PUBLISHED:May 17, 2023

Marie Cepeda Mekosh ’23 wins praise for externship work


Cepeda Mekosh argued before the Fourth Circuit as part of her spring externship at a U.S. Attorney's Office

Marie Cepeda Mekosh ’23 Marie Cepeda Mekosh ’23

Marie Cepeda Mekosh ’23 was praised by staff at the United States Attorney’s Office in Raleigh for her work on a brief and performance during oral arguments before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Cepeda Mekosh argued on behalf of the government in Joseph Randolph Mays v. T.B. Smith as part of a spring externship in the appellate division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh.

Assistant United States Attorney Sharon Wilson, who introduced Cepeda Mekosh to the court, complimented her on “an excellent job holding her own” under questioning by the judges.

Cepeda Mekosh also helped draft a brief in another case that argued for the dismissal of an appellant’s habeas application challenging his civil commitment. She was acknowledged in the brief for her contributions. 

“Marie did a phenomenal job at the Fourth Circuit,” said Paige O'Hale, Deputy Chief, Civil Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. “[She] worked incredibly hard for the USAO this year and we really appreciate her contributions to our office.”

Senior Lecturing Fellow Geovanny Martinez, who oversaw Cepeda Mekosh’s externship and was Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana prior to joining Duke Law, called the opportunity to present before the court a testament to her commitment.

“Marie has worked hard through this externship and elsewhere and it shows,” Martinez said. “She has many reasons to be extremely proud.”

Cepeda Mekosh received a Public Interest and Public Service Law Certificate at graduation. She was a legal intern at the ACLU of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in summer 2022 and in the Domestic Violence and Family Law Unit of Legal Aid of North Carolina in summer 2021.

Cepeda Mekosh also was a student-attorney in the Children’s Law Clinic and member of the Duke Immigrant and Refugee Project and the Innocence Project. She served as staff editor of Duke Law Journal and president of the Human Rights Law Society, and in January 2021 won the Dean’s Award in Civil Procedure.