Professor Michael Wood and His Two-Decade Career at UNH Franklin Pierce

Friday, December 10, 2021

Michael Wood

Michael Wood went to college to become a history teacher, but decided instead to continue on to law school. It was nearly a decade after his 1992 graduation from Suffolk University Law School that he was presented with an opportunity to work in the classroom.

“It was the 1980s, and everyone seemed to go to law school after college,” Wood says, “so I followed the trend. I also discovered I had a knack for understanding complex tax law and planning. UNH Franklin Pierce gave me the opportunity to pursue my original passion of teaching.”

When his partner at an estate planning and business law firm received a call from the FPLC dean looking for an attorney who could teach a Wealth Transmission course, Wood took action. He had only two weeks to prepare for the course, but has been teaching at UNH Franklin Pierce ever since he first got the call in 1999. Since that time, he also has taught Estate Planning and Wills, Trusts, and Estates. At the direction of then-Dean John Hutson, Wood emphasized practice over theory in his classes early on, offering real-world experience to his students through opportunities to draft documents and observe and participate in interactions with clients.

“I have enjoyed the teaching experience immensely,” says Wood, who recently announced his retirement from UNH Franklin Pierce. “I loved the student enthusiasm and curiosity. No one likes grading papers or exams, but when I see that a class I taught understands what I am trying to teach them, it’s rewarding.”

In his more than two-decade career as a law professor, Wood has watched UNH grow in many ways, including through enhancements to its facilities, but he also has observed a consistent devotion by the faculty, achievement by increasingly outstanding students, and maintenance of a close-knit community. He has sustained close ties with a network of former students to whom he has referred many clients, and has felt pride in his small role in the former students’ success.

“Teaching offered me the opportunity at critical times in my close to 30-year practice to recharge my batteries,” says Wood, who will continue to maintain his thriving practice once he leaves the classroom. “UNH Franklin Pierce students are energetic and, on more than one occasion, they reminded me of why I became a lawyer.”

Over the last two years, while he continued to teach trough the pandemic, Wood has been impressed with the flexibility and versatility of the faculty, students, and administration during a challenging time. He is proud to have been a part of a community that has worked so well together through a new set of obstacles. While he will retire from teaching, Wood is still a “few years away” from full retirement. He does hope to spend more time with family, hiking and traveling as often as possible.

“[I want to thank] the law school for giving me the opportunity to teach,” he says, “and the students who I have taught. The truth is, they were teaching me as well.”