Assistant Professor of Law, 1950-1951, 1956-1961, Adjunct Professor of Law, 1961-1967, Professor of Law, 1967-2009
Judge Robinson Everett was a member of the Duke Law faculty for over fifty years. He started teaching at Duke soon after graduating from law school in 1950. At age 22, he was the youngest person to ever join the law faculty. During the Korean War Everett left teaching to join the Air Force and served in the Judge Advocate General’s Office. In 1956 he joined the Duke Law faculty again as an assistant professor and assistant editor of Law & Contemporary Problems. Everett published the textbook Military Justice in the Armed Forces of the United States the same year and produced legal scholarship throughout his career that addressed issues relating to military justice, criminal procedure, and redistricting, among other topics. In 1967 Everett became a tenured professor and continued to edit L&CP until 1974. He took another break from teaching in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter nominated Everett to the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, where he served as chief justice until 1990.
After stepping down from the bench, Everett returned to teaching full-time. In 1993 he created Duke Law’s Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security, often known as LENS. The center promotes and supports education and scholarship on national security law topics and hosts conferences on the subject.
Between 1992 and 2000 Everett was highly involved as an attorney for the plaintiffs and as a plaintiff himself in North Carolina’s congressional redistricting litigation. The series of cases led to him arguing before the Supreme Court four times.
Everett was an active member of several local, state, and national bar organizations and other legal institutions, such as the American Law Institute, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and the American Judicature Society. The many awards and recognitions Everett received include the American Bar Association’s Morris I. Liebman Award in 2000 and the John J. Parker Memorial Award from the North Carolina Bar Association in 2004. He was the first recipient of the Judge Advocates Association’s Life Service Award, which is now named for him. In 2006 he was inducted into the North Carolina Bar Association's General Practice Hall of Fame. In 2008 he was presented the A. Kenneth Pye Award by the Duke Law Alumni Association in honor of his fifty years teaching.
Everett’s involvement in the community also included providing considerable philanthropy to Duke Law, especially in the areas of student needs and financial aid. His generosity led to the founding of the Reuben Oscar and Robinson O. Everett Scholarship Endowment in 2002.
Robinson Everett was born and raised in Durham, the son of two accomplished attorneys. He completed his AB degree magna cum laude at Harvard in 1947. He continued at Harvard Law where he worked on the Harvard Law Review. He earned his law degree magna cum laude as well in 1950.
Everett remained active at Duke Law until his death at age 81 in 2009.
Duke University, School of Law, Bulletin of Duke University School of Law [serial]