PUBLISHED:January 05, 2016

From the Dean

Dean David F. Levi

As many of you know from your own time at Duke Law, we have an exemplary faculty of scholars and teachers here. They are leaders in their fields who inspire our students, serve the public, and distinguish this law school as one of the finest anywhere. They are consistently rated at the very top for their skill in the classroom and their creativity as thinkers and writers. Supporting the advancement of their work is one of my primary goals and responsibilities as dean, and many of you have helped. During the current Duke Forward fundraising campaign, the generosity of our alumni and donors has funded faculty-led programs like the Center for Judicial Studies, the International Human Rights Clinic, and the Program in Public Law, and endowed eight new professorships, six of them through matching funds provided by Stanley ’61 and Elizabeth Star. and Shortly before this issue of Duke Law Magazine went to press, we announced the receipt of a $5 million grant from the Duke Endowment that will create a matching gift fund to challenge donors to add approximately six more endowed professorships in the next two years.

One of the attributes of our faculty I appreciate the most is their eagerness to learn together and from one another. Last year, the faculty kicked off an initiative to examine and reflect on our teaching methods and consider new and alternative approaches — from law and other disciplines. The three co-chairs of the initiative — one each from our research, clinical, and writing faculty — reflected our understanding that there are different teaching styles and approaches appropriate to different settings. We asked a number of our faculty members to discuss what they have learned through the Teaching Initiative and how their jobs as legal educators are changing with new generations of students, new technologies, and new understanding of how learning occurs. I think you’ll find their answers quite interesting.

Another admirable attribute of our faculty members is their engagement with the most pressing issues of our time, whether in human rights, criminal justice, protection of the environment, access to justice, or constitutional interpretation. A great example is in the area of intellectual property law, where our faculty are doing important work. Three years after the passage of the landmark patent reform legislation known as the America Invents Act, the intellectual property bar is still adapting to the changed landscape for contesting patent rights, which is the subject of our cover story. These changes to the patent law are still controversial and have been a focus of Arti Rai’s scholarship as well as for the Center for Innovation Policy, of which she and Stuart Benjamin are faculty co-directors. The Center hosted a June roundtable in Washington on post-grant challenges that attracted academics, lawyers, and policymakers — a perfect illustration of how dynamic faculty can use their skills, stature, and knowledge to convene, increase understanding, and effect change.

The exceptional strength of our intellectual property program is thanks in large part to David Lange, who is retiring from full-time teaching at the end of the year. David arrived at duke in 1971 after working as a media and entertainment lawyer, long before technology and the Internet would transform the worlds of music, movies, and communications generally. Through his scholarship, such as his pioneering writing on the importance of the public domain, he brought international renown to the Law school, eventually helping us recruit Arti Rai, Stuart Benjamin, Jerry Reichman, and Jamie Boyle to join him. And his extraordinary teaching ability left an indelible mark on generations of Duke Law students. We have two tributes to him as an educator, mentor, scholar, and colleague in this issue: one by Jeff Powell, who in 2009 co-authored with David No Law: Intellectual Property in the Image of an Absolute First Amendment, and another by Jennifer Jenkins ’97, a former student of David’s who is now director of Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

David’s retirement from teaching will be a big loss. But those of you who know him will take heart that in emeritus status David’s forceful character and expression will still be evident and influential at the Law School while we continue to build on the foundations he helped to lay.

David F. Levi
Dean and Professor of Law