Allyson Duncan served as a U.S. circuit court judge on the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit since 2003. She retired at the end of July 2019. Her career was marked by a number of "firsts": She was the first African American and first woman from North Carolina to serve on the Fourth Circuit; was the first African American woman to serve on the North Carolina Appellate Courts; and served in 2003-04 as President of the North Carolina Bar Association, making her the first African American and only the third woman to hold this position.
Prior to joining the Fourth Circuit, Judge Duncan was a partner in the Raleigh offices of Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP, where she concentrated her practice in the areas of government relations and utility matters, primarily involving energy. She was a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission from 1991-1997, served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 1990-1991, and prior to that was an Assistant Professor of Law at North Carolina Central University. Judge Duncan worked for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1978-86, serving as an appellate attorney, Legal Counsel, and Executive Assistant to the Chairman.
Judge Duncan earned her J.D. in 1975 from Duke's School of Law after graduating from Hampton University in 1972.
Judge Duncan is very involved in activities within the legal and judicial communities. She is the past president of the Federal Judges Association (FJA), the organization representing Article III United States judges. She was appointed by Chief Justice Joh Roberts to chair the International Judicial Relations Committee, which coordinates and responds to requests for judicial assistance in other countries. And she is also a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), and involved in its effort to draft a Restatement of the Law on International Commercial Arbitration. She is President of the North American/Asian Group of the International Association of Judges. She also speaks around the world on such issues as Rule of Law, Counter Terrorism, and Human Rights on behalf of the United States government.
A native of Durham, NC, Judge Duncan is married to U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Webb and they are parents of an adult son, Charles Webb.
Judge Duncan was elected to the Duke University Board of Trustees in 2011 and serves as chair of the Duke and Durham Today and Tomorrow Strategic Task Force and is a member of the Executive Committee and External Engagement Committee.
She has also served on the Duke Women's Health advisory board.