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Search and explore Duke Law's wide variety of courses that comprise nearly every area of legal theory and practice. Contact the Director of Academic Advising to confirm whether a course satisfies a graduation requirement in any particular semester.

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NOTE: Course offerings change. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.

The list of classes marked Spring 2023 is incomplete and is being regularly updated.

JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law

JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship

International LLM - 1 year

Certificate in Public interest and Public Service Law

Areas of Study & Practice

Clear all filters 19 courses found.
Number Course Title Credits Degree Requirements Semesters Taught Methods of Evaluation

200

Administrative Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

A study of the legal framework governing administrative agencies under the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, with a particular focus on agency rulemaking and adjudication; Presidential power; Congressional control of agencies through statutes and other mechanisms of oversight; and judicial review of agency actions.

235

Environmental Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
  • Class participation

This course examines the laws governing interactions between human activities and the environment.  These include the laws governing the air, water, toxic chemicals, hazardous waste, resource use, biodiversity and ecosystems, and climate change.  The course focuses on the U.S. legal system, with some comparative analysis of the law in other countries and international regimes.  The course assesses key features of these environmental laws, including the rationales for environmental protection (e.g. ethical, economic); the choice of regulatory policy instruments (e.g. standards, taxes, trading, information disclosure); and the roles of different levels of government (e.g. local, state, national, international), branches of government (e.g. legislative, executive/administrative, judicial), and non-governmental actors.  We will study how these laws handle key questions such as:  (i) How serious a problem is it?  (ii) How much protection is desirable, overall and regarding distributional impacts?  (iii) How best to achieve this protection?  (iv) Who decides and acts upon these questions?  The course helps develop critical skills including statutory and regulatory interpretation, regulatory design, policy analysis, case law analysis, and litigation strategy.   This course, Law 235, is intended for professional and graduate students, and is also cross-listed as Environ 835 in the Nicholas School of the Environment.  Law students (e.g. JD, LLM, SJD) should enroll in Law 235, while students from outside the Law School (e.g. MEM, MPP, MBA, MA, PhD) should enroll in Environ 835, and may contact the Nicholas School registrar, Erika Lovelace, e.love@duke.edu , with any questions about enrollment.  (The Law School and the professor teaching this course do not have “permission numbers.”)  For undergraduate students, the Nicholas School offers a different course, Environ 265.

255

Federal Income Taxation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

An introduction to federal income taxation, with emphasis on the determination of income subject to taxation, deductions in computing taxable income, the proper time period for reporting income and deductions, and the proper taxpayer on which to impose the tax

In planning their course schedules, students should keep in mind that Federal Income Taxation is a prerequisite for most other federal tax courses, including corporate tax, partnership tax, international tax, and the tax policy seminar.  For this reason, students who might want to take one or more advanced tax courses are strongly encouraged to take Federal Income Taxation during their second year of law school.

270

Intellectual Property 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

This course provides an introduction to copyright, trademark, and (to a lesser extent) patent law and trade secrecy. It does not require a technical background of any kind.  The course begins with an introduction to some of the theoretical and practical problems which an intellectual property regime must attempt to resolve; during this section, basic concepts of the economics of information and of the First Amendment analysis of intellectual property rights will be examined through a number of case-studies. The class will then turn to the law of trademark, copyright, and patent with a particular emphasis on copyright, developing the basic doctrinal frameworks and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will focus in particular on a number of areas where the theoretical tools developed at the beginning of the class can be applied to actual problems involving a full panoply of intellectual property rights; these areas include intellectual property on the Internet, the constitutional limits on intellectual property, and innovation, monopoly and competition in the technology sector. The overall theme of the course is that intellectual property is the legal form of the information age and thus that it is important not only for its enormous and increasing role in commercial life and legal practice, but also for its effects on technological innovation, democratic debate, and cultural formation. Much of our doctrinal work will be centered around a series of problems which help students build skills and learn the law in a highly interactive setting. You can also download the casebook for the class here – for free – to give you a sense of the topics that are covered. 

