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New duties for law professors

New duties for law professors
October 23
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Tracey Banks Coan has a new title.)

Wake Forest Law has announced some changes.

Professor Kami Chavis Simmons has been named director of the new Criminal Justice Program, and Professor Tracey Banks Coan has been named the school’s first assistant dean for academic engagement.

The Criminal Justice Program is designed to facilitate critical thinking and scholarly engagement surrounding criminal justice systems in the United States.  The program offers students interested in criminal justice an opportunity to engage in theoretical and practical dialogue about these issues to enhance their doctrinal classroom experiences.

Simmons

Simmons

Simmons, who currently teaches courses related to criminal law and criminal procedure, earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and then worked as an associate at private law firms in Washington, D.C., where she practiced in the areas of civil litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and internal investigations. Prior to joining Wake Forest, she was also an assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, and participated in a wide range of criminal prosecutions and appeals on behalf of the U.S. government. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including the American Criminal Law Review, the Journal of Criminal and Criminology and the Wake Forest Law Review. Professor Simmons frequently makes presentations on law-enforcement issues and is a national expert in the field of police accountability.

According to Professor Simmons, “The Criminal Justice Program will sponsor scholarly discussions open to the entire campus and broader community on topics such as wrongful convictions, police accountability, mass incarceration, sentencing and search and seizure issues. We also plan to tap into the valuable resources of our local alumni to serve as mentors for students interested in criminal justice careers.”

The program’s inaugural event was a Oct. 21 screening for law students of the “Central Park 5” documentary followed by a discussion.

Coan teaches commercial law courses and directs the Academic Engagement Program (AEP).  The AEP enhances law students’ academic performance through skills workshops, study groups, specialized courses and individual mentoring.

“Over the years, Tracey has optimally led our academic achievement efforts and garnered huge dividends for our students and the law school,” says former Dean Blake D. Morant, who appointed Coan. “During these challenging times in legal education, Wake Forest Law has, and will continue to benefit, from Tracey’s adroit guidance and efforts.” In her new position, Coan hopes to be a resource for both students and faculty in developing ways to enhance teaching and learning at Wake Forest Law.

“Wake Forest Law is committed to creating the best learning experience for all students,” Coan stressed. “Though excellent classroom teaching and AEP’s supportive programs, we are working to make sure that students’ investment of time and money at Wake Forest will prepare them for successful careers.”

Throughout the fall semester, Coan will offer a series of workshops for first-year students to help them understand the importance of fully engaging with the law, both inside and outside of the classroom.  This series will provide specific guidance in developing the precision, discipline and professionalism required for law school success.  In addition, the workshops will reinforce the transferability of these skills to the practice of law.

Before joining Wake Forest, she was associate counsel for Jefferson Pilot Financial (now Lincoln Financial Group), a national financial services organization, and an associate with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP, a leading business law firm in Greensboro.

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