Message from Dean Pratt

Dear Washburn Law Community,

I hope the new year is off to a good start for you. We are thankful to be back on campus offering both in-person and remote instruction to our students. This month we welcome 20 new students to Washburn Law, and we are in the middle of our recruitment season for fall 2022 enrollment. If you know someone who is planning to enroll in law school this August, please send them our way so that we can tell them all of the educational benefits that Washburn Law has to offer.

The law school building is open to visitors, so if you are in town, please plan to stop by and see us.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still impacting us in some ways. We had to move our winter study abroad program in Barbados online. Nonetheless, Washburn students were in online classes with students in Barbados and thanks to Dean Shawn Leisinger, the course was a big success. We are watching the COVID-19 rules for Japan to determine if we will be able to host our summer study abroad program in Osaka, Japan. Professor Craig Martin administers the program and has graciously offered to have a couple of alumni accompany the group if we are able to proceed with travel to Japan. So, if you have an interest in making this trip with our students, please contact Professor Martin by email at

Next month, we are planning to host Washburn Law alumnus Charles Sunwabe, Jr., class of 2009, who will share his experience fleeing war-torn Liberia, and what led the country to the point of civil war in the early 1990s. Please look for an announcement of the date of this presentation which will be broadcast on Zoom so that our alumni can tune in to hear the talk.

We are planning for three more faculty retirements at the end of this academic year. Professor Myrl Duncan will retire with 45 years of service to Washburn Law. Professor Mary Matthews, who has taught legal writing to many of our alumni, will also retire with five years of service. Finally, Professor Janet Thompson Jackson will retire after 17 years with Washburn Law. We will celebrate our retiring faculty this summer, so please keep an eye out for the "save the date" announcement.

We are also saying farewell to Professor Blake Klinkner at the end of this academic year. Professor Klinkner taught in our Academic Enrichment and Bar Pass program and has helped hundreds of Washburn Law alumni pass the bar exam. He will be moving on to the tenure track at the University of North Dakota's law school, and we wish him all the best in this new role.

Because we are confronting this loss of faculty, we are in the process of hiring visiting faculty members for next year. We are hoping to find a permanent replacement for Professor Klinkner, but the other visiting positions will be true visits for a single academic year. You can read each of the position descriptions at: Please share this link with your networks so that we get a robust applicant pool. This is the perfect opportunity for someone looking for a 9-month sabbatical from their regular duties. This summer we plan to launch a nationwide search for several tenure track faculty members, and we will share the job announcements with you when they are ready.

We are visiting alumni in Arizona at the end of February and Texas at the beginning of March, so if you live in those states and want to attend an alumni event, please check your email for the invitations that will go out in the next week or so. I love meeting alumni in person and learning about what our alumni are doing, so I hope to see you at one of these events.

Finally, construction of the new law school building is on schedule. Today I picked the wood that will be used for doors, trim, and our courtrooms, and soon we will select the vendor for the furniture and meet with the technology vendor to review the technology plan. We hope to be in the new building this time next year, just in time to celebrate our 120th anniversary as Washburn University School of Law! Thank you for all that you do to support your law school. This is a great law school thanks to you!


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.