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Celebrating the Class of 2020

Duke Law School welcomed the Class of 2020 back to campus for a special recognition ceremony on Sept. 25 in Page Auditorium.

This year's class speaker was Maddy Mumma '20.

Maddy Mumma earned a BA in Public Health and Psychology at Duke University before completed her JD at the Law School. At Duke Law, she served as the external vice president for the Government and Public Service Society, executive director of the Innocence Project, a member of the Mock Trial Board, a 2L DBA Representative, and a staff editor for Law and Contemporary Problems. Since graduation, Mumma has worked as a judicial law clerk for the U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach and the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cheyenne.

Professor Nita Farahany '04 PhD '06 gave this year's distinguished address.

Nita Farahany ’04 is the Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law. She is the Founding Director of Duke Science & Society, Chair of the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, and a co-editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Farahany is a frequent commentator for national media and radio shows, and she has presented at the World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, TED, the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, and more. She served on the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues under President Barack Obama and is a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke. She is also the Chair Elect of the Section on Jurisprudence for the Association of American Law Schools. She serves on Scientific and Ethics Advisory Boards for several corporations.

After the ceremony, graduates gathered in Marcy’s Garden, where they received special gift bags, including a gift card to celebrate at the Washington Duke Inn, took photos, and caught up with friends, faculty, and Law School leaders.

We talked with some of our returning graduates about things like what they were looking forward to about being back at Duke Law, what's changed since they graduated, and who their biggest influences were at the Law School.

How does it feel to be back at the Law School to celebrate, and what are you looking forward to most about being back on campus?

I’m looking forward to taking time to recognize this moment with friends and family. Graduating in May of 2020 was odd. You knew it was happening, but because of all the uncertainty from the pandemic celebrating felt somewhat insignificant compared to what was happening in the world. I missed the little things associated with a graduation—sharing memories and laughs with friends, celebrating moves and next steps of our lives. It will be so nice to have those moments, and I know being back at Duke and in Durham will make it much more meaningful.

- David Gardner '20

How do you feel your time at Duke Law prepared you for your current career?

My time at Duke Law helped me understand that we all have the potential to make a difference in the world. Through critical thinking, I was able to comprehend that the use of new technologies and tools designed by other disciplines, such as computer science, have the power of allowing everyone to have access to legal services and, therefore, access to justice. That was the main lesson I learned. I also learned that with technology and the law, it is not about how much you know about their intersection. That changes every day with new technology and new laws that apply to its use. What's more important is thinking critically about how we should use technology and about its potential, both positive and negative.

- Andrea Rojas Rozo LLM’20

Who were your most influential mentors at Duke Law?

Professor Ernest Young was always very reassuring, no matter what challenge I faced. His mentorship to all students, and especially the conservative ones, is invaluable. Professor Matt Adler put up with me for four different classes and continues to offer his advice on my career options. And Professor Sean Andrussier is the person who recommended me to the judge for whom I clerked. All of them deserve recognition for going above and beyond to help Duke Law students.

- Michael Wajda '20