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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 21 courses found.
Number Course Title Credits Degree Requirements Semesters Taught Methods of Evaluation

110

Civil Procedure 4.5
  • JD 1L
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A consideration of the basic problems of civil procedure designed to acquaint students with the fundamental stages and concerns of litigation, e.g., jurisdiction, pleading, discovery, trial, choice of law, and multiparty actions. In addition, this course will highlight a number of specialized topics including the role of juries in deciding civil disputes, the ethical responsibilities of the litigation attorney, and the development of alternative dispute resolution systems. At several points, this course will focus on an analysis of the procedural system's operations as revealed through empirical studies.

180

Torts 4.5
  • JD 1L
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

An analysis of liability for personal injuries and injuries to property. The law of negligence occupies a central place in the course content, but this course also considers other aspects of tort liability such as strict liability, liability of producers and sellers of products, nuisance, liability for defamation and invasion of privacy, and commercial torts. The subjects of causation, damages, insurance (including automobile no-fault compensation systems), and workmen's compensation are also included.

237

Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak.

238

Ethics and the Law of Lawyering 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course examines in detail the "law of lawyering" relating to such issues as the formation of the attorney-client relationship, confidentiality, communications with clients, conflicts of interest, regulation and discipline of attorneys, and numerous other areas relating to the lawyer's role in American society. In addressing these issues, we will consider the extent to which the law governing lawyers derives from the concept of a learned profession, as well as the degree to which the ethics of lawyering may differ from personal ethics and morality. While particular attention will be paid to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the class will also examine other sources of relevant law, including the Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers, court decisions and rules, statutes, and administrative regulations.  Grading is based on a final examination, written work relating to casebook problems and reflections on current issues in legal ethics, and class participation.

 

239

Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • Final Exam
    • Practical exercises

    This course examines the principles of legal ethics and professionalism. Our focus will be on identifying and responding to the key issues faced by a civil litigator, and on the model rules of professional conduct, case law, and ethics opinions that a lawyer must consider in resolving such issues. Topics include the formation and termination of the attorney client relationship, conflicts of interest, and communications with the court and opposing counsel through the discovery and trial process. We will examine the balancing of the duty of advocacy with the duty to the administration of justice. We will also explore issues such as admissions, discipline, and common law firm associate dilemmas such as billing and changing law firms. During the semester, students will prepare two short (3-5 pp) memoranda. There will also be an open book in-class exam at the end of the semester.

    240

    Ethics and Professional Responsibility 3
    • JD ethics
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam

    Professional Responsibility (3 credits) takes an in-depth view of ethical issues relating to the practice of law that are confronting the legal profession. The course studies the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (“Model Rules”), relevant cases, and other sources of authority that govern the conduct of lawyers. The objective for this course is to develop an understanding of the field of the laws governing lawyers. The primary goal of this class is to give you experience applying the Model Rules and other pertinent laws to various factual scenarios (both real and hypothetical) so that when ethical issues arise during the course of law practice (and they will!), you are able to identify them and reflect on whether you need to adjust your behavior to ensure compliance with your professional obligations. This is a survey course, so we will learn a little about various sources of the law governing lawyers, but we will not focus deeply on any particular concept. The primary method of assessment will be an in-class examination at the conclusion of the semester.

    245

    Evidence 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Spring 21
    • Fall 21
    • Spring 22
    • Fall 22
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam
    • Class participation

    This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. Also addressed are the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, particularly the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, and the screening of scientific and expert testimony. The course concludes with an introduction to evidentiary privileges.

    250

    Family Law 2
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam
    • Class participation

    A study of how law regulates intimate adult relationships and relationships between parents and children. We will discuss constitutional and statutory rights and restrictions on marriage, adult relationships, adoption, parentage, child custody, dissolution of adult relationships, and financial support for children. We will explore the evolution of family law in relation to racial and gender equality and consider issues of socioeconomic inequality and access to justice.  Grading is based on a final examination and class participation. 

    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.

    260

    Financial Accounting 3
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam

    Many attorneys are required to evaluate financial data, notably financial statements from corporations, on a regular basis. The need is not limited to corporate attorneys; indeed litigators in securities, antitrust, malpractice, or general commercial litigation frequently must analyze financial information. This course serves to both introduce basic accounting principles and practices and their relationship to the law, as well as to study a number of contemporary accounting problems relating to financial disclosure and the accountant's professional responsibility. Students with accounting degrees, MBAs or who have taken more than a couple of accounting courses are not permitted to enroll. Also, Business Essentials may not be taken concurrently with this course.

    290

    Remedies 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam
    • Class participation

    This course examines the powers and limits of the law to right those who have been wronged. We will cover different forms of remedies—including money damages, injunctions, and declaratory judgments. We will also explore ancillary remedies or enforcement mechanisms, such as the power of courts to hold parties in contempt. The course spans both private and public law contexts, with specific case studies ranging from school desegregation to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Ultimately, the goal of the course is to provide an understanding of how the law responds to transgressions of substantive law, and also to provide a richer account of the power of our legal institutions more generally.