285

Labor Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

The course examines the basic principles of labor law: a body of rulings, regulations, and legislative acts governing the rights of workers to form a union and collectively bargain over workplace terms and conditions. It focuses on the major federal legislation in this area - the National Labor Relations Act - as opposed to other laws governing workplace conduct (wage-hour, anti-discrimination, etc.), state laws, or those pertaining to public sector employees. The class covers the history of the Act, who is covered under its provisions, the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board and judicial review of its actions, how unions are formed, collective bargaining, unfair labor practices and the procedures to remedy same, and economic weapons used in labor disputes (strikes, boycotts, lock-outs, etc.). The class also analyzes labor law from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with attention given to race, psychology, economic history, politics, and emerging cultural and social trends (the rise of social media as a means of union organizing, for example). It is taught using a combination of lecture, case analysis, and classroom simulations. It is the goal of this course to provide the student a firm grounding in the basics of labor law, with a practical appreciation of the passions labor conflict generates.

Labor law lends itself to lectures, discussions, and practical exercises, so your participation in and out of class is important and will be considered in your final grade. 

304

Big Bank Regulation 4
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

Banking has evolved rapidly in just a few years. Global trade and investment have been supported and promoted by an emerging global financial system. This has in turn encouraged the growth of giant universal banks, based in the United States, the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, China and Japan. Most modern banks of any significant size (greater than $100 billion in total assets) have transnational and often truly global operations, but they also create major new risks and regulatory challenges. The debate over big banks and "too big to fail" concerns continued to be an important public policy concern in the 2016 Presidential election campaign and is certain to be so for the 2020 election. Since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the largest in a long run of domestic and international crises since the Great Depression of the 1930s, a new Dodd-Frank framework has been emerging. This framework has fundamentally changed the way in which such financial institutions are regulated. After more than a decade of reform, however, the framework remains controversial, at least in the United States, and executive and congressional efforts to reverse the Dodd-Frank and Basel models were deployed under the previous Administration, with some success. This controversy has now become more complicated in light of actions taken by the Treasury Department and the Fed to address financial and economic difficulties inflicted by COVID-19. Climate change is also starting to have a deep impact on financial markets, and this in turn is shaping some of the actions of regulators and banks. The walls between the three main sectors of finance - banking, securities and insurance - have broken down, yet at their core banks continue to be somewhat unique in their functions and the challenges they present for financial stability.

This course will review all the domestic and international regulatory developments since the Global Financial Crisis, focusing on the established and emerging regulatory architectures and systems, both domestic and international, currently proposed reforms, and future challenges and prospects for global and domestic financial reform. 

 

306

Corporate Crime 4
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course serves as an introduction to the field of corporate crime, which now covers a large realm of government and law firm practice. The course will give students a first exposure to: (1) the contemporary practice in federal government agencies and medium to large corporate law firms of investigating, sanctioning, and representing corporations and their managers and employees involved in potential criminal violations (and certain civil analogues), and the law that governs those processes; and (2) the debate in the public policy realm over whether, why, how, and when the criminal law should be applied in the corporate and business context.

This field is large, complex, and developing rapidly. This course therefore can cover only a selection of topics, and will emphasize policy and the need to confront gaps and uncertainty in doctrine. As there is no unitary body of black letter law in this field, students should not expect this to be that form of law course. Coverage is likely to include mail and wire fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice, securities fraud (including insider trading and accounting fraud), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, corporate criminal liability, grand jury powers and procedure, representation of entities and individuals, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments in the corporate context, plea and settlement agreements, and sentencing.

The materials consist of a newly published text, which is the outgrowth of former course packs. The text will be available in bound book form for approximately $28 through Amazon, or in pdf form at no charge from the course website. There may be occasional handouts. Assigned readings average 30 pages per class meeting, with less case law and more fact-based practice documents, problems, and commentary than with a typical case book. The grade will be based primarily on a floating take home exam, with some weight given to class participation.

307

Internet and Telecommunications Regulation 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course will examine the regulation of technology, and specifically the technology of Internet and telecommunications. We will examine the possible application of antitrust law and more specific forms of regulation, and will consider pending policy proposals. We will also examine the constitutional (principally First Amendment) constraints on any such regulation.

322

Copyright Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This is a comprehensive course in copyright law. We will examine the legal rights that cover works of creative expression such as literature, music, film, photography, visual art, and software. The class will cover some of the fundamental pillars of the world of creative expression in which we all live—the economic and legal architecture of our culture. This is because copyright’s rules provide the economic incentives that influence our creative output as well as part of the legal framework that shapes our communications technology. The broad impact of copyright law means that it is of importance to a wide range of legal practice and not merely to the specialist. No technical background is needed.

