Kerry Abrams, who has served as dean of Duke Law School since 2018, has been reappointed to another five-year term through June 30, 2028, President Vincent Price and Provost Sally Kornbluth announced today.
The reappointment follows the recommendation of a review committee chaired by Georg Vanberg, Ernestine Friedl Distinguished Professor of Political Science in Trinity College.
A nationally recognized scholar of immigration, citizenship, family, and constitutional law, Abrams has diversified the faculty and student body, overseen an expansion of the school’s support for public interest law, and secured record amounts of financial support for scholarships, legal clinics, and other priorities.
“Kerry is an impressive leader with an exciting vision for the future of Duke Law, and I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue to work with her,” Kornbluth said. “She has led the school through the many challenges of the pandemic while also successfully advancing faculty and student recruitment, faculty scholarship, and clinical legal education.”
“I am grateful to Georg Vanberg and the review committee for their work, as well as to all of the members of the Duke community who participated in the review process,” Kornbluth added.
Under Abrams’ leadership, Duke Law has welcomed the most diverse entering classes in its history, including four consecutive years where the majority of the incoming JD class is comprised of women, a first for Duke Law. The school has also made significant hires of both entry-level and mid-career faculty, and has invested in efforts to foster an inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff. Abrams has also overseen substantial investments to the school’s clinical program, including the launch of a clinic focused on immigrant rights and a forthcoming criminal defense clinic.
“Kerry’s commitments to fostering an inclusive law community and innovating in legal education and research are building on the School’s established strengths to ensure continued success,” Price said. “Under Kerry’s leadership, Duke Law is very well positioned for the future.”
Abrams has also focused her efforts on supporting students who seek careers in public interest and government service. She has established two post-graduate fellowships to help students pursue public interest careers and overseen the growth of the Certificate in Public Interest and Public Service. Duke Law has also launched an interdisciplinary research center, The Wilson Center for Science and Justice, focused on criminal justice reform.
Abrams came to Duke following thirteen years on the faculty of the University of Virginia, where she also served as vice provost for faculty affairs from 2014 until 2018. She is well known for her scholarly writing on family-based migration, the legal regulation of immigrant families, and the history of immigration law.
Abrams earned a bachelor of arts degree in English literature with highest honors from Swarthmore College, and graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School, where she was president of the Moot Court Board and the co-chair of Women of Stanford Law. She is a member of the New York State Bar and the United States Supreme Court Bar.