award presented to Wake Forest Law student Katharine Batchelor

Wake Forest Law student Katharine Batchelor (JD ’21) received the first-ever Kay Hagan Award on Thursday in recognition of her achievements in the law school’s State and Local Government course. Established in August 2020, the award honors the late United States Sen. Kay Hagan (JD ’78), who passed away in October 2019.

“Kay Hagan is a model of what we would hope would happen with Wake Forest Law students,” said Wake Forest Law Dean Jane Aiken during the award ceremony. “If you look at all of the things she did, this is a woman who was courageous and took strong positions on issues — and that’s important.”

Sen. Hagan, a Wake Forest Law alumna, served for a decade in the North Carolina General Assembly as a senator representing Guilford County before being elected to one term in Congress as the state’s first Democractic female senator.

During the ceremony, Sen. Hagan’s husband, Chip Hagan (JD ’77), described his wife’s passion for service at both the state and federal level.

“She was very interested in trying to do things to make our state a better place to be,” said Hagan. “For us to be able to recognize the people that do well in state and local government, and recognize the importance of it, and to have Kay be a part of honoring that is to me exactly what she would have wanted.”

Batchelor is the first recipient of the award, which will be given annually to the best student in the law school’s State and Local Government course taught by Adjunct Professor Don Vaughan (JD ’79).

Vaughan is a former North Carolina state senator who was elected to fill Sen. Hagan’s seat when she became the state’s U.S. senator. He also served seven terms as a member of the Greensboro City Council.

“I’m proud that we get to honor our friend Kay Hagan, who meant a lot to this school and meant a lot to me personally,” said Vaughan.

Batchelor’s final paper for the course — “The Echo of Silent Sam: How the Fall of UNC’s Notorious Confederate Monument Illustrates Complex Questions of Authority in North Carolina State and Local Government” — led to her selection for the award.

“I attended UNC-Chapel Hill for undergrad, so I enjoyed examining the various government actors involved in the Silent Sam controversy through a legal lens,” said Batchelor. “Furthermore, as a native North Carolinian and a law student pursuing a public interest career, it is particularly meaningful to receive an award that honors a woman who dedicated her life to serving this state and its citizens.”

During her time at Wake Forest Law, Batchelor has also been managing editor of the Wake Forest Law Review and executive director of the Public Interest Law Organization. In August, she will begin clerking for Judge Darren Jackson on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Members of the award selection committee also attended the ceremony, including Mike Fox, partner at Tuggle Duggins and chairman of the North Carolina Department of Transportation; Paul Mengert, chairman, Piedmont Triad Airport Authority Board of Directors and an alumnus of Harvard Business School; Nancy Vaughan, Mayor of Greensboro; A. Grant Whitney (’76, JD ’79), partner at Parker Poe, et. al., and former chairman, North Carolina State Board of Elections; and Brad Wilson (JD ’78), executive-in-residence at Wake Forest University and former chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

All five members of the selection committee have been lecturers in the course over the past seven years, bringing real-world experiences into the classroom for Wake Forest Law students.

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!

portrait of remy servis

Meet Remy Servis (JD ’22)

Remy Servis (JD ’22) is pursuing a JD/MA in Bioethics at Wake Forest Law. She is a health law and policy fellow as well as the managing editor of Awaken: The Creative Journal of Contemporary Bioethics.

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portrait of hannah norem

Meet Hannah Norem (JD/MDiv ’23)

Growing up in a family of lawyers and pastors, Hannah Norem’s (JD/MDiv ’23) passion for law and divinity began in her childhood and it continued to grow during her undergraduate experience.

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portrait of vincent bivona

Meet Vincent Bivona (JD ’23)

Vincent Bivona’s (JD ’23) successful participation in the 1L Trial Bar Competition pushed him out of his comfort zone and allowed him to identify his strengths and passions for the law.

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portrait of sophia konanc

Meet Sophia Konanc (JD ’23)

Sophia Konanc’s (JD ’23) internship in a federal judge’s office opened her eyes to the possibilities law school offers and helped fuel her drive for public service through law. Continue reading »

portrait of precious mcLaughlin

Meet Precious N. McLaughlin (JD ’22)

Precious McLaughlin’s (JD ’22) thesis work on the adverse effects of solitary confinement continues to inspire her drive to eradicate injustice. She is the founder and leader of Wake Forest Law’s Society for Criminal Justice Reform (SCJR) and also serves as a coordinator for the Wake Forest Prison Letters Pro Bono Project.

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