The Program for Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools supports the School of Law through faculty development and student programming that work to  integrate character development and character-based leadership into the entire legal education experience. To ensure that leadership and character are embedded in the culture and curriculum of the School of Law, we have hired three people—an assistant director, a curriculum and pedagogical design expert, and a visiting assistant professor—who collaborate on effective implementation of innovative programming, new course offerings, and professional development for faculty and staff. 

Resources for Faculty

The Program for Leadership and Character has substantial support among law faculty, who regularly participate in workshops, teaching partnerships, sponsored law symposia, and speaker series. As a result of our staff footprint, more law faculty attend the program-wide three-day Course Redesign Workshop than any other undergraduate college or professional school. The result: A diverse set of leadership- and character-oriented courses and programming that reached more than 400 law students and 50 faculty and staff. In addition, in 2023 the law faculty and staff received a combined $51,000 in Departmental Grants from the Program for Leadership and Character supporting projects where building leadership capacity and developing character strengths will be integrated into a wide variety of teaching and learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.

There are multiple ways for faculty to explore evidence-based teaching strategies that balance the traditional habits of mind (thinking like a lawyer) with dispositions of character, so Wake Forest School of Law graduates are equipped for successful law practice, leadership and community service, and a life of well being and satisfaction.

For more information contact our Curriculum and Pedagogical Design expert, Dr. Nancy Winfrey.

Resources for Students 

Law Student Dareus Chen (JD ’24) poses a question to lawyer, bestselling author and social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson during the Face to Face Speaker Forum on Thursday, February 23, 2023.

Wake Forest’s motto Pro Humanitate (For Humanity) calls the university to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and character to lead in a complex, and often unjust, world. We take this responsibility seriously in the School of Law, and we are taking steps to become even more intentional about preparing future lawyers to live and lead with integrity. To that end, we have created a Leadership and Character in the Law cohort program that explores the intersections of character, leadership, and the law.

Leadership and Character in the Law Cohort

The Leadership and Character in the Law Cohort is a group of 15 incredible students in the School of Law, individually selected on an invite-only basis for their exemplary leadership skills and potential to change the world. 

These students, ranging from first years to bar exam testers, engage in extensive discussions, network with professionals in the field of law, and receive specialized mentoring. Established in 2019, the cohort has evolved from being solely consumers to also being creators as they produce, facilitate, and execute law school-wide Leadership Development workshops.

The Law Cohort builds community for future leaders, fostering friendships and mutual accountability. The competition found in most law schools is not a part of this co-curricular program. This program focuses on team-building and developing strong relationships where members can depend on each other for wisdom, support, and camaraderie.

“There are about 200 ABA-approved law schools in the country. Ninety-eight of them have a leadership program or class. However, we’re the only program in the country that has a leadership program for law students with an emphasis on their character development, which sets Wake Forest apart.This cohort is, if not the primary, the crown jewel of the efforts we have in developing leaders of character in the law school.” – Benjamin Rigney, Assistant Director for Leadership and Character in the Law School

Our current cohort scholars are:

Students interested in joining the Leadership & Character Cohort at Wake Forest Law can email Dr. Benjamin Rigney for more information. 

Events

The Program for Leadership and Character also provides opportunities for leadership and character development for the entire Wake Forest Law community. Events include monthly lunch-and-learns, guest speaker events, leadership development workshops for student organization leaders, and law school success training during Foundations Week (law school orientation).

We hope to change the world by equipping law students to be leaders of character in the legal profession and beyond.

Our Team

Our Program for Leadership and Character faculty and staff members based in the School of Law are:

Kenneth Townsend

Director of Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools

kenneth townsend

John Carter

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion, Law, and Public Life

Ben Rigney

Assistant Director of Leadership and Character in the Law School

ben rigney

Nancy Winfrey

Assistant Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy

nancy winfrey