From the Dean
One year ago we made the difficult decision to move the work of Duke Law School temporarily online due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, we could not have guessed that the next year would be filled with such tragedy and suffering. And yet time and again over the last 12 months we have seen the strength of the Duke Law community. Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have risen to meet extraordinary burdens. Their efforts have ensured that the work of the Law School has never stopped.
Our faculty have adapted to teaching and learning remotely and are now experimenting with a hybrid approach for some courses. They’ve also continued to publish groundbreaking scholarship in articles and books, hold academic conferences, and participate in the public conversation on a wide array of issues. Our clinics and pro bono projects are collaborating virtually, meeting remotely with clients, and representing them in virtual proceedings. And our staff has continued to help students navigate the Law School and chart their post-graduate careers, connect alumni through virtual reunions and receptions, and ensure the smooth functioning of this institution even when most of them can’t be there in person.
Time and again over the last 12 months we have seen the strength of the Duke Law community. Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni have risen to meet extraordinary burdens. Their efforts have ensured that the work of the Law School has never stopped.
This experience has been a constant reminder of the importance of community. Our strong and supportive community has long been a hallmark of Duke Law School. It is the common thread through conversations I have with alumni from every generation. And yet, without the opportunity for social interaction, it is more difficult to achieve that community. We all feel it, but it has been especially difficult for our first-year students and LLMs, for whom this has been their only Duke Law experience.
As we begin to plan for the fall, the widespread availability of vaccines should allow us to ease restrictions on physical interaction. Yet we know that life at the Law School won’t instantly return to normal. Protecting the health and safety of our community will require continued vigilance until the pandemic has been defeated. Until then, we’ll continue to connect with you, and with one another, in these virtual ways, and look forward to a time when we can all be back together again.
Duke Law Magazine has always been virtual, of course. For more than 35 years, it has enabled us to connect with you no matter where you are in the world. Last fall, amid the financial uncertainties resulting from the pandemic, we decided it would be prudent to pause printing and mailing of our magazine during the 2020-21 academic year and instead deliver it to you online.
The centerpiece of this issue is a series of essays in which 10 faculty scholars reflect on the various social, economic, and political challenges facing the new administration in Washington. Their recommendations range as widely as their expertise, from reforming police practices and helping renters and landlords through the coming eviction crisis to restoring Washington’s norms and rebuilding America’s relationships with foreign allies.
Also in this issue are profiles of Erik Moses ’96, who has ascended the ranks as a sports executive to become the first Black president of a NASCAR speedway, and Christine Mullen ’21, who has worked throughout law school to empower others through leadership, pro bono, and clinic service; excerpts from my recent conversation with Marc Elias ’93, who has become one of the country’s leading election and voting rights lawyers; and an in-depth profile of John Weistart ’68, who retired last summer after 51 years on the faculty. And of course, there’s also all the news from the Law School, highlights from the faculty, and notes from alumni around the world. I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for your continued friendship and support.
James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law