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

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

The list of classes marked Spring 2023 is incomplete and is being regularly updated.

JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law

JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship

International LLM - 1 year

Certificate in Public interest and Public Service Law

Areas of Study & Practice

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

203

Business Strategy for Lawyers 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
  • Class participation

This course presents the fundamentals of business strategy to a legal audience. The course is designed to introduce a wide variety of modern strategy frameworks and methodologies, including methods for assessing the strength of competition, for understanding relative bargaining power, for anticipating competitors' actions, for analyzing cost and value structures, and for assessing the potential for firm growth through innovation. Although the case studies will span a variety of different industries, there will be an emphasis on high technology firms. The ideas in this course have relevance to anyone seeking to manage a law firm, advise business clients, engage in entrepreneurship, or lead a large company.

The class sessions include mainly case discussions coupled with some traditional lectures. The lecture topics and analytical frameworks are drawn from MBA curriculums at leading business schools. The cases are selected primarily for their business strategy content and secondarily for their legal interest. We will be hosting a number of general counsels who will discuss the GC's role in the strategies of their own companies.

Students enrolled in Business Strategy must (a) have previously taken or be concurrently enrolled in Analytical Methods OR (b) have taken an undergraduate course in economics. Students that currently hold an MBA or are enrolled in the JD-MBA program may not take this course. THIS IS A FAST TRACK COURSE.

255

Federal Income Taxation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

An introduction to federal income taxation, with emphasis on the determination of income subject to taxation, deductions in computing taxable income, the proper time period for reporting income and deductions, and the proper taxpayer on which to impose the tax

In planning their course schedules, students should keep in mind that Federal Income Taxation is a prerequisite for most other federal tax courses, including corporate tax, partnership tax, international tax, and the tax policy seminar.  For this reason, students who might want to take one or more advanced tax courses are strongly encouraged to take Federal Income Taxation during their second year of law school.

260

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

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

270

Intellectual Property 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

This course provides an introduction to copyright, trademark, and (to a lesser extent) patent law and trade secrecy. It does not require a technical background of any kind.  The course begins with an introduction to some of the theoretical and practical problems which an intellectual property regime must attempt to resolve; during this section, basic concepts of the economics of information and of the First Amendment analysis of intellectual property rights will be examined through a number of case-studies. The class will then turn to the law of trademark, copyright, and patent with a particular emphasis on copyright, developing the basic doctrinal frameworks and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will focus in particular on a number of areas where the theoretical tools developed at the beginning of the class can be applied to actual problems involving a full panoply of intellectual property rights; these areas include intellectual property on the Internet, the constitutional limits on intellectual property, and innovation, monopoly and competition in the technology sector. The overall theme of the course is that intellectual property is the legal form of the information age and thus that it is important not only for its enormous and increasing role in commercial life and legal practice, but also for its effects on technological innovation, democratic debate, and cultural formation. Much of our doctrinal work will be centered around a series of problems which help students build skills and learn the law in a highly interactive setting. You can also download the casebook for the class here – for free – to give you a sense of the topics that are covered. 

287

Principles of Commercial and Bankruptcy Law 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This is an introduction to the principles and concepts of commercial law and bankruptcy and their interplay. It is intended to provide a solid conceptual and practical grounding in all of the basic commercial and bankruptcy law issues that you are likely to encounter in your practice.

The course starts with a brief overview of the more innovative aspects of sales law, and then introduces such basic commercial law concepts as negotiable instruments, letters of credit, funds transfers, and documents of title. The course then focuses on secured transactions under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), including the concepts of security interests, collateral, perfection and priority, and foreclosure. That brings in the natural interplay with such fundamental debtor-creditor aspects of bankruptcy law as property of a bankrupt debtor’s estate, automatic stay of foreclosure and enforcement actions, use by a debtor of property subject to a security interest and adequate protection of the secured party’s interest, rejection and acceptance of executory contracts, bankruptcy trustee’s avoiding powers including preferences and fraudulent conveyances, post-petition effect of a security interest, set-offs, and subordination. The course also introduces basic corporate reorganization and international insolvency principles.

