Faculty Notes

Fall 2023

Photo of Trina Jones

Jones elected chair of Duke University Academic Council

Trina Jones, the Jerome M. Culp Distinguished Professor of Law, was elected chair of the Duke University Academic Council Feb. 21.

The council and its Executive Committee are the chief instruments of faculty governance at Duke and represent the opinions of the faculty to the university’s administration and Board of Trustees. Jones was elected by a vote of the university’s faculty and began a two-year term as chair on July 1.

“I am deeply honored to serve in this capacity and to have the trust of faculty colleagues across the university,” Jones said.

Jones, who joined the Law School faculty in 1995, is a leading expert on racial, socioeconomic, and gender inequality, particularly as it pertains to the workplace. Her scholarship has appeared in leading law reviews, including Columbia Law ReviewDuke Law JournalEmory Law Journal, and Georgetown Law Journal, and she has lectured around the world on colorism, intersectionality, and sexual harassment. 

Jones directs the Center on Law, Race & Policy and teaches Race and the Law, Critical Race Theory, Employment Discrimination, Law and Literature: Race and Gender, and Civil Procedure. She received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Duke Bar Association in 2019 and the Gavel Award from the Duke Law Black Law Students Association in 2019 and 2022. 

Jones has served six terms on the Academic Council and has been a member of its Executive Committee. She also currently chairs the university’s Faculty Hearing Committee and has served on numerous other university bodies, including the University Priorities Committee, the President’s Council on Black Affairs, and the Academic Affairs and Audit, Risk, and Compliance Committees of the Board of Trustees.

She is the fourth Law School faculty member to chair the Council, following Professors Paul Haagen (2005-07), Robert Mosteller (1998-2000), and Francis Paschal (1966-67). 

Photo of Purdy

Raphael Lemkin Distinguished Professor of Law Jedediah Purdy is the editor of a new edition of Henry David Thoreau’s writings published Aug. 15.

Walden and Other Writings (Norton) contains some of Thoreau’s best-known work, including the full text of Walden and the anti-slavery essays “Civil Disobedience,” “Slavery in Massachusetts,” and “A Plea for Captain John Brown.” Purdy wrote an introduction for the book, which is meant for readers encountering Thoreau’s writing for the first time.

Purdy re-joined the Duke Law faculty in 2022 from Columbia Law School, where he was the William S. Beinecke Professor of Law and co-director of the Constitutional Democracy Initiative. He previously served on the Duke Law faculty from 2004 to 2019, most recently as the Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law.

Purdy teaches and writes about environmental, property, and constitutional law as well as legal and political theory. He is the author of nine books including, most recently, Two Cheers for Politics: Why Democracy Is Scary, Flawed, and Our Best Hope (Basic, 2022). 

Photo of Anne Gordon

Clinical Professor of Law Anne Gordon was elected to the Executive Committee for the Association of American Law Schools Section on Clinical Legal Education at the organization’s annual meeting in January. One of three members, she will serve a three-year term.

Gordon is director of Duke Law’s Externship Program. She also teaches Social Justice Lawyering and Movement Lawyering Lab: Law for Black Lives. 

According to the AALS website, Executive Committee members “support the work of the many committees in the section, provide support to regional and topic-specific conferences and events, coordinate programming central to the section’s mission, and work collaboratively with the section to advance the goals and priorities of clinical legal education.” The section’s goals include supporting the clinical community in efforts to advance racial justice.

Gordon has written recently on avoiding bias in clinical pedagogy. Her article, “Cleaning Up Our Own Houses: Creating Anti-Racist Clinical Programs,” was published last year in the Clinical Law Review

Photo of Frakes

A paper co-authored by Michael D. Frakes, the A. Kenneth Pye Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, was selected as the best submission in Health Law, Insurance Law, and Torts at the annual meeting of the American Law and Economics Association in June.

In “Racial Concordance and the Quality of Medical Care: Evidence from the Military,” Frakes and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber report on a study that analyzed data from the Military Health System to assess the role of racial concordance between patients and medical providers in driving use of preventive care and the implications for patient outcomes. They found that increasing the share of Black physicians had a positive impact on medication adherence and mortality of Black patients. The paper was published in December by the National Bureau of Economic Research, where Frakes serves as a research associate.

Frakes is an empirical scholar conducting research in health law and innovation policy. His scholarship has appeared in leading economics, law, and medical journals. He is currently serving as the principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health-funded study exploring the effects of immunizing physicians from medical liability on the extent and quality of the medical care they deliver. 

Photo of Demott

David F. Cavers Distinguished Professor of Law Deborah A. DeMott contributed a chapter to The American Law Institute: A Centennial History (Oxford), which was published April 20 to mark the 100th anniversary of the organization. 

DeMott’s essay, “Restating the Law in the Shadow of Codes: The ALI in Its Formative Era,” recounts the period between 1923 and 1945 as the institute, which produces scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law, established itself. She spoke about the essay on a panel of contributors at the ALI Annual Meeting in May and at an event at the Law School in April moderated by David F. Levi, the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean Emeritus, who is president of the ALI. 

