The Duke Experience

Academics and family life 

Chenghong Wang and Li ZhaoChenghong Wang LLM '13 & Li Zhao LLM ’13

Home: China
The married couple discuss their academic experience at Duke Law, and family life in Durham.

Pursuing academic excellence

Mukami Wangai LLM '13Mukami Wangai LLM '13

Home: Kenya
Wangai, originally from Kenya, talks about what drew her to Durham from the United Kingdom, and her academic experience as an LLM student.

Life outside the classroom

Seraj Haroun LLM '15Seraj Haroun LLM '15

Home: South Africa
Haroun, originally from South Africa, discusses social life and extracurricular options in Durham and at Duke.

Planning for the future

Katharina Riedl LLM '13Katharina Riedl LLM '13

Home: Austria
Riedl talks about what brought her to Durham from Austria, and how the Duke Law LLM experience has enhanced her career options.

A family-friendly experience

Soeren Skjerbek LLM '13Soeren Skjerbek LLM '13

Home: Denmark
Skjerbek talks about the Duke Law LLM experience, including what it was like to move his family from Denmark to Durham.


Meet our international students   Read our student interviews

 
"Lectures that I took at Duke were so interesting and intellectually engaging that, for the first time in my life, I was sad when the school year ended. I thought I would never say this, but school can be fun."

— Dragan Gajin
Serbia

 
"Duke Law’s professors are very knowledgeable and patient with students’ questions. They give not only answers, but also the means to develop answers by ourselves. That’s very useful for lawyers who will face all kinds of different challenges today."

— WenYu Chia
Taiwan

 
"Duke Law is a great school — not only is it highly ranked and prestigious, but it is also very welcoming of its students. Students have the flexibility to make selections from a large number of courses. This ensures that a student is able to develop the expertise she desires in fields of law of her choice."

— Simone Reis
India

 
"The Law School building is amazing, and it is a pleasure to come to every day for your courses and to meet your classmates. The library is very spacious, you have incredible resources and facilities, and many people are there to assist you if you need some help. There is also a great dynamism in everyday life: many events are organized every week, and you can always go to talks given by professionals and professors at lunchtime."

— Marie-Amelie Simon
France

 
"Professors are the best in their fields and really enjoy passing on their knowledge, inside and outside the classroom."

— Javier Carrizo
Panama

 
"I edited Professor Paul Carrington’s upcoming book about great lawyers throughout the history of the United States. It was a fruitful experience as I had to understand the three governmental branches in a way that advanced my own research, which covers the interplay between the three. I learned a lot from his experience during our long formal and informal talks."

— Nir Shnaiderman
Israel

 
"Working at the Homelessness Division in the Southern Louisiana Legal Services Center was an eye-opening experience to the diverse and comprehensive areas of legal aid services provided to the local indigent population. Perhaps because the Center was accustomed to working with students from either law school clinics or volunteer placements like ours, we fell into step with the unfamiliar yet riveting work in no time. Our supervisor was forthcoming and encouraging right at the onset, introducing us to the basics of social security benefits and entrusting us with numerous cases, in which actions on behalf of clients ranged from a simple matter of applying for a birth certificate, to making sense of a fragmented medical history so as to apply for veteran disability benefits, to tracing down the closure of a trade school nearly a decade ago in order to apply for a discharge of federal student loans.

Among the miscellaneous tasks undertaken, both legal and non-legal, I found client interviewing the most rewarding of all. It was by talking to them face to face, learning of their predicaments, understanding their concerns, that I realized many of these homeless individuals are good-natured, able members of the community who just happen to lack a home, and for some, the means to make a stable living.

We were also fortunate enough to view the issue of homelessness in Greater New Orleans in a broader light as our supervisor brought us to the annual meeting of UNITY - a non-profit coalition of member agencies addressing and preventing homelessness in the region, where detailed statistics were reported, "success stories" acknowledged and where government grants were presented by representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
."

— Rebecca Lau
Exchange Student

 
"My participation in the NC Wills Drafting Project during the Spring Break was absolutely brilliant. We spent a week calling clients, needy residents of Richmond, a town very close to Durham, and then two days at the venue drafting wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care powers of attorney. It really was an amazing experience - we got to meet people here in Durham and help them achieve something they never could have done without projects like this.

Perhaps critics might say that drafting wills for poorer families isn't as important as working for Death Row, or for Asylum cases, but actually wealth management is critical for families with fewer resources, because titles to property, and real property, can be lost and jumbled up in all the confusion after the passing of a loved one, and control of our assets is so fundamental that most people take it for granted. This project was a way to give our clients that crucial control, without the expense of seeing a professional lawyer. Although it was an exhausting few days, it was very rewarding. Being able to show clients that they might have an interest in property they thought they had lost, or being able to finish documents that they had been putting off for years - even decades - was actually very moving and emotional, and I am very grateful to Kim Burrucker and the Legal Aid of NC for this unique opportunity."

— Carolyn Gillespie
LLM 2010

 
"Being a member of the Duke Law International Arbitration team, I competed along with my teammates in the Willem C. Vis Moot in Vienna, which included over 240 universities from 58 countries. It was a dreamlike experience that I will never forget: It was Duke Law's first time to take part in this exciting huge party for [the] international commercial arbitration community and I was so fortunate to live the history!

[We] received many compliments for our oral and written arguments from judges who sat on the panel during the competition. ... More importantly, during social events which took place every night, we got to know many leading arbitrators, practicing attorneys and participants from other universities. The lasting contacts will be very much helpful.

Concerning the preparation, I was so impressed by the efforts that the coaches, Professor Holton and Dean Maher, had made. Practice rounds were arranged for every week since the beginning of this semester. Many professors, practicing arbitrators and lawyers were invited to serve as arbitrators to help the preparation. The insight comments were so valuable not only for the competition, but also for the future careers of the team members.

I was really proud of representing Duke and I will go to Vienna next spring to cheer for the Duke team in the next year's Moot!"

— Mingchao Fan