271 Students Earn Hoods, Degrees on May 10

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Dhamian Blue
Dhamian Blue spoke at the hooding ceremony on behalf of JD students.

Heralded by pomp and ceremony including the sharp tunes of Scottish bagpipes at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 185 Duke Law students graduated with JD degrees and another 85 students graduated from the one-year LLM program in American Law on May 10. Eighteen of the JD students also were awarded an LLM degree in international and comparative law at the hooding ceremony, and one student was awarded an SJD.

Speakers at the ceremony included Dean Katharine T. Bartlett; Board of Visitors Chair Peter Kahn ’76; Dhamian Blue, who represented JD students; and Yair Zorea, representing LLM students. Blue and Zorea were elected by their peers to represent their classmates at the event.

In her opening remarks, Bartlett extolled the efforts of this “spectacular” class. “You have changed this Law School — by what you stand for, who you are, and all that you have contributed in and out of class,” she said.

Yair Zorea
Yair Zorea, an LLM graduate from Israel, spoke on behalf of LLM students.

Throughout her speech, Bartlett emphasized the public service, fund-raising efforts and intellect of the class of 2003. She also noted how the School had left its mark on the departing students. “It is inevitable that this Law School has changed you,” she said. “You have, I hope, tighter, more rigorously analytic minds; the ability to express yourself well, both orally and in writing; the ability to build a legal case, to negotiate and to counsel.”

Blue, a Raleigh native and son of Duke Law graduate The Hon. Daniel Blue ’73, reflected on his notions of the American legal system both before and after attending the Law School. “Like many of you, before I came to law school I very much believed that ‘Equal Justice Under the Law’ was the most important aspect of the American tradition…my three years at Duke Law School have not changed that.”

Zorea, who came to Duke Law from Israel, spoke of friendship and “tenacity of purpose” as the hallmarks of his Duke career. “Friendship for me is not just a word. In Hebrew there is an old saying — ‘It is better to have a neighbor friend than a distant brother.’”

During the ceremony, graduates were presented with their academic hoods, which are lined in Duke blue and white silk and trimmed in purple velvet representing the field of law. The Hooding Ceremony was followed by a reception on the Law School’s front lawn in which faculty, students and staff celebrated. On May 11, Law graduates participated in University-wide commencement exercises at Wallace Wade Stadium.