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 34 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.

229

State and Local Government Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

Much of the business of governing takes place at the state and local level, rather than on the federal level. Competent attorneys must consider the effect that various state and local actors will have on their clients' interests, whether they represent large corporations, small franchises, or individuals. This course is designed to offer an overview of the issues concerning state and local governance from both a theoretical and practical perspective. The course will acquaint students with the broad issues surrounding state and local government, rather than focus on any particular state or municipality. Among the topics of discussion: state constitutional law, structure, and rights; distribution of authority between federal, state, and local governments; federal, state, and local government coordination and conflict; issues surrounding state and local provision of services and employment; state and municipal governance and oversight, and the role of localism and direct democracy in our constitutional structure. Evaluation will be based on class participation, class exercises, and an examination.

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.

307

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

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

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.

 

314

Federal Habeas Corpus 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Midterm
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

What is habeas corpus and why has it earned the title of the “Great Writ”?  Habeas corpus allows prisoners to challenge their detentions and it empowers judges to free prisoners that are unlawfully detained.  The writ reaches the most unpopular prisoners: enemies of the state, war criminals, and those convicted of the most heinous crimes.  Due to its historic role as the last resort for prisoners to obtain judicial review, the U.S. Supreme Court has called the Great Writ one that is “indispensable” and one that “indisputably holds an honored position in our jurisprudence.”  Thus, prisoner litigation is the subject of this course, and in particular, the rights and remedies available to prisoners who seek to challenge their detention.

We will use my co-authored casebook: the first to cover federal habeas corpus comprehensively, presenting post-conviction review and executive detention litigation in an accessible way.  It is available on Sakai, along with the rest of our course materials. We will begin with an examination of the writ of habeas corpus, under which federal courts examine whether detentions are authorized.  We will explore the historical evolution of the writ from a common law prerogative writ to the U.S. federal system and the meaning of the enigmatic Suspension Clause of the U.S. Constitution. We will then focus on habeas litigation by state prisoners convicted of crimes.  We will study the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and how it intersects with the key Supreme Court decisions that define the limits and procedures for habeas corpus, including through the doctrines of exhaustion, procedural default, non-retroactivity, and miscarriage of justice innocence “gateway” claims.

In the second part of the course, we will examine the Suspension Clause and how Article III of the Constitution shapes the power of judges to use habeas corpus.  We will explore the use of habeas corpus to remedy unlawful executive detention, including immigration detention, military detention, and national security detention.  We will study recent statutes and Supreme Court decisions relating to persons indefinitely detained or facing military commission trials post-9/11.  We will conclude by studying the intersection of habeas corpus and civil litigation, and with a broader look at the future of habeas corpus.

We will conduct a series of practical exercises based on real cases, during synchronous classes and offline.  Short lectures will often be recorded in advance to focus our synchronous time on engaging with  the material. The goal is for you to understand the doctrine and theory but also develop practical litigation skills, directly applicable to prisoner litigation, and also to litigation generally. Some will be in-class exercises, while others will be written exercises outside of class.  You will be given feedback on your work throughout the semester. Similarly, grading will be based not just on a final  exam, but on class participation (in synchronous classes, in comments on each other’s work, and on the Sakai forum discussion pages), written answers to three review exercises, written comments on classmates’ answer to review exercises, a midterm exam, and a final exam. All midterm and final exam grading is blind.

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.

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.

338

Animal Law 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course will examine a number of topics related to the law of animals, including various issues that arise under the laws of property, contracts, torts, and trusts and estates. It will also examine various criminal law issues and constitutional law questions. The class will consider such issues as the definition of "animal" as applicable to anti-cruelty statutes, the collection of damages for harm to animals, establishing standing for animal suits, first amendment protections, and the nuances of various federal laws.

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.

345

Gender & the Law 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course will explore the relationship between gender and the law, understanding gender in its broadest sense including sex, sexuality, gender identity, and gender queerness. It will focus on sex discrimination doctrines under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution as well as under federal and state statutory frameworks such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and cognate state statutes. It will also address the shifting scope of substantive due process doctrine, particularly given the recent Supreme Court Dobbs opinion. Other statutes such as the Americans with Disabilities Act will also be explored. Constitutional Law is highly recommended as a prerequisite.

