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

242W

Social Justice Lawyering, Writing Credit 1
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

While enrolled in Law 242 Social Justice Lawyering, with prior professor approval, students may submit a 30-page research paper and earn an additional one credit for the course. This paper is in addition to all the other course requirements, including the written assignments, but may be related to your case study presentation.

The paper may be used to satisfy the upper level writing requirement, the LLM writing requirement, and/or the JD/LLM writing requirement. You must email Professor Gordon or McCoy by the end of the Registration Period and after enrolling in 242 Social Justice Lawyering if you would like to seek this additional credit; there are very limited spots, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

244

The Business and Economics of Law Firms 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course will provide students with an enhanced and vital understanding of law firms as business entities in a competitive and global market. Based on feedback from employers, interviews with hundreds of lawyers and published accounts from law firm leaders, it is clear that technical legal ability will be necessary but not sufficient to excel in the practice of law or any business endeavor in coming decades. The topics will be explored through the review and analysis of literature, statutes, and case studies, and will include a basic financial analysis of the operations of law firms. Assignments will be collaborative and will simulate the client advisory process allowing students to gain experience providing legal advice and business recommendations. Associate Dean and Senior Lecturing Fellow Bruce Elvin will lead and organize the seminar, with senior law and business leaders serving as guest lecturers many weeks.

318W

Comparative Constitutional Law, Writing 1
  • JD SRWP
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • Fall 20
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

Students enrolled in Law318 Comparative Constitutional Law may choose to write a 25-30 page research paper, in lieu of the 10-12 page paper, in order to satisfy the JD Substantial Research and Writing Project degree requirement.  Students choosing this option should enroll in Law 318W.

380

Research Methods in International, Foreign and Comparative Law 1
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
  • Other

This one-credit legal research seminar introduces students to sources and strategies for researching international, foreign, and comparative law. We cover multiple research techniques while exploring freely available and subscription-based access to both primary and secondary sources. Topical coverage includes treaty law, international and regional organizations, international courts and tribunals, and foreign legal research. Assignments will reinforce practical research strategies and processes, and students will practice evaluating print and online sources in a changing information environment. This is a required spring course for students enrolled in the J.D./LL.M. in Comparative and International Law, and open to other students (2L, 3L, and LL.M) during the fall term. The class will meet for eight 90-minute sessions. Grades will be based on take-home exercises, class participation, and a final research project.

425

Pretrial Criminal Litigation 1
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course will focus on the pretrial phase in criminal cases.  We will begin with a defendant’s initial appearance and conclude with a plea hearing.  Class discussions and readings will explore the pretrial practices of effective defense counsel, including conducting a defense investigation, working with experts, and managing clients.  The class will also emphasize oral advocacy skills, so students will be expected to appear as counsel during mock, in-class court hearings. It is anticipated that each class session will be divided into two components: (1) a short lecture/discussion period based on course readings and (2) skills practice.  Finally, this course will provide students with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with criminal case pleadings, including the drafting of at least one motion.  The course grade will be based on classroom participation, performance, and written work.  There is no final exam. 

465

Patent Claim Drafting and Foundations of Patent Strategy 1
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 22
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

Scope of patent protection is controlled by definitions of the invention known as patent claims. The role of intellectual property protection in the economy has caused attention to be given to the precision of claim drafting. Focus on skills used in patent claim writing across a variety of technical fields and developed through exercises, problems, and competitions. Discussions of client counseling and patent application drafting in conjunction with the skill-oriented sessions provide a background in the practical issues that control the approaches taken to claim writing, as well as a basis for discussion during particular problems. This course is especially useful for students interested in patent preparation, prosecution, and litigation, or corporate law involving intellectual property transaction.

Students are required to attend the first class in order to remain enrolled in it.

