Robinson O. Everett

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In Memoriam: Robinson O. Everett

Photos of Judge Everett

"For so many Duke Law alumni, Judge Everett is Duke Law School. He embodied the qualities of leadership and service in and through the law. He was a model of the citizen-lawyer. His distinguished career as a law professor and judge has been an inspiration to faculty, students and alumni at Duke Law School for over 50 years." — Dean David F. Levi

As a child, Judge Robinson O. Everett wanted to be a detective. Aside from that youthful aspiration, the son of prominent Durham attorneys Kathrine R. Everett and Reuben O. Everett T '06 never had a particular career in mind.

"My parents hadn't worried much about me, and they never really talked to me about work," said Everett, who died on June 12, 2009, at the age of 81. "They were pretty sure I wouldn't be a detective."

It was a friend's suggestion rather than any specific ambition that led Everett to apply to Harvard Law School following his graduation from Harvard University in 1947 at the age of 19. "I graduated magna cum laude and that made me a reasonable candidate," Everett said. "I didn't have any plan, so I went over there." Three years later Everett again graduated magna cum laude, this time from Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Harvard Law Review.

In 1954, he was proudly sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court Bar along with his parents.

Everett's path to the law may have been uncertain, but the legacy he leaves behind for family members, friends, and colleagues is not. Continue reading

Read Duke Law School's obituary.



This short documentary, made by Greg Everett in 2000, chronicles the life and career of Judge Robinson O. Everett.


In these excerpts from a 2008 interview, Judge Robinson O. Everett discusses changes in the Law School over the course of his five-decade teaching career.

Professor Scott Silliman remembers Judge Robinson O. Everett.


About this page

The Honorable Judge Robinson O. Everett taught at Duke Law School for more than 50 years and was a member of the Class of 1959. A teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend, Everett leaves behind an indelible legacy at Duke Law School and in the legal profession.

This memorial site contains links to an obituary, stories, and a video of a recent interview with Everett. We have also established a page containing memories and condolences from those whose lives Everett touched.

"In every sense of the term, Judge Everett was truly a gentle giant. The generosity of his spirit was matched only by the wisdom of his insightful perspective which he selflessly shared with students over five decades. The Judge will be fondly remembered and admired for his unmatched example, abiding faith, and wise counsel."

— Brian Castro '98


"This is indeed sad. [Judge Everett] was the example of what a Duke lawyer and academic should be. At our 45th [Reunion] in April, we were blessed to have him join the Class of '64 for dinner. He was in good spirits and, as always, a great pleasure to be around. ... There are few great people and he was one."

— Nick Gaede '64