PUBLISHED:May 08, 2008

LLM students receive award for leadership and community participation

The Office of International Studies presented two awards for leadership and community participation at the Graduation Gala on Wednesday, May 7. The awards honor LLM students exhibiting outstanding community service and leadership — individuals who engage with the Law School community, exhibit leadership and concern for the well-being of LLM students, and devote attention to academic performance in Law School courses.

Carlos Kaplan of Argentina, the first recipient, was recognized for his dedication to Duke Law and his fellow LLM students.

"If you need him, you don't have to search,” wrote one nominator. “He is in that corner of the law annex studying. He is always responsive to any of the students' concerns and activities."

Kaplan graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a specialization in business law and has been an associate with Marva, O'Farrell & Mairal since 2004 doing tax and corporate work. He taught income tax law at the University of Buenos Aires and among his many pro bono activities worked in the Amazon Forest in a legal consultancy project to promote the rights of Brazilian Indians related to land, natural resources, education, and health.

While at Duke Law, Kaplan founded the first Symposium in Legal Risks and Business Opportunities in Latin America. The Symposium brought leading attorneys, business representatives, and members of various organizations to the Law School.

"Carlos’ smiling face was always a source of comfort to us,” wrote another nominator. “I was mostly impressed by the dedication and devotion he has shown for the organization of the symposium. I am very proud of his achievements.”

Masaya Tsuda of Japan was also honored for his commitment to his fellow students. At Duke, in addition to participating in various activities, Tsuda has been an active leader of the Japanese language lunch table.

"He got us language books, put together a program, and stuck to it throughout the whole year, while seizing the opportunity to get each one of us to talk about his or her own language, country, and experiences,” wrote one nominator. “Personally, I feel that his perseverance and the way in which he explored the opportunity that was offered to all of us to contribute to the Duke LLM community singles him out. Masaya successfully and originally managed to actively interact with a broad range of people."

Masaya received his BA and MA in Law from Tohoku University and is currently a doctoral candidate there. His focus is criminal law, in particular the criminal justice system of the United States. He first came to Duke last year as a visiting scholar and was inspired to join the LLM program. He has been a teaching assistant at Tohoku and hopes to become a professor when he completes his doctoral degree.