PUBLISHED:March 20, 2024

Coleman, Greene, Martinez, Ryo awarded distinguished professorships by Duke


The four Law School faculty members were recognized by Duke University for establishing a substantial record of intellectual achievement and being leading thinkers in their fields.

Professors Coleman, Ryo, Martinez, and Greene Professors Coleman, Ryo, Martinez, and Greene

Professors Doriane Lambelet Coleman, Sara Sternberg Greene, Veronica Root Martinez, and Emily Ryo have been awarded distinguished professorships from Duke University. Their professorships will take effect on July 1. They are among 32 faculty from across the university who are recognized this year, including Elisabeth de Fontenay, who was awarded the inaugural Karl W. Leo Distinguished Professorship in October.

Dean Kerry Abrams nominated the four Duke Law professors on the recommendation of those members of the Duke Law faculty who already hold distinguished professorships. To qualify for a distinguished professorship at Duke Law, a faculty member must demonstrate a substantial record of intellectual achievement and the likelihood of continued future excellence as a scholar.

Coleman named Thomas L. Perkins Distinguished Professor

Coleman, who joined the faculty in 1996, will be named the Thomas L. Perkins Distinguished Professor. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work focuses on women, sports, children, and law. Her most recent scholarship centers on biological sex and the implications of its definition on law and society, on which she has written numerous articles, provided expert testimony, and is frequently cited in the press. Her forthcoming book on the subject, On Sex and Gender, will be released in May by Simon & Schuster.

“Doriane Coleman is a prolific scholar whose approach to every subject she investigates is comprehensive and rigorously analytical,” said Abrams. “Professor Coleman engages some of the thorniest questions at the intersection of law and medicine with clarity and honesty.” 

Coleman, a former national collegiate track champion who competed internationally, began her academic career at the Howard University School of Law and practiced in the litigation group at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. At Duke, she is co-director of the Center for Sports Law and Policy at Duke Law, a faculty fellow and member of the advisory council of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and a faculty associate of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine at the School of Medicine, and the University’s Initiative for Science & Society. She is also a member of the University’s Athletic Council. She received her JD from Georgetown Law and BA from Cornell University.

The Perkins professorship was established by the Duke Endowment in 1973 as the first faculty chair at the Law School and in 1977 was modified to be named for both William R. and Thomas L. Perkins. Thomas, the son of William, was an attorney, Duke University trustee, and chair of the Endowment board. The endowment was split in 2023 to form two separate professorships.

“I’m deeply honored by the confidence of my colleagues and the university,” Coleman said. “I’m especially honored by the award of the Thomas L. Perkins Professorship, associated as it is with Duke and the Duke Endowment which continues to do extraordinary philanthropic work throughout the Carolinas in areas of special interest to me: child and family wellbeing, healthcare, and higher education.”

Greene named Katharine T. Bartlett Distinguished Professor

Greene, a sociologist and legal scholar, will be the Katharine T. Bartlett Distinguished Professor. Her research employs qualitative empirical methods to study the relationship between law, poverty, and inequality, and ultimately optimize the impact of financial laws on low- and moderate-income families. One recent project focused on the deceitful and aggressive practices used by hospital systems to collect medical debt and recommendations to policymakers to limit the consequences to patients.

“Sara Sternberg Greene brings rigor and creativity to the empirical study of legal institutions and their effect on low-income people,” Abrams said. “The combination of her training in sociology and understanding of the law allows her to conduct qualitative research that uncovers sometimes unintended negative consequences of legal processes in further entrenching economic insecurity and inequality.”

Greene joined the faculty in 2014 and received her BA from Yale University and her JD from Yale Law School, where she received the Stephen J. Massey Prize for excellence in advocacy, and served as notes editor for the Yale Law Journal and articles editor for the Yale Law and Policy Review. Greene clerked for Judge Richard Cudahy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and went on to work in housing law at Klein Hornig in Boston before receiving her PhD in social policy and sociology from Harvard University.