327

Energy Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

The course will examine the legal framework governing energy production and consumption in the United States, and policy approaches for balancing energy needs with other societal goals. The course will include three main modules: (1) electricity sector regulation; (2) energy resources for electricity generation; and (3) oil and gas law. Key themes will include:

(1) The historic origins of public utility regulation;
(2) The major U.S. laws that govern energy production and use;
(3) The distinct roles of the federal and state governments; and
(4) Efforts to manage competing societal interests

Final grades will be comprised of the following:

  1. Final exam, open book/open note one day exam:
  2. Case study discussion leader: 
  3. Class participation and current events: 

The case study will be a group project where students will be assigned a case study. The group will lead the class discussion and exercise on the case study. In addition, each student in the group will prepare a 3-page policy brief that advocates for an outcome to a decision maker. The grade will be based on both the group discussion and the policy brief.

Students will also be responsible for submitting discussion questions on the readings and short reflections on current events weekly. Students must submit questions for at least 10 weeks.

333

Science Law & Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

What are the government policies that support science? How is science regulated and controlled? What can science contribute to law and policy? How do the states, the federal government and international agencies interact to set science policy? How do disparate regulations and law impact research and translation? How is scientific research funded? These questions and more will be explored by looking at the interaction of law, science, and policy. The class is a mix of law, ethics and science students, and learning how to talk to one another in a common language is an important element of the course. Classes will include consideration and analysis of cases studies. There are no prerequisites for the course and there is no requirement that students have either graduate or upper-level undergraduate training in the sciences. Course evaluation (i.e. your grade) will be based on class participation and a final exam.

All MA, PhD and JD/MA students should register under BIOETHIC 704 – approval of professor is required. All law students (other than JD/MAs) should register under LAW 333.

347

Health Care Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A survey of the legal environment of the health services industry in a policy perspective, with particular attention to the tensions and trade-offs between quality and cost concerns. Topics for selective study include access to health care; private and public programs for financing and purchasing health services; the economics of health care and health care costs; the role of professionalism versus the new commercialism in health care; the legal and tax treatment of not-for-profit corporations; regulation of commercial practice in professional fields; fraud and abuse in government programs; the application of antitrust law in professional fields; the internal organization and legal liabilities of hospitals; public regulation of institutional providers, including certification of need; personnel licensure; private personnel credentialing and institutional accreditation; liability for medical accidents; legal liabilities associated with the administration of health benefits; and public regulation of managed-care organizations. Study of the diverse legal problems encountered by a single industry, particularly one as important, complex, and intrinsically interesting as health care, may appeal to students generally interested in public policy and in law and economics as well as those with specific interests in the health care field.

351

U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course will provide an overview of immigration law and policy. It combines a study of constitutional law, statutory interpretation, and administrative regulations. We examine the constitutional law governing noncitizens as they seek to enter and remain in the United States as well as the statutory provisions governing humanitarian protection, family-based and employment-based migration. We also discuss the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, the obligations of criminal defense attorneys to advise noncitizen clients, and the intersection of criminal and immigration enforcement systems.

The course explores the legal, social, historical, and political factors that have constructed immigration law and policy in the U.S.  In examining these various factors, the course will analyze several inherent conflicts that arise in immigration law, including, among other things, the tension between the right of a sovereign nation to determine whom to admit to the nation state and the constitutional and human rights of noncitizens to gain admission or stay in the U.S., the power of the executive branch to set and change immigration policy, issues that arise between noncitizens and citizens of the U.S. with regard to employment, security, and civil rights and the tension between the federal and state governments in regulating immigration law. Students will participate in a mock removal proceeding and will complete hypothetical immigration problems that illustrate the application of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory immigration law.

