PUBLISHED:October 21, 2008

Corey Ciocchetti '02

Duke University Board of Trustees member Peter Kahn ’76 met Corey Ciocchetti earlier this year at the University of Denver’s Admitted Students Weekend. Kahn, who attended the event with his son Jake, was so impressed with the talk Ciocchetti gave that he got to work on bringing his fellow alumnus back to Duke’s campus. Ciocchetti spoke to first-year Duke Law students on Aug. 26 as part of the Dean’s Course lecture series. He addressed a topic he knows well — finding personal and professional happiness.

After graduating from law school, Ciocchetti discovered quickly that law firm life was not for him. “I had money, I had a prestigious job, I had a nice car, and I was miserable. Life wasn’t supposed to be that way,” he says. “I walked out the door and off a cliff in my own life.”

Rather than go into free fall, Ciocchetti landed on his feet at the University of Denver, where he is an associate professor of business ethics and legal studies in the Daniels College of Business. His traditional end-of-semester lecture gave rise to a career in public speaking.

“The very last day of class I would always give students my philosophy on life,” says Ciocchetti. “It was real simple stuff about priorities and perspective, things that I learned the hard way in my life. And they looked at me with eyes wide open just saying, ‘Hey man, I want to hear more about this.’”

That lecture led to presentations for student groups, Rotary Clubs, and eventually corporations. “Next thing you know I have a speaking agent and I travel all over the country talking about integrity and character. It’s really cool,” Ciocchetti says.

Ciocchetti’s speeches focus on “authentic success,” which he defines on his website,, as “a life filled with genuine contentment, strong personal relationships and a solid character.” He believes these elements are “a prerequisite to achieving true happiness in life,” and says he’s found it in his own.

“I’ve been happily married for five years. I get to spend quality time with my wife. I found my calling at my job. You just can’t ask for much more,” he says.

Though he no longer practices law, Ciocchetti credits his time at Duke with helping foster his success. “If it wasn’t for Duke I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he says.

The self-described basketball fanatic served as president of the Christian Legal Society and was a founder and the electronic commerce editor of Duke Law and Technology Review. He was the inaugural recipient of the Law School’s Justin Miller Citizenship Award.

Ciocchetti currently serves as a Duke Law Regional Partner, coordinating alumni activities in the Denver area as well as students working locally during the summer.

“I feel like I could never give enough back to Duke,” he says. “It’s opened up a ton of doors for me. I’m eternally grateful.”