PUBLISHED:November 29, 2021

Blue Globe Newsletter, 2021

Dear International Alumni,

Greetings from the International Studies Office. What a difference a year makes! In the last newsletter, we reported about our online year of learning. In this new academic year, despite all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are back to teaching in-person, enjoying the full use of our beautiful building and all of Duke’s campus.  

The university continues to enforce strict mask mandates inside and out; mandatory vaccinations for students, faculty, and staff; widespread testing; and other important precautions. As a result, despite the worrisome spikes due to the “Delta” variant of the virus, Duke’s overall infection numbers remain very small. 

We hope that you and your loved ones continue to fare well. Please write to us with updates, follow our social media channels, and come visit us when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy reading the 2021 edition of the Blue Globe Newsletter. 

Class Updates

For the first time in the history of the LLM program, students who began their studies this August are joined by a returning cohort of “January starters” – LLMs who were not able to start in August 2020 and instead opted to begin their program in January of 2021. These students will graduate in December of 2021 and had the unique opportunity to spend the summer between their first and second semesters in the United States taking classes, participating in internships, or traveling. The January cohort consists of 51 students from 31 countries. The August cohort comprises 65 students from 35 countries. Click here and here to get to know some of the students from these two remarkable classes.  

The International Studies team offered our second successful online Orientation in January (the first occurring in August 2020), stretching the shortened sessions across nine days to accommodate students located around the globe. We also had to get creative to replace the socializing that usually occurs during Orientation with events such as Share Your Culture, Tea Time, and Pictionary, where teams identified parks, landmarks, and tourist attractions from students’ home countries. 

Despite the success of these online events, the team was delighted, though cautious, to return to our first in-person Orientation in two years in August! The Delta variant still managed to affect events as we had to continue adjusting protocols to avoid infection outbreaks. Staff and faculty alike, however, were thrilled to welcome students to the Law School in person! Check out some great pictures of the August Orientation and LEAD Week events.

Having two overlapping groups of LLM students on campus created some unique challenges, but even more opportunities. Our office successfully launched the LEAD LLM Fellows program with thirteen January starters each serving as mentors to six to eight students in the Class of 2022. Each group has had the opportunity to get to know each other and enjoy Durham while going to baseball games, having a cookout, or bowling. 

Students cooking outStudents posing at bowling alley

Students posing at Duke GardensStudents posing after finishing escape room



















The continuation of the LLM over the summer provided the January starters with the unique opportunity to pursue experiential opportunities. Our office arranged meaningful summer engagement activities for our students, including self-directed courses, practice-oriented training, and on-campus internship opportunities. We collaborated with several campus partners to develop legal internship experiences in the Office of Licensing & Ventures, Office for Institutional Equity, DUMAC, Duke Bass Connections, and Duke University Press, to name a few. Our students also worked as research assistants and teaching assistants at the Law School and held private internships for law firms, such as Jones Day and Freshfields. The Law School’s Summer Postcard Series and Duke University’s OIE Newsletter highlighted several of these summer experiences.

Our May 2021 graduates performed well in the job market, despite travel limitations, online learning, virtual job fairs, and lack of in-person networking. The largest portion joined law firms in the U.S. and abroad, including Fish & Richardson (Washington, D.C.), Kirkland & Ellis (New York City), Noerr (Frankfurt), and Ogletree Deakins (Austin). They also secured competitive in-house/corporate positions and positions with international NGOs. The December 2021 graduates are on track to outperform the market with positions in litigation, antitrust, intellectual property, project finance, and capital markets.  One of the December 2021 graduates, Alshaymaa Alharbi, was recently featured by Duke Law for her post-graduation fellowship selection with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, the Netherlands.  

LLM Program in the News

Recently, LLM Guide, a popular website covering Master of Laws programs around the world, published two articles featuring Duke’s LLM program. In the first article, Dean Kobelev was interviewed about Duke’s efforts to equip its graduates with the cutting-edge knowledge and expertise necessary to succeed in a globalized legal economy. In the second article, Geoff Krouse, Assistant Dean for Alumni & Development, who teaches a class on Mergers & Acquisitions, described the strengths of Duke’s business law curriculum and its emphasis on developing practical legal skills to handle sophisticated cross-border transactions. 

