PUBLISHED:October 11, 2021

Gift from Farrin ’90, wife establishes new post-graduate public interest fellowship


The Farrin Fellowship will provide salary and benefits for a graduating student to work for a year with a 501(c)(3) organization that provides domestic legal services, with preference given to graduates working on behalf of low-income or indigent clients.

James Farrin '90 James Farrin '90

A $500,000 gift from alumnus James Farrin ’90 and his wife Robin Farrin will establish a new fellowship for Duke Law School students to do public interest legal work after graduation.

The Farrin Fellowship will provide salary and benefits, including health insurance and paid time off, for a graduating student to work for a year with a 501(c)(3) organization that provides domestic legal services. Preference will be given to graduates working on behalf of low-income or indigent clients, particularly individuals or groups who have historically faced discrimination, as well as graduates serving clients in the Carolinas.

“I want to thank Jim Farrin for this very generous and timely gift,” said Kerry Abrams, the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law. “Expanding the pipeline of public interest lawyers is critical to increasing access to justice in vulnerable communities. The Farrin Fellowship will be a tremendous opportunity for students who aspire to careers serving the public good and adds to our growing support for them while they’re at Duke and after they graduate.”

The Farrin Fellowship is the third post-graduate fellowship established with the help of Duke Law alumni donors. The Keller Fellowship, which was funded by classmates of John Keller ’87 to honor his more than 30-year-long career at Legal Aid of North Carolina, supports fellows doing public interest legal work for a year. The International Law and Human Rights Post-Graduate Fellowship, which was established with a gift from the Noble Foundation, led by alumnus David Noble ’66, and is currently funded by Stuart Feiner ’74, supports a graduate to work in one or more non-governmental or international organizations for a year.

Alumni donors also support post-graduate positions with public interest, government, and other legal employers through the Law School’s Bridge to Practice program as well as guaranteed financial support for summer internships for Duke Law students while in school.

Farrin, whose Durham-based law firm is the largest personal injury firm in North Carolina, has made previous major gifts supporting the Law School’s Civil Justice Clinic. A $325,000 gift in 2016 enabled the clinic to hire a supervising attorney and start the Eviction Diversion Program, a partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina that has since received funding from the City of Durham.

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin focuses on personal injury, car accidents, workers’ compensation, nursing home abuse, whistleblowing, defective products, eminent domain, mass torts, class actions, and Social Security Disability. The firm helped lead a class action discrimination suit on behalf of Black farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and its recent efforts to protect nursing home residents and others during the COVID-19 pandemic have made national headlines.

“Our firm values the ongoing development of our people, supporting and uplifting others in need, and giving back to the community," Farrin said. "We wanted the Farrin Fellowship to reflect these values, and the leaders at the Duke University School of Law have done a wonderful job bringing this vision to life. We look forward to being inspired by the important, service-oriented achievements to come from the fellows.”


Andrew Park is associate dean for communications, marketing, and events at Duke Law School. Reach him at