Melvin G. Shimm
Professor of Law, 1953-1977, 1984-1995, Associate Dean, 1978-1983, Professor Emeritus, 1996-2005

Melvin G. Shimm began teaching at Duke Law in 1953 and remained until his death in 2005. He served as the Associate Dean from 1978 until 1993, and assumed emeritus status in 1996. He was the recipient of the 1996 Duke University Award for Merit and the 1999 Duke Law School A. Kenneth Pye Award. Shimm was additionally honored as the namesake of an endowed Professorship created in 2000. His incredible contribution to Duke Law includes over fifty years building the journal Law and Contemporary Problems from the ground up and serving as the founding faculty advisor of the Duke Law Journal

Shimm’s dedication to Law and Contemporary Problems includes ten years as its editor-in-chief, and the majority of the subsequent forty years as the Chair of its Faculty Board. Throughout his career, he was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Duke Law Private Adjudication Center and the Duke Center of Law and Ethics in National Security. Outside of Duke, he served as an editor of the Journal of Legal Education and as the American editor of the Journal of Business Law and the Business Law Review.  Shimm also served as a senior legal consultant for the Brookings Institution of DC from 1965 to 1968, and as the director of the Association of American Law Schools Orientation Program in American Law from 1968 to 1970. He received the Mordecai Society Award in 1960.  

In addition to his impact at Duke, Melvin Shimm also dedicated much of his life to the general Durham community. He was a member of the Durham Board of Adjustment from 1958-70 (chairman 1966-70), the North Carolina General Statutes Commission from 1984-88, and a member of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit Lucy Daniels Center in Cary from 1989-2004 (Vice-Chairman 1991-2004).  He also served as chairman of the Durham Jewish Federation from 1973-75, as the President of Beth El Congregation in 1967-80 and 1975-78, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Community Foundation from 1999-2004. 

Shimm earned his B.S. from Columbia University in 1947 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1950. He was a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. He served in WWII for three years and worked as an attorney for the Wage Stabilization Board in DC during the Korean War.  Shimm taught at the law schools of the University of Chicago (Bigelow Fellowship), New York University, and the Universities of Southern California, North Carolina, Michigan, and Texas. 

Professor Emeritus Melvin G. Shimm


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

Joan Magat et al., Dedication Professor Emeritus Melvin G. Shimm 1926-2005 [], 69 Law and Contemporary Problems i-xv (2006)


Melvin G. Shimm
Historic Faculty