Duke Law is Great for Families

Many LLM students who choose to bring their loved ones with them to Duke quickly discover what a great place it is for family life. To help potential applicants discover what makes Duke a uniquely family-friendly place, we launched an “LLM Family Life” website. It features a video (see below) with two of our recent alumni, Christoph Zaugg ’20 and Jaegyu Yoo ’20. 

Family Life for International Students at Duke Law

LLM students share why Duke Law and North Carolina are ideal for international students to bring their families with them while completing their degree.

Staff Travel and Recruitment 

Will 2020 be remembered as the year of no travel, or the year in which we mastered the skill of virtual travel? With over 25 virtual presentations on every continent but Antarctica, and 500 attendees total, clearly it was the latter! The virtual venues ranged from fairs to universities and law firms, and the gatherings from large to intimate. Using break-out rooms and alumni and students to help respond to questions in the chat, we could make personal connections and give a positive impression of Duke Law’s dedication to its students’ success. We have already signed up for or organized several virtual presentations for this semester. Please let us know if you might be interested in sponsoring one or if you have suggestions for venues. And, despite the success of the virtual world, we do hope to return to in-person travel when it is safe to do so in the future. We miss seeing our alumni as we travel the world! 

We also have a new digital LLM brochure that you can view here.

Summer Programs

The Duke-Leiden Institute in Global and Transnational Law, a collaboration between Duke Law School and the University of Leiden in The Hague, Netherlands, took place on Duke’s campus due to the continued disruptions brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute was held in the hybrid format, with most Duke faculty and students attending in-person classes, while Leiden faculty and some international students were participating remotely. The courses offered were Taxation of Cross-Border Transactions, Realizing Rights: Strategic Human Rights Litigation and Advocacy, New Challenges in International Trade Law, Authority and Legitimacy in International Adjudication, and Comparative Foreign Relations Law and Democratic Accountability. 

In addition to 21 Duke Law students, four students from Argentina, Australia, and the Netherlands joined the Institute. The participants were able to attend several social events, including a Durham Bulls baseball game and group dinners. We hope to return to The Hague next summer if conditions allow. 
The Institute is open to students who have completed at least one year of law study, students preparing to study for an LLM degree, and judges, academics, practitioners, and other professionals seeking knowledge of American, international, and comparative law. If you or your colleagues are aware of students or practicing attorneys who may be interested in participating in the Institute, please encourage them to review the Institute’s website and contact Meaghan Kelly with any questions.

We were delighted to be able to offer our popular Duke Law Summer Institute on Law, Language and Culture (affectionately known as “SILLC”) in person at Duke Law over a four-week period in July and August. Despite hurdles with visas and other restrictions relating to COVID-19, a total of 28 participants from 10 countries enrolled in SILLC. Four of our participants joined us through a unique partnership with the nonprofit organization Talento Total, which assists Latin American attorneys of African and Indigenous descent from underrepresented communities to experience a U.S. law school.  

SILLC students posing in front of Law School


Professors Marily Nixon and Melissa Hanson—along with three teaching assistants, all current or former LLM students—facilitated the program, with several guest lecturers rounding out the lineup. Participants put their newfound knowledge of the U.S. legal system to use by arguing in a formal moot court exercise and creating and delivering a final presentation comparing U.S. law to the law of the student’s home country. The SILLC group was also able to explore the U.S. legal world beyond Duke campus. Duke Law alumni who are sitting federal and state judges invited the group to their courthouses in Raleigh, where students observed U.S. courts in action and discussed the court system and judicial elections with the judges and staff.  

Plans are already underway for the 2022 Institute. Would your students, interns, or associates benefit from a dynamic, four-week primer on the U.S. legal system at Duke Law?  SILLC will give them a bird’s-eye view into U.S. law and legal culture and a lasting network of successful international attorneys who are proud to be part of the Duke Law community. Please help spread the word – and let us know if we should reach out to some of your contacts.

Visiting Scholars  

We were pleased to welcome back in person 13 visiting scholars from Belgium, Japan, Italy, Russia, South Korea, and Switzerland this fall. The scholars have a diverse background, such as judges at a Supreme Court, prosecutors, an economist, and a novelist from Fulbright, among other professions.

