Judges Trade Courtroom for Classroom as Duke's Masters of Law in Judicial Studies Welcomes Inaugural Class
Ream, Michael, Judicature
For four weeks beginning May 20, Duke Law School's new Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Judicial Studies program welcomed its inaugural class - a select group of 18 sitting state, federal, and foreign judges (from Canada and Ghana), representing both trial and appellate benches. The innovative program is the brainchild of Duke Law Dean David F. Levi, former Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, who recognized the need for academic opportunities for judges and Duke's scholarly strength in the study of the judiciary.
John Rabiej, the Director of Duke Law's Center for Judicial Studies, describes the new LL.M. curriculum as the first graduate program for judges designed to take a scholarly and interdisciplinary view of the judiciary as an institution. According to Rabiej, the program is intended to "allow judges to develop the research and analytical skills necessary to study and compare domestic and international judicial institutions, to explore emerging legal issues and general judicial practices, and to examine ideas for judicial reform."
The Master of Laws in Judicial Studies program requires 22 course credits earned in-residence at Duke Law School over two successive summer terms, as well as the completion of a master's thesis based on original research. This summer, the 18 student judges took courses in subjects including Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation, Federalism, International Law in U.S. Courts, Judicial History, Analytical Methods, Forensic Finance, and the Study of the Judiciary, taught by members of the Duke Law faculty. In addition, U. …