Since 1985, Duke has offered select JD students the opportunity to pursue a dual degree in international and comparative law. The Duke Law JD/LLM prepares students for the increasingly global practice of law by combining a rigorous legal curriculum with opportunities to work and study abroad, develop foreign language fluency, and network with Duke's vibrant international LLM student and alumni community.
The JD/LLM program is designed so that students can complete both degrees in six semesters of law study and a four-week period at one of Duke's summer institutes. The degree requirements for the JD/LLM include twenty-one credit hours of coursework specifically for the LLM degree. Of those twenty-one credits, students who pursue the JD/LLM must take International Law, Comparative Law, Research Methodology in International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, an exclusive JD/LLM seminar, and course work or an independent study for which a significant piece of writing is required.
Following the first full year of law school, JD/LLM students attend one of Duke's Institutes in Transnational Law, either in Geneva or Hong Kong. Duke faculty and guest faculty from around the world live in residential quarters with students and teach small, rigorous courses in areas such as emerging markets, terrorism and humanitarian law, comparative constitutional law, and international business law. During the other five weeks of the summer, JD/LLM students work overseas for a law firm, nonprofit organization, or business.
Learn more about the summer institutes
Candidates for the JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law do not need to apply separately to any school or program at Duke other than the Law School. Complete the regular JD application, but indicate that you wish to be considered for the dual degree. You may apply to only one dual degree program.
Application Review Process
JD/LLM applications are reviewed through the regular Law School process. Although there are no specific prerequisites or admission requirements, the admissions committee pays particular attention to applicants with prior international experience and foreign language study. In rare instances where the applicant is a strong candidate for the JD program but lacks international experience, the admissions committee may offer admission to the JD only.
Additional Application Materials
JD/LLM candidates are not required to submit a statement of purpose for the LLM; however, we encourage applicants to address their interest in international and comparative law, either in their personal statement or include the JD/LLM Addendum attachment.
The LSAT is required for all Law School dual degree applicants. No additional testing is required for the JD/LLM.
"I spent the first seven weeks of my 1L summer in Cape Town, South Africa, working for the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, a nonprofit NGO. ... I attended Parliamentary sessions twice a week, engaged with high-level politicians, and recorded policy debates on a variety of topics, including economic development, international trade, and future infrastructure projects. Given my goal of working for the federal government in international development, this internship offered me a unique opportunity to witness the lawmaking process of a newly emerging global power in its efforts to advance domestic and regional development. "— Elias Parisca JD/LLM'14 attended Duke's summer institute in Hong Kong after completing his internship in Cape Town. Click here to learn more about JD/LLM summer work abroad.