Walter F. "Jack" Pratt, Jr., assumed the deanship of the School of Law in July 1, 2006 after serving on the faculty of The Law School, University of Notre Dame, since 1986. He received his B.A. in History magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 1968, and earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa. In 1974 he earned his D.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his J.D. in 1977 from Yale Law School, where he served as the article and book review editor for the Yale Law Journal. He was law clerk for Judge Charles Clark, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1977-78) and for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Supreme Court of the United States (1978-79). Pratt taught at Duke University as an assistant professor (1979-82) and an associate professor of law (1982-86). While on the faculty at Duke, he served as Visiting Associate Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University (1984-85). He joined the faculty of the Notre Dame Law School in 1986 as an associate professor and became a full professor in 1998. At Notre Dame he served as co-director of the Notre Dame London Law Centre (1988-89), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (1991-98), and Executive Associate Dean (1999-2005). He also studied Irish legal history as a Visiting Scholar at the law department of the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland.
Pratt's areas of academic interest include legal history, contracts and commercial law. He has published numerous books, book chapters, articles, and book reviews, and made many presentations in those areas. He has been active in the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the American Society for Legal History.