468

Child Advocacy Lab 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises

There is significant lack of understanding between the fields of medicine and law, as well as missed opportunities to advocate for children’s rights and improved health outcomes. The Child Advocacy Lab offers a unique opportunity to join a dynamic, collaborative learning environment bringing medical and law students to the forefront of child advocacy.  Students will engage in team projects and conduct research related to current child advocacy issues, with particular focus on recent changes in mandated reporting laws that have greatly affected all professionals working with children.  The lessons learned from working cooperatively with other disciplines will directly translate to enhance career skills for interdisciplinary practice.

512

Bail Reform 1
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • LLMWriting option with additional credit
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

Bail practices define who is held in jail in the United States.  Most people held in jails are awaiting trial, and in turn, most of those people cannot afford to pay a cash bond to secure their release.  This seminar will examine the unique system of pretrial detention in the United States, from historical, legal, social, and policy perspectives. We will read leading Supreme Court cases, recent civil rights challenges and judicial rulings regarding bail practices, bail reform legislation, and empirical literature regarding the impacts of pretrial decisions and supervision on people's lives and social outcomes. Students will write short reaction papers regarding each of week's reading, and may also choose to write a more substantial research paper if they wish to earn a second credit. 

512W

Bail Reform, Writing Credit 1
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

While enrolled in LAW 512 Bail Practice, students who plan significant research projects on related topics may register for LAW 512W in order to satisfy the JD Substantial Research and Writing Project.

523

Law of the Sea 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation
Updated: November 12, 2021

This 1-credit course offers a brief introduction to the customary rules, cases and treaties that constitute the international law of the sea: the legal regime regulating activities of coastal, flag and port states across 70 percent of the earth’s surface.

During our short time together (we should complete this fast-track course before spring break) we will seek to cover the breadth of this wide-ranging area of international law while also diving deep into specific topics. Like the law of the sea, the course will emphasize the jurisdictional zones that have been created over centuries of practice, adjudication and codification, and which dictate and have been shaped by the balance of coastal state and flag state interests in ocean uses and resources.

Our deep dives will be guided in part by your specific interests, and could cover issues such as fisheries; deep seabed mining and oil and gas extraction; marine environmental protection; dispute settlement; baselines, limits and boundaries; submarine pipelines and cables; piracy, terrorism and military activities; or shipping, salvage and shipwrecks.

Weekly readings will come from academic journals, popular press sources, treaty texts, case decisions and textbook excerpts. In order to participate in class discussion, assigned material must be read in advance of our meetings. Students will submit short papers (2-3 pages) addressing each week’s reading for six of our seven meetings, excluding our first. Grades will be based on class participation (50%) and the six short papers (50%).

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.*

591

Development Finance 1
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

The Course will:

  • Provide an overview of development challenges in Low and Middle-Income Countries - exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic - and the shared global responsibility under the UN Agenda 2030 to reconcile economic, social, and ecological objectives.
  • Focus on the roles of and partnerships between actors of development finance, such as government agencies, multilateral development banks, foundations, NGOs, and the private sector, particularly impact investors.
  • Familiarize students with development finance instruments, such as budget aid, grants, loans, and blended finance mechanisms.
  • Address critical views on aid effectiveness.
  • Highlight policies in developed countries in conflict with the objectives of development assistance.

Requirements for one credit:

  • Two 3-page essays: the first to be submitted on or before September 14, 2022 (15% of final grade); the second to be submitted on or before October 4, 2022 (15% of final grade)
  • One 10-page paper to be submitted on or before December 2, 2022 (40% of final grade)
  • Active participation in class discussions (30% of final grade)
  • There will be no final exam

Requirements for a second credit (optional):

  • Online presentation to professor of approx. 25 minutes
  • Topic in the field of Development Finance proposed by student
  •  Time of presentation between November 7th and 25th, 2022 (date to be determined by student and professor)
  • Written outline (not full text) and bibliography of presentation to be submitted to professor no later than three days prior to presentation
  • Separate grade

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.

611

Readings 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

This discussion course focuses on readings that explore connections between the law, the practice of law, the legal system, and issues of current societal importance or interest. Each section of the course is expected to have a different specific focus and different readings.

Readings courses focused on public interest may count towards the Public Interest and Public Service Certificate.

