A word about what to do with some of your time not spent in classes: get involved in extracurricular activities (studying does not count as an extracurricular activity). It doesn’t matter which ones, only that you find something that you enjoy. Not only will your education be enhanced by participating in extracurricular activities, you will be more interesting (and therefore more marketable) than your counterpart who does nothing other than study. In addition, extracurriculars provide an excellent opportunity to make and develop friendships.
One example of an extracurricular activity all 1Ls will have an opportunity to participate in is the Duke Law Softball League. Each 1L section will comprise a softball team, which will compete throughout the fall semester against the other 1L sections, as well as 2L and 3L teams. Do not worry, no prior softball experience required!
Law School Organizations
Public Interest & Pro Bono
Some of your time should be spent doing pro bono work. Through public interest, law students gain an opportunity to learn about the many ways that attorneys perform public service, whether in a nonprofit organization, a governmental agency, or a private law firm. The Pro Bono Project brings classroom learning alive by providing law students with real-life opportunities to use their new knowledge and skills. The Pro Bono Project is a program whereby students are invited to pledge fifty hours of law-related service to the community during their three years of law school. Some students describe their involvement in pro bono as the most rewarding part of their law school experience. For more information, check out the public interest site or come to one of the informational meetings in the fall to hear about and sign up for various pro bono projects.
Duke Bar Association
This is what DBA says about itself: “The Duke Bar Association coordinates the professional, social, and other extracurricular activities of the student body. The association resembles in its composition and purpose both a university student government and a professional bar association. It addresses student grievances and serves as a liaison between students, faculty, and the administration. The association oversees all student organizations, publicizes Law School activities, sponsors athletic and social programs, and disburses its dues funds among the school’s organizations.” I am most familiar with DBA as the group that organizes weekly trips to a designated bar (called “bar review”—a nice turn of phrase that will come back to haunt us after we graduate when we will learn what bar review is really about: lots of time in the library). DBA organizes many other worthy events, such as Dedicated to Durham (a biannual public service event involving students and faculty), softball and bowling leagues for the law school (the biggest bowling league in North Carolina), faculty/student mixers, and other social events. One of the other key functions of DBA is to act as a liaison between the students, faculty and administration. To meet that goal DBA sends student representatives to every major Faculty Committee at Duke Law, including the Admissions, Faculty Appointments, Planning and Curriculum Committees. Each of these Committees requires a different time commitment but students are an invaluable part of every major decision made at the law school from faculty hiring to grading system changes.
Duke Law School Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)
The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) is composed of students interested in giving back to their communities by pursuing professional careers in public interest or government work. PILF promotes public service by raising money to fund summer positions in the public interest sector. PILF’s biggest fundraiser is also one of Duke Law’s biggest social events. The annual Auction & Gala PILF puts on brings together professors, students, staff and friends together for a night of silent and live auction fun, as well as socializing in your best dress. PILF will also bring in guest speakers to campus to discuss their careers and opportunities available in the public interest sector.
Journals and Law Reviews
The journals are student-run publications that publish academic legal articles written by law professors and legal scholars from across the country and, in some cases, across the world. Journal membership is important to many potential employers, and some students actually profess enjoying the work. Employers like the credential because it implies some form of selectivity (grades or writing ability), and journals hone students’ writing, editing, and cite checking skills. Students enjoy the relationships they can develop from working on a project within a small group as well as the opportunity to have a piece of their own published. Duke Law students are fortunate to have a number of choices (nine) when deciding which journal to join. Duke Law’s Journals are: Alaska Law Review, Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, Duke Forum for Law and Social Change, Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, Law and Contemporary Problems, Duke Law Journal, and Duke Law & Technology Review. Each spring, there are a few informational meetings for first-year students to learn about each journal, and the application process. All of the journals except the Duke Law Journal are now located in newly-constructed offices on first floor of the Goodson Law Library.
Moot Court is a chance to dress up in professional clothes and practice the skill of oral argument. As part of your Legal Analysis, Research and Writing course, each first-year must argue the topic of their appellate brief (the largest assignment for the class, due in the spring) in the first round of the Hardt Cup Moot Court Competition. This is scary for many, as the judges (older students) pepper students with questions during the oral arguments. But, it is also rewarding: for some this is the first time they have been required to think on their feet, and everyone comes through unscathed. After the first round, all students are invited to continue in the competition, where they are given a new topic and 24 hours in which to develop an oral argument. The next week it happens again. The top scoring students are invited to join the Moot Court Board, with the top eight competing to be declared Hardt Cup champion. If you don’t make Moot Court as a 1L, there’s no need to despair; competitions available to 2L’s and 3L’s allow upperclass students to join the Board.
Every year the Dean’s Cup features an opportunity for 2L and 3L students to compete in an intramural moot court competitions that has been judged by Justice Scalia and Justice Alito in years past.
While Moot Court offers students the chance to test out the appellate experience, Mock Trial is an opportunity for students to perform trials — examine witnesses, make objections, and deliver opening and closing arguments. Students can compete 1L year in the spring with a team comprised of four students. Top competitors in this intrascholastic tournament make the Mock Trial Board. Once on the board, students compete in tournaments all over the country. In recent years, Duke Mock Trial Team has consistently brought home top prizes from many competitions across the nation.
Other Student Organizations
Listed below are the names of Duke Law’s student organizations. Although there are a variety of organizations, if you don’t see your interest represented, it is possible to organize your own student group (and receive funding, of course). The best way to get involved is to keep your eyes and ears open at the beginning of the year, when there will be lots of activity, as well as talk to older students to learn about groups of which they are members.
