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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

202

Art Law 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam, option
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

This course will cover a number of intersections between the law and the people and institutions who constitute the world of the visual arts, including artists, museums, collectors, dealers, and auctioneers. The course will also cover non-legal material geared to shaping practices of art market participants, such as codes and guidelines adopted by art-museum associations, as well as some relevant literature from other academic disciplines. Specific topics will include: (1) contexts in which a legal institution must determine whether a particular object is a work of "art" or art of a particular type; (2) artists' rights, including statutory and non-statutory moral rights and resale rights; (3) problems of authenticity; (4) the legal rights and duties of auctioneers, art dealers, and other intermediaries; (5) the legal structure of art museums, including issues of internal management and governance; (6) stolen art, including objects looted during World War II; and (7) developments in law and industry practice relevant to "cultural heritage," the association of particular objects with particular places or societies.

Students will be required to participate in class discussions, and will have the option of writing a 25-30-page research paper OR taking a take-home exam. Paper topics must be approved by the instructor, who will be glad to make suggestions (some of which will involve local field research).

There are no prerequisites for the course. Although some background in intellectual property (copyright and trademark law) would be helpful, none is required. A set of readings will be distributed prior to the first meeting of the class. Before then, a complete updated syllabus will be posted.

227

Use of Force in International Law: Cyber, Drones, Hostage Rescues, Piracy, and more 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This fall-only seminar is designed to introduce students with limited or no familiarity with international law to principles involved in jus ad bellum, that is, when states can resort to the use of force during periods of putative peace. It will explore, for example, what circumstances constitute an “act of war” in variety of situations.

The course will analyze when and how force may be used in self-defense and will survey topics such as humanitarian intervention, hostage rescue, air defense identification zones, freedom of navigation operations, use of force in the cyber domain, and the legal aspects of international counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations (including drone strikes). Efforts to limit the use of force in outer space as well as the implications of nuclear weapons and the emergence of autonomous weaponry will be explored.

Case studies and current news events, including some related to the conflict in Ukraine, will be examined in conjunction with the covered issues. In addition, students will get an overview of the practical issues associated with the use of force, to include the weaponry, planning, and military techniques involved.

This course obviously addresses the use of force in international law. Accordingly, class instruction will inevitably include written, oral, and visual depictions of physical force and violence—and occasionally extreme representations of the same.

You are not require to purchase any books for this course, because they are available for free online from the Duke Law Library. A key book for this course is entitled The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach (2018). You will not be required to read this entire book (it’s 960 pages!). Additionally, we will use parts of Regulating the Use of Force in International Law (2021; Necessity and Proportionality and the Right of Self-Defence in International Law (2021) and The Future Law of Armed Conflict (2022) (available online July 2022).

There is no examination, but a 20-page paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project (SRWP) or other writing requirements provided it is at least 30 pages in length and otherwise complies with SRWP requirements. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation, and may require the preparation of short presentations, and response papers.

288

Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course uses consumer bankruptcy as a lens to study the role of consumer credit in the U.S. economy and society. The class will focus on the key aspects of the consumer bankruptcy system, including who files bankruptcy, what causes bankruptcy, the consequences of bankruptcy, and the operation of the bankruptcy system. We will discuss each of these issues in the larger context of consumer debt and consumer law, and will also cover the foreclosure crisis, student loans, and issues related to debt, race, and gender. The readings will come from law and non-law sources, including the work of a variety of social scientists.

Due to substantive overlap in material for the coming semester, students may not concurrently enroll in Law 288: Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt and Law 586: Current Debates in Bankruptcy Law. However, if you've taken one of the courses in a previous semester and wish to take the other, that will be permitted.

298

Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course explores laws and policies that affect decisions on United States ocean and coastal resources. We examine statutes, regulations, attitudes, and cases that shape how the United States (and several states) use, manage, and protect the coasts and oceans out to – and sometimes beyond – the 200-mile limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone. We cover government and private approaches to coastal and ocean resources, including beaches, wetlands, estuaries, reefs, fisheries, endangered species, and special areas.

368

Natural Resources Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

The law of how we use nature - timber, mining, bioversity, fisheries, water rights, and agriculture. Also an introduction to the historical and constitutional geography of American public lands: the national parks, forests, wilderness system, and grazing lands, and disputes over federal versus local control of these. There is special attention to the historical and political origins of our competing ideas of how nature matters and what we should do with it, from economically productive use to outdoor recreation to preserving the natural world for its own sake. Attention also to the complicated interplay of science and law.

