PUBLISHED:August 02, 2012

Students with sights on dual degrees enjoy summer start

Duke Law welcomed 38 new students in June as part of the school’s dual degree program, which allows students to earn a JD and a master’s degree in three and a half years.

By taking two of the required first-year courses this summer, these summer starters will be able to take upper-level coursework in the first year while still graduating with the rest of their incoming fall class. The daily classes and smaller class sizes allow students to get to know each other and their professors quickly, said Professor Thomas B. Metzloff, who is teaching Civil Procedure to the summer starters. Students take Civil Procedure and Contracts which meet for an hour and a half each Monday through Friday. “I love it when I teach a small section because you really get to know the students better,” Metzloff said.

It’s a diverse group: 27 students will earn a JD and LLM from the Law School; the others will earn master’s degrees in Duke’s philosophy, history, art history, economics, political science and English departments. Nearly 40 percent are minority students, more than half are women and they represent 32 undergraduate institutions including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.

“I'm extremely happy here at Duke as a summer starter,” said Sarah Tishler JD/LLM’15. Having been out of academia for over a year, I think the summer session is a great way for me to get back into the swing of being a student.”

During orientation week, students heard from Dean David F. Levi and participated in a number of events, including a welcome reception and an introduction to Duke’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic. They also explored their personal leadership styles with the help of Jason B. Belk, assistant dean for student affairs.

The sessions provided opportunities for out-of-towners to become familiar with Durham and begin their legal studies in a relaxed setting, students said. “It was also really nice to meet my classmates ahead of time, before everyone started focusing on work,” said Nathan Yang JD/LLM’15.

“It was a little intimidating to imagine starting law school over the summer,” said Tishler. “Now that I'm in the middle of it, I can't imagine doing it any other way.”

Mea Foster