 

319

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

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

The areas of focus include:

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

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

322

Copyright Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This is a comprehensive course in copyright law. We will examine the legal rights that cover works of creative expression such as literature, music, film, photography, visual art, and software. The class will cover some of the fundamental pillars of the world of creative expression in which we all live—the economic and legal architecture of our culture. This is because copyright’s rules provide the economic incentives that influence our creative output as well as part of the legal framework that shapes our communications technology. The broad impact of copyright law means that it is of importance to a wide range of legal practice and not merely to the specialist. No technical background is needed.

323

Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

The course will focus on the process by which a corporate debtor reorganizes under the provisions of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Prior familiarity with bankruptcy principles and debtor-creditor law is not required. These will be incorporated in the course as it unfolds. Some familiarity with business organization is helpful but not necessary.

The subject will be covered primarily from three perspectives: the underlying business and economic dynamics that lead both to the debtor's financial crisis and to its potential to rehabilitate through a plan of reorganization; the supervision of a debtor by the bankruptcy court; and the reality that virtually all commercial transactions and financial contracting occur in the “shadow” of bankruptcy law and its potential to alter rights and obligations.

Topics to be covered include historical, Constitutional, and policy issues underlying Chapter 11's provisions and goals; overview of basic business structures and transactions bearing on Chapter 11 reorganization; alternatives to avoid Chapter 11; the powers and oversight role of the bankruptcy court and the obligations and governance of a corporate debtor when under the protection of the bankruptcy court; the major phases of a Chapter 11 case from initial filing to consummation of a plan of reorganization (e.g., formulation of a business plan and the plan of reorganization, claims procedures and classification, plan disclosure and voting, plan confirmation, discharge, and consummation); recovery and disposition of assets in Chapter 11, including asset sales, and avoidance remedies; and numerous special topics encountered in Chapter 11 practice.

 

325

Corporate Finance 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course is designed to familiarize law students with the principles of corporate finance. In the world of corporate finance, the distinction between lawyers and investment bankers has blurred. Whether negotiating a merger agreement, acquisition, or divestiture, rendering a fairness opinion, preparing for an appraisal hearing, litigating securities class action or derivative suits, issuing new securities, taking a firm private via an LBO or public via an IPO, corporate lawyers and investment bankers work side-by-side. Lawyers with an appreciation of the basics of corporate finance gain a distinct advantage. This course will also provide important tools for litigators to work with financial expert witnesses and calculate damages.

Topics include: the time value of money; the relation between risk and return; the workings and efficiency of capital markets; behavioral finance; valuing perpetuities and annuities; valuing corporate securities (stock, bonds, and options); valuing businesses as a going concern; optimal capital structure and dividend policies; debt covenants and other lender protections; derivatives; and the application of these principles to legal practice.

[This course serves as a prerequisite for Corporate Restructuring and Venture Capital and Private Equity, two courses offered at the Fuqua School of Business and cross-listed in the Law School.]

326

Corporate Taxation 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A study of the provisions of the Internal Revenue code governing the tax effects of the major events that occur in the life span of a corporation, including the taxation of distributions to shareholders and the formation, reorganization, and liquidation of corporations.

No papers are required, but class participation is expected. Students interested in taxation should take this course; it also has application to general corporate practice (mergers and acquisitions).

It is strongly recommended that students take Business Associations before taking Corporate Taxation

Federal Income Taxation is a prerequisite (waivable at the discretion of the instructor for a student with a comparable tax background acquired in some other way).

331

Introduction to Privacy Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course on privacy law and policy examines the ways in which the United States’ legal framework recognizes privacy rights or interests and balances them against competing interests, including, among others: freedom of speech and press, ever-expanding uses of big data, national security and law enforcement, medical research, business interests, and technological innovation. The course will address the ways that torts, constitutional law, federal and state statutes and regulations, and societal norms protect individual privacy against government, corporations and private actors in a variety of areas including: employment, media, education, data security, children’s privacy, health privacy, sports, consumer issues, finance, surveillance, national security and law enforcement. The course will also consider the significantly different approach to information privacy in the European Union and the importance of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which became effective May 2018.  The course may also address briefly privacy issues and laws in an additional country, such as China, for purposes of further comparison.  Students will gain a broad understanding of the breadth, diversity and growing importance of the privacy field.

