2022 Alumni Award Winners

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Charles S. Murphy Award for Achievement in Civic Service

J. Michelle Childs Courtroom Picture

The Honorable J. Michelle Childs '16

Established in 1985, the Charles S. Murphy Award honors a graduate's commitment to the common good through his or her service  to the community or dedication to education.

The Honorable J. Michelle Childs was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina in August 2010. On December 23, 2021, President Biden nominated Judge Childs to United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Judge Childs holds a B.S. in Management from the University of South Florida Honors College, a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law, a Masters in Personnel and Employment Relations from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, a Masters of Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law, and an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Public Service from the University of South Carolina. 

Prior to serving as a U.S. District Judge, Judge Childs served as a South Carolina At-Large Circuit Court Judge, which included responsibilities as the Chief Administrative Judge for General Sessions and the Business Court for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Richland and Kershaw Counties. Judge Childs also had the distinct honor of receiving gubernatorial appointments as a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner and the Deputy Director for the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s Division of Labor. Judge Childs was formerly a partner with the law firm of Nexsen Pruet, LLP, in Columbia, South Carolina, where she practiced in the areas of employment and labor law and general litigation. Judge Childs is very active with various local, state, and national bar organizations, as well as community organizations. She is the President elect of the Federal Judges Association, the former Chair of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division, and the former Secretary of the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section. She also serves as a fellow with the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and its Committee on the American Judicial System. Judge Childs is also a member of the American Law Institute, having served as an Advisor to the Restatement (Third) of Employment Law. Throughout her career as a practicing lawyer and judge, she has lectured and served frequently on panels regarding litigation and trial techniques, courtroom practices and procedures, e-discovery, expert witnesses, evidence, and various topics for new lawyers.


A. Kenneth Pye Award for Excellence in Education

David F. Levi

David F. Levi

The A. Kenneth Pye award honors a graduate or other member of the Duke Law community whose work in education  reflects former Dean A. Kenneth Pye’s life and ideals.

David F. Levi is the Levi Family Professor of Law and Judicial Studies and Director of the Bolch Judicial Institute. Levi was previously the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law. The 14th dean of Duke Law School, he served from 2007 to 2018. 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.

A native of Chicago, Levi earned his A.B. in history and literature, magna cum laude, from Harvard College. He entered Harvard's graduate program in history, specializing in English legal history and serving as a teaching fellow in English history and literature. He graduated Order of the Coif in 1980 from Stanford Law School, where he was also president of the Stanford Law Review. Following graduation, he was a law clerk to Judge Ben C. Duniway of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then to Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Levi has served as chair of two Judicial Conference committees by appointment of the Chief Justice. He was chair of the Civil Rules Advisory Committee (2000-2003) and chair of the Standing Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure (2003-2007); he was reappointed to serve as a member of that committee (2009-2015). He was the first president and a founder of the Milton L. Schwartz American Inn of Court, now the Schwartz-Levi American Inn of Court, at the King Hall School of Law, University of California at Davis. He was chair of the Ninth Circuit Task Force on Race, Religious and Ethnic Fairness and was an author of the report of the Task Force. He was president of the Ninth Circuit District Judges Association (2003-2005).

In 2007, Levi was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2010 to 2013, he served on the board of directors of Equal Justice Works. In 2014, he was appointed chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the American Judicial System, and in 2015, he was named co-chair of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice. He became president of the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2017 after serving as a member of the ALI Council and an advisor to the ALI's Federal Judicial Code Revision and Aggregate Litigation projects.

Levi is the co-author of Federal Trial Objections (James Publishing 2002). At Duke Law, he has taught courses on judicial behavior, ethics, and legal history.


Charles S. Rhyne Award for Professional Achievement

Marc Elias

Marc E. Elias '93

The Charles S. Rhyne award was established in 1994 to recognize graduates whose careers exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, personal integrity, and commitment to education or community service.

Marc Elias is a nationally recognized authority in voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance, law and litigation. He is the founder of Democracy Docket, the leading progressive media platform dedicated to voting rights and democracy, and Elias Law Group, a mission-driven firm committed to helping Democrats win, citizens vote, and progressives make change.