The course will center around legal case studies to evaluate the relationship between law and justice in many areas that affect gender minority lives, including: employment, schools, health care, prison, public accommodations, family, youth and aging, and beyond. The emphasis will be on social justice lawyering strategies and the possibilities and limits that litigation, legislation, and policy developments present for work in these areas. Some film is used in class. Evaluation is by an end-of-term, untimed, open book examination, as well as 3 reaction papers assigned throughout the class. Other individual or group projects may also be required. Engaged student discussion and open-mindedness to new, different, and challenging ideas is invited and valued.

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.

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.

518

Constitutional Law II: Historical Cases and Contemporary Controversies 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • Class participation

Federal constitutional law is deeply shaped by its history. Many of our hot-button issues emerged in the early Republic: the specific questions are often different but the basic disagreements and arguments are startlingly modern.  The modern “canon” of US Supreme Court cases through which constitutional law is taught is an abstraction from this history.  Even if this is mostly unavoidable, the result is that in important ways our understanding of constitutional history, and thus of contemporary constitutional law as well, is distorted.  In this course we will look at a series of contemporary issues  - such as freedom of speech and religion, unenumerated rights, and federalism, through the lens provided by cases and controversies in the first century of the Constitution’s existence that for the most part have dropped out of our field of vision.  Our goal is not simply to develop a deeper understanding of the constitutional past but just as importantly to acquire fresh perspectives on contemporary law.

544

The Collective Action Constitution 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) writing
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

Collective action problems arise where every member of a group has a choice between alternatives, and if each member acts in a narrowly self-interested fashion or all members are unable to coordinate their actions, the outcome will be worse for all members by their own estimations than it will be if all or some of them choose another alternative.  Collective action problems are caused either by externalities (e.g., a prisoners’ dilemma), or by coordination difficulties (e.g., deciding which side of the road to drive on).  This seminar will examine the extent to which the United States Constitution can be understood as solving collective action problems that arise for the states and as empowering the states themselves and the federal government to solve such problems.  Topics will include:

  1. the number and importance of multi-state collective action problems both today and at the time of the creation of the Constitution;
  2. collective action theory in the social sciences;
  3. the promise and perils of relying on interstate compacts and other agreements to solve multi-state collective action problems;
  4. the necessity of federal power to solve such problems and a general examination of how Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution authorizes Congress to do so;
  5. the Interstate Commerce Clause and related structural principles (i.e., the anti-commandeering doctrine and the dormant commerce doctrine);
  6. the Taxing and Spending Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause;
  7. the many other parts of the Constitution that can be explained to a significant extent by the logic of collective action (e.g., the Foreign and Indian Commerce Clauses; Article I, Section 10; the Treaty Clause of Article II; certain heads of federal jurisdiction in Article III, especially diversity and suits between states; the Privileges and Immunities Clause and the Territories Clause, both of Article IV; Article V’s requirements for constitutional amendments; and Article VII’s requirements for ratification of the Constitution);
  8. the inability of the collective action theory of the Constitution to explain certain parts of the Constitution, especially the Reconstruction Amendments, which follow a different structural logic;
  9. various challenges to the theory (e.g., that partisan polarization and congressional dysfunction undermine federal power to solve collective action problems; that the theory threatens to collapse the text of the Constitution into its underlying purposes; that the theory limits federal power too much (according to legal liberals) or not enough (according to legal conservatives); and that claims about whether collective action is rational or likely to occur are historically contingent and normatively contestable; and
  10. why the theory should matter to judges, elected officials, academics in several disciplines, and engaged citizens.

Readings will draw from The Federalist Papers and other Founding materials (e.g., the Articles of Confederation, Madison’s Vices memorandum, various letters of the Founders, the Virginia Plan, and the Constitution); book chapters (by, e.g., Akhil Amar, Jack Balkin, Daniel Farber, Jack Rakove, and Neil Siegel); law review articles (by, e.g., Robert Stern, Donald Regan, Steven Calabresi, Robert Bork, Robert Cooter, Neil Siegel, and Ernest Young); U.S. Supreme Court opinions from the Marshall Court to the present; and select draft chapters of my book manuscript.