370

Modes of Legal Argument 3
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15 pages
  • Class participation

Introduction to Legal Theory: Modes of Legal Argument is a 3-credit seminar with enrollment capped at 12, and a final paper that can be used to satisfy the Substantial Research and Writing Project. 

The course will be organized around a set of essential questions, all vital to the ways we argue about the law. The major schools of legal and constitutional interpretation will be explored.  For example, we will discuss formalism and textualism, purposivism, originalism, process theory, economic analysis, realism and legal pluralism. Each of these theories has an answer to the question, what is the right way to interpret a legal text?  Beyond the text, what modes, or forms of argument are permissible, or mandatory, within our legal tradition?   But each of those inquiries depends on deeper questions. Where does law come from? What, if anything, makes it legitimate? It will also deal with some concrete examples in which those modes of legal argument are tested and deployed:  Does the law create the market economy, or is there a pre-existing template for market economies that frames and limit the interpretation of the laws that govern those markets?  The public/private distinction is central to a liberal society: do we have a consistent or principled way of interpreting those boundaries? How should our understanding of law be affected by the fact that we live in a democratic country, a free-market country, a country with a written constitution? We will consider and approach these questions by way of major schools of legal thought, testing the theoretical approaches against  concrete  problems the legal system has had to address, and the shapes these problems take today. 

Requirements:  The class requirements include regular Sakai postings on the readings.  Those who are using the paper to satisfy the Substantial Research and Writing Paper will write a 25-30 page final paper on an approved topic, going through the normal process of first draft, conference and revision.  Those who are not will write a 15 page final paper, either on an approved topic of your choice or on one assigned by the instructor.    No prior exposure to legal theory, philosophy or political theory is required.

503

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

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

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

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

 

505

Criminal Justice Policy Lab 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    The growth in incarceration in the United States since the early 1970s has been “historically unprecedented and internationally unique,” as the National Research Council recently put it. This lab seminar will explore current debates about how best to improve our criminal justice system. The focus will be on concrete research projects with the potential to improve criminal justice outcomes in North Carolina. Students will learn how to conduct policy-based research on criminal justice problems, and students will choose projects and write research papers studying possible reforms. Visitors to the seminar will include leading lawyers, policymakers, and scholars to speak to the class, and to assist with the research efforts.  Students will better appreciate the challenges of designing a sound criminal justice system and also learn how as lawyers they may participate in successful and well-researched policy reform efforts.

    538

    Transitional Justice 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) writing, option
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages

    This 2-credit seminar will provide an introduction to the field of “transitional justice,” which refers to a broad range of processes and mechanisms that have been developed to respond to major violations of human rights that often occur during armed conflicts, under the rule of authoritarian regimes, or in divided societies where a dominant ethnic, racial, or religious group has systematically persecuted members of a minority or other marginalized group. Transitional justice seeks to achieve one or more of the following objectives depending on the context: providing redress for victims and accountability for perpetrators through judicial or non-judicial mechanisms (while recognizing that these are not binary categories and the same person can be both a victim and a perpetrator), repairing damaged relationships between offenders and victims (also known as “restorative justice”), promoting peaceful coexistence between previously adversarial groups, truth-telling and memorialization of the historical record of human rights violations, and legal or political reforms that address the root causes of the conflict in order to prevent its recurrence in the future. The seminar will also explore the importance of different types of data or evidence both for documenting international crimes and other forms of injustice and harm that transitional justice processes seek to address, and for empirically evaluating the effectiveness of peacebuilding programs that have been implemented in Iraq, Chile, and other contexts.

    The seminar will also engage with important critiques and limitations of the field of transitional justice, which has historically been dominated by scholars and institutions from the Global North, and by Eurocentric concepts of justice that are not necessarily universal. Contemporary transitional justice efforts have focused disproportionately on what are often described as “tribal,” “ethnic,” and “sectarian” conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, but have paid considerably less attention to the enduring legacies of colonial and white supremacist violence in North America. Transitional justice also tends to prioritize accountability for some forms of violence, conflict, and crime over others. For example, compensation is often provided for victims of lethal violence (e.g., “condolence” payments made by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan to family members of civilians killed in airstrikes) but not for other forms of non-lethal harm such as sexual violence. Students will come away from the seminar with a strong understanding of the primary tools and mechanisms for transitional justice (e.g., trials, truth and reconciliation commissions, compensation), key historical case studies including Iraq, Rwanda, and the United States, and important debates and critiques that have shaped the field.

