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

120

Constitutional Law 4.5
  • JD 1L
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

An examination of the distribution of and limitations upon governmental authority under the Constitution of the United States. Included are study of the doctrine of judicial review of legislative and executive action, the powers of Congress and the President, the limitations on state governmental powers resulting from the existence or exercise of congressional power, and judicial protection against the exercise of governmental power in violation of rights, liberties, privileges, or immunities conferred by the Constitution.

201

Legal Writing: Craft & Style 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

"Legal Writing: Craft & Style" is the new moniker for the "Advanced Legal Writing Workshop." This series of thirteen workshops is for 2Ls and 3Ls who wish to hone their legal writing or editing skills. Half of each workshop consists of a teaching component that focuses on topics from clarity to cohesiveness to effective style. The other half is spent working as a group on exercises—flawed sentences or passages from legal documents or articles. In addition to the exercises, required written work includes three short written assignments and peer reviews of each of these using criteria developed over the course of the workshop. These peer reviews will be reviewed in turn by me. In addition, I will be available to work one-on-one with any workshop participant who has a lengthier piece on which he or she would like feedback. The workshop offers two credits. It is not graded.

The workshop might be particularly useful to:

  • law review editors,
  • students on moot court,
  • students writing law-review notes or independent-study- or seminar papers (with the permission of the guiding professor),
  • students wishing to polish their writing samples, and
  • students wishing to improve the effectiveness of their writing for any reason whatsoever.

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. 

265

First Amendment 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This course examines the legal doctrines, theories, and arguments arising out of the free speech and religion clauses of the First Amendment.

317

Criminal Justice Ethics 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15 pages
  • Class participation
  • Other

Criminal Justice Ethics (2 Credit Seminar) focuses on the professional and ethical laws governing attorneys in the criminal justice system. The course focuses on issues affecting both prosecutors and defense attorneys and the applicable rules of professional conduct. The course will work to deepen students’ understanding of the role and responsibilities of criminal justice attorneys in society. This is a specialized ethics course with a focus on lawyers working in the criminal justice system, as such our focus will not cover the Rules of Professional Conduct in their entirety. The class is discussion-based. The primary methods of assessment will be three (3), two-page reflection papers throughout the semester and a final 15-page research and/or analytical paper.

329

Education Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

Education Law: Constitutional, Statutory, and Policy Considerations. This seminar introduces students to the legal standards that govern public schools in the United States. Constitutional topics include the right to a public education, the financing of public schools, desegregation and equal opportunity of students, limitations on student speech, school discipline and the right to due process, religion in schools, and privacy rights of students. Statutory topics include federal laws such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title IX, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act. Policy topics include school reforms, such as charters and vouchers, and the ongoing inequities in US public schools, and the school-to-prison pipeline, and recent restrictions on classroom curricula. A research paper is required; successful completion of the paper will satisfy the Substantial Research and Writing Project Requirement. A course pack will be used in lieu of a textbook, supplemented with materials posted on Sakai.

330

Federal Criminal Law 4
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Take-home examination
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course examines the role of the federal government in the criminal justice system, focusing on significant federal offenses criminalizing fraud, public corruption, drugs, money laundering, racketeering, firearms, and terrorism. We will also consider prosecutorial discretion, plea bargaining, and sentencing in the federal system. The objective of this course is to master doctrine and to learn how to debate federal criminal law's merits and proper limits. Public policy, theory, critical thinking, writing, and oral advocacy will be emphasized.

Federal criminal law is recommended either for second- or third-year students. It is especially helpful for students who will have a federal judicial clerkship, and those who anticipate a career in litigation. There are no prerequisites.

Each student will participate in two mock appellate cases, once as a judge and once as an advocate. The course grade will be based on class participation, the mock cases, and a take-home examination, allocated as follows:

Points/Approximate percentage of final grade

  • 25 argument #1 28%
  • 25 argument #2 28%
  • 30 take-home exam 33.3%
  • 10 class participation 11%

The maximum for each argument is 25 points, allocated as follows:

Advocates:

  • 15 points: written summary of argument
  • 10 points: for the oral presentation (substance and style)

Judges:

  • 5 points: written questions
  • 10 points: written preliminary disposition
  • 5 points: writing (questions and summary disposition)
  • 5 points: oral questions & final explanation of the decision at the close of the arguments

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.

363

Legislation and Statutory Interpretation 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 22
  • Final Exam

Legislation is one of the most important forms of law in modern American society. Indeed, it has been said that we are living in an 'age of statutes.' Almost every aspect of legal practice involves construction of statutes, whether defining the jurisdiction of the courts or establishing the norms to which society must conform. In this course, we will examine the legal theory and practice of the making and enforcement of statutes. The course will begin with a study of the legislative process, with special attention to theories that seek to understand why some bills succeed where others fail. The next unit of the course will consider statutes as a unique source of law, comparing them to the common law and the Constitution. We will then move to the heart of the course, which will focus on how judges and other legal actors (agencies, enforcers, etc.) interpret statutes. There will be a take-home final for this course.

