Allyson Duncan ’75 was confirmed this summer as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, becoming the first African-American woman ever to serve in that capacity. The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination in July by a vote of 93-0.
Duncan, elated with the outcome, said merely being nominated was a fantastic experience. “It was very exciting and very humbling,” she said. “It was the greatest honor imaginable.” Duncan was nominated along with fellow Duke Alumnus Claude A. Allen ’90, among others.
Duncan, most recently a partner at Kilpatrick Stockton living in Raleigh, said she loved the idea of returning to the bench and taking on legal questions from an objective point of view. “This will be the pinnacle of a legal career,” she said. “I love the prospect of wrestling with legal issues and having the time to review and analyze them and not be bound to one side — not to have your position predetermined as you do in private practice.”
Her confirmation for the seat on the 4th Circuit wasn’t the only honor — or first — of the summer for Duncan, though. She also became the first African-American president of the North Carolina Bar Association.
Duncan previously served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and later as commissioner of the N.C. Utilities Commission. She was president-elect of the North Carolina Bar Association before taking on the presidency this summer. Two other Duke Law alumni took major roles with the Bar Association this summer as well.
Gray Wilson ’76 of Winston-Salem was named president-elect. Wilson is a partner in the firm of Wilson and Iseman. Ted Edwards ’94 of Raleigh was named chair of the Young Lawyers Division. He is a partner with Kilpatrick Stockton.