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Wake Forest Law Welcomes Two New Faculty Members: Samir Parikh and Nathan Bennett Fleming 

Nathan Bennett Fleming and Samir Parikh
Nathan Bennett Fleming and Samir Parikh

Wake Forest Law is pleased to announce the hiring of two new full-time faculty members: Samir Parikh and Nathan Bennett Fleming. Professor Parikh will focus on business law while Professor Bennett Fleming will teach constitutional law and election law. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Nathan Bennett Fleming and Samir Parikh to the Wake Forest Law community as our newest faculty members,” says Dean Andrew Klein. “Not only are they exceptional teachers and scholars, but both Nathan and Samir embody the spirit of Wake Forest’s Pro Humanitate motto through their civic engagement and many contributions to the legal community.” 

Professor Samir Parikh will be joining Wake Forest Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, where he currently serves as the Robert E. Jones Professor of Advocacy and Ethics. Says Professor Parikh: “I am extremely excited to join Wake Forest and add my voice to the school’s already stellar chorus.” 

A nationally recognized expert on business law and bankruptcy, Professor Parikh’s areas of expertise include mass tort restructurings, fraudulent transfer law, forum shopping, and municipal distress. In 2022, he was invited to join both the American Law Institute and the American College of Bankruptcy. He is one of fewer than 15 individuals to be admitted to both organizations.

Professor Parikh has served as an expert witness and consultant in numerous business law cases and has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights. He regularly provides expert commentary for national media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, the New York Times, Bloomberg News, NBC News, Law360, the Financial Times, and The Deal

A prolific scholar, Professor Parikh’s scholarship has been featured in The University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, The Yale Law Journal Forum and Duke Law Journal Online, among other publications. He is also the editor-in-chief and an original contributing author for Bloomberg Law Bankruptcy Treatise and a co-author of the seventh edition of the Examples & Explanations (Bankruptcy and Debtor/Creditor) study guide. He has served as a peer reviewer for various law reviews—most recently for the Yale Law Journal and the Harvard Law Review. He currently serves on the Peer Review Board for the Northwestern University Law Review.

In 2018, Professor Parikh was awarded a Fulbright Schuman Grant and was a visiting professor at various institutions, including Oxford University. He now serves on the Fulbright Commission’s Peer Review Selection Committee. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Lewis & Clark Law School, Professor Parikh practiced complex financial restructuring at Latham & Watkins and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in Los Angeles and Baker Botts in Houston. After graduating with a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Alan M. Ahart of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. 

Professor Nathan Bennett Fleming comes to Wake Forest Law from DePaul College of Law in Chicago where he was the law school’s inaugural Racial Justice Fellow—studying and advocating for vulnerable communities in Chicago. His most recent scholarship focuses on racial equity: He published an article in the Harvard Anti Racism Policy Review, “Strategies to Build Racial Equity into Land Use and Zoning” and has a forthcoming article in the Oklahoma Law Review, “After Affirmative Action: Contextual Admissions and the Future of Black Law School Enrollment.”

Prior to his fellowship, Professor Bennett Fleming served as shadow U.S. Representative for the District of Columbia, an elected advocate to Congress on issues related to DC statehood and other federal matters. His work was instrumental in the passage of the historic DC Statehood legislation in the House of Representatives in 2020 and 2021. He also served as a legislative and committee director at the DC Council where he authored several pieces of legislation to expand educational, housing, employment, and community equity throughout Washington DC. 

Professor Bennett Fleming taught appellate advocacy as an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and was awarded the Yale Entrepreneurship Fellowship in 2013. Currently, a doctoral candidate in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, his research focuses on the intersection of law, race, public policy, and education. His dissertation explores the evolution of mission at Historically Black Law Schools and provides an up-to-date account of the history of African Americans in American law schools. 

A native of Washington, DC, Professor Bennett Fleming earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College, his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, and his JD from the University of California, Berkeley.  

“I am extremely honored to join the faculty at Wake Forest Law,” says Professor Bennett Fleming. “I believe that Wake Law’s focus on leadership and character, its commitment to personalized attention in the classroom, and the collaborative spirit of its faculty makes Wake a standout amongst legal education institutions. I am excited about the opportunity to advance the Law School’s mission of preparing students to address the world’s legal needs with creativity, confidence, and character.” 

Professor Gregory Parks Runs for General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated

The concept of Pro Humanitate can be defined and applied in many ways, whether it’s through one’s career, their personal life, or their civic engagements. But what remains constant is that Pro Humanitate is about action—the action of using one’s skills, expertise, and privilege to better the world. It often manifests in taking on leadership roles, participating in community service, or collaborating with others to effect positive change. As Professor Gregory Parks runs for General President of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, he does so with the spirit of Pro Humanitate.

After nine months of campaigning, Professor Parks was recently chosen as one of two nominees to be the international head of Alpha Phi Alpha. It’s been a long and winding road for Professor Parks, but one that he hopes will result in his election in January 2024 as General President-Elect of the organization that has had such a tremendous impact on him.

Founded in 1906 at Cornell University, Alpha Phi Alpha quickly proliferated across the United States (and later the world), rising to prominence as the first intercollegiate, Black Greek-letter organization (“BGLO”). The fraternity boasts many luminary members, including civil rights leaders Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., WEB Du Bois, Whitney Young, and others.

