To John Jernigan, chairman of Smith Anderson in Raleigh, the law firm’s loss of partner Geoff Krouse will be a considerable gain for Duke Law. Krouse, a dedicated alumnus with two Duke degrees and deep family ties to the Law School, will wrap up his transactional practice and begin work on Aug. 15 as the assistant dean for the Alumni and Development Office and a senior lecturing fellow on the faculty.
“I believe in the power of passion, and I am excited to see Geoff follow his passion to Duke Law School,” said Jernigan. “Geoff has been an integral part of Smith Anderson’s culture. He values teamwork, thinks objectively about his clients’ interests, seeks opportunities to make others look good, and is an exceptional role model who is committed to being a mentor to younger attorneys. He has a wonderful manner about him that has served him well at the firm as a recruiter, associate mentor, firm leader, and counselor to clients. Duke Law is gaining an excellent practitioner, model lawyer, and extraordinary person in Geoff Krouse.”
Krouse has long been closely engaged with the Law School, most recently serving on the Law Alumni Association (LAA) Board of Directors. He has also served as his class agent, co-chaired the Triangle Alumni Club and his class reunion committee, taught a Wintersession class on capital markets and advanced business strategy, recruited for his firm on campus, and served, along with some of his law firm colleagues, as an attorney-mentor to students in the Start-Up Ventures Clinic.
Krouse also shares his Duke Law ties with his wife, Anne ’97, sister Alison Morello ’00, and father George ’70, a former chair and an honorary member of the Board of Visitors.
“It is exciting to return to the place where I spent seven years as a student and where I have invested a lot of time in recent years as a volunteer,” said Krouse, who received his undergraduate degree as well as his JD at Duke. “Serving Duke Law as assistant dean will allow me to use many of the skills, strengths, and experiences I’ve acquired through my professional legal practice, nonprofit, and pro bono work to benefit an institution I care deeply about.”
As assistant dean, Krouse will manage the Major Gifts and Annual Giving teams, drive critical strategic fundraising initiatives, and serve as regional director in key alumni markets, including New York, where he practiced until 2005.
“The opportunity to connect and reconnect with alumni and to help strengthen relationships in markets where I’ve practiced and elsewhere was very appealing when I thought about joining the Alumni and Development team,” said Krouse. “And I look forward to working with the talented staff. In my professional practice, I’ve enjoyed leading and being part of deal teams and engaging in strategic planning and mentoring activities. This opportunity will let me do all of those things for Duke Law.”
“Geoff has been an incredible advocate for Duke as an alumnus and volunteer, and I am thrilled to now partner with him as a colleague,” said Kate Buchanan, associate dean for Alumni and Development. “The perspective he brings to our work is unique, given his strong Duke ties and his sophisticated law practice, and I have no doubt he will enrich our team and the strength of our alumni network.”
Krouse will share his expertise in handling sophisticated business transactions in a spring semester Mergers and Acquisitions course. He plans to take a highly practical approach to the subject, offering students insight into clients’ needs and expectations at each step of a transaction. “What are the types of issues that come up with the other parties you deal with, whether it’s the financial advisors, opposing counsel or the private equity sponsors? What hurdles arise, and how can you navigate them? I want students to get a sense of what it’s like to execute an M&A transaction in the deal world,” he said, emphasizing how much he enjoys the collaborative nature of that field.
“At private firms, we typically work on ‘deal teams’ when we handle transactions,” he said. “That team approach — coordinating with my colleagues and their different skills and areas of expertise while also coordinating with the client and the other parties involved — has always appealed to me. While there are differing interests, at the same time the parties are aligned in terms of trying to reach a successful closing of the transaction.”
Oie Osterkamp, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Durham & Wake, had high praise for Krouse, who recently completed six years of service on the board of directors, including two as chair. The Ronald McDonald House offers “a home away from home” for families with critically ill children who are being treated at Duke Children’s Hospital or elsewhere in the community. Over Krouse’s six year service period, the size of the facility on the Duke campus doubled, and the organization established a family room and house at WakeMed Children’s Hospital in Raleigh. During his tenure, Krouse helped lead an executive director search, navigate the Wake County expansion, implement numerous new policies and procedures and ensure strong board membership as chair of the Governance Committee.
“Geoff is one of the most effective critical thinkers and efficient doers I have ever worked with,” said Osterkamp. “That, along with his genuine kindness toward others, makes him a vital team member. He has the uncanny ability to connect with everyone he meets and is respected by all. The world is a better place with Geoff Krouse in it.”
Krouse joins the Alumni and Development Office as the Law School aims for a strong finish in 2017 to the $85 million Duke Forward fundraising campaign to establish new financial aid funds, endow new faculty positions, secure funding for academic programs and experiential training, and build the Annual Fund, which supports general operations.
“With Kate Buchanan as the associate dean and Geoff Krouse as the assistant dean, we have superb leadership in our Alumni & Development Office as we head into the last year of the campaign,” said Dean David F. Levi. “As a loyal graduate, Geoff has been a dedicated volunteer for Duke and Duke Law School. I am delighted to welcome him back to the Law School into this important role for us.”