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2014 – 2015 Call for Elections

Duke’s OutLaw group needs you!  We are looking for candidates to help shape the future of the organization, and thus are asking all potential applicants to SUBMIT ONLINE HERE.

You are asked to submit a statement of interest, which can be in a medium of your choice.  We accept graphics (.jpg, .jpeg, .png), Word documents (.doc, .docx), portable document format (.pdf), or PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx).   The statement of interest is your opportunity to express your interests for OutLaw and can target one position (e.g., President) or be created to encompass a wide swath of positions.  Either way, you can be considered for any role on the board.  The document you choose to upload should be limited to 1 sheet/slide/etc.

Voting will be done online, and shall be open for one full week (7 days).  We will use instant runoff vote (IRV) if there is more than one candidate, and multiple people can run for multiple positions.  For positions that run uncontested, we will vote by affirmation.  Both sets of voting requires a majority of voters.  Positions for which no person runs will be filled at the discretion of the newly-elected executives–either through appointments this year or at the start of the semester during the 2014–2015 academic year.

For current executives, please click here.  Also read the About page, which include our bylaws, featuring a description of each position’s role.

Vinson & Elkins and OutLaw Presents: Anatomy of a Deal

Join Vinson & Elkins’ Counsel, Rob Scherer (Duke ’94), as he presents the Anatomy of a Deal. Scherer, counsel in the NYC office, will walk you through a transaction from the beginning stages to closing. This is a great opportunity to get an inside look at corporate and transactional law, as well as 1Ls to get a chance to meet representatives from V&E, one of the law firms attending Duke Blueprint for Success.

Please RSVP to by Feb. 28th so that we can estimate an appropriate amount of food.

Q-Shack will be served!!

OutLaw would like to thank V&E for organizing and sponsoring this event, as well as Ricardo Muñiz, a 3L, for organizing it.

Please see attached PDF for a full description.

HRC Announces Best Places to Work for LGBT/Q Attorneys in the U.S.

The Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”) has released its annual equality index.  This year 81 lawfirms around the country received perfect scores of 100, an increase from last year’s 71.

The  Corporate Equality Index is released every year and scores employers on a variety of metrics that impact LGBT/Q individuals.  For LGBT/Q candidates considering a career in legal services, this is a great resource for potential applicants as a benchmark for certain firms.

For Above the Law’s “highbrow” perspective on the matter, click here.  For the full report by HRC, please click here.

HIV is not a Crime: Film Screening & Discussion

OutLaw is co-hosting the panel “HIV is not a Crime: Film Screening & Discussion,” on Monday, November 18, 2013, at 12:15 p.m.  HIV criminalization, the inappropriate use of one’s HIV status in criminal prosecutions, is a growing and potentially dangerous phenomenon. About two-thirds of all states now have HIV-specific criminal statutes, creating a “viral underclass” in the law based on an immutable characteristic. What are some of the implications of this type of criminal law policy? In what situations does the law consider HIV to be a “deadly weapon” and is it doing so appropriately? What should the remedies for such situations be?

Join Professor Carolyn McAllaster, Director of Duke’s AIDS Legal Project, and Robert Suttle and Sean Strub, Directors at the Sero Project, discuss this incredibly important topic.  Mr. Suttle was prosecuted for an HIV-related crime, and Mr. Strub is a legal expert on HIV criminalization.

The event will be held in Room 4055 at Duke University School of Law.  Lunch will be provided.

OutLaw, the Health Law Society, and Duke’s AIDS Legal Project are hosting with generous support from Duke Bar Association and the Dean’s Blueprint Fund.  For questions, please email OutLaw President Ben Shellhorn.

A .pdf version of the announcement is available here.

OutLaw is hosting Bar Review

Your friends at OutLaw are hosting this week’s Bar Review at The Bar in Durham.  The event is a great opportunity to promote equality among future legal professionals.  And of course, the drinks will be cheap and flowing.

Check out the Facebook invite here.

1L Representative Application is Now Open

Calling all 1Ls!  OutLaw is now accepting applications for 1L representatives.  The role is a substantial leadership position within OutLaw and serves as a means for learning a variety of skills associated with running a student group at Duke University School of Law.  All 1Ls are encouraged to apply.

To access the application, please click here.

There are a host of opportunities for 1Ls to help chart the direction of OutLaw for the 2012-13 academic year.  A 1L Representative can choose from a menu of options to help in OutLaw’s agenda by organizing planned events, creating and hosting an original programming, or supporting the executive board generally.  For those that are planning on taking on a larger role in student organizations, such as OutLaw, this is terrific chance to gain insight from upper-level students on navigating the planning requirements at Duke.

Should you have any questions regarding the application, please email Ben Shellhorn at

OutLawed Guide to Surviving the 1L Year

We are kicking off this year with an annual dinner to discuss “Surviving the 1L Year.”  The event, hosted by OutLaw in association with the Duke Bar Association, will take place Thursday, September 19, 2013, at 8:00 p.m.  Dinner will be provided.  RSVP is required, and capacity is limited to 35, so respond soon.

Date: Thursday, September 19, 2013

Time: 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Location: University Commons.

Full Description: OutLaw is presenting the first of a six part series of “OutLawed” guides to 1L success. In the first session, 2L and 3L law students are here to host an honest, frank discussion about how to survive your first year of law school, how to personally define success, and where to find balance. The event is open to all students, but seating is limited. Dinner will be provided. OutLaw is the LGBT/Q affinity group on campus, open to all Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, or Questioning law students and Allies. The event is hosted with generous support from Duke Bar Association.  Note, this event will be held off-campus at University Commons, between East and West campuses. To RSVP please click here, or email any questions to current OutLaw President Ben Shellhorn at

OutLaw Kick Off Lunch – 9/17

OutLaw is hosting its annual kick off lunch in Room 4055 on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.  RSVP is not necessary.  We will introduce this year’s executive board and announce the slate of projects and programming we have in store for the coming academic year.  Please join us for the event at 12:15 p.m. in Room 4055.

Email President Ben Shellhorn at if you have any questions.

Duke University Approves Gender Confirmation Surgery Coverage in Health Plan

Duke University announced that it would include gender confirmation surgery in its health coverage as a step toward greater inclusion of the transgendered community, with coverage beginning in the fall.

This is a significant step toward equality in areas of gender diversity, and Duke’s move in this direction in one that only a handful of universities have taken, and indeed may be the most financially substantial coverage to date.

For complete coverage, the Duke Chronicle and the Huffington Post have extensive articles on the subject.

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: One Year Later

On September 20, Dan Woods and Kulsoom Naqvi joined us at Duke Law for an enlightening discussion of the effort to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the issues that continue to face same-sex military couples today. The room was packed!

For a full recording:

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