Separately, an ALI publication for which DeMott served as the sole reporter, Restatement of the Law Third, Agency (2006), was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court during the October 2022 term in its opinions in Bartenwerfer v. Buckley and Percoco v. United States and by Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett in her concurring opinion in Biden v. Nebraska. The restatement was also cited by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in its opinion in Carroll v. Trump in April. 

DeMott, a member of the Duke Law School faculty since 1975, is an expert on the law of agency who has written extensively on the subject. Her scholarship and teaching also focus on business organizations, fiduciary obligation, and art law. 

Photo of Schroeder

Christopher H. Schroeder, the Charles S. Murphy Professor Emeritus of Law and professor emeritus of public policy, retired July 9 as assistant attorney general and head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Schroeder, a member of the Duke Law faculty since 1979, had held the position since the beginning of President Joe Biden’s administration. The OLC advises the Justice Department, the White House, and the executive branch on matters concerning presidential authority, executive privilege, and separation of powers, among a wide range of other issues, which put Schroeder in the center of some of the most important issues arising during Biden’s presidency.

“It has been a great honor to serve the president, his administration, and the American public,” Schroeder said. “I am grateful to Duke Law School for the flexibility it has given me over the years to serve in various capacities in the federal government, and for the Horvitz Program in Constitutional & Public Law, which has done so much during my association with Duke to highlight the importance of government service and the rule of law.”

At a farewell ceremony, Attorney General Merrick Garland presented Schroeder with the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the department’s highest honor, “in recognition of [his] outstanding service to the U.S. Department of Justice and the nation.” 

Schroeder, who led the Department of Justice agency review team for the Biden-Harris transition in 2020, previously worked in the OLC during the Clinton administration, serving as deputy assistant attorney general from 1993 to 1996 and acting assistant attorney general in 1996. He also served as assistant attorney general and head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy during the Obama administration, from 2010 to 2013. 

Photo of Nia Jonson

Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Nia Johnson was selected by students to receive the Duke Science & Society Faculty and Staff Leadership Award at its commencement ceremony on May 13. 

Johnson, who teaches Race, Bioethics, and the Law, “fostered a strong sense of belonging among the graduate student cohort, allowing them to thrive academically, professionally, and personally,” according to the award announcement.

Johnson joined the visiting assistant professor program ­— which prepares emerging scholars for success in the legal academy with two- or three-year faculty appointments, research support and feedback, and an opportunity to hone their teaching skills — in 2022. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of health policy, bioethics, race, and the law, where she studies implicit biases and explicit discrimination in the delivery of healthcare throughout the United States.

In July, she was selected by Duke’s Office of Interdisciplinary Studies for a Wilhelmina M. Reuben-Cooke Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Practices Fellowship. The fellowship, named after one of the first African American undergraduates admitted to Duke, is awarded to faculty who propose projects examining issues of social justice, health equity, and environmental racism. 

Photo of Dunlap

Professor of the Practice of Law Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., a retired Air Force major general, was the 2022 recipient of the International Society of Military Ethicists’ highest honor.

Dunlap received the Brigadier General Malham M. Wakin, USAF (Ret.) Founders Award for lifetime achievement and service in the field of ethics and the military profession at the organization’s annual conference. It was only the third time the award has been given.

The society’s president, Lt. Gen. Chris Miller, USAF (Ret.), presented Dunlap with the award, citing his leadership “in and out of the uniform as a thinker and a doer.” George Lucas, distinguished chair of ethics emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy, called Dunlap “a force of nature,” recapping his career and contributions to the broader understanding of ethics and law in national security and military service.

Dunlap retired from the Air Force in 2010 after a 34-year career in the Judge Advocate General Corps. At Duke Law he teaches courses including National Security Law, International Law of Armed Conflict, and Use of Force in International Law.

As executive director of the Law School’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, Dunlap annually organizes the National Security Law, or LENS, Conference, which attracts top speakers and leaders from the military, government, think tanks, and business. The 28th annual LENS Conference was held in February. 

Stanley A. Star Distinguished Professor of Law and Business Steven L. Schwarcz provided expert testimony to members of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee who met May 18 to discuss legislative proposals to regulate stablecoins.

Schwarcz’s written testimony was presented to members of the House Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion for the hearing titled “Putting the Stable in Stablecoins: How Legislation Will Help Stablecoins Achieve Their Promise.” Stablecoins such as Tether and Binance Coin are a form of digital currency that are tied to the value of another asset, most commonly the U.S. dollar, to provide price stability in often volatile digital currency markets. 

Schwarcz, one of the world’s foremost scholars in commercial, contract, and bankruptcy law and a pioneer in the field of asset securitization, has written and spoken widely on regulating digital currencies, including decentralized commercial cryptocurrencies and Central Bank Digital Currencies issued and backed by a government entity. In July, he chaired a panel titled “Regulating Global Stablecoins and other Cryptocurrencies” at the 2023 meeting of the United Nations-sponsored World Law Congress and gave written and oral testimony on “Vertical Integration of Crypto and Digital Asset Markets” to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Risk Advisory Committee. 

Cover Fall 2023 - Lady Justice with AI Symbols

Fall 2023
Volume 42 | No. 2