Students will be required to write a 30-page research paper on a topic related to the substance of the seminar, which may be used to fulfill the JD SRWP degree requirements, the LLM writing requirement, or the special writing requirement for JD/LLMs. 

Grades will be based on the quality of students’ course participation (40%) and the quality of their research papers (60%).

605

Race and the Law Speakers Series 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

In this Speakers Series, leading scholars and activists will share insights on pressing questions shaping U.S. race relations, including: (1) what would an anti-racist society look like; (2) what should and can be done about the carceral state; and (3) how do we address challenges inherent in concepts like allyship, representation, and intersectionality. Participation from a diverse group of students is encouraged.

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.

717

Comparative Constitutional Design 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

Recent constitutional reconstructions in various parts of the world have called new attention to the problems of institutional design of political systems. In this course we will examine the design and implementation of national constitutions. In particular, we will address the following questions. What are the basic elements of constitutions? How do these elements differ across time, across region, and across regime type? What is the process by which states draft and implement constitutions? What models, theories, and writings have influenced the framers of constitutions?

In the first half of the course, we will review the historical roots of constitutions and investigate their provisions and formal characteristics. We will also discuss the circumstances surrounding the drafting of several exemplary or noteworthy constitutions, from various regions of the world. We will then examine particular features of institutional design in depth. These will include judicial review, presidentialism vs. parliamentarism, federalism, and the relationship of the national legal system to international law.

732

Topics in Access to Justice 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation
  • Other

“Access to justice” (sometimes denominated “A2J”) is a multidimensional concept that eludes easy definition. This course will use the term expansively, to capture the ways in which our civil legal system does or does not respond to the legal needs of ordinary people.
This course will examine the structural obstacles that impede access to civil justice as well as contemporary opportunities for reform. Access barriers can have a variety of sources. Barriers can be doctrinal (e.g., the civil right to counsel), practical (e.g., courts’ ability to accommodate non-English-speaking litigants), economic (e.g., the rise of binding arbitration), or political (e.g., limited funding for legal aid offices), and nearly all are multifactorial. Similarly, opportunities for improvement can be found in doctrine, institutional design, community engagement, and technology. Compared to a course on substantive law, our focus will be on the institutional, procedural, and practical dimensions of the access problem.

The course will be divided into roughly three components. In Part I, we will consider theories and doctrines of civil legal access. In Part II, we will consider institutional and procedural features that shape access to our civil legal system, as well as the roles of different actors and constituencies in the civil justice system, including: lawyers and the legal profession; self-represented litigants; community organizations; courts; and non-judicial government institutions. In Part III, we will consider a handful of “pressure points” in access to civil justices—that is, areas of the law where legal needs are especially significant, and where access is especially challenging. Among the areas will consider will be family law, housing law, consumer law and consumer bankruptcy, and immigration law. Solutions and opportunities for change will be discussed throughout all three parts of the course.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, four response papers and a research proposal.

794

Slavery and the Law 2
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

The laws of slavery defined property in people, governed the relations between slaveholders and the enslaved and between the enslaved and non-slaveholders, and codified the conditions under which enslaved people could live, be manumitted, or become free.  This seminar is concerned with how the law created, addressed, and sustained the category of “slave,” how the courts interpreted the laws of slavery, and how the status of slave was determined in everyday social life. It looks at the structures and practices of law that codified the ownership of property in human beings, their evolution across time and space, the interaction of law, slavery and race, specifically the production of racial slavery. It examines how enslaved and free black people interacted with the law, including initiatives by enslaved people to secure freedom and citizenship rights in the courts.  The course emphasizes close readings of primary documents—including congressional and state legislation, trial transcripts, appellate opinions, treatises, and codes—and books and journal articles by legal scholars and historians. Beginning with the adoption of slavery in the 16th century Atlantic world, it traces slavery’s evolution on the North American continent and concludes with the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

794W

Slavery and the Law/Writing Credit 1
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

Students enrolled in Law 794 Slavery and the Law, may earn an additional credit by writing an additional 25+ page paper, due at the end of the semester . *LAW 794W must be added no later than 7th week of class.*

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