- ABA Law Student Division
- American Constitution Society
- Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
- Asian Law Students Association
- Black Graduate and Professional Student Association
- Black Law Students Association
- Business Law Society
- Christian Legal Society
- Coalition Against Gendered Violence
- Court Jesters
- Duke Bar Association
- Duke Education Law and Policy Society
- Duke Environmental Law Society
- Duke Law Basketball
- Duke Law Democrats
- Duke Law Run Club
- Duke Law Veterans
- Fashion Law Society
- Federalist Society
- Government and Public Service Society
- Graduate and Professional Student Council
- Health Law Society
- Hispanic Law Students Association
- Human Rights Law Society
- If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
- Immigrant Education Project
- Innocence Project
- International Law Society
- J. Reuben Clark Society
- Jewish Law Students Association
- Law & Economics Society
- Law & Entrepreneurship Society
- Law Students for Accessibility
- Mock Trial Board
- Moot Court Board
- Muslim Law Students Association
- National Security Law Society
- Off the Record A Capella
- Public Interest Law Foundation
- Refugee Asylum Support Project
- The SJD Association
- South Asian Law Students Association
- Southern Justice Spring Break
- Sports and Entertainment Law Society
- Street Law
- Student Organization for Legal Issues in the Middle East and North Africa (SOLIMENA)
- Transactional Law Competition Board
- Transfer Students Association
- Veterans Assistance Project
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
- Women Law Students Association
Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC)
GPSC (pronounced “Gypsy”) includes representatives elected from the business, divinity, environment, graduate, law, medical, and nursing schools. These schools make up almost half of Duke’s student body. GPSC acts as a liaison between students and the university administration and appoints representatives to many university and trustee committees. GPSC also plans interdepartmental and interschool social events.
- Social Events: GPSC organizes several social events throughout the year with free food and drink that give graduate and professional students the opportunity to meet other students outside of their departments and schools. Some of these activities include tailgate parties before home football games and the UNC men’s basketball game, discount nights at local bars, and much more! Check out the GPSC home page or watch for flyers and emails announcing upcoming events.
- Men’s Basketball Tickets: GPSC is in charge of distributing tickets for the men’s basketball games. The way that GPSC allocates tickets is through an important Duke graduate school tradition called “Campout.” Students convene for 48 straight hours on-campus to show their love for Duke Basketball and win the chance to enter the graduate student basketball season ticket lottery. Of those who participate, generally more than half of the students are eligible to purchase basketball season tickets. Each pass costs $200 for all twenty home games. If you complete the campout requirements, which include random checks day and night, your name is placed in the lottery. For every year that you participate in Campout but do not receive tickets, you receive better odds of receiving tickets in future years’ Campout. We invite you to participate in this year’s basketball ticket campout. If you cannot attend the campout, it is possible to apply for an exemption.
Sustainable Duke‘s (DUGI) mission is to increase the sustainability of Duke’s campus by encouraging the implementation of environmentally sensitive activities, such as green building, recycling competitions, and creative reuse.
Graduate and Professional Women’s Network (GPWN)
The Graduate and Professional Women’s Network has three goals: the first is to unite women from different graduate departments and professional schools within a supportive peer network. Second, GPWN offers programs concerning the isolation and gender discrimination that often characterize women’s graduate and professional school careers. GPWN’s main project is the Educational and Professional Development Dinner Discussion Series. Meet students from different departments, discuss issues of common concern, and enjoy a free meal. Come to one dinner or the entire series. Bring a friend! Finally, the group seeks to improve the campus climate for women graduate and professional students. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to the mailing list, e-mail the message “subscribe gradwomen” (without quotation marks) to: email@example.com.
Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture
An excellent resource for African and African American students, as well as a gathering place for all students interested in increasing their awareness of Black Culture. The Center sponsors many events throughout the year.
Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
The mission of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity is to provide education, advocacy, support, and space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and straight-allied students, staff, and faculty at Duke, as well as alumnae and members of neighboring communities. Through its services, the Center presents educational, cultural, and social opportunities for all students, faculty, staff, and alumnae to challenge intolerance and to create a more hospitable campus climate.
Fitness at Duke
As a Duke student you automatically become a member of several campus gyms. You may use your Duke I.D. card for admission whenever the Wilson or Brodie gyms are open
Wilson Recreation Center
Wilson is the nicest and largest gym at Duke University. It is located on West Campus, off of Towerview Drive. It contains basketball courts (as does the neighboring Card Gymnasium), aerobic exercise machines, a weight room, a swimming pool, a spinning area, saunas, and other multipurpose rooms in which various physical education classes are held (some for free). There is also a juice bar called Quenchers that has energy bars, protein shakes, and fruit. Outside Wilson there are also indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Remember to bring your Duke Card to enter Wilson.
Brodie Recreation Center
Brodie is the older, smaller gym on campus, located on East Campus. Brodie also has basketball courts, a smaller swimming pool, a weight room, and some aerobic exercise machines and multipurpose rooms in which classes are held. Several tennis courts are located outside. As always, you must have your Duke Card to enter.
There are outdoor basketball courts on both East and Central Campus. There are also turf fields for soccer or other outdoor sports on East Campus and on West Campus next to the Whitford parking lots and the soccer stadium.
For information on joining one of the many intramural athletic clubs, check out Duke Recreation and Physical Education’s Intramurals page.