    313

    Judicial Decisionmaking 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam

    What decides legal cases? One obvious answer is: the law. Judges apply the law to the facts of a case and an answer presents itself. This simple understanding of how law and the judicial process work may be true in many cases, but it is not true in all of them. Social scientists have sought to explain judicial decisionmaking by reference to a variety of non-legal factors, including judges' personal characteristics, their caseloads, and their relationships with each other. The social scientific study of courts raises a host of interesting questions.

    For example, on a multi-member court like the Supreme Court, does it matter which Justice is assigned to write the opinion, or will the majority (or the whole Court) bargain to the same outcome anyway? If opinion assignment matters to outcomes, how might judges' choices about the division of labor influence the content of the law? How do higher courts ensure that lower courts comply with their decisions? Does the need to police lower courts alter legal doctrine, giving us more bright line rules and fewer fuzzy standards? Similarly, does the fact that certain groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, are repeat players, affect the outcome of cases? Does it affect doctrine? Finally, does it matter who is under the robes? Does the ideology of the judge, or her race or gender, matter to the outcome of cases? (Which cases?) If so, is it possible to predict how judicial characteristics will shape the law? Should our answers to these questions affect how we choose judges?

    This course that will examine these questions and many like them. In law schools, these sorts of questions get limited attention: our focus is primarily on the legal doctrine or rules themselves. Social scientists take a very different approach, studying the behavior of judges rather than legal doctrine and trying to understand what accounts for judicial outcomes and the shape of legal institutions. This course will marry the social science literature and the questions it raises to a set of normative problems within the law itself.

     

    315

    Complex Civil Litigation / Large Scale Litigation 3
    • JD elective
    • JD experiential
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam
    • Oral presentation
    • In-class exercise

    This is an advanced civil procedure class taught by a former big case litigator in the Moot Courtroom (for most classes) and via Zoom (for a few classes) for those interested in learning how to litigate large cases, with an emphasis on real-world practical requirements, strategy and skills. Students will each week after the first session practice stand-up courtroom (and Zoom) 3-minute "mini- oral arguments" on many of the key cases so as to begin to prepare for big-case advocacy, which today occurs both in physical courtrooms and via video arguments. The course will focus on the problems of large multi-party and multi-forum civil cases and how courts and litigants deal with them. Coverage will include the practical steps litigators need to take as well as decision points at the outset of every litigation, joinder of parties, class actions; federal multi-district transfer and consolidation; litigation over the appropriate federal or state forum, coordination among counsel in multi-party cases, ethical issues, big-case discovery problems; ad hoc federal-state litigation coordination; judicial case management techniques and issues; arbitration; and ways of accelerating or terminating potentially or actually protracted cases, including settlement, mediation, representative trials, mini-trials and claims processing facilities.

    319

    Analytical Methods 2
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) required
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam
    • Practical exercises
    • Class participation

    Lawyers face non-legal, analytical issues every day. Business lawyers need to understand a business in order to represent their client properly. Litigators need to judge the best route in adopting a litigation strategy. Family lawyers routinely need to value a business. Environmental lawyers need to understand economic externalities. Social lawyers need familiarity with financial instruments that have positive and negative attributes. Students taking this course will find it foundational in running a business, advising a business, or litigating business matters that go beyond the strict letter of the law. In this sense, this is not your standard doctrinal law school course. Rather, it is designed to give students the tools necessary to interact with the business community and run a company or firm.

    The areas of focus include:

    • Decision Analysis, Games and Information: We will explore a standard technique that has been developed to organize thinking about decision-making problems and to solve them.
    • Accounting: Basic accounting concepts will be introduced, and the relationship between accounting information and economic reality will be examined.
    • Microeconomics: This unit presents basic economic concepts--the operation of competitive markets, imperfect competition, and market failures--that are necessary to this understanding.
    • Statistics and Artificial Intelligence: We will address the basic statistical methods, including regression analysis, as well as issues that commonly arise when statistics are used in the courtroom. We will also have a brief introduction to statistical learning, which forms the basis for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

    This basic introductory survey course is aimed at students who have only a basic background in math (basic high school algebra) and may have majored in humanities and social science as an undergraduate.

    334

    Civil Rights Litigation 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam
    • Practical exercises
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation

    This course focuses on section 1983 of the United States Code, a Reconstruction-era statute that enables private parties to sue any other person who "under color" of law deprives them of the "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States.  Class participants will become familiar with the theoretical, procedural, and practical aspects of civil rights litigation, including constitutional and statutory claims, defenses and immunities, and available remedies, including attorney fees.   Related U.S. Code provisions concerning discrimination in housing, contractual relations, employment, and voting are examined where relevant. Exam-based evaluation.