Review specific section descriptions to see if they can be used towards a specific degree or certificate requirement.

621S

Externship Seminar 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation
  • Other

Experiential education is an essential part of Duke Law School’s innovative curriculum.  The Externship Program is designed to allow a student to receive academic credit for gaining legal experience beyond what is available in the classroom and clinic settings by working under the supervision of a licensed attorney in a governmental, corporate, judicial, or non-profit law office.  In addition to the hours spent working in the externship placement, first-time externs take this one-credit companion class.  This class course applies the innovation principles of design thinking to the problem of designing your life and vocation in and beyond law school.  We'll approach questions such as, “Once I have my law degree, how do I get a life?” “How do I synthesize what I like to do and what I’m good at?” and “What do I want out of life and work after law school?”

Topics we’ll cover include the integration of work and worldview, the realities of engaging the workplace and what can hold you back from realizing your full potential, how to promote your own happiness, and how to set long- and short-term goals for getting the most out of your externship and beyond. This is an experiential course that includes readings, videos, seminar-style discussions, personal written reflections, and individual mentoring/coaching.

Credit for work in the externship placement (621) will be awarded on a Credit/No Credit basis, while the companion class (621S) is graded in accordance with the Duke Law grading policy for High-Pass / Pass / Low-Pass / Fail classes.  First time externs MUST take one of the two weekly Externship Seminars, offered on Tuesdays or Thursdays for the first seven weeks of the semester.  Students will be automatically enrolled in the Externship Seminar after they turn in their Externship Registration Form (available here) to Holly Dorfman (holly.dorfman@law.duke.edu) Students may not register themselves for the externship or seminar.

679

Duke Law in DC Externship 9
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22

This 9-credit externship is one of three components of the Duke Law in DC experience, which also includes a seminar course and a substantial research paper. With the support of the Externship Administrator, students seek and secure a full-time externship position with a non-profit or government agency or office in Washington, DC. Duke Law in DC externship students have the opportunity to gain substantial hands-on experience in order to advance their academic and professional development while working under the supervision of an attorney on high-quality real-life work assignments.

Under the Duke Law Externship Program, a student must complete 50 hours of externship per externship credit; Duke Law in DC requires 450 hours of externship to be completed between the first day of classes and the last day of exams each semester. Students are required to submit bi-weekly reflection papers and hours logs to the Externship Administrator and course professor. Students will be graded on a credit/no credit basis, based on successful completion of the required externship hours and diligent submission of reflection papers and hours logs.

The Duke Law in DC externship program is open to second- and third-year law students, by permission only.

Please follow this link for details and rules governing externships: http://law.duke.edu/about/community/rules/sec3#rule3-25

9 credits / credit-no credit grading basis

727

Current Issues in Constitutional Interpretation 1
  • JD elective
  • Spring 21
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages

This seminar will examine important constitutional issues that have arisen in recent Supreme Court cases and will use those cases as a vehicle for considering broader questions of constitutional interpretation and Supreme Court practice, such as theories of interpretation and the role of stare decisis. Among the issues that may be studied are the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the Sixth Amendment rights to counsel and trial by jury, the Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment, and the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

Enrollment for Current Issues in Constitutional Interpretation is limited to 15 students.  Only third-year students are eligible to apply for enrollment, as it is anticipated that students in their final year of law school will be best prepared to engage fully in the course.

760E

Practitioner's Guide to Employment Law 1
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This a practitioner’s skills course.

It is designed to introduce students to practitioner skills against a backdrop of some of the main employment law issues that arise on a frequent basis in the American workplace.

Using a variety of approaches to instruction including mock exercises, outside speakers, writing exercises (such as drafting communications to government agencies or corporate clients), and drawing from current developments in the law, the student will become familiar with basic concepts underlying employment law and, equally importantly, the practice skills involved in delivering legal advice and counsel about the issues presented.

While the focus will be on representing an employer, students will explore issues from the perspective of the employee and compliance enforcers. Through this course, students will attain practical familiarity with providing legal advice which can be applied in any business context.

