Duke Law Magazine, Summer 2020

Page 51

“An extraordinary advocate” David Gardner ’20

D

avid Gardner was always intent on a career in public interest law, but over his 1L summer in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, he was introduced to disability rights work. He was invited to work on a wide-range of cases, including matters involving HIV discrimination and accessibility, by attorneys who were clearly passionate about their work. “It felt like everyone there was trying to do the right thing that would lead to outcomes that make a difference in people’s lives,” he says. Gardner went on to spend three semesters in the Health Justice Clinic, which he calls his “rock” at Duke Law. His mentors, Clinical Professors Allison Rice, the clinic’s director, and Hannah Demeritt ’04, the supervising attorney, pushed him to build skills and reflect on his strengths and passion. “I know that I learn best from hands-on experience,” he says. “The skills and tips that I develop working on a case will stick with me and I’ll use them for the rest of my life.” The highlight of Gardner’s first semester in the clinic was representing a client before a Social Security Administration judge who had been denied years worth of disability benefits and had already been through one administrative hearing. Making the case for the client’s eligibility involved gathering and sifting through thousands of pages of medical records to identify details that supported his claim of an affliction that prevented him from working. Under Demeritt’s supervision, Gardner crafted a brief that included a statement from the client’s longtime doctor. At the hearing, he handled the opening argument, the direct examination of the client, and the cross-examination of the government’s vocational examiner. The judge made a fully favorable ruling for the clinic’s client, awarding him thousands of dollars in back pay as well as ongoing disability benefits.

David Gardner led a discussion on working in the federal government at the 2018 Public Interest Retreat.

St. Paul, Minn. Political science and economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he was student body president Pre-law Supported and mentored Minneapolis high school students who would be first in their families to attend college through the nonprofit College Possible Duke Law The John R. Parkinson Memorial SchOlarship Law Scholarship Leadership Managing editor, Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy; co-director, Cancer Pro Bono Project; assistant director, Lawyer on the Line Clinics Health Justice Clinic (basic, advanced, and independent study); Immigrant Rights Clinic Postgrad Entering the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division through the Legal Honors Program Hometown

Undergrad

Duke Law Magazine • Summer 2020

49


Articles inside

2020 Law Alumni Association awards

1min
page 67

Sua Sponte

2min
page 66

Alumni Notes

25min
pages 59-65

Danielle French ’21, T’18

4min
page 58

Frances Fulk Rufty ’45

6min
pages 55-57

Dan Scheinman '87

9min
pages 53-55

David Gardner '20: "An extraordinary advocate"

6min
pages 51-52

Carrying Experience Into Practice

6min
pages 48-50

Duke Law Clinics

37min
pages 36-47

Remembering Francis E. McGovern

8min
pages 34-35

John Weistart '68

1min
page 33

Jane Wettach

10min
pages 31-33

Christopher Schroeder

12min
pages 28-30

Faculty Notes

10min
pages 25-27

Duke awards distinguished professorships to Farahany, Frakes, and Sachs

8min
pages 22-24

Faculty Focus: H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr.

9min
pages 20-22

Faculty Focus: Gina-Gail Fletcher

7min
pages 18-20

Graduation 2020

8min
pages 16-17

LENS 25: 25th Annual National Security Law Conference

7min
pages 14-15

Notable & Quotable: Reflections on racial justice and police reform

2min
pages 12-13

Duke Law hosts D.C. event honoring women’s advancement in legal profession and at helm of journals

8min
pages 9-11

A semester like no other

16min
pages 4-8

From the Dean

4min
page 2
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