Meet Duke Law's newest students

August 27, 2008Duke Law News

Aug. 27, 2008 — Duke Law School’s new classes of JD, LLM, and SJD candidates represent a diversity of geographic origins and a breadth of experience that spans the globe.

Seventy-six new LLM students, two SJD candidates (both Duke LLM graduates), and 16 international exchange students joined the Law School in mid-August, along with the 205 members of the class of 2011. Eighteen students transferred into the Class of 2010.

The members of the JD class, chosen from more than 6,000 applicants, hail from 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, observed Bill Hoye, associate dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, when he welcomed them on Aug. 18. Approximately 25 percent of them are pursuing an LLM in international and comparative law or a graduate degree from another Duke school in addition to their JD.

With undergraduate degrees from 109 colleges and universities around the country and many with post-graduate degrees, the Class of 2011 also possesses a broad diversity of experience. Hoye highlighted students’ work as educators, artists, and business owners, in military and government service, and on political campaigns.

“One of you served for two years as a Rule of Law Officer with the United Nations Development Program, stationed in West Darfur. Another served as the interim U.N. representative for the American Indian Law Alliance; you represented the Alliance at U.N. meetings and compiled reports that provided information on the U.N. Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” he said. “… Several of you have been involved in the presidential election, either by working for individual candidates or political parties, or by writing about the campaigns.

“One of you won awards for ‘Best Script,’ ‘Best Play,’ and ‘Best Actor’ for a play that was entered in the Zimbabwe National Drama Festival … Another was screenwriter and editor on an independent film produced in Montreal; you also recently finished filming footage for a documentary about your father, a scientist, physician, and political dissident in China,” Hoye continued. “Another has been a freelance writer and journalist – you contributed to the ‘Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader’ series. A literary classic, I’m sure.”

The new LLM, SJD, and international exchange students come from 39 countries, according to Judy Horowitz, associate dean for International Studies. “They include, for the first time, an LLM student from Luxembourg and for the second time only, students from Malaysia, Uruguay, and Nigeria,” said Horowitz.

All LLMs are law school graduates in their home countries, she noted, adding that the majority have held positions at law firms, while others have been prosecutors, judges, in-house lawyers, and academics.

“Several have had experience doing significant pro bono work, have been members of international moot court teams, and have been presidents of their law school classes,” Horowitz said. “One public prosecutor led an investigation into corruption and environmental crimes that resulted in 22 criminal and civil lawsuits against a city mayor.”

Two of the LLMs are accomplished musicians — a pianist and a flutist. All arrived eager to launch their studies at Duke, said Horowitz. “One Italian student worked at the Bagel Bar for a summer in Dublin in order to improve his English.”
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