760L

Practitioner's Guide to Labor Law 1
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course is designed to provide a practical overview of the main labor law issues that arise in the U.S. workplace. Using a variety of approaches of instruction including mock exercises, outside speakers, writing exercises and analysis of current events, the course will familiarize students with not just the basic concepts underlying the broad range of labor law but cover more advanced topics. As such, the course is appropriate both for students who have taken Labor Law and those new to the topic. To a certain extent, the class topics will be “collectively bargained,” meaning students will actually bargain over class material with the Professor, much as what happens in a union-management relationship.

Class will meet seven times through the semester.

775

Corporate Ethics 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course is a one-credit seminar taught in two-hour blocks that focuses on the important role played by the corporate ethics office and its relationship with senior management and the board of directors of a corporation to ensure an ethical corporate culture. As we have learned through a series of corporate scandals starting with Enron and continuing through the events that contributed to the financial crisis of 2008, a review of today’s headlines would suggest that work remains to be done in many organizations to maintain an ethical corporate culture. This course will explore some of the critical factors behind the corporate scandals of the past, changes in the regulatory environment that address various aspects of those scandals, and the structure and scope of responsibility of today’s corporate ethics office as necessary to address these challenges. The course is designed to be highly interactive, and a number of in-class exercises will be assigned to assist students in becoming familiar with some of the dynamics faced by the corporate ethics office. The course will not have an exam.

779

Well-Being and the Practice of Law 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Class participation

Optimistic, happy people outperform their counterparts on almost every measure of job success with the notable exception of one group: lawyers. Psychological research suggests that on the whole pessimists perform better in both law school and private practice. Since research also shows that pessimism can be a predictor of depression and/or lower levels of life satisfaction, this raises a question among academics who study well-being: what do we do about the lawyers? Or is the research insufficient to make such sweeping claims?

This class will examine why the "pursuit of happiness," a phrase written by a lawyer, has proved futile for many members of the legal profession and those aspiring to its ranks.There is considerable data indicating that lawyers and law students suffer from greater rates of depression and anxiety than other professions, along with accompanying social maladies such as substance abuse. There is also considerable evidence of high career dissatisfaction among lawyers, and many others are leaving the profession or performing well below their capability. This seems unfathomable given the high levels of education, affluence, and respect lawyers enjoy (or will enjoy), factors which predict happiness and job satisfaction in other areas of life.

This class will present the research to date on lawyers and happiness. We will examine the scientific data and academic literature on lawyer maladies, while examining holes in the collective wisdom and why the majority of lawyers are quite content. Also, we will analyze what Covid lockdowns, remote learning and practice, etc., have done to the overall happiness of lawyers and law students. We will not ignore the questions of social justice and if different groups experience different levels of well-being in law school and practice. While acknowledging the very real problems of the profession, we will address the question many lawyers and law professors legitimately ask – so what: who said lawyers are supposed to be happy? We will then review simple actions law schools, bar associations, law firms, and individuals can take to improve the collective health of the profession, as well as the productivity and engagement of its individual practitioners. In the course of so doing, will learn the basic well-being measurement tools and practice interventions shown to increase individual happiness. Students will have the opportunity, on a volunteer basis, to take different well-being measurement tools developed at the University of Pennsylvania, where the professor obtained a master’s degree in psychology studying well-being. This is a serious course grounded in the latest science; while there will be fairly intensive reading and writing requirements, they will be within the bounds of a one-credit hour course, and should add to the overall well-being of each student.

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.*

825

Practice and Strategic Development of International Transactions: Investment in Latin America 1
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Wintersession

This course explores the fundamental issues, strategic considerations, and principles inherent in transnational business transactions in Latin America and the role of the international attorney in structuring and implementing such transactions. Class time is devoted to a case study of a merger and acquisition transaction involving the purchase of a Brazilian entity by a US multinational corporation. The process of constructing an "international deal" is analyzed step by step, exploring all phases of the venture. Focus is given to recognizing and anticipating potential areas of conflict and evaluating the appropriate and legally viable measures available to address these issues.

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