Exciting progress and developments are underway for the new High Point University Law School, which anticipates enrolling its first class of law students in August 2024.
Founding Dean Mark Martin, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, has been working to hire full-time professors, senior lecturing fellows and staff for the HPU Law School.
Martin served on the bench in North Carolina for more than 26 years. From 2014-2019, he served as the state’s chief justice. He was the dean and a tenured law professor at Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia, before he accepted the new challenge to develop HPU’s law school. He knew of HPU’s values and reputation as The Premier Life Skills University as he recruited professors, extended faculty and staff.
“We are adding extraordinary legal scholars and leaders to build a law school of distinction and produce lawyers of excellence,” said Martin.
“By focusing on the life skill of professional identity formation, law students will develop those character and leadership skill sets so necessary to succeed in the legal profession.”
The HPU School of Law, which recently earned approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, was announced in the spring of 2022 as part of a $400 million academic expansion plan.
The School of Law is adding distinguished professors who will develop law students’ academic and practical skills important for success but also the values of the profession so they can serve their clients and community with character and integrity.
Distinguished Associate Dean Natt Gantt II:
HPU has appointed L.O. Natt Gantt II as professor of law and associate dean for academic affairs at the High Point University Law School.
“Natt Gantt is the ideal person to be the associate dean of the new law school,” said Martin. “His distinctive experience as a legal scholar and educator, combined with his unquestionable integrity, is well suited for leading students to become lawyers of excellence.”
Gantt comes to HPU from Harvard Law School and brings 22 years of experience in legal education. Through his teaching, presentations and scholarship, he has focused primarily on law school academic support, legal education reform, legal ethics and professional identity formation. Gantt is recognized as a national leader on law student and lawyer well-being, and how legal education should foster integrity as an important personal and professional value. With extensive experience in both law and theology, Gantt most recently was the inaugural executive director of the Harvard Law School Program on Biblical Law and Christian Legal Studies and a lecturer on law.
Prior to his role at Harvard, Gantt served for 21 years in various roles at Regent University School of Law, most recently as a professor, associate dean for academic affairs and co-director of Regent’s Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform.
“Helping build the law school at High Point University is a tremendous opportunity; and I hope to infuse throughout the school a strong emphasis on professional formation, character development, ethical decision-making and attention to well-being, along with teaching students the fundamental skills and legal doctrine they need to pass the bar exam and flourish as a lawyer.”
“This new opportunity flows from what I learned when I began serving as a legal educator many years ago: that law professors can not only educate students in doctrine, analysis and skills, they can also mentor and positively impact lives and make legal education and the legal profession better.”
In February 2022, the ABA amended its standards for accrediting law schools and required all accredited law schools to help their students develop a professional identity. As part of that change, law students must better understand the values that are important to the profession and to their well-being as lawyers, Gantt said.
Gantt earned his Juris Doctor at Harvard Law School, his Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and political science at Duke University. In his role as executive director of Harvard’s Program on Biblical Law and Christian Legal Studies, Gantt encouraged discussions on the relationship between faith and the study and practice of law, and on the character formation of law students and lawyers.
Gantt currently serves as an advisory member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) and chairs CoLAP’s Well-Being Committee. He also serves as a faculty presenter at the Christian Legal Society Fellows Program and as a visiting fellow of the Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Public Square at Gordon-Conwell.
Legal Office Support:
Attorney Patricia Ford has joined the HPU School of Law as an office administrator. She will assist Martin and Gantt in developing continuing education programs.
“I’m excited to provide foundational support as we move forward to the launch of the law school in our new building and as we advocate the vision of the law school to be extraordinary. I will serve to bridge the gaps to make sure everything is excellent,” said Ford. “We are mindful that 2024, when we have the entry of the incoming law students, will be the 100th anniversary of the university.”
Ford practiced law for 30 years in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, before joining HPU to help develop the law school. After earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing at North Carolina A&T State University, Ford found she enjoyed working with people of various backgrounds and decided she could do greater good by earning her Juris Doctor degree at North Carolina Central University School of Law. She began her private practice law career in 1992. She continued practicing law until accepting the call to join the HPU Law School staff.
Ford is a member of the American Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association, North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers, 31st Judicial and Forsyth Bar Associations. She is also a member of the American Nurses Association, North Carolina Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association and enjoys arts in the community.