Meet D.J. Dore

Director of pro bono programs joined Duke Law from Legal Aid of North Carolina

D.J. Dore joined Duke Law in May as director of pro bono programs, the latest step in a career devoted to public service.

A veteran currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserve, Dore worked for eight years as an attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC), representing hundreds of clients at the administrative, agency, and trial court levels. An experienced litigator and recognized expert in the areas of veterans law and second-chance work, including criminal record expunction and driver license restoration, he was a member of the appellate team that won a unanimous ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court strengthening due process rights for public housing tenants in the state.

Most recently Dore served as a supervising attorney in LANC’s Durham office and as the Veterans Law Practice Group manager for the state. While there, he helped establish the Durham Expunction and Restoration (DEAR) Program and has organized numerous other pro bono second-chance clinics involving Triangle-area law schools, private attorneys, and community partners.

Dore helped found and supervises Duke Law’s Fair Chance Project, a student pro bono group that provides criminal record expunction relief to Durham residents and has a partnership with Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA). He also served as supervising attorney for Duke Law’s Veterans Assistance Project student pro bonogroup, which assists low-income veterans with VA benefits appeals and discharge upgrade cases.

“One of the highlights of my work at Legal Aid was mentoring and training law students, so being able to do that full time at Duke is very exciting,” Dore said. “The percentage of Duke Law students engaging in pro bono work continues to grow, so I’m thrilled to be able to augment students’ classroom learning with a broad range of experiential opportunities that help cultivate a lifelong commitment to addressing unmet legal needs.”

A Durham native, Dore earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his JD from UNC School of Law, where he was an Army ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate. He also holds an LLM in International Criminal Justice and the Law of Armed Conflict from the University of Nottingham School of Law. He has served 13 years in the N.C. Army National Guard and Army Reserve, including multiple deployments in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe with conventional and special operations forces.

The Pro Bono Program provides experiential learning opportunities for students and critical legal services to the community through partnerships with the Law School’s clinics and outside legal service organizations. There are more than a dozen student-run pro bono groups at Duke Law.

“D.J. is the ideal person to help us expand and enhance the Pro Bono Program given his years of experience in public interest work, his wide range of practice area exposure, his strong ties to the Legal Aid community, and what we already knew from observing his work with our student pro bono groups,” said Assistant Dean of Public Interest and Pro Bono Stella Boswell.

“He is passionate about service, excellent at training students and lawyers, and loves mentoring students. Through partnering with him in the past, I have been impressed with his mentoring skills and how he models the highest levels of professionalism, respect, and client care, regardless of whether or not that client is paying for the help. I love that our students are going to learn that from him.”

Dore’s hire reflects one of the top priorities of James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean Kerry Abrams: instilling a habit of service in students so they will continue to use their skills and privilege as lawyers to further access to justice throughout their careers. He would like to see every Duke Law student participate in pro bono work. “I would love it if every student participated in at least one pro bono project by the time they graduate,” he said. “Developing students’ commitment to pro bono work strengthens the legal profession, endows Duke’s investment in the community, and is absolutely critical for those clients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access such high-quality legal service.”

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Spring 2023
Volume 42 No. 1