2017-18 Bulletin of the Duke University School of Law
The Distinction of Duke 14 Leadership in Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching Duke Law is a national leader in interdisciplinary legal education. Many faculty members have joint appointments, close research, or teaching arrangements with other schools and departments at Duke, including The Fuqua School of Business, the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Nicholas School of the Environment, the School of Medicine, the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke Divinity School, women’s studies, and the political science and history departments in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Faculty from a number of these and other schools and departments have secondary appointments at the law school. Duke Law School has been a pioneer in dual-degree programs. Nearly 16 percent of its JD students also enroll in another degree program at Duke (including the school’s own LLM program in International and Comparative Law and its new LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship)— among the highest of any top law school. An important reason for the cross-disciplinary strength at Duke Law School is the commitment of central university resources for interdisciplinary research, teaching, and faculty appointments. The proximity of the law school building to other schools and departments, such as the Sanford School of Public Policy and The Fuqua School of Business, aids interdisciplinary collaboration. An Integrated Approach to Community and Leadership Many law schools claim to have strong communities, but Duke’s claim to this distinction is supported by substantial outside recognition. Duke Law School has become a national model in its cultivation of a strong and diverse community, one deliberately designed to build and reinforce specific leadership skills and professional values. A distinctive tool in this regard is a highly visible statement of principles for developing student lawyering skills beyond the classroom known as the “Duke Blueprint to LEAD (Lawyer Education and Development).” The Duke Law Blueprint sets goals for students that emphasize teamwork, problem-solving, positive vision, stress reduction, ethical reflection, managing constructive change, and negotiating individual success within a commitment to the success of a larger organization or institution. Blueprint values are reinforced in every aspect of student life, from first-year student orientation, to career and professional development panels, leadership retreats, and student-faculty collaborations in both curricular and extra-curricular projects. Duke’s excellence in promoting leadership and professionalism through its integrated approach to student life has been recognized by a number of national awards from the American Bar Association. These include the Gambrell Award for the best law school program in professionalism, the award for the best law school student government, and the award for the top student bar association president. More recently, the ABA cited the school’s student culture as among the strongest in the nation. This collegial environment is due in large part to the close interactions between faculty and students. Faculty are highly accessible and collaborate with students on scholarship, conferences, pro bono work, and community service projects. Students report high satisfaction with the quality of the community and their relationships with one another and with the faculty. Law in the Service of Society Duke Law faculty scholars routinely integrate their theoretical knowledge and their teaching with finding solutions to real problems facing lawyers, judges, citizens, and public institutions. Many Duke faculty came to the academy with extensive practical experience in government, private practice, or public interest positions. They are often engaged in such activities as Supreme Court advocacy, testimony at congressional hearings, and media commentary. Faculty are involved in law reform initiatives on matters as diverse as financial and securities regulation, federal sentencing, innovation in health care delivery and productivity, improving the operation of international courts, the coordination and sharing of international environmental data, and review of wrongful criminal convictions. Duke Law faculty serve as project reporters for the American Law Institute (ALI), on ALI advisory committees, and in leadership positions on influential bodies such as the Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure for the Judicial Conference of the United States, the Federal Courts Study Committee, the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules, and panels of the National Academy of Science. Several have served in key public service posts with government agencies such as the Department of Justice and the US Patent and Trademark Office and within the armed services. At Duke a premium is placed on advancing theoretical and empirical knowledge that improves legal institutions and is accessible and useful outside academia. To that end, the school stresses experiential learning. The Duke in DC program combines a full-time externship in Washington, DC, with a rigorous course focused on topics relating to legislative policy and government regulation. Other programs also emphasize the development of lawyering skills, including domestic and international externships, top-quality moot court programs, and a legal writing program that is among the strongest in the nation. Duke Law School’s clinics offer invaluable opportunities for professional skills development to students and critical legal aid to the community. Students are able to deepen their practical knowledge, strengthen their problem-solving and lawyering skills, and begin to develop professional identities through the Duke Legal Clinics, which include the Civil Justice Clinic (a partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina), the Appellate Litigation Clinic, the Children’s Law Clinic, the Community Enterprise Clinic, the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, the Guantanamo Defense Clinic, the Health Justice Clinic, the International Human Rights Clinic, the Start-Up Ventures Clinic, and the Wrongful Convictions Clinic. Advanced clinic students frequently engage in policy research and advocacy. Technology Leadership Duke Law School is recognized for its commitment to technological innovation. All regular classrooms and the library are equipped with cutting-edge technologies, supplemented by building-wide wireless connections. Duke Law faculty experiment with multimedia teaching materials, including an innovative documentary series on Supreme Court cases and a video casebook for the first-year contracts course. These efforts have positioned the law school to develop new initiatives in continuing legal education for alumni and others, as well as products with potential uses in undergraduate education. Duke Law School is also a leader in its commitment to electronic publishing programs and open access to legal scholarship.