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Wake Forest University Law in the Market for a New Dean
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Dean Suzanne Reynolds

Summary: The dean of Wake Forest University School of Law announced this will be her last year as the law school’s dean.

The students and faculty at Wake Forest University School of Law were told by Dean Suzanne Reynolds that after the next academic year she will step down from her position. Her departure will be effective June 30, 2019, according to a school announcement.


Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch said, “Suzanne has demonstrated nearly 40 years of exemplary service to Wake Forest University School of Law, including five extraordinary years as dean. Her numerous contributions include a vision that ensured Wake Forest has continued to set the highest standards in legal education, the addition of new academic programs to meet evolving needs of legal professionals, and mentorship of our law students that exemplifies the blend of research and practice that distinguishes the school.”

Reynolds came to the law school in 1981. She has been the dean for the past five years, serving as the interim dean for a year before being appointed as the dean in 2015. She was the law school’s first female dean. Prior to these positions, she was the executive associate dean for academic affairs from 2010 to 2014.

Reynolds said, “How grateful I am to serve as dean at this pivotal moment in the history of the law school I love. Because of the devotion of the faculty and staff, we have faced the disruptive forces at work in the legal marketplace and embraced the changes we needed to make to continue to prepare our graduates for rewarding professional lives. Most importantly, we have rededicated ourselves to educating the whole professional, a lawyer who graduates committed to service.”

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Wake Forest Law was ranked No. 32 in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings. This spot is the second highest for the law school and third year of moving up spots. The school’s legal writing program is ranked No.12 in the country. The law school’s graduate also earned the highest passage rate in 2017 on the North Carolina bar.

Under Reynolds’ leadership, the law school moved its Master of Studies in Law degree to be completely online and added four online-only graduate certificate program and online JD courses. She has also been a driving force in getting law schools to accept the Graduate Record Exam as a replacement to the Law School Admission Test because she felt it would attract a greater diversity of students to the industry. Wake Forest Law was one of the first law schools to start accepting the GRE.

Wake Forest Provost Rogan Kersh added, “Even as legal education has faced an unprecedented period of national challenges, Wake Forest Law has thrived under Suzanne’ steadfast, creative leadership. In addition to continuing to build a world-class faculty and Law leadership team, she has lead a re-imagining of professional legal education that helps position Wake Forest to be the go-to school supplying the next generation of young lawyers – and professionals in other fields who understand and utilize legal training.”

A search advisory committee will be created soon to begin the process of finding a new dean.

Do you think there should be a maximum length of time for someone to be dean? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about other law schools that have found new deans, read these articles:



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