Jane Aiken named Dean of WFU School of Law

Wake Forest University has chosen Jane Aiken to become the next Dean of the School of Law.

Aiken comes to Wake Forest from Georgetown Law, where she has been a professor and administrator since 2007 and currently serves as the Blume Professor of Law.

“Jane Aiken’s distinguished career as an attorney, an advocate and a teacher-scholar – particularly in the areas of legal education, women’s rights and evidence – makes her exceptionally well qualified to lead the Wake Forest University School of Law.” Nathan O. Hatch, Wake Forest President

“Her leadership, vision and energy are exactly what we need to develop the brightest legal minds in the tireless pursuit of justice,” said Hatch.

At Georgetown, Aiken founded the Community Justice Project to enable students to represent clients in cases involving questions of justice where remedies are often transactional, policy-based or require extraordinary measures for adjudication. Her doctrinal courses primarily have been Evidence and Torts, while other courses included Motherhood and the Law and the Law of Extradition. Aiken has served as Associate Dean for Experiential Education and then Vice Dean for the Law Center, and she currently chairs the University Task Force on Gender Equity.

“Wake Forest Law has it all: a brilliant and sought-after faculty dedicated to excellence as both teachers and scholars, a talented student body committed to making a difference as leaders in the law profession and a hard-working, mission-driven staff in a University where there is a real sense that anything is possible.” Jane Aiken, incoming Dean of Law

“I am so excited that I am joining this remarkable community,” said Aiken.

Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty, Aiken was the William Van Cleve Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. While at Washington University, she was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach law at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal. She has also taught in law schools at University of South Carolina and Arizona State University.

Aiken has earned many awards and honors for her contributions to the legal profession. She served as a Carnegie Scholar for Teaching and Learning and member of the American Bar Association Council on Legal Education from 2011 to 2017. She is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation. She received the Frank Flegal Award for Excellent Teaching at Georgetown in 2010 and the Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2013.

Aiken is a leading scholar in clinical pedagogy and has directed a wide array of clinics involving prisoner’s rights, domestic violence against women and children, HIV, homelessness, police brutality and international human rights. In 2014, she co-authored The Clinic Seminar and Teaching the Clinical Seminar.

“Our Law faculty, staff, and students alike expressed immense enthusiasm about Professor Aiken, and we similarly heard rave reviews from across the U.S. legal community about her incisive scholarship, managerial acumen, inspiring work with law students, and passion for advancing justice.” Rogan Kersh, Wake Forest provost and chair of the search committee

“She will be a joy to work alongside as we continue to navigate complex changes in legal education,” said Kersh.

Aiken is currently in the process of finishing her latest book, Motherhood and the Law: Enforcing Selflessness. Professor Aiken’s articles on teaching justice have been translated into seven languages and have been a basis for much of her work on legal education in international settings, including Georgia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam. Her writing on women and the law concentrates on domestic violence, contested ideas about consent, and specialized evidence rules on sexual character evidence.

Aiken earned an LL.M. from Georgetown, a J.D. from New York University (as a Root-Tilden Scholar) and a B.A. from Hollins College.

Aiken will succeed Suzanne Reynolds, who announced last year that she would return to the law faculty after stepping down as dean at the end of this academic year. Reynolds has served as dean since 2014.

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