The Wake Forest Law Review 2024 Spring Symposium will host panels and presentations to discuss The Future of Death Care in America on Friday, March 1, 2024, livestreamed from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The symposium will bring together leaders in the death-care industry, academics and influential reformers to discuss key issues facing death care in America. Over the course of a day, speakers will share their perspectives on what faces funeral service now and what it means for the future, including the Funeral Rule, new disposition methods and licensure of funeral directors.

Panel One: Regulating New Methods of Disposition, moderated by funeral director descendent and Virginia Tech Professor Phil Olson, will explore how new methods of disposition are legalized and regulated, and how the process can be improved in the future. The panel includes Victoria J. Haneman, JD, LLM, Professor of Trusts & Estates and Associate Dean of Research and Innovation at Creighton University School of Law; Barbara Kemmis, Executive Director of the Cremation Association of North America (CANA); and, Katrina Spade, Founder & CEO of Recompose, the world’s first human composting company.

Regulations establish standards but can also create barriers to entry. Panel Two: Licensing Funeral Directors, moderated by retired Kenyon College Professor David Harrington, will discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by licensure in death care. The panel features Dr. Hari P. Close, II, Founder and CEO of Hari P. Close Funeral Services in Baltimore, Maryland, and Past President of the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association; Renée D. Flaherty, Senior Attorney at the Institute for Justice which litigates constitutional cases protecting individuals from government abuse; and, Caressa Hughes, Assistant Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for Service Corporation International with more than 30 years of experience in government relations.

Finally, Panel Three: Consumer Protection — The Future of the Funeral Rule will deliberate the challenges and opportunities presented by the sole federal regulation of the funeral service profession: the US Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule. Moderated by Wake Forest Law Professor Tanya Marsh who teaches the only course in a US law school on Funeral and Cemetery Law, the panelists include Isabel Knight, President of the National Home Funeral Alliance which educates families and communities to care for their own loved ones after death; Poul Lemasters, Esq., General Counsel of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association with more than 20 years of experience in funeral service; and, Sarah Pojanowski, General Counsel for Selected Independent Funeral Homes for over a decade.

The Wake Forest Symposium also features a session on Abandoned Cemeteries, a project to map and repair cemeteries in North Carolina by Dr. Terry Brock, Director of Cultural Heritage & Archaeology Research Group at Wake Forest University.

As Keynote for the event, Caitlin Doughty will kick off the day with an overview of current and future trends in death care. Doughty is a mortician, writer, advocate for funeral industry reform and founder of the non-profit The Order of the Good Death, which spawned the death positive movement and is working to legalize human composting and aquamation in all fifty states. Doughty and Professor Marsh will close the day with a Q&A session and final thoughts.

As an association committed to meeting the future head on, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is proud to sponsor this unique opportunity to bring together a diverse range of perspectives on the future of death care. This unique opportunity is approved for up to 6 hours of CE from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice for watching the livestream or attending in-person. Follow CANA for recordings and publications from the event if you cannot attend live.

Gain perspective on some of the key issues of our time as these conversations happen live on Friday, March 1, 2024. See the full schedule and register to access the livestream or attend at

About CANA

Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an international organization of over 3,700 members, composed of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, industry suppliers, and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization. For more information about CANA, visit

About Wake Forest Law Review

The Wake Forest Law Review is a student-run organization that publishes five issues annually. The Law Review also sponsors symposia. The Symposium changes topics yearly. Through the publication of articles, notes, comments, and empirical legal studies, the Law Review provides the profession with timely evaluations of current problems in the law and serves students as a valuable educational tool.

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