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Foster, Longest awarded newly endowed clinical professorships

Duke Law School awarded newly endowed clinical professorships to Andrew Foster and Ryke Longest, longtime faculty members and leaders of the clinical program, effective July 1.

Dean Kerry Abrams nominated the two on the recommendation of a committee of faculty and emeritus faculty who currently hold, or have held, professorships.

Foster has been appointed to the Kathrine Robinson Everett Clinical Professorship. He joined the Duke Law faculty in 2002 to establish the Community Enterprise Clinic, a transactional law clinic that he continues to direct. The clinic assists organizations in Durham and across North Carolina on matters such as nonprofit governance, affordable housing, community development, and social entrepreneurship.

From 2007 to 2021, Foster directed the Law School’s clinical program, leading the process of expanding it from three clinics to 11 and helping to more than quadruple the size of the clinical faculty (with the launch of the Criminal Defense Clinic in 2023, the Law School now has 12 clinics).

Foster also founded and taught in the Start-Up Ventures Clinic from 2010 to 2012 and served as the interim director of the Externship Program from 2015 to 2016. He led the ad hoc committee that created the Law & Entrepreneurship Program and served as its inaugural director from 2009 to 2011.

“Duke Law School simply would not have the vibrant and robust experiential education offerings we have today if it were not for Andrew Foster’s leadership,” Abrams said. “Andrew has helped make our clinical program one of the strongest in the nation and it continues to grow. He is also an exceptionally talented and devoted teacher and one of our most institutionally minded faculty.”

Prior to joining the Duke Law faculty, Foster practiced with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (now Womble Bond Dickinson). He earned his JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, where he was a Chancellor’s Scholar and graduated Order of the Coif, and was a summa cum laude graduate of Rutgers University.

The Everett Clinical Professorship has been made possible by the Kathrine Robinson Everett Charitable Trust. Everett was from North Carolina and the third female graduate of UNC Law School. She received the highest score on the 1920 North Carolina bar exam and was the first woman to argue an appeal in her state’s highest court, which she won. She practiced law for over 70 years, focusing on probate, real estate, and family law, and retired at 97. 

Everett’s son, Robinson O. Everett, served on the Duke Law faculty for 51 years. In 1954, Kathrine Everett, Robinson Everett, and his father, Trinity College law graduate Reuben Everett, were sworn into practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, making them the first family to join the Supreme Court bar together. The UNC Law Library is named in Kathrine Robinson Everett’s honor.

“I am honored and deeply humbled to be named the first Kathrine Robinson Everett Clinical Professor of Law,” Foster said. 

“Kathrine Everett was a person of immense integrity, an excellent lawyer, and a tremendous leader. Equally important, she was a pathbreaker who helped to transform the profession in deeply profound ways. It is an inspiration to be associated with her. I very much appreciate the Everett family’s generous support of Duke Law and am particularly grateful to have the work of the clinical program recognized in this way.”

Longest has been appointed to the John H. Adams Clinical Professorship. Since 2021, he has directed the Law School’s clinical program, working to restructure the governance of the clinics and creating opportunities for leadership development among clinical faculty through committees focusing on issues such as clinical pedagogy. He served as assistant director of clinics from 2019 to 2021.

Longest holds a secondary appointment as a clinical professor of environmental sciences and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. He has co-led a Duke Bass Connections project with Lecturing Fellow Lee Miller examining the impact of decarbonization policy on communities of color and proposing community-led alternatives, and he was recently named a Duke University Climate Change Faculty Fellow. This fall, he is helping to teach a class of 150 undergraduates in a university-wide course.

“As clinical programs director and clinic co-director, Ryke Longest has a well-earned reputation for being creative, innovative, and extraordinarily collaborative,” Abrams said. “He established a highly effective model of interdisciplinary teaching and research in the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic and is a constant presence in efforts to advance sustainability and environmental justice in our community and beyond.”

Longest joined the faculty in 2007 as the first director of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, an interdisciplinary clinic that represents nonprofit community-based and environmental organizations to address a wide variety of environmental concerns. He now co-directs the clinic, a joint venture with the Nicholas School that enrolls both law and graduate students, with Clinical Professor Michelle Benedict Nowlin JD/MA ’92. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Adams Clinical Professorship is named for John H. Adams ’62. After attending Duke Law, Adams worked as a prosecutor and Wall Street lawyer before founding the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the first national environmental advocacy group to bring change through the courts. In his roles first as the organization’s executive director and later as president, he spearheaded efforts to win the classification of greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, describing his role at NRDC as “unparalleled by the leader of any other environmental organization.” Adams’ wife, Patricia Adams, attended Duke University as an undergraduate.

“I am so honored by this recognition,” Longest said. “The Adamses have led the modern environmental movement, making possible the work that I have been doing here at Duke. And John specifically strongly encouraged me to work across disciplines and across Duke University, a lesson I have taken to heart and will strive to achieve going forward. I want to thank both John and Patricia for their support and guidance over the years.” 

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Volume 42 No. 2