333

Science Law & Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

What are the government policies that support science? How is science regulated and controlled? What can science contribute to law and policy? How do the states, the federal government and international agencies interact to set science policy? How do disparate regulations and law impact research and translation? How is scientific research funded? These questions and more will be explored by looking at the interaction of law, science, and policy. The class is a mix of law, ethics and science students, and learning how to talk to one another in a common language is an important element of the course. Classes will include consideration and analysis of cases studies. There are no prerequisites for the course and there is no requirement that students have either graduate or upper-level undergraduate training in the sciences. Course evaluation (i.e. your grade) will be based on class participation and a final exam.

All MA, PhD and JD/MA students should register under BIOETHIC 704 – approval of professor is required. All law students (other than JD/MAs) should register under LAW 333.

335

Private Equity and Hedge Funds 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

The alternative asset classes of private equity and hedge funds represent a significant and growing share of investment activity worldwide and are at the center of many of the most pressing current issues in finance and financial law. While traditionally lightly regulated, both areas have received increasing regulatory attention since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Both also figure prominently in major ongoing debates concerning financial stability, market efficiency, corporate governance, financial innovation and complexity, and even income inequality. This course introduces private equity and hedge funds from the perspectives of finance, regulation, and legal practice, covering the foundational issues of securities, tax, organizational, and fiduciary law that they raise. Students will learn the basic regulatory framework applicable to fund structuring, fund managers and sponsors, fund offerings, and fund investments, and gain experience with the key agreements among the parties involved. In addition, the course will critically assess the current regulation of private equity and hedge funds and proposals for reform. Through reading materials, course discussions, guest lectures, and group work, students will gain insight into the perspective of fund managers, advisors, investors, those who transact with such funds, and those who regulate the fund industry.

Prerequisites: Students must have previously completed or be concurrently enrolled in Business Associations or an introductory course on business organizational law/company law taken at another law school (whether in the U.S. or abroad). Prior coursework in securities regulation and taxation may be useful, but is not required.

Grading: The course grade will be based on: (i) a final examination, (ii) class participation, and (iii) quizzes, problem sets, or other short assignments.

336

A Practical Introduction to Mergers & Acquisitions 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation

This two-credit course will consider and analyze corporate mergers and acquisitions and the process of initiating and completing a corporate acquisition. Topics covered will include the structures commonly used in M&A transactions (and the factors affecting choice of deal structure); strategies employed by the acquiring party and the target firm in negotiating an acquisition and the differing roles played by the various parties involved in a transaction; the different types of agreements and other documents an attorney will encounter and negotiate over the course of a transaction; the critical role of information in M&A deals; conducting due diligence; the elements, structure and key terms of a typical acquisition agreement; the roles and responsibilities of management, Boards of Directors and shareholders in connection with transactions; securities laws affecting transactions; an introduction to private equity M&A; acquisition financing; and getting the transaction to closing.

369

Patent Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to patent law and policy. No technical background is required. The course begins by addressing the history of patents as well as the policy arguments for and against using patents as a mechanism for inducing innovation. Following this introduction, students learn the basics of patent drafting and prosecution, patent claims, and claim construction. The class then addresses in depth the central patentability criteria of subject matter, utility, nonobviousness, and disclosure. Other topics of importance that are covered in the class include: the relationship between patents and other forms of intellectual property protection, particularly trade secrecy and copyright; the intersection of patent and antitrust law; the role of the two major institutions responsible for administering the patent system, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; and the role of patents in the two major industries of the knowledge-based economy, information technology and biotechnology.

379

Partnership Taxation 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

The course will cover the tax implications of organizing and operating businesses as partnerships for tax purposes, investing in tax partnerships and acquisitions and dispositions of partnership interests. Partnership Tax is offered in fall semester only.

Partnership Tax is offered in fall semester only.

