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Fall Semester 2019 Programming

Our 2019 calendar was full of social, networking and legal events!

September, 2019

In September, Duke OutLaw co-hosted a panel discussion entitled “Where Gender Identity and Biology Collide: A Conversation with Doriane Coleman and Laurence Helfer.” The topic centered on the recent sports law case of Caster Semenya, a track athlete who has been prohibited from competing in the Olympics due to her biological composition. Socially, OutLaw sponsored a Social and Trip to Legends Bar in Raleigh, NC. A group of students from the Law School and the Duke Fuqua School of Business attended.

Duke OutLaw members before heading to Legends, Raleigh.

October, 2019

In October, OutLaw hosted the Durham Pride Breakfast before attending the Durham Pride Parade. Thousands of LGBTQ+ marchers were joined by allies to celebrate our diversity and demand further progress on LGBTQ} issues.

Duke OutLaw members attending the Durham Pride Breakfast.

Later in the month, OutLaw members attended the Fuqua School of Business Halloween Drag Show, hosted by FuquaPride. The event took place at Shooters Saloon, a favorite Duke undergrad bar with a stage, mechanical bull, and a cage for dancing above the crowd. The event provides OutLaw members a chance to cut loose around the halfway point of the fall semester.

November 2019

OutLaw’s November panel LGBTQ+ in Big Law featured attorneys from Gibson Dunn, Sidley Austin and Morgan Lewis. The attorneys spoke at length about their storied careers, what it is like being LGBTQ+ at some of the biggest law firms in the United States, and where firms can do better in the space of creating inclusive and equal spaces for LGBTQ+ lawyers.


Attorneys speak to students about life in Big Law as LGBTQ+ lawyers.

In early November, Sidley Austin joined OutLaw for a cocktail reception at Alley 27, a trendy Durham bar with signature drinks and excellent food. Attorneys got to know 1L students and speak with them about opportunities at the firm.

Other students attended a coffee session with Morgan Lewis attorneys to discuss Pro Bono work at the firm and opportunities for summer internships.

Socially, OutLaw members enjoyed a mixer with Fuqua Business School Pride at a local LGBTQ+ bar in Durham.

OutLaw also co-hosted a “Spread the Love” letter writing event with a number of other Duke Law student groups in response to a protest by Westboro Baptist Church outside Duke’s campus. The letter writing campaign resulted in dozens of letters of support and love being sent to people struggling with grief, bullying, self-acceptance and other difficult experiences.

Students write letters of support for suffering individuals as a demonstration of love and acceptance.

To round out the semester, Duke OutLaw hosted the panel “Fired for being LGBT+: Supreme Court Showdown Over Title VII Workplace Discrimination.” The discussion centered on two Supreme Court cases about whether LGBTQ+ persons are included as being protected from discrimination under the federal workplace discrimination law. The panel featured Greg Nevins, an appellate attorney who argued one of the cases in the lower circuit; Noah Lewis, attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund; and Professor Ames Simmons, policy director at Equality NC and professor at Duke Law School.

Lawyers discussing the pending Title VII workplace discrimination cases at the Supreme Court.

The panel was moderated by Duke Constitutional Law Professor Neil Siegel. Noah Lewis stuck around to do a second panel, co-hosted by the Health Law Society, about Eliminating Discrimination in Trans Health Care Issues.

First-Year Summer Diversity Fellowships Information Session

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 • 12:30 PM • Law School 3037

BLSA has organized a great opportunity for 1Ls to learn more about Diversity Fellowships during 1L summer, and has invited OutLaw to attend on Tuesday, November 3rd.

An amazing group of law firm leaders is coming to Duke, including the global hiring partner from Latham out of DC, the hiring partner of Reed Smith from PA, a partner and member of the diversity committee at Cooley in New York, and the National Head of Recruiting from K&L Gates.  As you may know, many firms have diversity opportunities for 1Ls that provide great exposure to private practice, perhaps time at a client or company, and in many cases significant monetary grants towards tuition.  This program aims to demystify the summer programs and process for the whole 1L student body so that more Duke students from diverse backgrounds apply and take advantage of these opportunities.  In addition to perhaps getting a fellowship as a 1L, these are great contacts for the 2L search.

Please join us for a panel discussion with firm representatives about diversity fellowship and scholarship opportunities for 1L students. All students are invited and the session will cover the process and timing of applying for diversity opportunities, the benefits of participating in a program during a summer internship or clerkship and the makings of a viable fellowship or scholarship application. Sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, the panel will be moderated by Professor Guy Charles, and is facilitated by the Career & Professional Development Center. Lunch will be provided.

Pride Week

It’s Pride Week in Durham! Join us at 1:00pm on Saturday (Sept. 26) on East Campus and celebrate Triangle Pride! Or, come out the night before to the the Duke Field Hockey field. The Team is doing their annual partnership with Duke LGBT groups to encourage them to come have a presence at their game.  There will be free food and other giveaways throughout the night.  This year, the Duke Pride game will be held this Friday, September 25th at 6 pm.   The event will be located at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.

Out in the Night Event

Duke OutLaw is partnering with the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity to host a screening of Out in The Night, followed by a Q&A with the director and the women depicted in the film. It is Friday night at 6:00 at White Lecture Hall on East campus. Check out the link below for more details:


First General Body Meeting

Please join us for our first general body meeting of the semester on Friday, September 11th at 12:30pm. Dean Boswell, Professor Helfer, and Bernadette Brown, Duke’s Director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, plan to attend.  Contact Seth Pearson for further information.

Anatomy of a Deal Presentation

For the 4th consecutive year, Vincent & Elkins is sponsoring OutLaw’s presentation on the Anatomy of a Deal. Mr. Rob Scherer, a Duke graduate and attorney in V&E’s NY Office, will lead the presentation. We will walk through a transaction from the beginning stages to the closing.

Please join us on Wednesday, Feb. 25th at the lunch hour in room 3037.

OutLaw’s Shellhorn Elected as Young Trustee

OutLaw is proud to announce that member and former President, Ben Shellhorn will serve on the Duke Board of Trustees as the Young Trustee. Shellhorn is a third year, JD/MBA student, and the current President of the Graduate Student Body. For more information on Ben and his service to the Duke community, please see the Chronicle article posted below.

How To Succeed As A Summer Associate

Duke OutLaw is co-hosting a panel discussion featuring a group of attorneys from Haynes and Boone, who will discuss tips and strategies for making the most of of summer associate positions. The discussion will be held on Thursday, January 29th at 12:30. All are welcome to attend!

Discussion on Marriage Equality in North Carolina

Duke Law is hosting a panel discussion on Marriage Equality in North Carolina. The discussion is jointly hosted by The American Constitution Society and The Program in Public Law. Elizabeth Gill (Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Norther California), and Niel Siegel (Co-Director of the Program in Public Law) will discuss past and present marriage equality litigation. Specifically, the panel will focus on the strategy choices that accompany nationwide civil rights litigation, the practical and theoretical issues surrounding equal protection and due process jurisprudence, and the impact these cases will have on civil rights, constitutional adjudication and federalism going forward.

The panel discussion will be at 12:30 in room 3041.

New Officers Elected

Duke OutLaw is excited to announce the election of new officers for the 2014-15 academic year. Jason Ervin, a 2L, will serve as President while Seth Pearson, also a 2L, is the new Vice President. 1Ls Rosie McKinley and Paul Gray will serve as the Communications Chair and Social Events Coordinator, respectively. The group looks forward to hosting new events in furtherance of OutLaw’s goals, and increasing the awareness of LGBTQ rights and legal issues within the Duke Law community.

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