Allyson K. Duncan

Advisory Council - USA

Allyson K. Duncan was sworn into office as a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on August 15, 2003, after being nominated by President George W. Bush on April 28 and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on July 17.

She was born in Durham, North Carolina, on September 5, 1951, to Anne and Robert Duncan.  Raised in Durham, she graduated first in her class from Hampton University in 1972.  She then attended Duke University School of Law as an Earl Warren Scholar, graduating in 1975.

Following her graduation from Duke and a brief stent as an associate editor at the Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Company, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Julia Cooper Mack of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  She remained in Washington, D.C., at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, rising through the ranks from its Appellate Section to serving as the agency’s Legal Counsel.

In 1986, she returned to North Carolina to become an associate professor of law at North Carolina Central University.  She sat briefly as an Associate Judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals before being appointed to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, where she served as a Commissioner from 1991 to 1998.  She then entered private practice, ultimately becoming a partner in a large Raleigh law firm, where she specialized in telecommunications actions and energy law.  In 2003, she became the first African American and third female President of the North Carolina Bar Association.

A Republican, she received bipartisan support for and rapid consideration of her nomination to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 2003.  Senator John Edwards said of her on the chamber floor, “This is a woman of extraordinary intellect and skill, who loves the law, strives for justice, and never allows politics to interfere with her commitment to equality.”

She is the first African-American woman and the first female North Carolinian to sit on the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  She was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts to the International Judicial Relations Committee.  She is the President of the Federal Judges Association and a member of the International Association of Judges.

She is married to U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Webb, and they live in Raleigh, North Carolina.  She serves on the Board of Trustees of Duke University and has received numerous legal honors as well as awards for her community involvement.