Dean Katharine T. Bartlett

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Katharine T. Bartlett

Duke Law School Dean and
A. Kenneth Pye Professor of Law Katharine T. Bartlett

Dean Katharine T. Bartlett will receive Equal Justice Works’ Dean John R. Kramer Award for 2006 at the organization’s awards dinner in Washington, D.C., on October 19. The award honors Bartlett’s dedication to nurturing an outstanding spirit of public service at Duke Law School. George Soros, the Open Society Institute, and Benjamin W. Heineman Jr., former general counsel of General Electric Company, are among others being honored by Equal Justice Works.

Associate Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono Carol Spruill nominated Bartlett for the Kramer award, praising, among many other initiatives, Bartlett’s enhancement and support of Duke’s clinical programs through the addition of six new clinics during her tenure as dean, and her vigorous promotion of public interest and pro bono work as a central aspect of professional development for law students.

“I am delighted that Equal Justice Works has decided to honor Kate Bartlett,” said Spruill. “While Kate has been vocal in her support of the public service contributions of others, she has been quiet about her own extensive personal service and financial support.” A former legal services attorney, Bartlett has continued to be active in public service. For example, while dean she also served on the Board of Directors of Durham County Department of Social Services (1999-2005), which she chaired in 2004-05. “Her willingness to take on these two demanding leadership positions at the same time is testimony to her belief that one is never too busy to include time for public service,” Spruill said.

Spruill also lauded Bartlett’s support of Duke Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) — one of the most generous in the country — for law students interested in pursuing public interest careers, and her commitment, along with her husband, Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies Christopher Schroeder, of $100,000 of personal funds to begin an endowment for support of LRAP.

“The entire student body at Duke Law was deeply touched by this tremendous demonstration of personal and institutional dedication,” Duke Bar Association President Brettny Hardy ’07 wrote to the awards committee, adding that Duke law students “stand in awe of Dean Bartlett’s impressive dedication to the good of society.” Hardy also noted Bartlett’s devotion to promoting and improving pro bono opportunities for law students, and her encouragement of them to make community service an active part of their lives.

Equal Justice Works was founded in 1986 by law students dedicated to working for equal justice on behalf of underserved communities and causes. Committed to organizing, training, and supporting law students in areas relating to public service, Equal Justice Works helps support law students in summer public interest positions, places new lawyers in two-year postgraduate fellowships at nonprofit public interest organizations addressing urgent community needs, and helps law schools create and improve LRAPs to facilitate graduates’ entry into public service positions. For more information, visit