Course Browser

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.

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Areas of Study & Practice

Clear all filters 28 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.

225

Criminal Procedure: Adjudication 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

A study of the basic rules of criminal procedure, beginning with the institution of formal proceedings. Subjects to be covered include prosecutorial discretion, the preliminary hearing, the grand jury, criminal discovery, guilty pleas and plea bargaining, jury selection, pretrial publicity, double jeopardy, the right to counsel, and professional ethics in criminal cases.

226

Criminal Procedure: Investigation 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course in advanced constitutional law is a study of the legal limitations on criminal investigative practices contained in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. Topics include search and seizure, arrest, the exclusionary rule, electronic surveillance, the privilege against self-incrimination, interrogation, confessions, and the right to counsel.

232

Employment Discrimination 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A study of the law of employment discrimination, focusing mainly on federal statutes that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, and age. Class time is committed to both doctrinal and policy analysis. The course does not examine disability discrimination.

302

Appellate Courts 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

This course will examine the practices and powers of American appellate courts, with a particular emphasis on the federal courts of appeals.  Our discussion will focus on the goals of these institutions and the extent to which individual components of the appellate decision-making process—including oral argument and opinion-writing—further those goals.

We will begin with an overview of the function of appellate courts—why they were created and what we expect of them today.  We will then move to the specific components of appellate adjudication, including mediation, briefing, oral argument, and judgment, as well as the personnel who contribute to the adjudication process.  Finally, we will consider the ways in which the appellate courts have been affected by an increasing caseload, and proposals for alleviating the strain on the courts.

Ultimately, the goal of the course is to expose you to how appellate courts operate and the purported goals of these institutions.  Over the course of the semester, you should also be evaluating what you think are the fundamental objectives of appellate review and whether the current structure of the courts allows them to meet those goals.

Evaluation in the course will be based on a final research paper, which may be used to satisfy the SRWP.

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

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.

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.

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.

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).

435A

Advanced First Amendment Law Clinic 2
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Live-client representation and case management

This two-credit course is available to students who have participated in one semester in the First Amendment Law clinic and wish to participate for a second semester. Students may enroll only with approval of the Director of the Clinic.. Students enrolled in Advanced Clinical Studies are required to participate fully in the case work portion of the clinic, performing 100-120 hours of client representation work, but will not be required to attend the class sessions.

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.

445

Immigrant Rights Clinic 4-6
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

The Immigrant Rights Clinic engages students in the direct representation of noncitizens and community organizations in litigation, community outreach, and policy advocacy. Students will work in teams to represent individual clients in litigation matters, such as removal proceedings in immigration court, administrative or federal appeals, or other legal claims, as well as work with community-based organizations in advocacy projects or outreach and education campaigns. Through a mix of individual and organizational representation, students will develop an integrated approach to promoting the rights of immigrants. Direct representation of individual clients will require students to develop skills in fact-development, client interviewing, affidavit drafting, expert opinion development, testimony preparation, legal briefing, and case planning that combines client narratives with long-term appellate strategies. In working with organizational clients and partners, students may gather data and produce policy reports; develop accessible legal resources for immigrant families and their allies; and collaborate with grassroots organizers, policy-makers, pro bono counsel teams, and national advocacy groups.

Students are directly responsible for these cases and take the leading role in defining advocacy goals and strategies with their clients. Through the clinic, students can build their litigation skills and develop a better understanding of how to engage in immigrant rights campaigns. The Immigrant Rights Clinic combines a substantive weekly seminar, case work, and weekly case supervision and instruction meetings. It is a one-semester course offered in both the fall and spring semesters and students will have an Advanced Clinic option.

Clinics Enrollment Policy

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

445A

Advanced Immigrant Rights Clinic
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

This course is available to students who have participated in one semester of the Immigrant Rights clinic and wish to participate for a second semester. Students may enroll only with approval of the Director of the Clinic.

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.

503

The Constitution in Congress 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Many of America’s formative constitutional struggles occurred in the halls of Congress, rather than the courts. Principles now taken for granted were once vigorously contested, often along partisan or sectional lines. This course will explore moments of congressional deliberation that shaped the trajectory of American constitutional development. Likely topics include debates over the Alien and Sedition Acts, the spending power, military conscription, territorial expansion, executive power, antislavery petitioning, the Fugitive Slave Acts, the legacy of Dred Scott, women’s equality, and judicial supremacy. Students will analyze key floor debates and committee reports alongside later Supreme Court decisions covering similar substantive ground.

Throughout the course, we will encounter sophisticated and wide-ranging arguments on matters of first impression. These episodes provide rich historical insight into contemporary debates over how the Constitution should be interpreted. We will also consider the extent to which modern constitutional law has been shaped by concepts that have fallen out of favor and by practices that are now viewed with moral revulsion. And we will reflect on the absence of perspectives that were systematically excluded from Congress until well into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The course will be taught as a two-hour weekly seminar, focused on class discussion of the assigned readings. Students will complete a research paper that can be used to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

 

504

Critical Race Theory 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

Critical race theory (CRT), a scholarly movement that began in the 1980s, challenges both the substance and style of conventional legal scholarship.  Substantively, critical race scholars (“race crits”) reject formal equality, individual rights, and color-blind approaches to solving legal problems.  Stylistically, race crits often employ new methodologies for legal scholarship, including storytelling and narrative.  This course introduces CRT’s core principles and explores its possibilities and limitations.  With a heavy focus on writings that shaped the movement, the course will examine the following concepts and theories: storytelling, interest convergence theory, the social construction of race, the black-white paradigm, the myth of the model minority, intersectionality, essentialism, working identity, covering, whiteness and white privilege, colorblindness, microaggressions, and implicit bias.  Students will apply these theories and frameworks to cases and topics dealing with, among other things, first amendment freedoms, affirmative action, employment discrimination, and criminal disparities and inequities.  The course affords students an opportunity to think about the ways in which racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism are inextricably interwoven as well as an opportunity to challenge critically our most basic assumptions about race, law, and justice.

