The first-year curriculum provides a firm grounding in the core subjects of the study of law and rigorous training in legal analysis, reasoning, and writing. Students take six semester-long courses: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts, as well as a year-long Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing course. In the second and third years, students focus in a specialized area of study and practice and conduct their own independent study projects.
Dual Degree Programs
Duke is the only elite law school in the country that allows students to earn both a law degree and a master's degree in three years. Professional dual degree programs are four years long. Students enroll in courses at the Law School and in the graduate school of their choice. The program allows for maximum flexibility by encouraging students to chart a course of specialized study.
JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law
Duke Law offers select JD candidates the opportunity to pursue a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in international and comparative law contemporaneously with their study for the JD degree. Students accepted to this dual degree program commence their studies in the summer, undertaking part of the regular first-year curriculum with students who are enrolled in the joint JD/MA program. During the remaining six semesters of law study, and in a four-week period at one of Duke's summer programs, JD/LLM students complete requirements for both degrees.
JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship
Beginning in 2013, Duke Law students may pursue a dual degree in law and entrepreneurship in three years. Students in the JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship (LLMLE) program commence their studies in the summer, undertaking part of the regular first-year curriculum with other dual-degree students. When the rest of their JD cohort joins them in the fall, JD/LLMLE students are able to begin coursework in law and entrepreneurship during the fall and spring of their first full year at Duke.
LLM for International Law Graduates
The LLM program at Duke Law School is designed to introduce foreign-trained law graduates to the legal system of the United States and to provide them the opportunity to take advanced courses in specialized areas of the law. With the exception of two courses, LLM students join American students in all classes. The program of study is normally completed in one academic year, which begins for all new students in late August.
LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship
The LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship is a two-semester, 23-credit program that builds on Duke Law’s existing strengths in the fields of business law, intellectual property law, and innovation policy. It also takes advantage of Duke's strategic ties to entrepreneurial companies located in Durham and the surrounding Research Triangle Park region. The program provides a rigorous academic and experiential foundation for lawyers who plan to be involved with innovative business, either as advisers, or as is increasingly common, as CEOs or other executives. Admission is limited to applicants who hold a JD or an LLM from an American law school.
The SJD is a doctorate program for students with outstanding academic credentials who intend to pursue an academic career in law. The completion of the degree requires a minimum of two-to-three years and normally will involve at least one semester of courses in addition to those taken for the LLM degree.