Trustee Renee Knake

  • 426 Auditorium Rd., Room 450
  • Michigan State University
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • 517-353-4647 – Office
  • knakeree@msu.edu

Renee Knake was appointed to the Board of Trustees by Governor Whitmer in December 2019 to complete the term vacated by Nancy Schlichting, which ends January 1, 2023. Knake currently serves as a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and is the Joanne and Larry Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics. In addition to her teaching role, she is the director of Outcomes and Assessments and a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Equality Committee. She teaches Constitutional Law, Professional Responsibility and a seminar on Gender, Law, Leadership and Power.

Prior to joining the University of Houston in 2016, Knake spent a decade at Michigan State University, receiving tenure at the College of Law and also teaching at the Eli Broad College of Business and the Honors College. While at MSU, she was the director of the 21st Century Law Practice Summer Program in London and co-founder of the ReInvent Law Laboratory for Law, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She also is an elected member of the American Law Institute. In 2015, she was a scholar-in-residence at Stanford Law School's Center on the Legal Profession and a visiting scholar at the American Bar Foundation. She was named the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in 2019.

Knake is an award-winning author of three casebooks — Professional Responsibility: A Contemporary Approach; Legal Ethics for the Real World: Building Skills Through Case Study; Gender, Power, Leadership and Law — along with more than 20 scholarly articles including publications in the Fordham Law Review, Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Illinois Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, Washington & Lee Law Review and the Washington Law Review. Her fourth book, Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court, is under contract with New York University Press and will be published in 2020.

An internationally recognized expert on legal ethics, Knake has been invited to speak throughout the United States and in countries such as Australia, Canada, England, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. She is regularly contacted to assist in legal matters involving lawyer discipline and judicial ethics, and has twice testified successfully before the Texas Supreme Court Special Court of Review to support reversal of discipline charges against judges.

Before her academic career, Knake practiced law at Mayer Brown in Chicago and Hunton & Williams in Richmond, where she specialized in commercial litigation, telecommunications and labor/employment law. She also worked as an assistant city attorney for Charlottesville, Virginia. Knake received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Knake resides with her children in East Lansing.