For Professor Parks, Alpha Phi Alpha is not about simply prestige, or even just about academic excellence, selfless service, and advocacy for the community—although those are tenets that both he and the fraternity hold dear. For him, Alpha Phi Alpha is, at its core, about brotherhood. “I grew up with three sisters,” he says. “But when I was a teenager, I met Barry Hargrove, who was one of my eldest sister’s best friends from college. He basically became a part of our family, and he was like an actual brother to me. It was the first time I felt what it was like to have a brother, and I knew that sense of connection and community was something I not only wanted but needed in my life.” When Professor Parks decided to join Alpha Phi Alpha, it was (later) Reverend Hargrove (as well as Professor Parks’ brother-in-law, Wayne Williams, and the Assistant General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Sam Tarver) who sponsored him.

After graduating from Howard University and going on to earn two master’s degrees, a PhD, and a JD, Professor Parks clerked on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby and on the United States Court of Appeals for the Honorable Andre M. Davis (also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha). He also served as a litigator with McDermott Will & Emery (he was recruited to the firm by Melvin White, another member of Alpha Phi Alpha and a past President of the DC Bar). Eventually, Professor Parks joined the faculty at Wake Forest Law (he was recruited by then Dean Blake Morant, another member of Alpha Phi Alpha and a past President of the American Association of Law Schools). Professor Parks has served as the School of Law’s Associate Dean for Research, Faculty Development, & Public Engagement as well as Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives (now a member of the university’s Strategic Framing Working Group). He also served on the Executive Committee of the university Faculty Senate as well as on the Board of Trustees Budget Committee.

Throughout his career, Professor Parks remained deeply involved with Alpha Phi Alpha, serving in a number of leadership roles at many levels of the organization. He was a college chapter advisor, alumni chapter vice president, and alumni chapter president for the Winston-Salem alumni chapter. He also served as a regional Associate Legal Counsel and the national chair of the fraternity’s Commission on Racial Justice.

As his research interests evolved, Professor Parks’ professional life dovetailed with his passion for Greek life. Many of the books he has written or edited are about fraternities and sororities—making him one of the leading national experts on these organizations and a range of issues they face. His research on hazing and hazing prevention led to him being sought out as an expert witness and trial consultant on dozens of civil and criminal hazing cases. He also served on the Board of Directors for the national nonprofit HazingPrevention.org from 2014-2018 and on the North American Interfraternity Conference’s Hazing Awareness and Prevention Presidential Commission from 2014-2017.

While he has devoted much of his career to better understanding fraternities and sororities, his dedication to Alpha Phi Alpha extends beyond the professional realm into the deeply personal. Alpha Phi Alpha represents the ideals that Professor Parks himself values: leadership, advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups, community and civic engagement. He is a Life Member of the NAACP, served as an executive board member for the Winston Salem Urban League, served as an executive officer on the National Bar Association’s Civil Rights Section, and is a regular invitee to the NAACP-Legal Defense Fund’s annual strategy retreat.

Professor Parks’ own scholarship provides meaningful insight into how he thinks about leadership, especially on the most critical issues, within fraternities and sororities, generally, and BGLOs, more specifically. In a 2019 article, Professor Parks underscored that the single biggest predictor as to whether hierarchical organizations like BGLOs will meaningfully address their greatest challenges is who their senior-most leaders are. Piggybacking on this work, in a 2020 article, he also underscored that a more progressive leadership philosophy and organizational ethos–e.g., committed to the “leaven of [organizational] self-examination, evidence-based problem-solving, innovation, and organizational culture change (shaping hearts and minds as well as policies and procedures)”—likely lead to more transformative outcomes for BGLOs.

As indicated by his public endorsements, many Alpha Phi Alpha brothers agree that change is instrumental to the continued success of the fraternity, and that Professor Parks is the leader to make it happen. “Unquestionably, for more than a decade, Brother Parks has nudged, pushed, prodded, and inspired Alpha towards change,” says Tyree Irving, Past Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge and Chair of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Dr. Rahn K. Bailey, 113th President of the National Medical Association says, “Over the years, I have witnessed Brother Parks be a voice of conscience for the Fraternity [and] offer evidence-based insights and solutions to some of Alpha’s most challenging problems.” Christopher Graham, Immediate Past President of the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors noted, “I support Brother Parks, because … he [understands] our most complex challenges coupled with a real data-informed, and strategic-centered plan to execute and deliver results that will advance our aims and fulfill our mission.”

Like Wake Forest, Alpha Phi Alpha’s motto serves as their north star: “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All.” Regardless of the outcome of the election, Professor Parks will continue to be a servant to his beloved fraternity. “Alpha Phi Alpha is not just an organization to me. It’s a part of my identity and a brotherhood of men I am honored to be in community with.”

Recently, his nephew became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and eventually the president of the Virginia State University chapter. It was his nephew who seconded Professor Parks’ nomination for General President. That moment was emblematic for Professor Parks and represented his journey with Alpha Phi Alpha—his blood family converging with his chosen family.

Gregory Parks and members of Alpha Chapter

Gregory Parks and his line of brothers

Gregory Parks and Past General President Matthews

Wake Forest Law Welcomes New Board and Council Members

The Wake Forest Law Office of Development and Alumni Engagement is pleased to welcome 29 new members joining the Law Board of Visitors, General Counsel Advisory Committee, and Rose Council for their three-year terms starting on July 1, 2023.