    Students can choose one of three options to fulfill the course requirements: 

    • A research paper of approximately 20-25 pages* 
    • 5 short response papers on weekly readings (approximately 1,500 words each)
    • POLSCI or LAW: 1 research design proposal for an original research project using any empirical methods (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, archival) including draft Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol (required for research with human subjects such as interviews, surveys, or participant observation)

    *LAW students will have an option to satisfy the JD Upper Level Writing Requirement through extension of the paper to 30 pages. 

    541

    Nonprofit Organizations 3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam, option
    • Research paper, 40 pages

    The subject of the course is the diverse sector of the economy composed of nonprofit organizations, and, in particular, the organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Topics to be covered include their function and role in society; issues related to their formation, governance and regulation; the tax laws and regulations specific to exempt organizations; and policy issues regarding the sector.

    546

    International Law of Armed Conflict 3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper, 25+ pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    This seminar will examine the international law of armed conflict, and it focuses on the jus in bello context. Students will consider the rationale for the key concepts of the law of armed conflict, and examine their practical application in various contexts. Case studies (contemporary and historical) will be examined in conjunction with the topics covered. This historical context for the law of armed conflict agreements, the status of conflicts, combatants, and civilians, targeting, rules of engagement, war crimes, are all included among the topics the class will address. Students will be encouraged to relate legal and interdisciplinary sources in order to better understand the multi-faceted interaction between law and war. There is no examination for this course but a 30-page paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a legal topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. Students desiring to use the course paper to fulfill Substantial Research and Writing Project (SRWP) and possibly other writing requirements must obtain instructor. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation. Students should be aware that this course may include discussion and visual depictions (still and video) of armed conflict and other acts of extreme violence. The textbook for this course is Gary D. Solis's The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War (3rd ed., 2021). This course will only be offered in the spring.

    551

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

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

    Students have two options for completing the requirements of the course:  1) short (5-10 page) papers in response to at least six of the works presented, due in advance of the presentation; or 2) a longer research paper (roughly 30 pages) dealing with a topic of their choice related to the themes of the class.  Students who take the latter option could use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Contributions to class discussions will also be a component of the course grade.

    555

    Law and Financial Anxiety 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper option, 25+ pages
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    This course identifies and explores aspects of the American legal system that have effects – both negative and positive – on the ability of people and society to prevent the onset of financial anxiety and economic insecurity.   Set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic but with analogues in laws that were enacted and implemented in other contexts,  the class will explore the meaning of financial anxiety and economic insecurity and discuss why they matter.  The class will then explore various laws. and their implementation by federal and state agencies, as relevant to financial anxiety and economic insecurity.   Subjects that bear upon financial anxiety that will be explored through the prism of law include housing finance, student loan finance, personal information security and climate security. The legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the CARES Act, will be analyzed in relation to how laws regarding financial anxiety and economic insecurity have been crafted by Congress in the last decade as a response to crises such as the financial and foreclosure crisis of 2008,   With these comparative laws and financial contexts, the class will engage in discussions about the extent to which the American legal system is equipped to handle the challenges of dealing with financial anxiety in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will discuss financial anxiety in the larger context of consumer debt, agency and regulatory action, and legislative responsiveness as well as differential impacts related to debt, race and gender. The readings will come from law and non-law sources. The class will discuss issues relevant to the legal system and the study of business law and finance generally, including the use of data to illuminate legal problems, the role of lawyers and business actors, and the nature of modern policymaking.

    556

    Second Amendment: History, Theory, and Practice 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22

    Recent Supreme Court decisions have ushered in a new era of Second Amendment theory, litigation, and politics. Current events keep issues of firearms, gun violence, gun safety, and self-defense constantly in the news. This seminar will explore the Second Amendment and other aspects of federal and state firearms law. Students will be introduced to the historical and public policy materials surrounding the Second Amendment, the regulatory environment concerning firearms, and the political and legal issues pertaining to firearm rights-enforcement and policy design. Evaluation for the seminar will be based on in-class participation and a choice between six short reaction papers or one thirty-page paper.