The Bartlett professorship honors former dean and Professor Emerita Katharine T. Bartlett. The chair was named for her parents, Edward P. and Elizabeth C. Bartlett, while she was an active faculty member and became the Katharine T. Bartlett Professorship upon her retirement in 2019. Bartlett is a preeminent scholar in family law, employment law, feminist theory, and gender law, and her tenure as dean from 2000 to 2007 cemented Duke’s position as a top-tier law school.

“I am deeply honored to be named the Katharine T. Bartlett professor. Kate Bartlett was the entry-level hiring chair the year I was hired by Duke, so this honor is particularly special to me,” Greene said. “Kate is an inspiration for me and so many others — her scholarship, service, teaching, and mentorship are remarkable. Somehow Kate found a way to be a brilliant scholar, transforming the fields of family law and gender, all the while being an extraordinary teacher, dean, and mentor. I could not be more pleased for my professorship to bear her name.”

Martinez named Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Distinguished Professor of Law

Martinez, who will be the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Distinguished Professor of Law, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on corporate misconduct and compliance and the leading national academic expert on the role of monitors and monitorships. Her interdisciplinary approach draws insights from ethics, compliance, corporate and securities law, and workplace law to develop strategies that will empower organizations to shape their compliance with law. Her forthcoming book, Building an Effective Ethics and Compliance Program, will be published by Edward Elgar.

“Veronica Root Martinez’s expertise and innovative research have established her as a leading academic authority in corporate compliance and the role of monitors,” said Abrams. “Her distinctive approach to understanding internal structures and processes has shaped the emerging academic field of compliance.”

Martinez joined the Duke Law faculty in 2022 after directing the Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion at Notre Dame Law School, where she was the Robert & Marion Short Scholar, professor of law, and the first Black woman to receive tenure. Prior to joining academia, Martinez clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced at Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C. She received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and her BS in business administration from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

The Simpson Thacher & Bartlett professorship was established in 2002 by a group of Duke Law alumni who were partners at the firm, spearheaded by George R. Krouse Jr. ’70 and David W. Ichel ’78 T’75. It was the first gift of its kind at the Law School, involving multiple pledges by a group of alumni practicing together at one firm.

"I am both humbled and thrilled to receive an appointment as a distinguished professor,” Martinez said. “I work very hard to keep my scholarship related to and informed by those in private practice, so I am particularly honored to receive a professorship associated with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, which is one of the world's preeminent large law firms. I look forward to continuing to foster a strong relationship between the Law School and the attorneys at the firm. And, most importantly, I look forward to learning from them for many years to come."

Ryo named Charles L. B. Lowndes Distinguished Professor of Law

Ryo, an interdisciplinary scholar and social scientist, will be the Charles L. B. Lowndes Distinguished Professor of Law. Her research is focused on the intersection of immigration law and criminal justice, and she has done groundbreaking research on immigration compliance and enforcement, access to justice in immigration proceedings, and judicial decision-making in immigration adjudication. Ryo’s work is frequently cited by advocates, policymakers and scholars engaged in immigration reform and she has made significant contributions with her subject matter expertise.

“Emily Ryo deploys both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to investigate important but understudied issues in immigration law and policy,” Abrams said. “Her research shows disturbing disparities in the way that immigration cases are adjudicated and provides insight into how conditions of detention isolate migrants from legal advocacy networks.”

Ryo joined the faculty in 2023 from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2017 and an American Bar Foundation/JPB Foundation Access to Justice Fellowship in 2020, as well as a three-year research grant in 2022 from the National Science Foundation Law & Science Program. Ryo received her JD from Harvard Law School and a PhD in sociology from Stanford University. She served as a law clerk to Judge Margaret McKeown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Before entering graduate school, she worked at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in Washington.

The Charles L. B. Lowndes Professorship was established in 1989 by Rita A. Lowndes and John F. Lowndes ’58 T’53 in memory of John’s father, who was a professor at Duke Law School from 1932 until his death in 1967. Professor Lowndes was the first James B. Duke Professor of Law and the author of many articles and books, principally in the field of federal taxation. 

“I am so honored to have been awarded the Charles L. B. Lowndes endowed chair,” said Ryo. “Professor Lowndes taught at Duke Law for over thirty years and was widely known as a renowned scholar and an exceptional teacher. I very much look forward to carrying on that legacy and making a difference for our Duke community and beyond.”