Marc has handled hundreds of cases involving politics, voting rights, and redistricting. He has successfully argued and won four cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as dozens of cases in state supreme courts and U.S. courts of appeal. In 2020, Marc led the historic legal effort to protect voting rights, litigating over 160 lawsuits in the face of the pandemic and a national effort by the GOP to make it harder to vote. He successfully fought and defeated Donald Trump and his allies in dozens of post-election lawsuits and in several statewide recounts and contests. As Republicans continue to mount aggressive challenges to voting, Marc continues to fight back in court—and on Twitter— at breakneck speed.

Marc is an alumnus of Duke Law School and a proud owner of a Portuguese Water Dog named Bode.


International Alumni Award

Sebastian Guerrero

Sebastián Guerrero '99

The International Alumni Award recognizes and honors an international graduate of the Duke University School of Law who has exemplified the highest standards of professional excellence, personal integrity, and concern for the common welfare in his or her own profession and home country.

Sebastián Guerrero, founder partner at Guerrero Garces and founder and President of “Ganémosle a la Calle”, a non-profit organization which mission is to educate through sports in vulnerable sectors of the society, through various sports workshops. Graduated from the Master in Laws (LL.M) from Duke University (1999). During 2019 and 2020 was Visitor Scholar at Duke University.

Sebastián has provided counseling to domestic and foreign family offices and he is member of various family offices boards, also advising on the resolution of disputes, organization and preparation of structures that allow the development and endurance of families businesses. In recent years he has provided advice on tax public policy, actively participating in the legislative process of the last tax reforms in Chile. He was also a member of the Transversal Technical Commission, convened by the President of the Republic of Chile for the new statute for Foreign Investment in Chile.


Young Alumni Award

Serena Rwejuna

Serena Agaba Rwejuna '13

The Law Alumni Association established the Young Alumni Award in 2000 to honor an individual who has graduated within the past 15 years and has made significant leadership and service contributions to Duke Law School and the legal profession.

Serena A. Rwejuna is a Washington, D.C.-based partner who helps lead the Energy Markets & Regulatory practice at White & Case LLP. Serena is also Co-Deputy Head for the North American Region of the Firm’s Global Power Industry Group. Serena supports energy companies and energy industry participants in achieving their business goals by counseling them on compliance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulations and advising them on project development, mergers and acquisitions, administrative litigation, audits and enforcement matters, and state regulatory compliance. Serena has experience with a variety of clean energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydro and waste-to-energy. Serena holds numerous leadership roles within the Energy Bar Association (EBA), the American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), and the American Bar Association (ABA). Serena is regularly invited to speak on issues related to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Sustainability, Energy Transition, Enforcement and Compliance, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Advancement (DEIA). 

A native of Fayetteville, NC, Serena received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (cum laude) from Wake Forest University, where she was a Joseph Gordon Scholar, as well as her Masters of Arts degree in Management from the Wake Forest University School of Business. Serena received a graduate certificate from the Program for Women in Politics and Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and her J.D. from Duke University School of Law. Serena has received several legal accolades including Chambers USA: Nationwide Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation): Associate to Watch (2021); The Legal 500 USA, Rising Star – Energy Regulation: Conventional Energy (2021); Thomson Reuters, Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers, Rising Star (2017-2022); The National Black Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 (2020-2022); and The Best Lawyers In America: Ones to Watch (2021, 2022). Serena was a 2021 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow and serves as her LCLD Fellows Class Liaison.

Serena is an inaugural member of the Duke Law Alumnae Leadership Council and serves as Co-Chair for the DukeDC Regional Board of Directors. Additionally, Serena serves the Washington, D.C. community by serving as President of the Calvary Women's Services Board of Directors. Calvary is a non-profit organization, which provides permanent, transitional, and rapid housing, health, education and employment programs that empower women to overcome their homelessness and regain their financial independence. More than 98% of the women Calvary serves are women of color, primarily African American women. Calvary is an award-winning, leading provider of housing and wraparound support services for women victims of domestic violence experiencing homelessness. Serena is a member of the Rho Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in Washington, D.C.


Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

Lila Hope

Lila Hope '02

This award honors individuals for their excellent volunteer service to Duke Law School. In their roles as volunteers, these individuals have distinguished themselves through their exceptional dedication and sustained commitment to the Duke Law community.

