Kerry Abrams became the James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law and professor of law on July 1, 2018, and was reappointed for a second 5-year term in 2022. A scholar of immigration, citizenship, family, and constitutional law, Dean Abrams is well known for her writing on family-based migration and the history of immigration law. As Dean, she has recruited over 20 new faculty, improved the Law School’s ability to offer significant financial aid to students, and expanded the School’s support for careers in public interest and government service.
Prior to her appointment at Duke Law, Dean Abrams served on the law faculty of the University of Virginia for thirteen years, and, more recently, as vice provost for faculty affairs. As vice provost, she was responsible university-wide for faculty recruitment and retention, faculty policies, the promotion and tenure process, and professional and leadership development programs for faculty. She has also served on the faculty at New York University School of Law, where she taught lawyering skills.
Dean Abrams is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Stanford Law School. After law school, she clerked for Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and practiced as a commercial litigator for several years at the New York City law firm of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler LLP.