543

State Constitutional Law and Localism 1
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

This seminar discusses issues concerning state constitutional law and localism. The readings for the course will be classic written works on the topic as well as new contributions by contemporary scholars. The course will focus on the doctrinal and theoretical issues surrounding state constitutional law and localism. Among the topics in the seminar: the interpretation of state constitutions; state constitutions as the source of both negative and positive rights; the "new preemption" of local government; the role of mayors and municipal government in setting public policy, political polarization and localism, and related topics. Class will meet every other week. Evaluation will be based on class participation and short reflection papers distributed prior to class. Students can take the class for one or two credits. The two credit option will require a substantial paper.

543W

State Constitutional Law and Localism, Writing Credit 1
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • Spring 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

While enrolled in Law 543 State Constitutional Law and Localism, students who plan significant research projects on related topics may register for a second credit in order to satisfy the JD Writing Requirement. *LAW 543W must be added no later than 7th week of class.*

551

Civil Rights Enforcement Colloquium 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 30 pages
  • Class participation

This two-credit colloquium is designed to engage students on questions concerning the enforcement of civil rights (broadly defined) in America. Whereas most law school classes focus on the substance of such rights, this class will examine how civil rights are conceived and enforced – by individual rights-holders, by movement lawyers, or by governments. The colloquium will feature workshop-style presentations of works by scholars working in diverse fields, including civil rights, legal history, federal courts, and state and local government; as well as presentations by advocates involved in the work of civil rights enforcement. Students will be expected to engage with the speaker and with each other in discussion. Faculty interested in these topics also will be invited to attend and participate in the discussions.

Students have two options for completing the requirements of the course:  1) short (5-10 page) papers in response to at least six of the works presented, due in advance of the presentation; or 2) a 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 could use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Contributions to class discussions will also be a component of the course grade.

639

Movement Lawyering Lab: Law for Black Lives 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This three-credit course will immerse students in the theory, practice, and politics of movement lawyering.  The course proceeds in two parts: a weekly seminar and field work.  In the seminar, students learn the foundations and tactics of movement activism, and discover how lawyers work with social movements to build power and create change.  In the field work portion, students are paired with lawyers and organizers from across the South to produce legal analyses, policy papers, legislative reviews, rapid response documents, outreach materials, and more.  For the Fall of 2022, the course will have a special emphasis on reproductive justice work, and (depending on enrollment) will be working with organizations such as SisterLove, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, SisterReach, In Defense of Black Lives–Atlanta, and other Black-led movement organizations.  Students will also be invited to travel to Atlanta to meet directly with our movement partners.  For more information on the course, please see this episode of the Duke Law podcast: https://law.duke.edu/video/duke-law-podcast-movement-lawyering-lab-duke-law

Course enrollment is by application.  Students interested in applying for the course should submit their CV and a short (250-500 word) statement of interest about why they would like to enroll in the course, how their background has prepared them to work effectively with movement partners, and how they plan to use the skills they learn in the course. Statements should be sent to Bobbi Pabon, bobbi.pabon@duke.edu, no later than 5 pm on Friday, November 11. Student will be notified by Professor Gordon before the first registration window opens on Tuesday morning so that you can factor the seminar into your semester credit load. The seminar will meet weekly at a mutually-agreed-upon time and place.

718

Social Choice Theory: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Beyond 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

Social choice theory is the systematic study of how to combine individual preferences, or some other indicator of individual well-being, into a collective ranking. Although scholars have worried about this problem for centuries, most intellectual progress in social choice theory has occurred in the last century, with Arrow's stunning "impossibility theorem," and the development of the notion of the "social welfare function." This latter construct serves as the foundation for many disciplines within economics (such as optimal tax theory or the economics of climate change). It also provides a rigorous and comprehensive framework for thinking about cost-benefit analysis--currently the dominant policy tool in the U.S. government.

This course will provide an introduction to social choice theory, with a particular focus on the social welfare function and on cost-benefit analysis. In the course of addressing these topics, we will also spend substantial time discussing the philosophical literatures on well-being and on inequality. What is the connection between someone's well-being and her preferences, her happiness, or her realization of various "objective goods"? And--on any conception of well-being--how should we structure policy choice to take account of the distribution of individual welfare? Addressing these questions is essential for thinking clearly about collective choice and, in particular, social welfare functions and cost-benefit analysis.

My book Measuring Social Welfare: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2019) will serve as the main text for the course, with additional readings from philosophy, economics, and law.  The course does not require advanced mathematics. However, students should not be "math phobic". The readings and our discussion will use some mathematical notation to communicate key ideas--as does, of course, any economics text on cost-benefit analysis--and students should not be afraid of seeing this notation. Students should also be prepared to engage in philosophical discussion.

The course will be taught as a 2-hour weekly seminar. Students will be asked to do the reading for each seminar; to write short (1 page) reaction papers each week; and to participate in class discussion. Students will also write a 10-page final analytical (not research) paper.  This final paper can either be (a) a critical discussion of one or more chapters from Measuring Social Welfare, or (b) a critical discussion of some other book or article relevant to the topics of the seminar.

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