Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University announced today that Law School Dean Carla Pratt will step down from her role following the school’s spring commencement ceremony. After nearly four years of service to the school, Pratt is returning to her native state of Oklahoma to serve as the inaugural Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Chair in Civil Rights, Race and Justice in Law. This new position was created to honor Dr. Fisher as the first African-American to enroll and graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Pratt will begin her appointment, which is contingent on a final vote of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, this summer.

     “During Dean Pratt’s tenure, Washburn Law has further established itself as a leader in legal education,” said Washburn University President Jerry Farley. “Her strategic vision has helped increase the national reputation of the school and her enthusiasm for the institution has strengthened the relationship with alumni and the legal community.”

     Pratt was named dean of the law school in 2018 following a national search. She helped lead the school in completing a fundraising campaign for a new law school building. She also led the pivot to distance education and met the many challenges that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, the law school launched curricular reform that national media outlets called the most “revolutionary” change in legal education -- the “Third Year Anywhere enrollment option.” This program allows students in their final year of law school the opportunity to increase their practice-readiness by completing an externship in the geographic area where they plan to practice after graduation.

     “Dean Pratt helped Washburn Law make a real difference in the lives of our students and in legal education,” said Dr. Juliann Mazachek, vice president of academic affairs. “The Third Year Anywhere program is a tremendous innovation. This signature program provides unique educational pathways for those seeking to practice law.”

     Mazachek noted that Pratt has modeled an active teaching and scholarly career while taking on her recent administrative role. She has presented to numerous organizations and institutions including the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools and the Society of American Law Teachers. She is a member of the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and recently she was appointed to the Board of Helix, the AccessLex non-profit bar preparation dedicated to making bar preparation accessible to everyone. Pratt has taught courses in Constitutional Law, Federal Indian Law and Race and American Law, and has produced scholarship at the intersection of these areas with particular emphasis on understanding the role of identity in law and legal institutions.

     In addition to her scholarly pursuits, Pratt has been a strong advocate for student wellness, making it one of her priorities and supporting the creation of a student organization devoted to law student wellness at Washburn. She has also been a leader in the area of diversity and inclusion improving the diversity of the adjunct faculty of law and working on the national level to create a framework for law schools to become more equitable.

     “Serving as dean at Washburn Law has been a privilege and an honor,” Pratt said. “The law school has an exceptional faculty and staff who are devoted to students, and our alumni are so supportive of the law school and our amazing students,” said Pratt. “Since its inception in 1903, Washburn has provided an inclusive legal education for thousands of students, regardless of their identity, and I am proud to have been a small part of the school’s continued legacy of inclusive legal education.”

     Washburn plans to name an interim dean prior to Pratt’s departure. The interim dean will serve while the university conducts a national search for a permanent dean for the School of Law.


For further information, contact:
Patrick M. Early, APR
Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-1711
Cell: (717) 385-1119

back to top button