Course Browser

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

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


JD Course of Study
JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law
JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship
International LLM - 1 year
LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship - 1 year
Certificate in Public interest and Public Service Law
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Course Number Course Title Course Credits Degree Requirements Semesters Taught Methods of Evaluation


Products Liability, Writing Credit 1
  • JD - Substantial Research and Writing Project requirement (SRWP)
  • JD - general credits
  • International LLM/Exchange/SJD - general credits
  • International LLM, Business Law Certificate
  1. Spring 18
  • Final research paper (25+ pages in length)

While enrolled in LAW 371 Products Liability, students may submit a 30+ page significant research paper which would be eligible for satisfaction of the JD-ULWR.


Mass Torts 2
  • JD - general credits
  • JD – Substantial Research and Writing Project requirement (SRWP), add-on credit
  • JD - Substantial Research and Writing Project requirement (SRWP)
  • International LLM/Exchange/SJD - general credits
  • International LLM, Environmental Law Certificate
    • Reflection Papers
    • Final paper (10+ pages in length)
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation

    This seminar will invite participants to take an in-depth look at the combination of issues raised by complex mass tort lawsuits: issues of substantive tort law, civil procedure, litigation strategy, lawyer-client relationships, the economics of settlement, ethics, the judicial role, and societal impacts.

    The course will explore a selection of celebrated mass tort lawsuits, such as those involving the Buffalo Creek disaster, the Woburn leukemia case, Agent Orange, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the concussion/brain injury cases against the NFL and other sports, cigarette smoking, the Dalkon Shield, Bendectin, MTBE, and asbestos.

    The course will employ a "case method" -- not the typical study of appellate decisions on particular issues but a "full" case method that examines entire cases, from dispute to filing to trial to appeals and beyond. The readings are mainly books about the cases-- historical accounts that put the litigation in context. These books include Gerald Stern, The Buffalo Creek Disaster; Jonathan Harr, A Civil Action; Peter Schuck, Agent Orange on Trial; David Lebedoff, Cleaning Up; Ken Feinberg, Who Gets What; and Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, League of Denial. Judicial opinions and scholarly commentary will be assigned as supplementary readings. Readings will therefore be more extensive but less dense than typical law school courses.

    Note: Students may enroll in an additional credit in order to expand the required 15 page paper into 30 pages with the aim of using the paper to satisfy the JD Writing Requirement. Students wishing to take this option should enroll in Law 579W Mass Torts Writing Credit. *LAW 579W MUST be added no later than 7th week of class.*


    Mass Torts Writing Credit 1
    • JD - Substantial Research and Writing Project requirement (SRWP)
    • JD - general credits
      • Add on credit

      While enrolled in Law 579 Mass Torts, students have the option to take an additional 1 credit if they wish to expand the required 15 page paper to 30 pages in order to satisfy the JD Writing Requirement. *LAW 579W MUST be added no later than 7th week of class.*


      Statutory Interpretation Colloquium 2
      • JD - Substantial Research and Writing Project requirement (SRWP)
      • JD - general credits
      • International LLM/Exchange/SJD - general credits
      • Final research paper (25+ pages in length)
      • Reflection Papers

      The objective of the course is to introduce students to important issues concerning the theory and doctrine of statutory interpretation through exposure to cutting-edge legal scholarship. The colloquium will feature bi-weekly presentations of works-in-progress by leading scholars of statutory interpretation, legislation, and administrative law. In the week preceding each presentation, students will read and discuss foundational materials (a mix of academic commentary and case law) on topics related to the work-in-progress.

      Students may opt to prepare six short (5-10 page) papers in response to each work-in-progress, which would be due in advance of the presentation and used to stimulate discussion. Alternatively, students may write one longer research paper (roughly 30 pages) dealing with a topic of their choice related to the themes of the class. Students who take the latter option may use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.


      Supreme Court Litigation 2
      • JD - general credits
      • JD - Substantial Research and Writing Project requirement (SRWP)
      • International LLM/Exchange/SJD - general credits
      1. Fall 16
      2. Fall 17

      This course has three objectives:  

      1. To gain a working knowledge of the unique role the Supreme Court plays in our legal system—identifying and resolving important disputed recurring issues of federal law—and of the demands thus placed on lawyers who practice before it;
      2. To provide a very intense experience in honing your legal writing skills, by the preparation of two short (10-12 page double spaced) briefs reflecting different phases of Supreme Court litigation, each to be prepared over a separate four week period, with on-going one-on-one interaction with the professor and detailed comments on the final brief;
      3. To study the oral argument process as now practiced in the Court, including moot court arguments be each student in a current case, study of actual arguments from the present Court Term and, if possible, attendance at one or more moot courts by arguing lawyers and discussions with those lawyers.  

        The uniqueness of practice in the Supreme Court stems primarily from the certiorari process, by which the Court identifies the 1% of petitioning cases it will hear on the merits. Lawyers on both sides must convince the Court that the case at hand does or does not present a legal issue of sufficient moment and controversy as to presently demand the Court's attention. We will discuss in detail the features of a case that enhance or detract from its chances for certiorari.  After a case is granted and goes forward on the merits, the selective nature of the Court's jurisdiction—and its focus on resolving recurring legal issues rather than simply deciding cases—shapes the lawyer's approach to the case in important ways, which will be considered in class sessions dealing with the drafting of merits briefs and the role that amicus briefs play in the Court's work.

        All of these goals will be pursued through the study of three or four actual cases from the present Term.  The greatest amount of effort, by both the students and the professor, will be invested in the two short brief writing assignments.  These assignments, an Opposition to Certiorari and a Reply Brief on the merits, will demand both an understanding of the nature of the Supreme Court's process and a firm grasp on the law and facts of the particular case.  In both instances you will prepare an outline, meet with the professor to discuss your approach, and then prepare the final brief.  Neither brief will require extensive research beyond the materials cited in the case filings you will be provided with.  Both briefs will demand an ability to think and write in clear simple English, and self-critically evaluate and revise what you have written—with feedback from the instructor - to make it as coherent and persuasive as possible to the Justices and their clerks.    A limited number of students may satisfy the upper-level writing requirement through an additional credit of work and with the permission of the instructor.