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Judge Allyson K. Duncan (Ret.), J.D.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitSenior Lecturing Fellow

Judge Allyson K. Duncan (Ret.), J.D.

Bio

Hon. Allyson K. Duncan was appointed to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush and confirmed by unanimous Senate Vote, making her the first African American woman to serve on that court—a distinction also true of her appointment to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She served on the 4th Circuit for sixteen years, from 2003 to 2019, writing opinions on numerous issues.

While on the 4th Circuit Judge Duncan served on many Circuit and Judicial Conference Committees, and was particularly active in the international arena. She was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts first as a member and later Chair of the International Judicial Relations Committee, the Committee responsible for responding to requests for judicial assistance worldwide. She presently serves as Vice President and Regional President of the International Association of Judges, an organization founded in Saltsburg in the 1950s that now includes representatives from ninety countries, dedicated to supporting and educating the judiciary. In that capacity she has spoken all over the world, and as recently as October of this year in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on issues such as improving judicial administration, handling complex cases involving national security, global intellectual property rights, and addressing private and governmental corruption. She was elected President of the Federal Judges Association, the organization representing over a thousand Article III judges, and served on its governing board for a number of years.

Prior to appointment to the bench, Judge Duncan was a partner in the law firm Kilpatrick Stockton, a top tier law firm headquartered in Atlanta, and worked in the employment and regulatory groups. She came to private practice from a term on the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which regulated energy, natural gas, telecommunications, water utilities and represented a number of entities ranging from transmission companies to municipal gas utilities and incumbent local exchange carriers. Her labor and employment expertise derived from serving with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, first as appellate attorney arguing Title VII and other federal anti-discrimination cases in the federal courts, and ultimately as the agency’s Legal Counsel, representing it in defensive litigation, and developing and revising agency guidelines, such as its guidelines on sexual harassment.

Judge Duncan has been extremely active in her profession and in the community. She served on a number of Committees of the North Carolina Bar Association, and was elected its first African American President in 2003—the term overlapping with her first year on the bench.

She serves on the Duke University Board of Trustees, having served on Audit and Compliance, Finance and chairing Graduate and Professional Education and Research. She was a founding member of the Carolina Ballet and recently received the Triangle Business Journal Lifetime Achievement Award. She has received numerous other recognitions and awards as well.