393

Trademark Law and Unfair Competition 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

This class offers an introduction to the law of trademark and unfair competition. Whether or not students intend to specialize in trademark law, a basic understanding of its rules will better enable them to advise clients who wish to protect their own marks, as well as those facing claims that they have infringed someone else’s mark. No technical background is needed. Trademarks include brand names and logos, and can also extend to other features that identify the source of a product for its consumers – including colors, packaging, and design – when they meet certain requirements. The course will begin with the requirements for obtaining trademark protection: distinctiveness, use in commerce, special rules for trade dress, and various bars to protection such as genericity and functionality. It will then cover confusion-based trademark infringement, secondary liability, anti-dilution, statutory and common law defenses, false advertising, and cybersquatting. Could a Utah theme park called “Evermore” stop Taylor Swift from calling her album “Evermore”? Did Lil Nas X’s Satan shoes infringe Nike’s trademarks? With the proliferation of craft brews, are we running out of brand names for beer, particularly pun-based “hoptions”? The course will address these and other pressing questions.

540

Startup Law: Legal Considerations for Entrepreneurs and Counsel 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course takes students through the legal issues likely to present themselves in the lifecycle of a high growth company from inception through acquisition (the typical liquidity event). Startup Law exposes students to the types of issues, questions and documentation that they encounter as a lawyer for an entrepreneurial venture, but also from the perspective of the entrepreneur. The course is a survey of entrepreneurial law considerations and will discuss policy considerations as the material and current events dictate. While some of the content related to legal considerations from the perspective of company counsel is similar to Law 534 Advising the Entrepreneurial Client, this does not satisfy the requirements for the JD/LLMLE. Students who have taken Law 534 may not take this class.  Business Associations highly recommended as a prerequisite but may be taken as a co-requisite. Final grade based on exam and in class participation.

549

Corporate Counseling and Communication 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

The goal of this class is for students to develop skills working with sophisticated clients on complex issues that lack easy answers and to simulate the practice of law in a way that a young associate is likely to experience it whether at a large law firm or in a small legal office. The primary focus is interviewing and counseling business clients and drafting client-related communications.

The first part of the class is split into five two-week segments. In the first week of each segment, the class will study a legal issue and prepare to interview the client. Then, one student interviews the client about a simulated scenario in a conference call as the rest of the class observes.  After the call, the class assesses the legal issues and strategies for responding. Students must then decide what advice to give.

In the second week of each segment, the class evaluates potential responses and prepares to advise the client. Another student counsels the client as the class observes. The focus of the class is on client communications, legal strategy, and developing professional skills, and students will gain exposure to the types of issues commonly faced by corporate counsel, including contract negotiations and potential claims.

Students will also practice working in a law office environment by sending emails to the professor that simulate reports to a supervising attorney and by submitting timesheets showing work they have completed. The final three weeks focus on a 15-page paper that will require independent research on a complex legal topic assigned by the professor. Through these exercises, students will learn to speak confidently with experienced business executives, collect information efficiently from busy professionals, and deliver practical, business-oriented legal advice orally and in writing.

722

International Business Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

The goal of this course is to provide students with a broad overview of how international rules shape global commerce. It will serve as a foundation in international law for students who never plan to take another international law course but also serve as a roadmap of the possibilities for international law study (and careers) for students who want to do more with international law. The course begins with private, cross-border contracting, then moves on to public international law agreements as well. We start with conflict of law rules as well as international treaties designed to coordinate contract law (CISG). From there we dive into the world of private international arbitration, including questions of when state should not permit international arbitration. The course will also covers torts claims, particularly under the Alien Torts Claims Act. We will examine the Bhopal litigation before moving on to some of the cases that have been brought against major oil companies by citizens of developing countries. At that point, the course pivots towards more public law issues that govern international transactions. We look at the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as the OCED Anti-bribery Convention. Finally, we turn to the major treaty regimes on economic subjects, including multilateral trade agreements and the network of bilateral investment treaties.

GRADING: Grades are based on an exam.

754

IP Transactions 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are the currency of an innovation economy. Each of these forms of intellectual property may be bought and sold, licensed, or used as security. How each is used will depend on the business context; the needs of a start-up company being far different from those of a multinational corporation. This course will focus on intellectual property transactions in various business contexts, including: maximizing value and assessing risks; using intellectual property in financing start-ups; protecting trade secrets; employment issues related to intellectual property; intellectual property licensing; and intellectual property in mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcy.

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