Law Board of Visitors (LBOV):

Ryan Bouley (JD ‘07), Jane Cibik (JD ‘91, P ‘25), Mark DuBose (JD/MBA ‘97), Jeff Harvey (JD/MBA ‘97), Stephen Hawthornthwaite (JD ‘96), Mike Mitchell (‘86, JD ‘89, P ‘18, P ‘24), Bobbi Noland (‘86, JD ‘89, P ‘12), and Pat O’Bryant (MSL ‘22)

General Counsel Advisory Committee (GCAC):

Clara Cottrell (JD ‘07), Chris Galla (JD ‘99), Francisco Morales (JD ‘11), Greg Poole (JD ‘89, P ‘16), and Ruth Tisdale (JD ‘14)

Rose Council (RC):

Anna Alieksieieva (LLM ‘22), Katharine Batchelor (JD ‘21), Mac Dougherty (JD ‘19, MBA ‘20), Scott Graber (‘10, JD ‘13), Nick Harper (JD/MBA ‘14), Caitlin Hickman (‘17, JD ‘20), Mark Huffman (‘13, JD ‘18), Abby Jacobs (JD ‘19), Cedric James (JD ‘22), Sarah Keller (JD ‘22), Jon McLamb (JD ‘21), Charlotte Loper (JD ‘19), Caleb Prevatte (JD ‘21), Virginia Seatherton (LLM ‘18), Henna Shah (JD ‘21), and Gilbert Smolenski (JD ‘19)

“Having these talented volunteers join at a critical time in legal education because they want to give back to Wake Forest Law speaks volumes about their character and drive,” said Logan Roach (‘07), Assistant Dean of Development and staff liaison to the LBOV. “We are thrilled to welcome each new member as the Law School starts another year under the leadership of new dean, Andy Klein, welcomes a new 1L class in the fall, and engages in the Strategic Framework process under the leadership of President Wente.”

These three boards meet regularly throughout the year to hear updates from Wake Forest Law leadership and use their legal, business, nonprofit, and community expertise to help the School of Law develop and implement its mission and goals. Members support opportunities specifically with the Office of Career and Professional Development, Office of Admissions, and Office of Development and Alumni Engagement with the ultimate goal of helping our students succeed and encouraging fellow alumni to stay engaged.

To learn more about serving the Law School in a volunteer leadership board role, please reach out to the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement at lawalum@wfu.edu.

Professor Ralph Peeples – In Memoriam

Ralph Peeples, Professor Emeritus at the Wake Forest University School of Law, died on May 12, 2023. He was 71 years old.

Ralph was born in Charleston, South Carolina; studied as an undergraduate at Davidson College; and received his law degree from New York University. He worked for a few years as a municipal bond attorney in Cleveland, where he fell in love with the Cleveland baseball team, now known as the Guardians. He left Cleveland to join the law faculty at Wake Forest in 1979.

Ralph was a versatile and beloved teacher, whose wry sense of humor enlivened every class. His courses ranged from Business Associations, Securities Regulation, Corporate Finance, and Bankruptcy to Torts and Dispute Resolution. His greatest joy as a teacher was to create, assign, and discuss negotiation simulations for his students. As Ralph often told his classes, “Life is a negotiation.” His students enthusiastically accepted what he offered them, naming him as the Teacher of the Year four different times during his career.

As a scholar, Ralph was an early advocate for empirical research. He used statistical methods to draw insights about medical malpractice litigation and drew on his negotiation talents to gain access to the files of medical malpractice insurance adjusters—a fascinating new source of data about civil litigation settlements. Ralph thought of legal scholarship as a social enterprise, often working with co-authors and involving students in the research.

Ralph was also a service-oriented member of the law school community, both as an insider and outsider. As an insider, he served two different terms as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and held duties on too many committees to count. He mentored younger colleagues with insight and generosity. Ralph led colleagues on annual trips to visit Wake Forest law alumni in the Cleveland area and (incidentally) to watch baseball games at Jacobs Field.

As an outsider, Ralph often employed his good-natured humor to puncture pomposity. He would invariably point out when deans were overreaching or when university presidents were clueless, proudly claiming the essential role of “faculty curmudgeon.”

Ralph was also active in the broader community. He engaged with the North Carolina Bar Association in his areas of expertise and served on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society. He worked long and hard to cultivate mediation practices in the state, hoping to make dispute resolution more affordable for more people. After his retirement from the law school in 2018, Ralph worked as the legal advisor for the SHARE Cooperative, a local non-profit that located a grocery store in the middle of a former food desert in Winston-Salem.

Read more about Professor Ralph Peeples’ legacy.

Wake Forest Law’s Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic Students Restore Housing for Local Family

Wake Forest Law’s Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Clinic, under the leadership of Associate Dean Allyson Gold, recently worked with a local family to obtain adequate, affordable housing and restore their security deposit.

The MLP Clinic works in collaboration with healthcare providers and Legal Aid of North Carolina to identify legal issues that negatively contribute to the health of low-income patient-clients and develop a comprehensive, interprofessional strategy to overcome barriers to health justice.The Clinic provides experiential learning opportunities for students while also providing legal assistance to people in need.

When the MLP Clinic began representing Mrs. M and her family in Spring 2022, the family was struggling to pay rent. Clinic students helped the family apply for Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds under the American Rescue Plan Act and, while the ERA funds were pending, negotiated with the landlord to avoid the filing of an eviction action.

Clinic students were hyper-aware that an eviction filing on the family’s record would jeopardize their ability to find rental housing in the future and that the ERA funds were a temporary solution to their long-term housing need. As such, Clinic students helped the family apply for government subsidized housing as well.

In January 2023, the family moved into new market-rate rental housing. However, the family, which now included a six-month-old baby, discovered that there was no functioning electricity or heat due to an improper meter.

Clinic students sent notice to the landlord and property manager informing them that the failure to provide essential services terminated the rental agreement, and that the family was reconveying possession of the property. The Clinic also demanded the immediate return of the family’s security deposit. During this time, Clinic students discovered that the family had moved up the waitlist for subsidized housing and had a safe and affordable apartment waiting for them.

As the landlord had not yet returned the security deposit, Clinic students worked with a local service organization to secure funds for the deposit on the subsidized home, which allowed the family to move into the new unit.

