PUBLISHED:April 25, 2008

Duke Law honors the Class of 2008

April 25, 2008 ― Duke Law School will honor its graduating Class of 2008 with festivities that include a gala dinner at Durham’s historic American Tobacco Campus, a “bluegrass barbeque” at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and the hooding ceremony at Cameron Indoor Stadium on May 10.

“Getting to know students has been one of the joys of my deanship thus far,” said Dean David F. Levi. “Our students are impressively talented, enterprising, and idealistic — and they are nice people, too. They want to use their law training to make the world a better place. It is exciting to know that these are the lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.”

ABA President William H. Neukom to speak at hooding ceremony
American Bar Association President William H. Neukom will address members of the Class of 2008 at their hooding ceremony.

A partner in the Seattle office of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, Neukom was Microsoft’s chief lawyer for almost 25 years, overseeing its legal, government, and philanthropic activities. As executive vice president of Law and Corporate Affairs, he led Microsoft’s initiatives to establish, distribute, and protect its intellectual property rights around the world and led the company’s defense of antitrust claims brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, and the European Union. These were settled by consent decrees in 1994 and 2001. He also oversaw the development of Microsoft’s community affairs program, including such initiatives as the Microsoft Giving Campaign, the Microsoft Matching Gifts Program, and the Microsoft Volunteer Program, among others.

Long active in professional bar associations, Neukom has held a variety of leadership positions within the ABA since 1977. He chaired its Fund for Justice and Education from 1997-99; its Task Force on Goal VIII, which examined the association’s rule of law programming, from 2002-03; and its Governance Commission from 2003-05. As ABA president, Neukom’s primary initiative is the World Justice Project, described on its web site as “a multidisciplinary and multinational initiative to foster human well-being by advancing the rule of law.”

Also active in a wide range of community, educational, and philanthropic work, Neukom served as a trustee of the National Judicial College from 2003-06. The Neukom Family Foundation, which he founded with his children in 1995, supports non-profit organizations, principally in the fields of health and human services, education, justice, and the environment.

A general partner in San Francisco Baseball Associates, the ownership group of the San Francisco Giants, Neukom is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford University Law School.

Student speakers
Brandon Neal ’08 will speak on behalf of the JD graduates and Jaclyn Rabin will speak on behalf of her fellow LLM recipients at their hooding ceremony.

A native of Charlotte, N.C., Neal received a degree in Business Administration from the Kennan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill before coming to Duke. Active on the Moot Court Board, Neal won the Law School’s 1L oral advocacy competition in 2006 — the Hardt Cup — and has since competed in national competitions hosted by the American Bar Association and the New York Bar as a member of Duke’s national Moot Court team. He has held leadership positions with the Duke Bar Association and the Black Law Students Association, is a staff editor of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum, and serves on the 2008 Class Gift Committee. Also deeply involved in public interest activities, Neal has completed an externship with Legal Aid of North Carolina, taken part in and co-directed a video on the 2008 Spring Break Mission Trip to New Orleans where he worked with Habitat for Humanity, and twice served as master of ceremonies of the Public Interest Law Foundation Auction and Gala.

Neal will join Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York in the fall.

A native of South Africa, Rabin received her LLB in 2006 from the University of Capetown. There she was active in student activities and community services such as the StreetLaw program, which teaches school-aged children the basic principles of South African Law, the Black Law Student Forum tutoring program, the Law Students Council, and the South African Union of Jewish Students. She practiced with the South African firm of Routledge Modise following her graduation. At Duke, Rabin has served as the LLM representative in the Duke Bar Association.

Rabin will join Fulbright Jaworski in New York in the fall.