Message from Dean Pratt

Dear Alumni and Friends,

We kicked off Women's History Month with a celebration of Professor Linda Elrod's distinguished career at Washburn and her 75th birthday! We owe many thanks to Angel Zimmerman, Justice Marla Luckert, and Kaitlin Alegria for planning an amazing online event. Professor Elrod, whom most of us know fondly as "Cricket," will have 50 years of service when she retires in 2024. That will give her the added distinction of being the longest serving faculty member in the history of Washburn University School of Law.

Speaking of long-standing service to Washburn Law, please save the late afternoon of May 12, 2022, on your calendar for our retirement celebration honoring Professors Myrl Duncan, Janet Thompson Jackson, and Mary Matthews who are retiring at the end of this academic year. We will present them with a Faculty Resolution documenting their years of dedicated service to Washburn Law, and of course, we will also present each of them with a Washburn Law retirement rocking chair that we hope will remind them of their distinguished career at Washburn every time they relax in it. Please RSVP to let us know you are attending.

Now that COVID-19 is under control, the U.S. Supreme Court is resuming its in-person hearings to admit lawyers to practice before the court. This year we have about a dozen alumni and friends who will travel with us to Washington, D.C., in mid-May to be admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. In addition to visiting the Supreme Court, guests on the trip will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Washington, D.C., as well as the opportunity to visit one of the national museums. Washburn Law hosts this trip every two years, so if you missed the deadline for signing up this year, please contact Anne McInerney at to get on the list for 2024!

I also want to share that the law school is now an affiliate member of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools. This association hosts a hiring platform designed to help its member law schools recruit new faculty. It also hosts a national conference each summer devoted to improving teaching and supporting legal scholarship. Several of our faculty members have attended the SEALS conference in the past, so we are excited to have Washburn Law join the many law schools that participate in this association.

Finally, I hope that you saw the press release about my bittersweet news. I have accepted an appointment at the University of Oklahoma College of Law as the inaugural Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race and Justice in Law. If you don't know, Dr. Fisher was an African-American woman who was the first person of color to enroll at OU and graduate from the law school. As a native Oklahoman, I am truly honored to have been offered this distinguished chair named for the Oklahoman who had a significant role is dismantling racial segregation in public education. Serving as dean at Washburn Law has been the highlight of my career so far, but I couldn't resist the invitation to return home. As Dorothy wisely proclaimed, "There's no place like home." I am grateful to Dr. Farley and Dr. Mazachek for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this great law school. Although it was a shorter term of service than I envisioned, I hope that I have served the law school and its alumni well during my time here. I thank you all for being so welcoming and so supportive of me when I came to Topeka for the first time four years ago. The law school has an outstanding faculty who embraced my leadership, and together we launched what national media outlets called the most "innovative" and "revolutionary" change in legal education – the Third Year Anywhere™ enrollment option. We also completed the fundraising campaign for the new law school building and designed a "smart building" with the integrated technology to teach both online and in person. With the outstanding faculty at Washburn Law, I know that the law school will be in good hands as it embarks upon the search for the next dean next year. I have made many friends at Washburn during my time here, and I want to maintain those friendships, so if you are ever in Norman, Oklahoma, please let me know.

With much appreciation,

Dean and Professor of Law

Short URL for this page:

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).
Logo: Top Law Schools
Dean Pratt talks to "TopLawSchools" about Washburn Law's student life, academics, admissions process, career opportunties, employment outcomes, and more.