At a small claims court hearing on April 27, 2023, Hannah Norem (’23) and Amanda Spriggs Reid (’23) argued that the constructive eviction entitled the family to a return of the full amount of the security deposit and moved for a default judgment after the defendant failed to appear. The judgment for the entire security deposit, including attorney fees, entered in favor of the family.

“I am so proud of the work the students did in this case,” says Professor Gold, who serves as the Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and the Director of the MLP Clinic. “Not only did they meticulously and persuasively argue the law and facts to the judge, but they provided holistic representation to help the family achieve stability.”

Professor Wendy Parker: Inspiring Us to Be Better Lawyers and Better Humans

It is impossible to capture in a few pages the impact that Professor Wendy Parker has had on Wake Forest Law. In fact, when collecting quotes for this article from faculty, students, and alumni, there was a common refrain: “You should also ask [so-and-so]. Wendy has had a significant effect on them too.”

From teaching civil procedure, torts, and employment discrimination law to countless students, to leading the Pro Bono Project and being a champion for the Public Interest Law Organization (PILO), to volunteering in the Winston-Salem community, Professor Parker’s commitment to her students and colleagues—and to social justice—has never wavered. After 20 years of service to Wake Forest Law, Professor Parker is retiring. Although she has been appointed a research professor of law and will continue to be a part of the community (especially through her efforts with PILO), the effects of her taking a step back will be felt deeply among the community.

“Wendy exemplified everything that is best about Wake Forest Law,” says Professor John Knox. “She combined a clear-eyed intelligence with a full-hearted concern for everyone else in the community, from students to staff and faculty. We will miss her enormously, but her legacy will remain part of the Wake DNA.”

Professor Parker attended the University of Texas Law School with the idea that she “wanted to go save the world. I knew I wanted to do civil rights. I went to law school with the idea that I could help make Texas or our country a better place, and I thought the law would be an effective way to do that.” After graduating from law school, she served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Jerre S. Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Later, she litigated school desegregation cases as a Skadden Arps Fellow and staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Eventually, Professor Parker embarked on a career in legal education. She came to Wake Forest Law in 2003 from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she won the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching twice. Her commitment to teaching was recognized by everyone who had the pleasure of engaging with her. In 2006, she received the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award and went on to become the James A. Webster Professor of Public Law in 2012.

“Professor Parker was one of my favorite professors during my time at Wake Law. I had the pleasure of having her for three classes,” says Sarahan Moser (JD ’22). “She is incredibly bright and bubbly, and she plans everything out to a T to make sure her students are engaged and able to comprehend dense topics (she impersonated a railway worker when we studied the Erie Doctrine). I love how she explained the law—she made learning civil procedure fun, which is a tough task to accomplish!”

Professor Parker’s mentorship and guidance were also key hallmarks of her ability to connect with students. “Wendy Parker is one of the most influential mentors that I have been lucky enough to have as both a professor and the Pro Bono and PILO Faculty Director,” says Amanda Spriggs Reid (JD ’23). “She has taught me how to be a more thoughtful leader and passionate advocate for change.”

Admiration for Professor Parker has been a constant at the Law School. In a 2013 “Conversation With” series discussion, a group of her first-year law students wore matching “Wendy Parker Fan Club” shirts. “The thing I’ll remember Professor Parker for the most is her selflessness in her support for student initiatives at Wake Law, and how far she was willing to go to ensure that students have as many opportunities as possible to support our community,” says current Wake Forest Law student Daniel Wilkes. “Whether it was the Pro Bono Project or PILO, Professor Parker was always an active and reassuring presence, who gave students like myself the confidence we needed to help contribute to public service.”

Not only is Professor Parker beloved by her students, but highly respected (and beloved) by her colleagues. Says Professor Ron Wright of her: “Wendy found a way to connect our students to the world, in ways that allowed them to do work they care about. In the classroom, she made legal analysis come to life. In her scholarship, she showed us all how to spot patterns in litigation related to discrimination in education and employment. And as a community member, Wendy created for her students (and for her colleagues!) many ways to meet local community needs, both in the public schools and elsewhere.”

“Among her many stellar qualities as Associate Dean, one that stood out, especially during COVID, was Wendy’s mastery of writing thoughtful, engaging, clear, amusing, and compassionate emails to the law school community,” says her colleague Professor Mark Hall. “Despite the unwelcome news they sometimes contained, I read every one with admiration, and often with delight. And, in talking to my students about effective communication with clients, I would regularly point to Wendy’s latest missive as an exemplar.”

Professor Parker expressed similar feelings about her colleagues: “When I started at Wake Forest, I felt like everyone had my back,” she has said. “Everyone wanted me to succeed and it felt like a really special place to be.”

In addition to discovering and exploring the complexities of legal norms with her students and engaging in meaningful ways with her colleagues, Professor Parker has a strong desire to employ the law for social change. This desire has manifested in many ways, including through her leadership of PILO and the Pro Bono Project. “Professor Parker has been a steadfast voice for social justice at Wake Forest Law,” says Lindsey Arneson Fields, a current law student and executive director of the Pro Bono Project. “Her work ensuring that students, faculty, and staff remember that public service is vital in the legal profession has not gone unnoticed.”

When asked in a recent article what she loves most about her job, Professor Parker responded, “Law school is known for being a pressure cooker. Thankfully, pro bono is the opposite in many ways. With pro bono, students choose how to use their legal talents in ways that align with their values and provide much-needed help to the community. I would not argue with someone who claims pro bono is the best part of a law school community—a place where legal education aligns with helping others.”

