The event honored 215 JD graduates, including 25 who would receive master’s degrees from other Duke schools and departments and 22 who also received an LLM in international and comparative law, as well as 76 international lawyers who received LLM degrees.
Chief Judge David B. Sentelle of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, told the graduates that having completed “probably the finest experience of legal education available in any law school in this country,” their education would be ongoing.
“In the practice of the profession … you will continue to learn every year more and more about the application of this profession to the needs of society and humanity and the uses of this profession in serving the interests of your clientele,” he said. Their education in a “renaissance profession” would be broad, he added.
Sentelle reminded the graduates that their degrees come with obligations.
“The law creates for its practitioners an oligopoly protected against competition,” he said. “The legitimacy of this protection depends not only upon our expertise and understanding in applying the law, but also upon our willingness to devote that expertise not only to our clients, but to those who may not have the opportunity to pay the normal charges to become our clients. You have an obligation not only to your clients, but to society at large.”
In his remarks, Duke Law School Dean David F. Levi also highlighted the importance of integrity in the practice of law.
“I hope that you have the courage to take positions and stand by them, and the equal courage to compromise in the face of reasoned opposition,” Levi said.
He praised the graduates’ public interest work during their time at Duke Law, including their clinical contributions and multiple service projects, and their achievements in national and international moot court competitions, as well as their academic accomplishments.
“The degrees you receive honor both your accomplishments and our hopes for your future lives in the law,” Levi said. “You have studied under some of the best scholars and with some of the most talented students in the world. And because of this hard work and study, today you are more precise in your thinking; better able to express your ideas; better able to listen and to understand; more knowledgeable about our private and public institutions and laws.”
Sarah Campbell and Emmanuel Ceusters were chosen by their classmates to speak on behalf of the JD and LLM graduates, respectively.
» Read Judge David B. Sentelle’s remarks
» Read Sarah Campbell’s remarks
Class of 2009 honorees:
Legal Specialty Awards:
- Business Organization and Finance — Aaron Harmon
- Commercial Transaction and Bankruptcy — Harold Shaw III
- Clinical Practice — Amanda McRae and Jeffrey Ward
- Constitutional Law and Civil Rights — Sonja Ralston Elder
- Criminal Law and Procedure — Eric Eisenberg
- Environmental Law — Megan Hinkle and Michael Hiatt
- Family Law — Jennifer Brevorka and Susan Pourciau
- Intellectual Property and Technology — Natasa Pajic
- Interdisciplinary Studies — Hannah Weiner and John Duffy
- International, Transnational and Comparative Law — Carla Reyes and Jeffrey Ward
- Labor and Employment Law — Shaun Southworth
- Legal Theory — Scott Wisniewski
- Regulatory Law — Timothy Mullins
- Taxation and Estate Planning Award — Kimberly Maynard and Christopher Kennedy
- Writing Award — Sue Si Chen
- Law School Advocacy Award — Sarah Campbell
- Law School Community Award — Susan Pourciau
- Pro Bono Service Award — Amanda McRae
- Public Service Award — Matthew Lipsky