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Duke Law School Dean to Deliver 2017 Convocation Address

David F. Levi, dean of the Duke Law School, will be the speaker for the 2017 Convocation for Graduate and Professional School Students.

Convocation is the official welcoming ceremony for all graduate and professional students. The 2017 Convocation will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23, at Duke University Chapel.

Prior to being appointed dean in 2007, Levi served as the Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California with chambers in Sacramento. He was appointed a U.S. attorney in 1986 and a U.S. district judge in 1990.

At Duke, Levi has taught courses on judicial behavior, ethics, and legal history. In 2007, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Levi's professional accomplishments include:

  • serving as chair of two Judicial Conference committees by appointment of the Chief Justice (the Judicial Conference makes policy for federal courts);
  • cofounding and serving as the first president of what is now the Schwartz-Levi American Inn of Court (designed to improve the skills, professionalism, and ethics of the bench and bar) at the King Hall School of Law at the University of California at Davis;
  • serving as chair of the Ninth Circuit Task Force on Race, Religious and Ethnic Fairness and authoring the task force’s report;
  • being named president of the Ninth Circuit District Judges Association (2003-2005);
  • serving on the board of directors of Equal Justice Works (2010-2013);
  • being appointed chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the American Judicial System in 2014;
  • being named co-chair of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice in 2015;
  • being elected president of the American Law Institute beginning in May 2017; and
  • co-authoring Federal Trial Objections.

A native of Chicago, Levi earned his A.B. in history and literature from Harvard College and entered Harvard’s graduate program in history, specializing in English legal history and serving as a teaching fellow in English history and literature. He graduated Order of the Coif in 1980 from Stanford Law School, where he was also president of the Stanford Law Review. Following graduation, he was a law clerk to Judge Ben C. Duniway of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then to Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court.