Message from Dean Pratt

Dear Washburn Law Alumni and Friends,

I am proud to report that Washburn Law students have been very conscientious about taking precautions to help us keep our faculty and staff healthy. To date, we are all healthy and looking forward to concluding the semester with good health. While a few of our faculty members are teaching exclusively online, most are teaching in-person while broadcasting their class sessions live to students participating remotely. Consequently, this semester has presented many new challenges for our faculty, but they have again risen to the occasion.

We will conclude the semester at the Thanksgiving break so that students who travel home for the holiday can remain there to study for and take their final exams. Exams will be administered as open-book, take-home exams that will be timed using our course management software. The University is currently exploring the feasibility of hosting an in-person commencement ceremony in December, so please look for a future announcement regarding how we will celebrate our December graduates.

This week we celebrate Constitution Day with Professor Jeff Jackson giving an update on the cases from the U.S. Supreme Court this year. Although we cannot all gather at the law school, we welcome you to join us online.

We are also celebrating the launch of our Third Year Anywhere™ enrollment option by inviting current third-year students to apply for a pilot of the program that will enable them to spend their final semester of law school (next semester, spring 2021) in the city or town where they intend to practice law. I want to thank Dean Shawn Leisinger and Professor Janet Thompson Jackson for all their work that has moved this curricular innovation from concept to reality! If you are interested in taking a student as an extern in this enrollment option in the future, please complete our statement of interest form.

I have been pleased to see many of you at our online alumni events. Thanks to the creativity of our Alumni Association director, Karli Davis, we have been able to host virtual alumni events that allow us to stay connected with you. If you haven't attended one yet, please join us at the next one. It's always great to see you and hear what you are doing, and Karli makes it worth your while by having a Washburn Law "swag" giveaway at each event.

Even if you can’t join our next event, please keep an eye out for the next issue of the Washburn Lawyer. This issue highlights Washburn Law's impact on the judiciary by showcasing Washburn Law graduates who serve as judges in Kansas and beyond. I think you will be impressed to see the impact your law school is having on the administration of justice here in Kansas and across the U.S.

Please also keep an eye out for a new design of the law school building that will be posted on our website soon. We have been working with the architects to create a sophisticated design that integrates the traditional elements of Kansas, such as Kansas limestone and wood, with the modern elegance of glass and state-of-the-art technology. I look forward to sharing the new design with you and hearing your feedback.

I want to conclude by saying thank you to our alumni who hired a student or took a student in as an intern this summer. Many of our students were impacted by COVID-19 in negative ways and a few of them suffered the loss of summer employment. Thanks to you, we were able to find a substitute placement for these students who worked with alumni over the summer to apply their classroom learning to real-world problems. We featured one of those alumni/student connections in this issue of the newsletter.

So once again, I must say thank you to you, our friends and alumni, for being so supportive of our students. I wish you all continued health and well-being.


Carla D. Pratt
Dean and Professor of Law

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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.