Duke Law mourns Federico Carvallo LLM’09

September 29, 2009Duke Law News

Sept. 29, 2009 — Federico Carvallo LLM’09 died Saturday, Sept. 26, from injuries sustained in a polo accident in Las Salinas de Pullally, Chile. He was 32.

Carvallo is survived by his wife, Maria Bernardita Bulnes Leon, and their two young children. A Mass will be held in the Duke Chapel crypt at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Carvallo was a Duke Law student during the 2008-09 academic year; he completed his LLM degree in May 2009 before returning to his native country of Chile to work as a lawyer. He is remembered by his Duke Law colleagues as warm, charming, and devoted to his family.

“Federico was the first of his classmates to arrive in Durham last year,” recalled Suzanne Brown, international studies administrative director. “He and his wife and their baby daughter were so charming and sweet. It wasn’t long after the year began that we learned they were expecting another baby, and their son was born shortly after graduation this year. Federico was so proud of his family. And he was a wonderful student, always smiling and happy, and always ready to help with international events as well as recruiting new students. We are all devastated by this sad news. ”

Carvallo was an associate with the Santiago law firm of Aninat Schwencke y Cía. On Tuesday, the firm’s website included a memorial statement remembering Carvallo as a “remarkable man, kind and cheerful,” and adding that the firm “wish(es) to express our most sincere sense of gratitude for his dedication and contribution. He will be greatly missed.”

Prior to joining Aninat Schwencke y Cía, Carvallo worked as corporate counsel for the Chilean subsidiaries of three highway builders and operators, whom he successfully represented in the implementation of an urban highway project in Santiago; the free-flow toll road system was the first of its kind in the world. His law practice focused on corporate law, including contracts, labor, services, construction, insurance, and finances. He also had taught an Introduction to Law course at Universidad Finis Terrae and was a law clerk at the Santiago law firm of Vial y Palma Abogados.

Carvallo attended Universidad de Chile, where he completed a diploma in economics and finance for lawyers in the School of Business and Economics in 2005; a law degree in 2001; and a bachelor of social science and humanities in 1996. Throughout his education and work as a lawyer, he devoted time and energy to public service programs and pro bono work.

“He had a deep sense of pride for his country, and he said he came to Duke Law because he wanted to advance his professional skills in a way that would allow him to better serve his country’s economic and social development,” said Associate Dean Judith Horowitz, who directs Duke Law’s international programs. “He was very bright and capable, and he was determined to make a contribution through his work.”

Carvallo also was an avid athlete; his favorite sport was squash, but he enjoyed many athletic endeavors. In 2002-03 he competed in a difficult adventure run through South America, and in 2005 he participated in Chile’s national endurance motorcycling league.

“We are all deeply saddened by Federico’s death,” said Dean David F. Levi. “I remember talking with him at Law School events, and he was always happy and enthusiastic and often had his little girl in his arms. This is a tragic loss for our community, and an incomprehensible loss for his wife and children. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Duke Law community are with Federico’s family during this difficult time.”
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