2006 Justin Miller Award Winners
The 2006 Justin Miller Awards were presented May 10 at the Graduation Gala. With these awards, Duke Law students honor members of the graduating class who embody the fundamental virtues described by Dean Miller, and the enormous contributions they have made to the Law School community.
Citizenship: Christopher J. Kocher
One classmate described Chris Kocher as best embodying the spirit of citizenship that the award seeks to recognize “because he constantly seeks to bring people together in constructive ways and possesses an incredible spirit of optimism.” Known for bringing students together in formal and informal settings at every opportunity, Kocher worked to improve student mentoring within the Law School, both designing a questionnaire to accurately match 1Ls with upper-class mentors, and spearheading a Duke Bar Association-sponsored mentoring program to match 2Ls considering clerkships with 3Ls who have gone through the process. Active on both the DBA and PILF boards, he helped secure an endowment for the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, in order to allow the Class of 2006 to allocate their class gift to LARP, and established CAPITAL, a program that allows law firms to donate money directly to PILF if a student decides to stay with a friend or family member instead of in a hotel while on a callback.
“Chris embodies the spirit of the Justin Miller Award for Citizenship because he works hard at making Duke Law a better place for all of us,” wrote a classmate in nominating Kocher for the award.
Leadership: Teresa A. Sakash
In presenting the Justin Miller Award for Leadership to Teresa Sakash, Kristina Johnson ’08 observed that Sakash had received nominations from all three Duke Law classes. “The fact that [she] received such diverse nominations from a wide variety of students is indicative of her warm, welcoming persona, and her unique, powerful impact on the Duke community.” Active in PILF, most recently as co-chair, as well as the International Law Society, the Class Gift Committee, the Future Forum, and as captain of an intramural basketball team, Sakash has also served as president of OutLaw for two years, as programming coordinator for DukeOUT, and on the board of the NCGALA Institute for Equal Rights.
“Teresa leads not from behind, but from the front lines, charging ahead, bringing everyone along with her by dint of her own energy and personality,” commented a classmate. “She seems to know just about everyone at the Law School, and good number of people in the broader University community [and] is not shy about using these contacts to help achieve the goals of PILF, OutLaw, the Class Gift Committee, or the many other projects with which she is involved.
Intellectual Curiosity: Garrett Levin
“Nobody embodies intellectual curiosity more than Garrett Levin,” said a classmate in nominating Levin for the Justin Miller Award. “He always strives to push his level of understanding and knowledge. His contributions in class are outstanding and very insightful.” Levin has been active in such Law School endeavors as Moot Court, the Faculty Appointments Committee, the Duke Law & Technology Review, and the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and as research assistant for William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law James Boyle and the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, assisted with the Center’s innovative comic book “Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain.” Also nominated for the Citizenship award, Levin is the co-creator of “de Novo,” Duke’s unique guide to life inside and outside Law School. Wrote a 2L nominator, “Garrett is just always there–always cheerful, always involved, always willing to step up and take on more work, but his involvement seems motivated by energy and involvement, as opposed to duty.”
Integrity: Ben Stark
“Ben Stark embodies integrity in every sense of the word,” commented a classmate nominating Ben Stark for the award for integrity. “He is principled, thoughtful and searches for ways, big and small, to make the world around him a better place. In the three years that I have known him, he has never stopped searching for the way that he can most make a difference, nor has he stopped questioning himself as to whether he is living up to the values that he brought with him to law school.”
Stark has been active in the Duke Law Democrats, serving as president as a 3L, as well as the Christian Legal Society, has canvassed for political candidates whom he supports, and has spent his summers working in the public sector.
“Above all else, Ben is true to himself,” continued Stark’s nominating classmate. “In doing so, he fights for what he believes in–above all else, he has a strong belief that we have an obligation to better those that are less fortunate and that are law degree is a powerful tool for doing so. That is what integrity is.”
LLM award for Leadership and Community Participation: German Delgado
According to a classmate who nominated him for the Leadership and Community Participation award, German Delgado is a "an outstanding but humble leader of our program, who made great efforts to get involved not only with everyone in the LLM class, but with the JDs as well." Delgado served as the LLM representative to the Duke University School of Law Bar Association and organized and promoted various activities to facilitate interaction between LLM and JD students. He was also active in organizing LLM participation in the 2006 Class Gift Campaign.
Prior to his arrival at Duke Delgado practiced law in Barcelona, Spain, and served as the executive director of AEP, a Spanish-American chamber of commerce for entrepreneurs and professionals in New York.