In addition to her teaching and pro bono work, Professor Parker is a nationally recognized scholar. Her research focuses on identifying solutions for how the law has created—intentionally and unintentionally—inequalities in employment and education. Her work has been published by the Northwestern University Law Review, Texas Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, Washington University Law Review, William & Mary Law Review, and Hastings Law Journal, among others. She has been quoted by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press.

Even though she is on the precipice of retirement, she has remained as active and engaged as ever in the Law School community. Her most recent email to the faculty listserv was to encourage her colleagues to take action on an important civil rights issue. As is her modus operandi, Professor Parker credited two of her former students with driving the advocacy efforts.

Professor Parker’s legacy will continue long after her formal departure from Wake Forest Law. Those who have had the opportunity to learn from her, work with her, and fight for change alongside her are the better for it.

Her dear friend Professor Margaret Taylor sums it up perfectly: “Wendy Parker’s impact on Wake Law is immeasurable. First and foremost, she is a beloved teacher who taught her students to think critically, to argue creatively, and to employ the law for social change—with warmth, good humor, and a Texas twang. Wendy is also a skilled administrator who shepherded the Law School through a global pandemic, and then created enthusiasm and stability for our public interest programs. And Wendy is a treasured colleague and friend. We will miss her wit and wisdom, and are grateful for the 20 years that Wendy inspired us to be better lawyers and better humans.”

Acting Greatly: Wake Forest Law Professor Honored with Kirk Warner Award

On May 30, Ellie Morales (JD ’10), Assistant Professor and Director of the Veterans Legal Clinic at Wake Forest Law, received the Kirk Warner Award for Distinguished Service to the Military and Veterans. The North Carolina Bar Association’s (NCBA) Military and Veterans Law Section recognized Professor Morales with the award for dedicating her time in service to the United States and to military members and veterans.

“I am thankful to my Wake Law family, DOJ family, and Army family, and of course, my wonderful husband and children,” said Professor Morales as she accepted the award.

The Kirk Warner Award is named in recognition of Colonel Kirk Warner for his continued history of providing support and care to active and retired military personnel. Colonel Warner was present at the event and spoke about the importance of “acting greatly.” “That’s how we move forward,” he said.

Professor Morales joined the Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in 2010, upon graduation from Wake Forest School of Law. During her time on active duty, she served as a legal assistance attorney, criminal prosecutor, and administrative law attorney. Professor Morales also deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, where she served as an operational law attorney in support of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US forces.

In 2015, Professor Morales transitioned to the Army Reserves where she currently serves as an Army JAG in the rank of Major.

In addition to the Kirk Warner Award, Professor Morales is a recipient of the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, an honor that is presented to fewer than 30 Army junior officers each year, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division in 2019.

Since joining Wake Forest Law as a professor and the director of the Veterans Legal Clinic, Professor Morales has helped change the outcomes of a number of cases for military personnel and veterans, including a recent case in which Korean War veteran James Brown was able to have his military records corrected. Mr. Brown was on watch with an inexperienced Korean soldier who did not speak English. Instead of switching positions so Mr. Brown could sleep, the Korean soldier would sleep. Fearing danger, Mr. Brown repeatedly requested a new bunkmate from his superior officer but was met with resistance, ultimately resulting in a dishonorable discharge. To learn more about Mr. Brown’s story and how the Veterans Legal Clinic worked to correct his military record, watch this video.

The award was presented by Chris Stevens, chair of the Military and Veterans Law Section of the NCBA, and was met with a standing ovation.

“Ellie Morales’s work as the director of the Veterans Legal Clinic has been instrumental in getting justice for veterans,” said Interim Dean Nell J. Newton. “We are very proud of her work on behalf of veterans and her inspirational teaching of the students in the clinic.” The Veterans Legal Clinic, which trains law students on legal theory and practice by assisting low-income former service members in need of representation and advocacy to correct injustices in their military records, serves 15-20 veterans each academic year.

To learn more about Professor Morales and Mr. Brown’s case, read The Redemption of Private Brown: Two converging paths united in a singular mission for justice.

Professor Ellie Morales Wins Kirk Warner Award for Distinguished Service to the Military and Veterans

The NCBA Military and Veterans Law Section is proud to announce it has awarded the 2022-2023 Kirk Warner Award for Distinguished Service to the Military and Veterans to Assistant Clinical Professor Ellie Morales.

The Kirk Warner Award seeks to recognize special individuals who have dedicated their own time both in service to the United States, and also in service to others who have served.  Ellie is a more than deserving recipient of this award. Following law school, Ellie served as an active duty service member in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, which included a 2013 deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, where she earned the Bronze Star. She continues to serve today as an Army Judge Advocate in the rank of Major in the Army Reserves. In 2018, she was awarded the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, an honor that is presented to fewer than 30 Army junior officers each year.

Aside from her own outstanding military service, Ellie also serves as the Director of the Veterans Legal Clinic at Wake Forest Law School. The Veterans Legal Clinic trains law students on legal theory and practice by providing critical assistance to low-income former service members who need representation and advocacy to correct injustices in their military records. With Ellie as Director, the clinic has seen numerous successes, including a recent noteworthy case where the clinic represented a Korean War soldier in not only restoring his veteran status through a discharge upgrade from Dishonorable to Honorable, but also in obtaining the Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman Badge he earned on the battlefield in Korea over 70 years ago.

It is incredible work and service like this that make it hard to envision a more fitting recipient, as it is clear that Ellie’s life and career are the embodiment of what this award is about. Congratulations to Ellie on this well-earned award.

There will be a ceremony to honor Ellie on Tuesday, May 30 at 10:30 a.m. at Wake Forest School of Law. RSVP for the event here.

