PUBLISHED:June 06, 2011

Duke Law welcomes entering class of dual degree students

Dean David F. Levi welcomed 38 law students on May 26 as they arrived to begin their first year. The Law School’s class of “summer starters” includes 29 students who are pursuing an LLM in international and comparative law in addition to their JD, and seven who are also pursuing graduate degrees in other Duke schools and departments.

On their first day of orientation Clinical Professor and Director of Legal Writing Diane Dimond explained how to read and understand a case, one of the fundamental skills for law school success. . The students also were introduced to North Carolina barbeque — another “fundamental” at Duke — and a taste of Durham’s nightlife at an evening welcome reception.

On their second day of orientation, students were introduced to the work of Duke Law clinics and the impact of pro bono legal work and community service with they met Shawn Massey. After spending 14 years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, Massey was exonerated in May 2010 thanks to the efforts of students and faculty in Duke Law’s Innocence Project and Wrongful Convictions Clinic. Clinical Professor Theresa Newman ’88, who co-directs the clinic, outlined students’ integral role in Massey’s exoneration.

Classes are now underway for the summer starters; Professors John Weistart '68 and Ernest Young are teaching them Contracts and Constitutional Law, respectively.

The summer starters by the numbers are graduates of 29 different colleges and universities, with five Duke alumni among them. Other facts:
  • 29 are JD/LLM candidates;
  • 7 are JD/MA candidates (pursuing degrees in Art History, East Asian Studies, English, Environmental Science, History, Political Science and Psychology);
  • 1 is pursuing a master of science in Global Health; and
  • 1 is pursuing a doctorate in Environmental Policy.