416

Children's Law Clinic 4-5
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

The Children’s Law Clinic provides students with an opportunity to represent low-income children and parents on issues relating to the social determinants of health, including education, public benefits, and access to adequate healthcare. Students will work in teams on case assignments that could involve client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, informal advocacy, and litigation in administrative hearings or court. There will also be opportunities to engage in policy and community education projects. With training and supervision from clinic faculty, students will act as the lead attorneys for the matters on their caseload allowing them to develop critical professional skills such as case strategy development and time management. In the weekly two-hour seminar, students will engage in interactive practical skills training, learn substantive law, and analyze the broader systemic injustices that impact children and families. Students work on clinic cases approximately 10-12 hours a week, for a minimum of 100 hours (4 credits) or 125 hours (5 credits) of legal work during the semester. There is no paper and no exam. Students must be in at least their second semester of law school to enroll in the clinic due to state student practice rules. Students must meet the legal ethics graduation requirement either before or during enrollment in the Children's Law Clinic.

Important:

  • This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.
  • Students MUST be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.
  • International LLM students who wish to enroll in a clinic must seek the permission of the clinic's faculty director prior to the enrollment period. Permission is required to enroll but permission does not constitute entry into the clinic.

Ethics Requirement

  • Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the Children's Law Clinic. Examples of ethics classes that meet the requirement include Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice (LAW 231), Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

417

Advanced Children's Law Clinic 3
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management

This two or three credit course is available to students who have participated in one semester in the Children's Law Clinic, and wish to participate for a second semester. Students may enroll only with approval of the Director of the Clinic. Supervisors will work with advanced students to develop an advanced experience that meets the interests of both the students and needs of the clinic. Students enrolled in advanced clinical studies are required to participate fully in the case work and/or policy portion of the clinic, performing a minimum of 100 hours (2 credits), 125 hours (3 credits) or 150 hours (4 credits) of client representation work, but will not be required to attend the class sessions. A classroom component is available for students using advanced clinic to satisfy their experiential learning requirement.

435

First Amendment Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Live-client representation and case management

This clinic will develop counseling, litigation, and legal commentary skills in the context of working on actual cases and issues involving the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petition.  We will advise and represent individuals and groups with First Amendment concerns or claims who cannot afford the assistance of lawyers with specialized First Amendment expertise.  We will also provide commentary and legal analysis on pending or enacted legislation that implicates First Amendment freedoms, and other governmental as well as academic developments. Students will be directly supervised by the Clinic Director and the Supervising Attorney  All enrolled students will be required to work a minimum of 100 hours a semester with clients or in other professional activities such as answering questions from journalists or analyzing and preparing commentary on pending legislation, as well as to participate in the weekly class and training sessions.

Important:

This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.

Students must be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.

Ethics Requirement

Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the First Amendment Clinic. Examples of ethics classes that meet the requirement include Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice (LAW 231), Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

437

International Human Rights Clinic 4-5
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

The International Human Rights Clinic provides students with an opportunity to critically engage with human rights issues, strategies, tactics, institutions, and law in both domestic and international settings. Through the weekly seminar and fieldwork, students will develop practical tools for human rights advocacy—such as fact-finding, litigation, indicators, reporting, and messaging—that integrate inter-disciplinary methods and maximize the use of new technologies. Students will also develop core competencies related to managing trauma in human rights work, as well as the ethical and accountability challenges in human rights lawyering. Types of clinic projects include those that: apply a human rights framework to domestic issues; involve human rights advocacy abroad; engage with international institutions to advance human rights; and/or address human rights in U.S. foreign policy. Students work closely with local organizations, international NGOs, and U.N. human rights experts and bodies. Students are required to have taken Human Rights Advocacy (offered only in the Fall) as a pre-requisite or co-requisite. There is no ethics requirement for this course. Some travel will likely be involved. Student project teams will also meet at least once a week with the clinic instructors. Students work on clinic projects for a minimum of either 100 or 125 hours of clinical work during the semester. This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.

Enrollment Pre-/Co- Requisite Information

Students are required to have taken Human Rights Advocacy (offered only in the Fall) as either a pre-requisite or co-requisite. LL.M. students are eligible for enrollment in the Clinic in the Spring semester with instructor permission and should contact Prof. Huckerby to discuss eligibility requirements.

