Message from the Dean

Dean Levi“The Duke Way”
When the Law School was undergoing its routine re-accreditation process not long after I arrived, the American Bar Association’s site evaluation committee praised Duke as one of the strongest schools in the country, “especially in the areas of professional culture, student and faculty quality, research centers and programs, facilities, clinical programs, and interdisciplinary programs.”

The committee chairman called our student culture the strongest of any law school he had ever seen. The ABA report credited our Blueprint ideals as having created a culture that emphasizes service, collegiality, and excellence.

As dean, I have come to call it “The Duke Way”: a combination of intellectual engagement at the highest level, a commitment to serving the common good, and extraordinary collaboration and collegiality that sets us apart from other law schools. We take scholarship, service, professionalism, and teaching seriously; but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.

For our faculty, “The Duke Way” is a culture that values knowledge in the service of society. Our professors routinely tackle complex, real-world problems in their research and teaching. In our clinical program, faculty and students use their knowledge and skills to serve the community through the direct delivery of legal services to clients who otherwise might not have access to the legal system.

For our students, “The Duke Way” is a commitment to leadership in and out of the classroom. Consider our Veteran's Disability Assistance Project, created by two students who were veterans, or the students from the International Human Rights Clinic who traveled to Jordan to help finalize U.N. principles to guide governments in providing redress for victims of human trafficking.

For our alumni, “The Duke Way” is about risk-taking, innovation, and using their education and experience to make the world a better place. It also is about sharing their experience with the students who follow in their footsteps: Our graduates live and work in every state of the United States and in many countries around the world, yet their loyalty to and constant engagement with our Law School make our global community feel small and intimate.

In every respect, Duke Law values curiosity, the common good, and the greatest tradition of the legal profession: leadership. I hope you enjoy your visit to our web site, and I invite you to visit our school to learn more about this wonderful, international community of lawyers.


David F. Levi
Dean and Professor of Law



David F. Levi became the 14th dean of Duke Law School on July 1, 2007. Prior to his appointment, he was the Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California with chambers in Sacramento. He was appointed United States Attorney by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and a United States district judge by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.

Read the full bio of Dean David F. Levi