Message from Dean Pratt, April 20, 2020

Dear Washburn Law Alumni and Friends,

I write this message with the hope that we are nearing the end of working from home to combat the spread of COVID-19. Our students are completing their coursework online and will be taking open book exams at home this semester. Our commencement ceremony for the May 2020 graduates had to be postponed. The University directed the law school to wait until the University announces plans for commencement so the law school will not conduct its own virtual commencement. Nonetheless, our faculty and staff could not let the moment of May 2020 pass without some acknowledgment of the accomplishments of our May 2020 graduates. Consequently, they have been working behind the scenes to create a video tribute to our May 2020 graduates. Please look for that video tribute next month and be sure to congratulate our graduates on social media!

May 2020 graduates are also confronting the reality of having to take a bar exam during a pandemic. Consequently, the law school hosted an information session for third year students to hear from the Kansas Board of Law Examiners about how the bar exam will be administered in Kansas during this public health crisis. There are still many unknowns such as whether examinees with underlying health conditions that are exacerbated by the virus will be afforded a private testing room, whether all examinees will be permitted to wear masks, and whether contact tracing will disqualify candidates from sitting for the exam if they are notified that they have been exposed to the virus.

Because there is so much uncertainty, there is much anxiety among students. Consequently, we have been focusing even more on mental, physical, and financial wellness of students during this time. We have hosted mindfulness sessions, shared wellness videos, and used funding provided by a grant from AccessLex to help meet emergency financial needs of students.

I want to personally thank the Alumni Association for reducing the anxiety of students who did not have internet at home by providing that much needed resource when we shifted to distance education in March. Your membership in the Alumni Association made that urgent and necessary support of students possible.

We are also trying to stay connected to you – our alumni and the community. We are hosting virtual happy hours and have connected with alumni across the nation to chat about what we all are doing to cope with social distancing. Our Law Clinic is helping local health care workers by partnering with local lawyers to draft living wills and other legal documents aimed at protecting the legal interests of health care workers in the event they become ill. I thank you for your continued support of the law school during this difficult time, and I hope you stay safe and healthy.

Warmly your dean,

Carla Pratt

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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.