Kaeli Czosek (’23) Argues in the North Carolina Court of Appeals

On Wednesday, May 24, recent Wake Forest Law graduate Kaeli Czosek (’23) presented an oral argument in Raleigh to a panel of three North Carolina Court of Appeals judges—Judge John Tyson, Judge Valerie Zachary, and Judge Michael Stading—in the case of State v. Minyard. Kaeli argued as part of Wake Forest Law’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic, under the supervision of Professor John Korzen (’91), who argued the rebuttal.

The defendant in the case was charged with multiple felonies. During the original trial in 2012, the defendant, who pleaded innocent, passed out while the jury was deliberating and was sent to the hospital. Rather than pausing the trial to ensure a Due Process fair trial, the jury continued their deliberation, ultimately finding the defendant guilty.

Three North Carolina Supreme Court cases decided since then have considered the issue of how trial courts should address competency issues arising during trial.

The defendant  appealed from the denial of his motion for appropriate relief. The Office of the North Carolina Appellate Defender appointed Professor Korzen as his representation. Professor Korzen is the Director of Wake Forest Law’s Appellate Advocacy Clinic, which represents indigents and non-profits in various appellate courts. The Appellate Advocacy Clinic, which appears in more appellate courts than any other appellate clinic in the country, enables law students like Kaeli Czosek to gain experience by working on real cases.

“I am extremely proud of Kaeli. She did a great job making her points and answering at least 25 questions,” said Professor Korzen. “It was a very ‘hot bench,’” he added, “especially Judge Tyson and Judge Zachary.” An opinion is expected in the next 2-3 months.

Also attending to support the two were Wake Forest Law Appellate Advocacy Clinic members Shelby Gilmer (’23), Claire Thompson (’23), Tyler Fuller (’23), and Savannah Corbin (’24).

To prepare for the argument, Kaeli worked with classmates Walker Abbott (’23) and Lane Burbrink (’23) to research and write two briefs. She also scheduled four practices in advance of the 26-minute argument and was mooted by her professors and classmates, including Walker Abbott (’23), Malcolm Boyd (Director of Field Placements and Student Competitions), Laura Merriman (’23), Tanner Henson (’23), Professor John Korzen (’91), Shelby Gilmer (’23), Professor Eileen Prescott, Professor Allyson Gold, Sophia Sulzer (’23), Claire Thompson (’23), and Kyle Brantley (’23).

Kaeli is a recipient of the 2023 Dean’s Award and is a 2023 graduate of Wake Forest Law. She will be clerking for Judge Richard Dietz (’01) at the North Carolina Supreme Court starting this fall.

Kaeli was the fifty-second Wake Forest law student to argue under Professor Korzen’s supervision since 2007, in a variety of appellate courts. This was only the fourth time that a law student has argued in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and all four have been Wake Forest students.

Professor Korzen and Appellate Advocacy Clinic students Professor Korzen and Appellate Advocacy Clinic students

A Tribute to Professor Emeritus Ralph Peeples

Professor Emeritus Ralph Peeples passed away on Friday May 12th from complications associated with late stage lung cancer. He was 71 years old.

Professor Peeples joined the Wake Forest Law faculty in 1979. He was an expert in business law, dispute resolution, and torts, among other subjects. He also served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1995 to 2000.

A distinguished and beloved teacher and scholar, Professor Peeples was a four-time winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award at the Law School. When he retired in 2018, alumni “returned in droves” to honor and recognize his decades of service to Wake Forest Law. He was known for his excellent rapport with students, close camaraderie with his fellow faculty members, and of being a part of the “Fab 5”—five revered professors who all retired in the same year (Professors Miles Foy, Charley Rose, George Walker, and Dean Emeritus Bob Walsh).

Beyond his contributions to the Law School, he had many interests. According to a 1979 Jurist article, “The professor’s personal interests include woodworking, music (from Willie Nelson and Jackson Brown to Louis Armstrong), and a newfound affection for racquetball.” His love of the Cleveland Indians was known far and wide. But his greatest passion was his family: his wife Faith Crosby and their four children, and his many relatives.

Professor Peeples was chosen by the Class of 2018 as the faculty speaker for that year’s Hooding and Commencement Ceremony. In his address to the students, he remarked, “The one thing I have known over the years at Wake Forest, for a law school full of bright and ambitious young people, the one thing that doesn’t change is that lifelong friendships are made here. I am confident these students will remain friends after Wake Forest and I am confident because I have seen it again and again. It will happen and I think it’s great. I think that’s what makes Wake Forest different.”

But it was not only friendships among the students that made Wake Forest Law a special place for Professor Peeples—it was the friendships that he himself made with his peers. And who better to honor Professor Peeples than his friends and colleagues, those he had such a deep and lasting impact on. Professor Peeples will be deeply missed, but always remembered as a cherished part of the Wake Forest Law community.


Honoring Ralph Peeples

“I’ve always looked up to Ralph Peeples as a teacher, scholar, and friend. I was fortunate enough to have him as a professor back in my own days as a Wake law student. We often laughed about his reaction after I went to his office and asked him the exact question on the exam. Ralph continued to provide support and a listening ear, along with appropriate sarcasm, when I was a practicing attorney, and welcomed me on the faculty when he served as Associate Dean, again along with his characteristic sarcasm that always made me laugh. As a fellow Clevelander, also living in Greensboro and commuting to Winston-Salem, we were able to engage in many meaningful conversations about Wake law, our students, and why Cleveland Indians’ Stadium Mustard is greater than Dijon. Even this past semester, he continued to be involved in the lives of Wake Law students and spoke with one of my students about food insecurity in Winston-Salem, and his work with Harvest Market, which is making a difference in the lives of many in our community. Most of all, I recall our conversations about the importance of family, a topic we spoke about frequently. Our world is a bit dimmer with Ralph’s passing. His impact was profound.”