369

Patent Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to patent law and policy. No technical background is required. The course begins by addressing the history of patents as well as the policy arguments for and against using patents as a mechanism for inducing innovation. Following this introduction, students learn the basics of patent drafting and prosecution, patent claims, and claim construction. The class then addresses in depth the central patentability criteria of subject matter, utility, nonobviousness, and disclosure. Other topics of importance that are covered in the class include: the relationship between patents and other forms of intellectual property protection, particularly trade secrecy and copyright; the intersection of patent and antitrust law; the role of the two major institutions responsible for administering the patent system, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; and the role of patents in the two major industries of the knowledge-based economy, information technology and biotechnology.

384

Securities Regulation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

A study of the federal and state securities laws and the industry they govern with emphasis on the regulation of the distribution process and trading in securities; subjects dealt with include the functions of the Securities and Exchange Commission, registration and disclosure requirements and related civil liabilities, "blue-sky" laws, proxy solicitation and reporting requirements, broker-dealer regulation, the self-regulatory functions of the exchanges, and the regulation of investment companies.

390

Structuring and Regulating Financial Transactions 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

The principles applied in structuring financial products in the commercial context reflect a balance of the interests of corporate stakeholders and the rights of third parties. This course will examine these principles with the goal of equipping the student with a base of knowledge that would be readily applied in a finance practice of a commercial law firm. Focusing primarily on traditional syndicated debt finance and securitization transactions, we will examine evolving market conventions that influence debt terms, the rights and expectations of stakeholders in distressed situations and bankruptcy, and the regulatory and compliance structure governing the issuance of these obligations. As part of this process, we also will explore the structuring of letters of credit, derivative transactions, debtor-in-possession financing, and other related financial products.

541

Nonprofit Organizations 3
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam, option
  • Research paper, 40 pages

The subject of the course is the diverse sector of the economy composed of nonprofit organizations, and, in particular, the organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Topics to be covered include their function and role in society; issues related to their formation, governance and regulation; the tax laws and regulations specific to exempt organizations; and policy issues regarding the sector.

710

Derivatives: Financial Markets, Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

Modern capital and financial markets rely on a wide variety of complex instruments, including Treasury securities, structured debt and equity instruments, and derivatives of various kinds.  Public awareness regarding these instruments has grown since the Financial Crisis of 2008 because they are thought to have played an important role in both the rapid growth of financial markets (“financialization”) and their destabilization.  Yet these instruments and the role they play in modern markets remain little understood.  A basic understanding of these instruments has now become important in modern financial law practice and any discussions on financial policy and regulation.

This course will review the workings of derivative instruments in the capital markets and how such instruments themselves are used.  The relationship between banking and capital markets, and between government and the private markets, will be explored, as will the most important legal and fiduciary responsibilities involved.  While not highly technical, the various principal types of government securities and derivatives will be examined. 

Warren Buffet once called derivatives “weapons of mass financial destruction.”  We will consider the numerous public policy issues relating to derivatives, their role in the Crisis of 2008 (and more recent financial distress such as the Eurozone crisis and the US debt ceiling controversy), the history of attempts to regulate these instruments, and the current regulatory structure.

Final grades are based on a final exam and in class participation.

713

Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship 2-3
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing option with additional credit
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

In recent years, there has been growing pressure on profit-seeking corporations to address social problems, such as inequality and climate change. This class will critically evaluate the law and policies underlying recent developments that have allowed or required firms to take on a more active role in social and environmental issues. The class covers a range of topics, including the economic structure of nonprofit firms, the debate on corporate purpose and the profit-maximization norm, the rise of ESG investing, the proliferation of new legal hybrid forms, recent developments in the law of managerial fiduciary duties, the role of microfinance and fair trade in promoting development, and tax and subsidy policies to encourage corporations to pursue social goals, including the recent Opportunity Zone program. The inquiry will focus primarily on what types of structures best align investors’ interest in profit-making with different social purposes. 

To be enrolled in the class, students must either take Business Association in the same semester, or have taken it in the past.  

Student enrolled in the three-credit option need to write a research paper (in satisfaction of the JD Substantial Research and Writing Requirement or the International LLM Substantial Research Paper Requirement) in addition to doing the take-home exam.  The additional credit will count towards the Independent Study Research Credit Limit (Rule 3-12).

The take-home exam will be comprised of questions relating to a real or imaginary business structure or transaction that involves social issues.

Course Credits

Semester

JD Course of Study

JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law

JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship

International LLM - 1 year

Certificate in Public interest and Public Service Law

Areas of Study & Practice