PUBLISHED:April 16, 2013

DBA honors “outstanding and noteworthy endeavors” to mark end of academic year

The Duke Bar Association celebrated the end of the academic year with its annual D.O.N.E. awards, honoring Professor Margaret Lemos with the Distinguished Teaching Award, Ellie Marranzini ’13 for her work with the Innocence Project, and David Roche '13 with the Outstanding Contribution to the Duke Law Community Award.

The Federalist Society received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Civic Discourse, The Business Law Society was recognized for Greatest Role in Building Relationships, and The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) received the award for Greatest Service to the Outside Community.

The Duke Outstanding and Noteworthy Endeavors (D.O.N.E.) Awards recognize student organizations, student leaders, and faculty who make significant contributions to the community and academic experience at Duke Law.

When presenting the Distinguished Teaching Award, DBA President Ruben Henriquez ’14 read excerpts from Lemos’ nominations. “‘She just kicks butt,’” Henriquez read.  “‘Every day she is on top of things, and is incredibly sharp. The entire class stays engaged. She also makes the material incredibly interesting, and is not afraid to interject her own opinion from time to time regarding cases we are discussing. I could not recommend taking a class with her highly enough.’”

 “This is really an enormous honor,” said Lemos, who came to Duke Law in 2011 from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she was named “best first-year teacher” in 2010 and in 2011.

“Teaching is really fun and I totally do it for myself, but that would be impossible without such fantastic students.”

Marranzini was honored for her leadership of the Innocence Project and “does a wonderful job of rallying the team,” Henriquez said. “Ellie has led the group with tenacity and spirit.”

Roche, who is also pursuing master’s in environmental science from the Nicholas School of the Environment, was recognized for his contributions to the Duke Law community and noted by Henriquez as “probably the nicest guy in the Law School.”

The Federalist Society, which was recently honored as Chapter of the Year by the national Federalist Society, was recognized for its “amazing array of topics and speakers” and “quantity and quality of events,” Henriquez said.

The Business Law Society was noted for its role in building relationships, particularly for hosting the ESQ Symposium, a two-day event that brings employers and alumni from across the country to network with students.

VITA was recognized for community outreach for providing income tax assistance to low-income clients and under-served minority groups in the Durham area. “Last year, Duke Law VITA volunteers completed over 288 returns, netting refunds over $285,000 with clients receiving over $145,000 in tax credits,” Henriquez said.