443

Environmental Law and Policy Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

The Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic that represents non-profit community-based and environmental organizations throughout the region to address a wide variety of environmental concerns in a variety of different venues. Students work in interdisciplinary teams and engage directly with clients to develop legal and advocacy strategies, conduct site-based assessments, develop legislative and regulatory proposals, and participate in community outreach and education efforts. Students also may engage in litigation, regulatory, and policy proceedings as case needs dictate. Skills training is conducted in weekly seminars and case management meetings and emphasizes client counseling, legal and policy advocacy, working with experts, and networking. Although the mix of topics addressed varies among semesters, matters typically include environmental justice, climate change, water quality, natural resources conservation, endangered species protection, sustainable agriculture, public trust resources, and environmental health. Clinic faculty make an effort to honor student preferences for case assignments, consistent with case needs and each student’s objectives for professional growth and development.

Clinic Enrollment and Credit Policies

To enroll, law students must have completed their 1L year and Nicholas School students must have completed their first semester. International LLM students may enroll during their second semester with permission from the clinic's directors. Variable credit (4-6 hours) is allowed for law students with permission from the clinic’s directors.

Although not a prerequisite, students are encouraged to have completed Environmental Law, Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy, and/or Administrative Law prior to enrollment.

Ethics Requirement for Law Students

Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. Examples of ethics classes that meet the requirement include Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice (LAW 231), Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

Important to Note: This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting. Students MUST be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.

443A

Advanced Environmental Law and Policy
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

This variable-credit (2-4 credits) course builds on the training and work of the EL&PC and offers students the opportunity to develop case leadership and deeper client relationships. Students enrolled in the Advanced Clinic are required to participate fully in the case work portion of the clinic, performing at least 100 hours of client representation work (or more, depending on credit hours), and are required to attend weekly case management meetings. In addition, Advanced students must attend two discussion sessions with other advanced clinic students that will be scheduled after the start of the semester. Instructor permission and successful completion of one semester of clinical work are required to enroll.

493

Wrongful Convictions Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

The Wrongful Convictions Clinic pursues plausible claims of legal and factual innocence made by incarcerated people in North Carolina convicted of serious felonies. 

Students in the clinic study the causes of wrongful convictions, including mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions, faulty forensic evidence, “jailhouse snitches,” and race. Student-attorneys work under the supervision of faculty to develop, manage, and litigate cases by carrying out a wide range of legal activities, including communicating with our clients, locating and interviewing witnesses about facts, gathering documents and records, drafting a range of legal documents and memos, working with experts, and helping to prepare for evidentiary hearings and oral arguments in state and federal courts. Most clinic cases do not involve DNA.

Many former students describe their time in the clinic, working to exonerate individuals incarcerated for crimes they didn't commit, as their most rewarding experience during law school.

562

Sentencing & Punishment 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

This seminar will focus on the process of imposing sentences in criminal cases, administering punishment, and attempting rehabilitation of convicted criminals. The course will first provide background regarding the purposes of punishment and the history of mandatory sentences, presumptive sentences, and sentencing guidelines, and focus on some of these issues in more detail through the use of a expert guest lecturers and a tour of the Federal Correctional Facility in Butner, NC. Students will be expected to participate meaningfully in the lectures, guest speakers and field trip, and produce a research paper on a related topic.

582

National Security Law 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This fall-only survey course is designed to provide students, particularly those with no background in the topic, with an overview of the American legal architecture related to the U.S. security enterprise. The class will also examine related issues that arise "in the news." It is aimed not only at students considering a career in government or the military, but also for those headed to private practice who appreciate that the U.S.’s $778 billion defense budget, ($2 trillion in defense outlays worldwide), impact virtually all potential clients.

The course includes analyzing the constitutional structure governing national security matters, and the role played by the three branches of government (with special emphasis on Presidential power). It will also examine governmental surveillance, the investigation and prosecution of national security cases, as well as First Amendment issues related to national security. In addition, homeland security issues (to include the domestic use of the armed forces), security-based travel restrictions, public health emergencies, civil-military relations, and the impact of national security issues on business transactions will be reviewed. The textbook for this course will be Dycus, et al., National Security Law (7th ed., 2020) ISBN9781543806793 as well as the National Security Law and Counterterrorism Law 2022-2023 Supplement. Other materials may be provided as necessary. The instructors will offer practical, real-world perspectives on the issues discussed based on their extensive careers in government.

There is one assigned time block for the course, but the structure of classes may vary, and students may be divided into sections, discussion groups, and panels.

The course is expected to include guest speakers. There may be occasional asynchronous content, including short lectures, podcasts, and some documentary footage. Students will have advance notice of all required participation elements.

Given this is a course in national security, class instruction will likely include written, oral, and visual depictions of physical force and violence—and occasionally extreme representations of the same.

There is no examination for this course, but a 30-page research paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructors. With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project provided all SRWP requirements are met. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation (which may include short papers and/or brief oral presentations).

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