Judge J. Michelle Childs MJS’16 urges the Class of 2022 to “meet their moment”

May 9, 2022Latest News

Judge J. Michelle Childs MJS ’16 of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina urged Duke Law School’s class of 2022 to trust their preparation and allow destiny to direct them in her convocation address May 7.

“Serve people, not just professional accomplishments. Step into your role for your community, your clients, your environment, and your nation,” Childs said. “Do not shy away from opportunities, and know that when you are ready, they will find you. My task, always, and your task now, is to use your education, your skills, and your hope for the future, to ensure that when these doors open, you are prepared to walk through them and pull others through with you.”

The ceremony in Cameron Indoor Stadium honored 212 JD graduates and 62 graduates of law schools in other countries who received an LLM degree. Two graduating students received the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD), the highest degree in law. Also recognized were five trial and appellate judges who received a Master of Laws in Judicial Studies in 2020 but did not have an in-person ceremony.

Childs, the 2022 distinguished speaker, told assembled graduates and guests that Duke Law’s Masters of Judicial Studies Program had prepared her for the high-profile opportunities that recently have come her way. Childs currently is awaiting confirmation to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, for which she was nominated by President Joe Biden in January. She was also one of three judges the president considered this spring to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The skills and knowledge instilled by this fine institution, and the treasured connections it allowed me to foster with faculty, colleagues, and new friends, undoubtedly prepared me to meet challenges of which I could only dream,” Childs said. “When I finally had my confirmation hearing for my nomination to the DC Circuit before the US Senate Judiciary Committee last week, I knew no matter the question, no matter the level of scrutiny, a life’s worth of aspiration, preparation, and determination had trained me for that moment. You too, are ready for the most unimaginable and unexpected opportunities.”

Read the full story via Duke Law News