    342

    Federal Courts 5
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Fall 22
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam

    The course considers the structure and powers of the federal courts and their relationship to the political branches and the state courts. The topics covered include justiciability, congressional authority to define and limit federal court jurisdiction, federal common law and implied rights of action, the application of state law in federal courts under the Erie doctrine, civil rights actions and immunities of state officials and governments, and habeas corpus. The focus of the course is on structural constitutional considerations relating to both the separation of powers between the three branches of the national government as well as the federalism relationship between the national government and the state governments.

    343

    Federal Courts I: Constitution & Judicial Power 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Final Exam

    Federal Courts is sometimes thought of as the love child of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure. It takes the Con Law I themes of federalism, separation of powers, and protection of individual rights and develops them in the context of jurisdiction, procedure, and remedies. Most experienced litigators--including criminal and regulatory litigators--consider the course essential.

    Federal Courts 1 is the first of a two course sequence designed to provide exhaustive coverage of the material at a very civilized pace. Both parts one and two are three-credit courses ordinarily taken in the Fall and Spring of the same year. They have separate exams that are graded independently. There is no requirement that one take both installments, but it is strongly recommended.

    Federal Courts 1 (The Constitution and Judicial Power) focuses on the nature of the Article III judicial power and its place in the constitutional scheme. We begin with the justiciability doctrines (standing, ripeness, mootness, and finality), then move on to Congress's control over federal court jurisdiction and adjudication in non-Article III courts (e.g., bankruptcy courts and administrative agencies). This installment also addresses the relationship between federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court's power to review state court decisions, the Erie doctrine's restriction on the common lawmaking powers of federal courts, and the implication of private rights of action under federal statutes.

    344

    Federal Courts II - Public Law Litigation 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Final Exam

    Federal Courts is sometimes thought of as the love child of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure. It takes the Con Law I themes of federalism, separation of powers, and protection of individual rights and develops them in the context of jurisdiction, procedure, and remedies. Most experienced litigators—including criminal and regulatory litigators—consider the course essential.

    Federal Courts 2 is the second of a two course sequence designed to provide exhaustive coverage of the material at a very civilized pace. Both parts one and two are three-credit courses ordinarily taken in the Fall and Spring of the same year. They have separate exams that are graded independently. There is no requirement that one take both installments, but it is strongly recommended.

    Federal Courts 2 (Public Law Litigation) focuses on litigation meant to vindicate federal statutory and constitutional rights. We begin with the ins and outs of the Federal Question jurisdictional statute, then move on to suits against the government. We address both federal and state sovereign immunity in depth, and we explore civil rights litigation against state and federal officers under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and the Bivens doctrine. We also canvass various statutory and judge-made rules limiting parallel litigation in state and federal courts. The course concludes with an in-depth treatment of federal habeas corpus as a vehicle for judicial review of executive detention and for collateral attack on state criminal convictions.

    387

    Securities Litigation, Enforcement, and Compliance 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam
    • Class participation

    This survey course is designed to acquaint you with the theoretical as well as practical aspects of federal securities litigation, enforcement, and compliance, which is a dynamic area of legal practice with a number of developments occurring on multiple fronts. This course will address the massive financial frauds at Enron, WorldCom, and other large companies that occurred as the twenty-first century dawned.  It also looks at the scandals that culminated in the 2008 financial crises, which led to Congress’s enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  Additionally, it will look at more recent developments in the securities law area.  In short, this course will provide the grounding needed for you to enter a securities litigation, enforcement, or compliance practice.

    470

    Poverty Law 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam

    This course provides an introduction to the relationship between law and poverty, including the relevance of legal doctrine, policy and practice to the significant inequality in income, assets and basic social goods impacting tens of millions of people in the United States.

    We will begin by considering historical and contemporary trends in domestic poverty, U.S. social welfare policy, the legal framework under which poverty-related claims have been adjudicated, and the role of lawyers in combatting poverty.

    Grounded in poverty data, policy arguments, legal doctrine and practice, we will explore modern government anti-poverty programs and issues such as welfare, work, housing, health, education and criminalization.

    We will conclude by considering non-governmental approaches to combating poverty, including market-based solutions and international human rights, with an emphasis on the role of law, lawyers and legal institutions in such efforts.

    Drawing on the rich expertise of those in Durham and beyond, we will occasionally be joined by guest speakers. The primary textbook for the course is Poverty Law, Policy and Practice (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer, 2014).

    501

    Transnational Litigation in U.S. Courts 3
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • Fall 21
    • Final Exam

    This course analyzes civil suits in U.S. federal courts that raise cross-border, international and foreign legal issues. Specific topics covered include transnational jurisdiction, international forum selection, transborder choice of law, extraterritorial application of U.S. law, federal rules for service of process and discovery of evidence abroad, the special treatment of foreign governments as parties, and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

    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