– Professor Christine Coughlin


“Ralph was my friend for over 40 years. He loved and loved to talk about music, literature, politics, sports (with special emphasis on the Cleveland Indians), Davidson, his students and the law school. He was brilliant; he knew and saw things that most of us missed and his sense of humor, quick, subtle, often understated was there in every conversation. He wrote with the same intelligence and humor as he spoke and his articles are a pleasure to read. He  adored his family, his wife, Faith, and his four children, Kate, Sam, Michael and Emma. He was the oldest of six children and was close to his siblings throughout his life. Ralph was the strongest and best person I have ever known. His strength was apparent over the years when he and his family dealt with some serious health challenges. He never complained, never descended into self pity but faced each issue with a calm strength and remarkable courage. His great character and goodness were shown over and again by his selflessness. Never one to blow his own horn he worked tirelessly on behalf of others because he believed that to be the right thing to do. It was hard to pay Ralph a compliment; he was far too willing to avoid the recognition that he deserved. After he retired he volunteered to serve as general counsel of a group trying to bring a food cooperative to an area of Winston described as a food desert. He worked tirelessly and successfully to make the co-op a reality and it is operating successfully today. In all the publicity surrounding its opening and operation his name was never mentioned. I told him this was an injustice. He disagreed. It was enough that the effort succeeded. That was Ralph Peeples.”

 – Professor Emeritus Butch Covington


“Ralph will be remembered by many as a colleague, friend, and community servant. Following his retirement, Ralph endured the rigorous training of Read Winston-Salem so that he could serve as a reading tutor. He was also instrumental in the development of a food co-op that serves residents of a food-desert area in southeast Winston-Salem. He will be missed.”

– Professor Tim Davis


“Ralph Peeples embodied all of the good things that really matter in the life of a law school. He cared deeply about his students and his colleagues. He was honest and kind. He valued justice almost to a fault. He was intolerant of hypocrisy and cant. He labored through the heat of the day to make Wake Forest a better place. And beyond his purely professional virtues, he was, for me, the dearest of friends. I met him when I joined the faculty in 1984. His delightful wit, his personal warmth, his love of lively conversation, his divergent interests, all of these things made it a pleasure simply to be in his company. His friendship over these last 39 years was one of the treasures of my life.”

– Professor Emeritus Miles Foy


“I first met him as a student in his bankruptcy class in Fall 1993. He was a great teacher, and later, I enjoyed hearing my 1Ls tell stories about his Torts class. He was a real legend.”

– Professor Laura Graham


[Ralph] was always a joy to work with. I was always glad to see him walk into a meeting I was in, and even gladder when I got to sit next to him. His side commentary was worth sitting through pretty much any meeting. I’ve often wondered in the last few years ‘What would Ralph say?’ and I’m sure I’ll keep wondering & missing his wisdom & wit.

– Kate Irwin-Smiler, Reference Librarian


“Ralph was on the Appointments Committee when I was hired. He asked me one question in my DC screening interview—would I be able to leave the Big Ten for the ACC? And then, as always, he laughed. When I arrived at Wake in 2010, I was lucky enough to get an office a few doors down from Ralph. That meant I got nearly daily conversations with him. Ralph was an outstanding teacher and innovative scholar. He mentored junior faculty the way I’m sure he mentored students. He was wise, he was good, he was kind, and he was funny.  He left Wake Forest and the world a better place.”

– Professor Tanya Marsh, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


“I was lucky enough to teach with Ralph in Venice, in the summer of 2012. The students were expected to arrive in Venice on a Sunday, and classes started Monday morning. We knew they would be jet-lagged, tired, hungry, and disoriented, so we had pizza ready for them when they arrived. Pizza was an inspired choice because, for law students, pizza is not only the perfect main meal, it is also the perfect breakfast.

         One of the perks of teaching in Venice was the Student Assistant-—typically a student at the local university. She knew Venice, she knew Italian, and she was fluent in English.  Sometimes, those skill sets could come in handy.

Our Assistant popped in unexpectedly, while we were having pizza. She was taken aback, and a little defensive. She said, ‘How was I to know there was a party going on?’

         Naturally, Ralph and I broke into song. Here’s what we sang:

         ‘Splish splash, I was taking a bath, all upon a Saturday night

         Rub dub, I was relaxing in the tub, thinking everything was all right.

         Well I got out of the tub, put my feet on the floor

         Wrapped a towel around me, and opened the door, and well

         Splish splash, I jumped back in the bath

         […and here’s the crucial lyric..]

         How was I to know there was a party going on?’

‘Splish splash’ had been a hit more than fifty years before, and that was all I remembered of it. But not Ralph. He knew the whole thing. He knew what dance they were doing at the party:

         ‘Flip flop, they was doing the Bop.’

He knew the entire guest list:

  ‘Bing bang, I saw the whole gang…

There was Lollipop, Peggy Sue

Good Golly Miss Molly was even there too.’

         That’s the thing about Ralph. He was a terrific human being. We will all miss him dearly. And, he had this unique attribute: Ralph knew stuff. Lots of stuff. Stuff that you might have thought was unimportant, even silly. But then, the day would come when you really, really needed to know that stuff, and nobody knew it.

         Except Ralph. You’d go to him and say, ‘I know it’s a long shot, but do you happen to know…’

         Ralph would smile quietly, say ‘Sure,’ and save the day. Again.

         In this respect, Ralph was kind of a Renaissance Man. And where better to be a Renaissance Man than Venice?

