Duke Law summer program introduces students to law school, public service

Jun 17, 2021Latest News

The Duke-D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy, a Duke Law program designed for undergraduates and professionals considering law school as well as 1Ls seeking practical insights into the intersection of law and policy, is currently enrolling students for two sessions on July 6–15 and July 19–29. The Summer Institute will introduce students to the benefits of law school, the fundamentals of legal reasoning, and various opportunities in public service.

The Summer Institute curriculum features numerous courses taught by Duke Law School faculty, including David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and a former federal judge. Levi will co-teach Lawyers Branching Out: The Courthouse, the Capitol, and the White House along with Danielle C. Gray, senior vice president, chief legal and administrative officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rakesh Kilaru, partner at Wilkinson Stekloff.

The virtual course will introduce students to three ways in which lawyers have served in leadership roles in public service — in the judiciary, Congress, and the executive branch. And students will learn how lawyers prepare themselves for these positions; the confirmation, election, and selection processes; and the skills and duties required to do the job.

“Attendees will learn directly from top-tier lawyers who have had successful careers in both the public and private sectors,” said Levi. “In addition to Senator Lee, who has written extensively on the U.S. constitutional system, I’m delighted to welcome two new faculty members to the course, Danielle C. Gray, who served as Cabinet Secretary and Associate Counsel to President Obama. She will be joined by Rakesh Kilaru, who was a Special Assistant and Associate Counsel in the Office of White House Counsel in the Obama Administration. Students will have the opportunity to learn from these three dynamic and creative lawyer-leaders.”

The course is taught in a format similar to law school, where students are encouraged to ask questions, actively participate, and engage with other students and faculty. Students should leave the class with a greater understanding of law school and the opportunities open to lawyers.

Gabriella M. Hakopian, a rising second-year college student who attended two courses during the 2020 summer session, said she has always wanted to attend law school, but prior to enrolling in the Duke-D.C. Summer Institute, wasn’t sure what type of law she wanted to practice. The Institute helped narrow her focus.

“Being introduced to all these different topics — ranging from constitutional law to hearing about the stories of different attorneys and connecting with them on LinkedIn — and seeing how they went from law school to working in the White House or working in different agencies of the government, it was just eye-opening,” she said. “I just wanted to keep going to class.”

Hakopian still keeps all of her textbooks from the program and says she looks forward to applying to law school and becoming a first-generation law student in a few years.

“I know for a fact that I will be applying to Duke Law School just because I had such an amazing experience,” she said

All classes are held entirely online, and students can enroll in specific courses or the entire program. Registration is now open. Visit law.duke.edu/DCInstitute for more information, pricing, and to enroll.

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