Carla D. Pratt named Dean of Law School

Photograph: Carla PrattWashburn University has named Carla D. Pratt dean of the Washburn University School of Law following a nationwide search. Pratt, a noted expert on legal education equity who currently serves as associate dean for diversity and inclusion and Nancy J. LaMont Faculty Scholar at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, will succeed Thomas J. Romig, who will step down June 30, 2018, after 11 years of service.

“We are extremely excited to have Carla join Washburn as dean of the School of Law,” said Jerry Farley, Washburn University president. “She has a deep commitment to the legal profession, to teaching, and to community. Carla has the experience and leadership skills necessary to execute our strategic vision with energy and enthusiasm. In collaboration with the faculty, she will strengthen Washburn Law’s national reputation for excellence in legal education and its relationship with alumni and the legal community.”

“I am both honored and excited to serve as the next dean of Washburn University School of Law,” said Pratt. “Washburn Law has an amazing faculty, staff, and student body committed to academic excellence and mutual support. Under Dean Romig’s leadership, the law school has thrived during the most challenging years in legal education. My hope is to build on this foundation by continuing to make legal education at Washburn accessible financially and academically, and by preparing Washburn Law graduates for practice in a rapidly evolving legal marketplace.”

“Carla Pratt is an excellent choice to be the next dean of Washburn University School of Law," said Dean Romig. "I am sure she will find, as I have, that this can be the most rewarding job in her career.  The faculty, staff, students, and alumni that make up the Washburn Law family are truly phenomenal and they make this the best law school deanship in the nation.”

Pratt brings more than 20 years of experience to Washburn Law, including serving as law professor and associate dean for academic affairs at Dickinson Law, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and practicing law as a commercial litigator with the law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP,  Philadelphia, and as deputy attorney general in New Jersey. From 2012 to 2018, she served as an associate justice for the Supreme Court of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates, North Dakota, where she heard appeals in cases relating primarily to tribal criminal law, family law, business law, and constitutional law.

Pratt has taught courses in constitutional law, federal Indian law, education law, and race and American law. She also has worked to promote diversity at Penn State at both the law school and university level. She has served on the university president’s Commission for LGBTQ Equity, has served as chair of a university committee charged with review and implementation of Penn State University’s Diversity Strategic Plan, and is the recipient of the law school’s Philip J. McConnaughay award for outstanding achievement in diversity-related work.

Pratt received her juris doctor from Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C., and her bachelor’s degree in English from Texas A&M University, Commerce, Texas.

“We are truly thrilled to have Carla join Washburn,” said JuliAnn Mazachek, vice president for academic affairs. “Carla brings a passion for teaching, a deep commitment to her students, and an ability to lead and inspire fellow faculty. She will be a wonderful addition to our faculty and to Washburn Law.”