Visiting Scholars and SJD student posing in classroom
Visiting Scholars and SJD students, September 2021 


Faculty Highlights 

The Law School welcomed four new faculty members this summer, a group that includes innovative scholars of corporate and comparative law, a distinguished public servant, and a veteran law librarian: 

Emilie Aguirre is a business law scholar who uses diverse methodologies to study the challenges facing companies pursuing objectives beyond profits. Read more.

Shitong Qiao is an expert on property and urban law who focuses on comparative law and China through the use of empirical and ethnographic studies. Read more.

Sarah Bloom Raskin is an expert in financial regulation and monetary policy who served as deputy U.S. treasury secretary and a Federal Reserve governor. Read more.

Alex Zhang is a veteran law librarian with previous experience at Michigan, Stanford, and Washington & Lee as well as a scholar of legal information and access. Read more.

SJD Program

The Duke SJD is a rigorous program that requires several years of self-motivated study, research, and writing. SJD students must progress through several stages of the program, culminating in producing an extensive piece of writing that brings new insights to the field of law. The program requires supervision by a member of the faculty, and an LLM degree is required. While the LLM may be from any English-speaking university, enrolling at Duke allows prospective applicants to begin to take courses and develop a relationship with a potential supervisor.

Currently, six SJD candidates from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, India, Israel, and Vietnam – four of whom are Duke Law LLM alumni from the classes of 2011, 2016, 2018, and 2019 – are enrolled. Over the years, Duke Law has granted more than fifty SJD degrees; Duke SJDs have distinguished careers in private practice at the highest level, in government positions, and as faculty members in law schools around the world.   

Alumni Updates

Mengyu Lu

Mengyu Lu LLM ’08, a partner in the Hong Kong office of Kirkland & Ellis, recently established the Mengyu Lu Duke Law Scholarship Fund to support future students. Mengyu, who received the Anna Ho Scholarship, was inspired to give back to ensure more students have the financial support they need to pursue an education at Duke. Watch the Duke Law website for an upcoming story about Mengyu and her generous gift to the Law School. 

Gitanjali Workman

In June, the Law Alumni Association presented its annual awards honoring exceptional members of the Duke Law community. We were delighted that Gitanjali Workman LLM '02 was the recipient of the 2021 International Alumni Award. The award recognizes and honors an international graduate 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. You can read more about Gitanjali and our other winners here


Jennifer Maher

In late 2020, Jennifer Maher '83, the Associate Dean for International Studies, announced her decision to retire after over 30 years of service to Duke Law School. Dean Maher’s dedication helped build one of the most successful international LLM programs in the country and had a profound impact on lives of thousands of LLM graduates.

She plans to attend reunions and hopes to hear from alumni often. Last spring, to honor Dean Maher’s legacy and her three decades of service, Duke Law announced that the LLM Scholarship Fund would be re-named in her honor: the Jennifer Maher LLM Scholarship Fund. It will provide the Law School with current-use funds to offer scholarships to many talented, aspiring LLM students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend Duke Law. If you would like to join the many LLM alumni who have already supported this fund, you can make a gift in honor of Dean Maher. 

Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law School 

Taking advantage of former Dean David Levi’s deep connections to the judiciary (he was chief judge of the largest federal court district prior to becoming dean), Duke Law established a major center for the study of the judiciary in 2018. Named for the donor who provided the initial funding, the Bolch Judicial Institute grants a Master of Laws in Judicial Studies, sponsors conferences, awards an annual prize to a judge for lifetime achievement, and publishes the leading scholarly journal on courts and judges, Judicature. Each of the five Judicial LLM classes has enrolled judges from courts outside the United States, from New Zealand to Belgium and Mongolia to Ghana. 

Now Judicature is adding international content to reach readers around the world who are interested in courts, judges, and the rule of law. An international editorial board is advising the project, including Justice of the Constitutional Court of Korea Kiyoung Kim ’01; Vorsitzender Richter am Landgericht Marc Eumann ’95; and Alejandro Posadas ’95, SJD ‘03, who previously collaborated with the Bolch Judicial Institute on training programs for Mexican judges. Dean Maher has agreed to work on this project, as well. If you are aware of interesting articles, cases, or developments regarding courts, judges, or the rule of law in your country, she would love to hear from you at    

Oleg KobelevSincerely,

Oleg Kobelev
Associate Dean for International Studies