Justin Miller
Law School Dean 1930-1934

Justin Miller was dean of Duke Law from 1930-1934.  Under his leadership the law school grew and its facilities and resources were improved.  The legal clinic program was begun, the student bar organization was formed, and journal publishing began for the first time.

Miller was dean of the law school at the University of Southern California when his reputation as a lawyer, scholar, and public speaker reached the administration and trustees of Duke University.  University president William Few offered Miller the position of dean of the law school in late 1929.  Miller accepted and arrived at Duke in July 1930.  His arrival coincided with the law school’s move to its new building on the West Campus quad next to the main library.

He was given considerable freedom to expand the law school’s faculty, which it desperately needed. In the 1929-30 academic year there were only three full-time law professors.  By the next year there were seven and by September 1931 there were eleven.  Miller brought to Duke from USC a group of faculty he had assembled there including Douglas B. Maggs, John S. Bradway, and William R. Roalfe.  Bradway started and directed Duke Law’s clinic program as he had done at USC, and Roalfe was Duke’s first law librarian.  Under Roalfe’s direction the Duke Law Library became one of the best in the South.

Miller led the law students into forming the Duke Bar Association which was closely based on the American Bar Association and state bar organizations.  The DBA gave students experience with a professional assembly.  In March 1933 the first issue of the Duke Bar Association Journal appeared.  This was the parent publication of the Duke Law Journal.  In December 1933 the first issue of Law & Contemporary Problems was released.

In June 1934 Miller accepted an invitation to spend a year in Washington DC as a special assistant in the office of the Solicitor General of the United States.  He took a leave of absence and President Few named Claude Horack dean of the law school for the 1934-35 year.  Miller however resigned from Duke in February 1935 and Horack remained dean until 1947.

Miller was born in Crescent City, California, on November 17, 1888.  He completed a BA at Stanford in 1911 and a law degree in 1913 from the University of Montana.  After earning a doctorate in law from Stanford in 1914 he practiced law for several years.  He was a district attorney in a rural California county from 1915-1918 and attorney and executive officer of the California State Commission on Immigration and Housing from 1919-1921.  He then taught law at several universities before becoming professor and dean of the law school at the University of Southern California.

After Miller’s year with the Solicitor General he became a member of the US Board of Tax Appeals.  In 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt nominated him to be a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  Miller was confirmed and commissioned within days.  He held that post until 1945 when he became president of the Association of Broadcasters.  In 1951 he became chairman of the board and general counsel to the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters.  Miller also worked with the United States Salary Stabilization Board and the National Conference on Citizenship.  He died January 17, 1973 in Santa Monica, California.


Duke University, School of Law, Bulletin of Duke University School of Law [serial]

Robert F. Durden, The Rebuilding of Duke University's School of Law, 1925-1947 (Part I)[https://perma.cc/K4QM-XH3A], vol. LXVI, no. 3, July 1989 North Carolina History Review 321

Robert F. Durden, The Rebuilding of Duke University's School of Law, 1925-1947 (Part II)[https://perma.cc/V2QP-KHR2], vol. LXVI, no. 4, October 1989 North Carolina History Review 443 Robert F. Durden, The Launching of Duke University, 1924-1949 (1993)

Robert F. Durden, The Launching of Duke University, 1924-1949 (1993)

Justin Miller
Historic Faculty