Lila focuses on the representation of life sciences companies discovering, developing and marketing pharmaceutical, vaccine, medical device, diagnostic and digital health products. Lila specializes in transactions involving complex intellectual property, business, operational and legal issues, including strategic partnerships and platform discovery deals. In addition, she counsels clients' management, operational and legal teams on day-to-day matters involving licensing, supply, distribution, clinical trials, research collaborations and vendor services. She is also regularly involved in the evaluation of a company's product rights and operational risks in connection with financing, public offering and M&A transactions, while maintaining an active practice in cross-border licensing transactions. 

Lila graduated with a JD magna cum laude in 2002 from Duke University School of Law, where she was elected to Order of the Coif and awarded the "Class of 1968 Scholarship." She earned her PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1999, characterizing a novel tumor susceptibility gene as a Stanford Markey Predoctoral Fellow. She has been heavily involved with both Duke Law and Stanford Medicine over the past decade, having served as the past President and a past board member of both the Duke Law Alumni Association and the Stanford Medicine Alumni Association. She currently serves as a member of the Duke Law Board of Visitors. 

Lila is recognized by Chambers USA in the category Life Sciences: Corporate/Commercial – California, in their 2020 and 2021 editions. She has been recognized by Legal 500 as a key lawyer in the Healthcare: Life Sciences category.  Lila has two daughters – both of them were born while she was at Duke Law and are now in college.  She lives in Palo Alto with her cat Oliver.



Charles S. Murphy Award

  • 2021 The Honorable Richard Gergel '79
  • 2020 Satana T. Deberry '94
  • 2019 The Honorable Todd M. Hughes '92
  • 2018 Michael R. Dreeben ’81
  • 2017 The Honorable Mary Ellen Coster Williams ’77
  • 2016 Anthony S. Harrington '66
  • 2015 Susan M. Prosnitz '89 
  • 2014 Valerie T. Broadie '79
  • 2013 Christian Broadbent ’99
  • 2012 Robert E. Harrington '87 
  • 2011 Barbara Arnwine '76
  • 2010 Janet Ward Black '85
  • 2009 Charles L. Becton '69
  • 2008 Letty M. Tanchum '73
  • 2007 Durwood J. Zaelke '72
  • 2006 Curtis L. Collier '74
  • 2005 Allyson K. Duncan '75
  • 2004 Robert S. Warwick '69
  • 2003 Robert E. Stipe '53
  • 2002 Lee H. Henkel Jr. '52 & Haley J. Fromholz '67
  • 2001 John D. Johnston Jr. '56
  • 2000 Peter S. Gilchrist III '65
  • 1999 Rhonda R. Winston '79
  • 1998 Daniel T. Blue Jr. '73
  • 1997 William C. Campbell '77
  • 1996 Christine M. Durham '71
  • 1995 Douglas P. Wheeler '66
  • 1994 Kenneth W. Starr '73
  • 1993 Robinson O. Everett '59
  • 1992 John H. Adams '62
  • 1991 Paul Hardin III '54
  • 1990 Charles S. Rhyne '35
  • 1989 Charles H. Miller '34
  • 1988 Gerald T. Wetherington '63
  • 1987 Gerald Bard Tjoflat '57
  • 1986 H. Hale McCown '37
  • 1985 Carlyle C. Ring Jr. '56

A. Kenneth Pye Award

  • 2021 Liz A. Gustafson '86
  • 2020 Guy-Uriel Charles
  • 2019 Katharine T. Bartlett 
  • 2018 Theresa A. Newman ’88
  • 2018 James E. Coleman, Jr.
  • 2017 Richard A. Danner
  • 2016 Paul H. Haagen
  • 2015 Sara Sun Beale 
  • 2014 David L. Lange
  • 2013 Pam Gann ’73
  • 2012 Michael J. Sorrell '94
  • 2011 James Cox
  • 2010 William Reppy Jr.
  • 2009 E. Carol Spruill
  • 2008 The Honorable Robinson O. Everett '59
  • 2007 Paul D. Carrington
  • 2006 George C. Christie
  • 2005 Clark C. Havighurst
  • 2004 William W. Van Alstyne
  • 2003 Frank T. (Tom) Read '63
  • 2002 Herbert L. Bernstein (posthumous)
  • 2001 Paul Hardin III '54
  • 1999 Melvin G. Shimm

