Wake Forest University appoints new dean of law school
May 15, 2007
Wake Forest University has appointed Blake D. Morant as dean of the Wake Forest School of Law. A Virginia native, Morant is a professor and administrator at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va. In nearly 30 years as an attorney, Morant has held national leadership positions in legal education, distinguished himself as a teacher-scholar and law school administrator, practiced law and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Morant begins serving as dean July 1. He succeeds Robert K. Walsh, who is stepping down after 18 years as dean to teach full-time in the law school.
“The Wake Forest University School of Law has garnered considerable esteem in the legal academy thanks to its unique blend of outstanding students, a gifted faculty of teacher-scholars, an amazingly dedicated staff and superb leadership spearheaded by the legendary Dean Robert K. Walsh,” Morant said. “I consider it a privilege and honor to join this special community as its new dean and look forward to contributing to the law school’s fine tradition of excellence.”
At Washington and Lee School of Law, Morant is associate dean for academic affairs and Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law.
A Wake Forest search committee composed primarily of law school faculty, alumni and staff recommended Morant’s appointment following a nationwide search.
Suzanne Reynolds, professor of law, chaired the committee.
“The search committee felt overwhelmed, at times, with the heavy responsibility for finding the right person, until we got to know Blake Morant. Blake reflects his sterling character as he interacts with people,” Reynolds said. “He listens carefully, bringing dignity to every conversation as he demonstrates respect for the person and the viewpoint represented.
“At the same time, he is inspirational. With his personal charisma, he seemed to brighten every room he entered as he met with various groups in the Worrell Professional Center and Reynolda Hall. The phrase ‘perfect match’ applies to Wake Forest School of Law and Blake Morant.”
Morant’s appointment follows Wake Forest’s April appointment of Jill Tiefenthaler as provost.
“Professor Morant clearly has the right experience and character to lead Wake Forest’s law school,” said Tiefenthaler, who begins Aug. 1 as Wake Forest’s chief academic officer. “At Washington and Lee, he has distinguished himself as an excellent scholar, a dedicated teacher and a valued colleague who gives his time and expertise to the school and to the profession, all qualities that resonate well here at Wake Forest.
“Additionally, Professor Morant understands the competitive environment in which law schools operate today and has the vision and creativity required to create even greater synergies between the law school, the rest of the university and the greater Winston-Salem community,” Tiefenthaler said. “I look forward to working closely with him on behalf of our law school and the university.”
Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch announced Morant’s appointment May 15 in a letter e-mailed to the university’s faculty, staff and students.
“I could not be more delighted with the appointment of Blake Morant as dean of the School of Law,” Hatch said. “In succeeding Dean Walsh, Professor Morant inherits a law school that occupies a special place at Wake Forest, in our state, and in our nation, and certainly is highly regarded in the legal academy. I am confident that Professor Morant will continue and build upon this legacy at the law school, so ably led by Bob Walsh these many years.”
Morant, who was born and raised in Hampton, Va., earned his Juris Doctor degree at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1978. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975 at the University of Virginia, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Virginia on a U.S. Army R.O.T.C. scholarship and was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation.
In 1997, Morant joined the faculty at Washington and Lee School of Law. He advanced from associate professor to his current position as Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law. From 2002-2006, he was director of the school’s Frances Lewis Law Center. Since 2006, he has also served as associate dean for academic affairs.
Morant’s teaching interests have included subjects ranging from contracts to administrative law to communications law. He has published extensively on those areas and others.
His academic career began in 1988. In addition to his current position at Washington and Lee, his academic career has included positions with American University’s Washington College of Law, the University of Toledo College of Law, the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Alabama School of Law. He was a visiting fellow of University College at Oxford.
Morant has held a number of leadership positions in the legal community nationally and in Virginia. He was vice chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Diversity and he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Legal Education, the Professional Development Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and the Virginia Supreme Court’s Task Force to Study Gender Bias in the Virginia Courts.
After graduation from law school, he served several years as a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He then spent seven years practicing law in Washington, D.C., first in private practice and later with the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.