Kip Frey and speaker at LLMLE class

JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship


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.



The LLMLE program provides students with a deep understanding of the historical and current perspectives on entrepreneurship and the law; enables students to understand the business, institutional, and strategic considerations applicable to entrepreneurs; fosters an understanding of the public policy and legal frameworks that promote innovation; ensures that students master both the core substantive law and the lawyering skills that are necessary for effective representation of entrepreneurs; and provides students with an opportunity to explore their own potential for entrepreneurship.

To apply for the JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship program, candidates complete the regular JD application and indicate their intent to enroll in the JD/LLMLE. No additional application materials or standardized testing are required.

JD/LLMLE students (along with JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law, JD/MA, and JD/MS students) get a head start on their JD classmates by taking two of the first year law school courses during the summer before their official first year of law school. This allows them to begin their law and entrepreneurship coursework during the fall and spring, and complete both degrees in three years. The summer start is also a great way to begin law school in small-class setting and form a close bond with your dual-degree classmates.

LLMLE faculty Why Duke, Why Now? Summer start

Students earning the JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship (JD/LLMLE) are required to earn 87 credits for the JD degree and an additional 20 credits in entrepreneurship, business law, and IP courses for the LLM degree, for a total of 107 credits.


JD/LLMLE candidates begin their course of study in the summer before the 1L fall semester in order to complete all academic requirements within three (3) academic years plus the summer start. The required courses for the JD/LLMLE student in the first year of the program are as follows:

Courses required for 1L JD students:


Additional courses required for 1L JD/LLMLE students:


After completing the first-year 1L curriculum, JD/LLMLE students must fulfill the following requirements:

Upper-level requirements for JD curriculum
  • Legal Ethics (at least 2 credits)
  • JD Upper-Level Writing (2 credits)*
  • Professional Skills Requirement (met by participation the Start-up Ventures Clinic)
Upper-level requirements for JD/LLMLE curriculum

Following the 1L year, in addidtion to all regular JD requirements, JD/LLMLE students will complete at least three of the following five courses:

Upper-level electives for JD/LLMLE curriculum


Post-1L Summer:  JD/LLMLE students participate in a 1-month, intensive “start-up company” experience that models the entrepreneurial process as an academic exercise (this would not be an actual start-up, but an extended case study designed to expose students to all phases of an early-stage company).  Through this program, students will be exposed to both the legal and business challenges typically encountered by entrepreneurs.  For the remainder of the 1L Summer, students can choose work at a law firm or start-up, or another activity.
Wintersession:  JD/LLMLE students will attend Wintersession during both the 2L and 3L years.  They will take courses specifically designed for the JD/LLMLE program focusing on entrepreneurial leadership, networking, idea development and venture accounting.
Practicum:  During Fall of the 3L year, students will participate in a non-law firm externship experience at a local start-up company, supported by a classroom component that examines and highlights experiences from the externships.
Start-up Ventures Clinic:  The JD/LLMLE program is completed by participation in the Start-up Ventures Clinic during spring of the 3L year.


Candidates for the JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship 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.

You must be able to start law school in late May to enroll in the JD/LLMLE program.

JD application information

Application Review Process

JD/LLMLE 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 a background in business, finance, and entrepreneurial activity. In rare instances where the applicant is a strong candidate for the JD program but lacks this additional experience, the admissions committee may offer admission to the JD only.

Additional Application Materials

JD/LLMLE candidates are not required to submit a statement of purpose for the LLM; however, we encourage applicants to address their interest in law and entrepreneurship, either in their personal statement or include the JD/LLM Addendum attachment.

Standardized Testing

The LSAT is required for all Law School dual degree applicants. No additional testing is required for the JD/LLMLE.


“I really appreciate the dedicated staff and taking upper-level courses. The dual degree staff goes out of their way to inform us of possible opportunities and networking events, as well hosting lectures in the field of corporate law. In addition the ability to take upper-level courses as a 1L provides me with an early start on learning about my future career.”

– Michael Herrera JD/LLMLE'16
Learn more about Michael