Press

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Meet Anna Alieksieieva (LLM ’22)

At Wake Forest Law, we pride ourselves on welcoming students that come from anywhere and go everywhere. But very few come so far to be with us as our international LL.M. students. We sat down and talked with Anna Alieksieieva, a fresh graduate from the Class of 2022, about how she got here and where she’s going. Continue reading »

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“Redemption” for a Wake Forest Law Veterans Legal Clinic Client

Due to the efforts of Veterans Legal Clinic students Allison Spears and Walker Helms, under the supervision of Clinic Director Eleanor Morales, a clinic client now has an Honorable discharge and veteran status under the law. Continue reading »

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Faculty Highlight: Sarah Morath

Professor Sarah Morath is an expert on legal writing pedagogy who also teaches and publishes on a wide range of topics related to environmental law, food law and policy, agriculture, and natural resources law, among other subjects. Her scholarly contributions to the field of legal writing are extensive. Her recently published book, Our Plastic Problem and How to Solve It, was created from her expertise in both writing and environmental law. Continue reading »

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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.

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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!”

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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Marie-Amélie George

Professor Marie-Amélie George went to law school to become an advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. After spending time in court as a domestic violence prosecutor at the Miami State Attorney’s Office, Professor George realized she needed to approach the problem differently. She started asking herself: How could she prevent these cases from happening?

That led her from the courtroom to academia, where she has become a leading expert in LGBTQ+ civil rights and family law. She received her Ph.D. in history from Yale in 2018, and since then she has researched the history of LGBTQ+ rights in America. What sets her work apart is her use of original historical records, which she collects by traveling to archives around the country. As a result, she can tell the story of LGBTQ+ rights in a way that no one else can.

“Although many documents are accessible online these days, the pieces of information I am looking for are not being digitized,” says Professor George. “I am reviewing original documents, listening to audio recordings of speeches that no one wrote down, and watching videos of commercials and films that are otherwise impossible to access.” Professor George additionally interviews those who were involved in LGBTQ+ rights litigation and legislation to fill in the gaps in the historical record.

Thanks to her painstaking efforts to uncover LGBTQ+ legal history, Professor George has become a leading expert in LGBTQ+ rights. As of late, prominent news organizations like the Washington Post, The Skimm, and the Houston Chronicle have asked for her comments and opinions. She also recently led a Legal Workshop for Harvard Law School.

Professor George is a recognized thought leader. The UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute recently awarded her the Michael Cunningham Prize for her 2019 article entitled “Framing Trans Rights.” She also received the Emerging Scholar in Gender and Law Award from Pace University for “Exploring Identity,” which she published in 2021.

Professor George continues to promote Wake Forest Law’s mission of educating the public. She is currently writing a book, Becoming Equal: American Law and the Rise of the Gay Family, based on her research. It will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2024.

For more updates on Professor George’s research and media appearances, please follow Wake Forest Law on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You may also follow Professor George directly on Twitter, where she often shares other research and articles related to LGBTQ+ rights, family law, and more.

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Alumni Spotlight: Angelia Duncan (JD ’10)

For Rose Council Chair Angelia Duncan (JD ‘10), Accepted Students Day of 2007 solidified her choice to become a Legal Deac. She remembers sitting down for lunch with her father, looking around at the other accepted students, and taking in the moment. Since then, Duncan has taken on the legal world and its challenges head-on.

Duncan currently resides in Charlotte, NC, and practices with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. She focuses on commercial litigation. She says that every day is a chance for her to learn something new and have a unique experience.

“No two days are the same,” said Duncan, “No matter how long I practice, there is always something to learn.”

Duncan was on the Wake Forest Law campus for the Spring Board and Council meetings held on March 31 and April 1. Being back on campus, even though it had changed quite a bit, felt like home. Her experiences with faculty and staff stay at the forefront of her memories.

“I think the fundamentals that I learned shaped who I am as a lawyer. We had such good Legal Writing Training. When I got to the firm, I already had these fundamental basics that would make my first year practicing easier.”

Along with her service on the Rose Council, the young alumni council, Duncan has some advice to share with the Class of 2022:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” urges Duncan to the graduating class, “Odds are that someone else has gone through a similar case and people are around to help you.”

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Wake Forest Law Students argued in-person before the NC Court of Appeals since 2019

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts across the country were forced to pause hearings in person and move into virtual courtrooms. This change impacted many in the legal world, but clinics at Wake Forest University School of Law were impacted greatly. Students who entered their first year of school in 2019 were unable to practice in courtroom settings at all. But for the Appellate Advocacy Clinic, which had not had a case in-person since September 2019, was finally able to have students argue in person on March 8, 2022.

Third-year law students Chelsey Phelps and Jacqueline Winters, overseen by Professor John Korzen, argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, VA in a case where the court-appointed the Appellate Advocacy Clinic. Leading up to the in-person arguments, Phelps and Winters had arguments over Zoom in January, May, and September of 2021, and again in January 2022.

The case of the appellant raised an ex post facto claim after 23 years of previously earned good time credit was added to the appellant’s sentence after they violated a condition of their parole. Phelps argued three procedural issues, while Winters argued the ex post facto issue.

“Professor Korzen was incredibly helpful in preparing us for the experience,” said Phelps when asked about the hands-on, experiential education of the Appellate Advocacy Clinic, “I found that oral arguments outside of the classroom are much more of a conversation and a little less formulaic than what you may do for your LAWR class or a competition.”

“Through a combination of readings and class discussions, our team was well-equipped to write an effective brief that articulated the complicated issues in this case,” said Winters.

In addition to Phelps and Winters arguing before the United States Court of Appeals, students Ali Meyer and Rachel Ormand assisted in the research and wrote two briefs for the case.

The case is estimated to have a decision in June 2022, but some cases have taken longer to receive a decision from the court. Professor John Korzen is the Director of the Appellate Advocacy Clinic and an Associate Professor of Legal Writing. Business North Carolina named Professor Korzen among its 20th class of “Legal Elite” in appellate law in North Carolina, placing him among the three percent of the state’s lawyers who were selected by their peers for this recognition in their respective fields.

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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.