PUBLISHED:June 06, 2017

Levi to step down as dean in 2018

Dean David F. LeviDavid F. Levi, the 14th dean of Duke Law School, will step down in June 2018, he announced in a letter to alumni and friends today.

“I thank my lucky stars and President Brodhead for giving me the opportunity to be dean of Duke Law,” said Levi. “We have something very special here in the culture of the place. I am proud of what we have accomplished in the past 10 years and what we are poised to accomplish in the years to come. I am also filled with a sense of gratitude to our wonderful faculty, staff, students, and alumni.”

Duke University Provost Sally Kornbluth praised Levi for his leadership of Duke Law.
“David has been a wonderful colleague in every way: innovative, creative, smart, and a pleasure to work with,” Kornbluth said. “He has led the Law School brilliantly and has set the stage for the continued success of a great school.”

Levi, who became dean in 2007, has presided over major expansions of faculty, research, academic programs, and fundraising at Duke Law. He also guided the Law School through a turbulent period in the legal economy and legal education resulting from the global financial crisis and subsequent recession.

Among Levi’s chief accomplishments during his tenure as dean:

  • raising $123.2 million from donors (as of June 6, 2017) during the seven-year Duke Forward campaign, the largest in the Law School’s history, including 13 new endowed professorships and 69 new endowed scholarships;
  • enlarging Duke Law’s renowned faculty by hiring exceptional scholars and teachers in constitutional, corporate, criminal, environmental, health care, and international law, empirical studies, law and economics, legal writing and research, and clinical education;
  • increasing student aid by threefold, from $5 million in 2007 to $15 million in 2017, and guaranteeing summer fellowship support for students working in unpaid government and public interest positions;  
  • expanding the Career and Professional Development Center to offer all students individualized career counseling and assistance throughout their education and help them find the right job for their skills and interests;
  • expanding clinical and experiential education, opening the Start-Up Ventures Clinic, International Human Rights Clinic, and Civil Justice Clinic, and growing the Environmental Law and Policy and Health Justice Clinics;
  • strengthening the Law School’s global connections, including expanding the LLM for internationally trained lawyers, raising scholarship funds for promising international students, and building ties with faculties at universities outside the U.S.;
  • establishing the Center for Judicial Studies to increase understanding of the justice system and help improve its functioning and the Master’s in Judicial Studies degree program for sitting state, federal, and international judges;
  • launching the Program in Law and Entrepreneurship to train lawyers to advise and lead new ventures in the innovation economy, including in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region;
  • growing the Law School’s presence in Washington through the Duke in DC integrated externship and Duke D.C. Summer Institute in Law and Policy for undergraduates and early career professionals interested in the law and regulation;
  • establishing the Office of Diversity Initiatives to coordinate the Law School’s support of underrepresented students and launch the PreLaw Fellowship program for diverse undergraduates;
  • expanding the Office of Public Interest and Pro Bono and student pro bono projects that serve the public in Duke’s community.

Levi has taught courses on judicial behavior, legal history, and reforming the civil justice system in North Carolina. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, co-author of Federal Trial Objections and Federal Civil Procedure Manual, and recently served as chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the American Judicial System and co-chair of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice.

Levi is also a member of the American Law Institute, the nation’s leading law improvement organization, and became its president on May 24.