         And, you may ask, what of the Student Assistant? She stood there, quietly listening. Then she said, ‘You know, you two are a little bit different from the other Wake Forest Professors I’ve met.’”

-Professor Emeritus Joel S. Newman


“Ralph meant a lot to me. We were buddies—he had my back and I his. I liked so much when he called me by my last name. I carry many of our conversations in my heart. Toward the end of his stint as associate dean, he said to me, ‘The most important thing this job has taught me is that our students have lives—many of them difficult lives.’ Ralph’s compassion was hard-wired. So was his sense of humor.  Ralph’s humor was full-body humor, with grandiose gestures and laughter that came from the belly. It was a facet of his compassion.”

– Professor Alan Palmiter


“Ralph Peeples was a man of love and action. I had the privilege of ‘crashing’ his Last Class, and his students were just beaming with love for him. May his light be an inspiration for all of us.”

– Professor Wendy Parker


“The Cleveland Indians did not have a winning record from 1986 to 1994. At long last, headed to the playoffs in 1994, the season ended prematurely when contract negotiations broke down and the players went on strike. The Indians went on to win their division by 30 games in 1995, only to lose to the Atlanta Braves in 7 games in the World Series. They entered the 1997 World Series as prohibitive favorites, only to lose to the upstart Florida Marlins. Such is the life of an Indians fan—and there was none more loyal than Ralph.

He further engaged his penchant for masochism as he sat next to me at Wake Forest football games for lo these many years. As we watched opponent after opponent convert on 3rd and 25, Ralph’s wry sense of humor always made me glad I had spent the afternoon with him, regardless of the misery we had endured watching the “_emon Deacs” (no “D” for the non-football fans!).

Ralph’s ultimate agony occurred in 2010 when, as the mastermind who had constructed the mighty We The Peeps franchise in our baseball fantasy league, he lost in the playoffs due to falling .0001 points short in team batting average. Yet, he always came up smiling.

When Ralph confronted systemic problems (outside of sports!), whether at the Law School, in Winston-Salem, or in the world, he truly believed it was better to light a candle—no matter how small—than to curse the darkness. He brightened the lives of all he met. May we honor his memory by striving to do the same.”

-Professor Wilson Parker


“Ralph and I joined the Wake Forest Law faculty about the same time, but I always felt that he mastered teaching, scholarship, and being a helpful colleague far sooner and far better than I did. Mind you, I never told him that. No, our shtick—especially at faculty meetings—involved trading insults. Colleagues who didn’t know the routine were shocked, but the twinkle in Ralph’s eyes gave us away. Privately, I had nothing but admiration for my amazing friend. I know personally what a fabulous teacher Ralph was. While publishing empirical articles with him, Ralph taught me how to use statistical programs to analyze data. I learned that this man who routinely won Trivial Pursuit competitions, knew the relevant stats in every sports season, quoted Yeats, and conversed about any genre of music, crunched numbers with the best of them.  While he could talk knowledgeably on any subject, he was never more eloquent than on the topics of Faith, Kate, Sam, Emma, and Michael. In every setting, he gave freely of that prodigious mind, sharpest of wits, and generous spirit. And he had so much more to give.”

 – Dean Emerita Suzanne Reynolds


“The most honest tribute to Ralph is that he was a truly authentic human being! He was the same Ralph Peeples whether he was teaching a class, participating in a faculty discussion, traveling to Cleveland for a baseball game, or reminiscing about old times. His dry humor, his sharp intellect, and his keen sense of the moment was ever present. He was truly committed to his students as well as to his empirical research. It was my genuine pleasure to serve with Ralph for his years at Wake.”

– Professor Emeritus Charley Rose


“Ralph will be missed by many. He was kind, genuine, impactful, and reflected the best of Wake Law. He was a great colleague and an even better person. As a member of the Faculty Appointments Committee, he helped recruit me to Wake. Years later I occupied an office next to his. I recall wide-ranging conversations concerning alternative dispute resolution, predictions about Warren Buffet’s future success, and the status of Cleveland sports. I will fondly remember his enthusiasm, wit, and distinctive laugh that was full of life.”

– Professor Omari Scott Simmons


“Ralph Peeples was one of the all-time great Wake Forest faculty members. Ralph was an extremely bright, kind, and caring person. He was a faculty leader and beloved by his students and colleagues. His student faculty evaluations were at the highest level as was evidenced by his winning the teaching excellence award four times. He had a wonderful sense of humor that could often bring discussions back into focus. In his scholarship, Ralph was an early advocate of alternative dispute resolution and had a tremendous effect in bringing mediation to North Carolina earlier than other states. When he was Executive Academic Associate Dean, it was a pleasure to work with him every day. If the Cleveland Guardians win the World Series in the next few years, I know it will be because of Ralph’s advocacy in heaven. I know that all who knew him will miss him greatly.”

– Dean Emeritus Bob Walsh


“I will miss Ralph. Like others, I appreciated his laugh. I also remember him as a great listener. That’s probably one reason why he was such a great mediator and a great teacher. He could listen intently and help you see something new about what you thought you wanted or what you thought you knew. And I remember Ralph as loyal. After three short years as a big firm associate in Cleveland, he developed a lifelong passion for the Cleveland Indians (later Cleveland Guardians) baseball team. Ralph and Charley Rose led more than a few faculty road trips to Cleveland to see a game at the Jake. His loyalty also shone whenever he reminded me of the duties of membership in the Ex-Academic-Associate-Deans Club. To my knowledge, Ralph never said ‘No’ to a request from an Academic Associate Dean. Ralph is gone too soon. He had a lot more good left to do.”

– Professor Ron Wright


Read Professor Ralph Peeples’ obituary here.