Melanie D. Wilson Dean and Roy L. Steinheimer Jr. Professor of Law

Phone: 540-458-8502


Office: 405 Lewis Hall 

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Area of Expertise

Criminal Procedure; Prosecutors; Fourth Amendment; Sixth Amendment; Juries


BA, University of Georgia

JD, University of Georgia


Melanie D. Wilson is the dean of Washington and Lee University's School of Law, and holds the Roy L. Steinheimer, Jr., Professorship in Law. Wilson joined W&L on July 1, 2022.

Wilson is a highly respected scholar and teacher. She writes and teaches about issues of criminal procedure, focusing on the Fourth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, and prosecutors. Wilson is the author of multiple books and law review articles on these subjects. She coauthors Criminal Procedure, Ninth Edition (Carolina Academic Press 2020), with Emeritus Professor Paul Marcus of the College of William and Mary. Her scholarship has also appeared in outstanding scholarly journals, such as the Iowa Law Review, the Utah Law Review, the Hastings Law Journal, Northwestern University Law Review Online, and many others.

Wilson arrives to the deanship at W&L Law with significant leadership and administrative experience. Wilson spent two years as a junior law faculty member in Atlanta before joining the faculty of the University of Kansas School of Law in 2007, where she went on to serve as professor of law, associate dean for academic affairs, and director of diversity and inclusion. She received the Howard M. and Susan Immel Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of Kansas School of Law in 2011 and was named Outstanding Woman Educator of 2015 by the University of Kansas. Wilson left Kansas to become the dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville in 2015, where she served successfully for five years before returning to fulltime teaching.

Wilson is also active in the profession and in her community. She has served the Association of American Law Schools in numerous capacities, including President of the organization in 2024 and several years on its Executive Committee. She is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, and a member of the State Bar of Georgia.

She earned a J.D. (magna cum laude and Order of the Coif) from the University of Georgia School of Law. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in business, also from the University of Georgia, where she was an Academic All-American and a member of the 1986 SEC Championship women's golf team.

Before entering academia, Wilson clerked for Judge Richard Freeman in the Northern District of Georgia, and practiced law for 13 years in both the private and public sectors, including six years as an assistant United States attorney and four years as an assistant attorney general for the state of Georgia.