Charles S. Rhyne Award

  • 2021 Ralph B. Everett '76
  • 2020 Jennifer Baltimore '92
  • 2020 John C. Yates '81
  • 2019 Cheryl Williams Scarboro '89
  • 2018 Mark Alan Fishman ’78
  • 2018 Kathleen M. Hamm ’88
  • 2017 John R. Wester ‘72
  • 2016 Robert C. Weber '76
  • 2015 Gary G. Lynch '75 
  • 2014 Colin W. Brown '74
  • 2013 James Smith ’86
  • 2012 Bruce L. Rogers '87
  • 2011 David Noble '66
  • 2010 Jeffrey Hughes '65
  • 2009 Candace M. Carroll '74
  • 2008 Glenn E. Ketner Jr. '63
  • 2007 Charles O. Verrill Jr. '62
  • 2006 James B. Maxwell '66
  • 2005 Frank Hunger '65
  • 2004 John Canning '69
  • 2002 William Louis-Dreyfus '57
  • 2001 Arnold B. McKinnon '51
  • 2000 William R. "Pat" Patterson '50
  • 1999 David Klaber '69
  • 1998 Robert L. Burrus Jr. '58
  • 1997 E. Norwood Robinson '52
  • 1996 L. Neil Williams '61
  • 1995 William F. Womble '39
  • 1994 Russell M. Robinson II '56

International Alumni Award

  • 2021 Gitanjali Workman '02
  • 2020 The Honorable Mandisa Muriel Maya '90
  • 2019 James J. Bergin '93
  • 2018 Yibing Mao ’89
  • 2017 Paul W. Hespel ‘95
  • 2016 Marcella Harshbarger Sampic '02
  • 2015 Yan Xuan '87 
  • 2014 Markus A. Nauheim '96
  • 2013 Manuel Sager ’85
  • 2012 Susanne I. Haas '85 & '87
  • 2011 Young Gak “Ken” Yun '88
  • 2010 Xiaoming Li '90
  • 2007 Sibylle Gierschmann '99
  • 2006 Marianne Philip '83 & Per Haakon Schmidt '83
  • 2005 Xi-Qing Gao '86
  • 2003 Jaime E. Aleman '78
  • 2002 Hideyuki Sakai '82
  • 2001 Javier Francisco Firpo '91
  • 2000 Abdul Rahman Al-Nafisah '80

Young Alumni Award

  • 2021 Venroy July '07
  • 2020 Lauren Fine '11
  • 2019 Celia A. Glass '14
  • 2018 Libby Magee Coles ’08
  • 2017 Linton Mann III ‘07
  • 2016 Rodney D. Bullard '01
  • 2015 Yi Lin Chua '00 
  • 2014 Nita A. Farahany '04
  • 2013 Sarah Hawkins Warren ’08
  • 2012 Amy Y. Yeung '06
  • 2011 Linda Martin '96
  • 2010 Adrian Dollard '95
  • 2009 Christopher Dean Dusseault '94
  • 2008 Jennifer L. Franklin '98
  • 2007 Jay Bilas '92
  • 2006 Christopher B. McLaughlin '96
  • 2005 Caroline B. Gottschalk '90
  • 2004 John Reed Stark '89
  • 2003 Theresa A. Newman '88
  • 2002 A. Daniel Scheinman '87
  • 2001 Elizabeth J. Gustafson '86
  • 2000 Sonja Steptoe '85

Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

  • 2021 Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe '88

Dean's Alumni Achievement Award

  • 2018 Susanne I. Haas '85 & '87
  • 2018 Daniel T. Blue Jr. '73
  • 2016 The Honorable Allyson Kay Duncan ‘75
  • 2014 David W. Ichel '78
  • 2013 Rick Horvitz ’78
  • 2011 Stanley Star ’61
  • 2007 Peter J. Kahn '76
  • 2001 George R. Krouse Jr. '70
  • 1999 Lanty L. Smith '67
  • 1994 Robert K. Montgomery '64
  • 1992 John F. Lowndes '58