Message from Dean Pratt, March 30, 2020

Dear Washburn Law Community,

I write this at a time when all of higher education has shifted to online delivery of courses, and Washburn Law is no exception. We have moved all of our courses online, and not surprisingly, our faculty is excelling and, in some instances, leading the way in online legal education. One example of that leadership is Professor Emily Grant's recent article on assessments in online courses. I encourage you to read the article.

With the exception of a few quasi-essential employees, our staff has also converted all work to be performed online and staff members are working from home. Several of our staff members have been "deputized" to serve as tech deputies to help increase our capacity to provide IT support to our faculty. Each faculty member has been assigned a tech deputy who is sitting in on their classes conducted on the Zoom platform and helping to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. We owe many thanks to these staff members who are taking on these additional technology support duties on top of their regular duties. So far, the feedback from the faculty and students in our online courses has been extremely favorable, so I am very proud of our team of faculty and staff at Washburn Law.

While coping with the challenges of COVID-19 we have canceled alumni events for now, but we are looking forward to connecting with many of you as soon as the threat of COVID-19 is behind us.

Photograph: Christel Marquardt.We have also been mourning the loss of an alumna and legal giant in Kansas, The Honorable Christel Marquardt. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to visit with her and get to know her before she passed. She was an amazing lawyer, jurist, mother and alumnus, and we will miss her.

We do have some good news to share as well. In case you missed it, Washburn Law increased its ranking in U.S. News from 132 to 107. We were recognized as the law school that made the largest jump up in the rankings. Our Legal Writing Program also jumped up into the elite Top 20 ranking to number 18 in the country. Moreover, our Clinic jumped up into the Top 50 ranking to number 44 in the nation!

It is nice to see the rankings recognize the hard work of our Washburn Law faculty and staff so please congratulate them when we are free to socialize and you see them this summer or this fall. We look forward to partnering with our alumni to continue to enhance the reputation of Washburn Law. One way that you can do this is my emailing Dean Tammy King ( if you have a short-term need for a lawyer in your office and you would like to hire a Washburn graduate into a one-year post graduate fellowship to help that recent graduate launch their career.

The next issue of the Washburn Lawyer magazine will highlight Washburn Law's impact on the judiciary and will feature alumnus The Honorable Marla Luckert on the cover as chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. The issue will likely be delayed because we are unable to take photos for the cover due to COVID-19, but it will be a keepsake, so please look for the issue in late spring or early summer. If you are a judge and you have not been in contact with us recently, please check out the Washburn Law Alumni Judges page on our website; if you are not listed email Karli Davis ( so she can make sure you get added and are included in this historic issue of the magazine.

As we look ahead to the time when we can gather together again, please save the date of Nov. 13 on your calendar and plan to join us for lunch as we celebrate the law school’s Alumni Fellow, and stay tuned for an announcement of who will be recognized as the Fellow this year.

Thank you for taking time to read this update and please take every precaution to stay healthy.


Your Dean, Carla Pratt

Photograph: Dean Carla D. Pratt.

Carla D. Pratt

Dean Pratt talks about the impact education has had on her life and how law has a role in shaping higher education (3:43 minutes).
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Dean Pratt talks to "TopLawSchools" about Washburn Law's student life, academics, admissions process, career opportunties, employment outcomes, and more.