The Master of Judicial Studies (MJS) Class of 2023 concludes its second semester of study this week, capping four weeks of intense, in-person coursework at Duke Law School. The 19 judges who comprise the class are now in their second of the program’s two semesters, but this semester was their first in person at Duke: They attended all of their first-year courses remotely in 2021, after a one-year delay due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Class of 2023 includes 17 U.S. and two international judges who have participated in 10 courses taught over four weeks by Duke Law faculty, distinguished judges, and other experts. Of the 17 U.S. students, nine are state court judges and eight are federal judges. The international judges are from Mongolia and Poland.
“We have been so delighted to welcome our judges to campus this summer,” said David F. Levi, director of the Bolch Judicial Institute and the Levi Family Professor of Law at Duke Law School. “After a delayed start and a year online, it is especially wonderful to see them and work with them in person.
“It takes dedication and sacrifice for busy judges to take a full month away from their families and very busy dockets to focus on education,” Levi noted. “These student-judges are committed to improving their own understanding of new and emerging trends in law and legal scholarship, how judges and the judiciary work, and how they might contribute as leaders in the law and in their courts. They develop close personal bonds across courts and countries, contribute important scholarship to the field of judicial studies, and engage with our faculty in deep, substantive ways. In fact, our faculty often say they learn as much from the judges as the judges learn from them. It’s a wonderful program, and we are so happy to be back in the classroom together this year.”
In addition to coursework, the judges met with Duke Law students who are interested in pursuing clerkships and students in Duke’s pre-law fellowship program; enjoyed a Durham Bulls baseball game, a tour of the Duke Lemur Center, and a tour of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium; and participated in several other Law School and community events. After they complete their 2022 coursework and exams, the judges will work to finalize their thesis projects, the final component of the Master of Judicial Studies degree program required for their graduation in 2023. Several past MJS thesis papers are available in the Duke Law Scholarship Repository.