    566

    International Environmental Law 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • IntlLLM Environ Cert
    • Fall 22
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
    • Class participation

    This class explores international environmental law, one of the fastest growing fields of international cooperation. In 1972, there were only a smattering of international environmental treaties. Today, hundreds of agreements have been negotiated, covering such diverse topics as acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer, climate change, protection of biological diversity, desertification, and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and chemicals.

    This course will provide a general introduction to the basic concepts and mechanisms of international environmental law. The overarching question we will examine is: What role can law play in addressing international environmental problems? More specifically, we will ask:

    • Why do states cooperate in developing international environmental norms? What factors promote or hinder cooperation?
    • What legal mechanisms or approaches facilitate the development of international environmental standards?
    • What role do science and expertise play in international environmental cooperation?
    • What types of international environmental standards are most effective? How do we evaluate effectiveness?
    • What incentives do states have to comply with international environmental standards? What disincentives?

    The course will be structured in roughly two parts.  In the first part of the course, we will discuss the background, history, and political economy of international environmental law, as well as some of the main principles of international environmental law.  In the second part of the course, we will examine in detail a number of environmental treaties—from areas such as ozone protection, climate change, marine pollution, fisheries protection, and biodiversity—in an effort to understand how international environmental law works, and doesn’t.  Students will be expected to participate in class discussions and write a 20+ page research paper on a topic of their choice. 

    576

    Agency Law in a Changing Economy 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Research paper, 25+ pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    Agency law encompasses the legal consequences of consensual relationships in which one person (the “principal”) manifests assent that another person (the “agent”) shall, subject to the principal’s right of control, have power to affect the principal’s legal relations through the agent’s acts and on the principal’s behalf. As the principal’s representative, an agent owes fiduciary duties to the principal. Agency doctrine applies to a wide range of relationships in which one person has legally-consequential power to represent another, populating the category, “agent,” with a variety of exemplars: lawyers, brokers in securities and other markets, officers of corporations and other legal entities, talent and literary agents, auction houses, and more. Usually, agency relationships contemplate three distinct persons: agent, principal, and third parties with whom the agent interacts, with legal consequences for all three. Agency law also governs the relationship between a principal and its agents, including its employees. The pervasiveness of agency means that its implications remain relevant despite changes in business structures and economies more generally.  This seminar covers the legal doctrines that make agency a distinct subject with in the law, in particular those differentiating agency from general contract and tort law. It also covers a number of contemporary examples in which agency doctrine may—or may not—apply with significant consequences. These may include the status of Uber drivers and other actors who perform services via platforms; the duties of commodities brokers, including merchants in financial derivatives products; the consequences of imputing an agent’s knowledge to the principal; agency as a vehicle for the imposition of vicarious liability; and the consequences for the agent and third party when a principal is undisclosed, unidentified, or undetermined. 
    The seminar will meet weekly with assigned readings. Each student will write a research paper on a topic to be chosen with the instructor’s consent and will make brief presentations to the seminar as work on the paper proceeds

    581

    FinTech Law and Policy 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Fall 20
    • Spring 22
    • Research paper, 25+ pages
    • Class participation
    Updated: November 12, 2021

    The Internet, the increased power of computing and new technology are driving the decentralization of all aspects of the global economy, including financial services. Today, we can surf the Internet, download apps, listen to music, shop, send money to friends and family, manage our financial accounts, and buy bitcoin – all from our smartphones.

    For decades, banks had been one-stop shops for financial services. Financial technology firms (fintechs), leveraging the sharing of personal customer bank account data, have quickly emerged to unbundle aspects of financial services and rebundle them on platforms. The pace of platformization has picked up since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, yet financial laws and regulations have not kept pace. Data protection laws were passed in the 1970s long before the advent of fintech services and products, and customer liability protections do not fully extend to nonbank-provided mobile payment transactions.

    Meanwhile, money is making a leap in evolution. From commodity-based currencies to fiat-based currencies that support commercial bank money and mobile payments, we now see an emergence in cryptocurrencies beginning with Bitcoin launched in 2009. Questions about whether central banks should issue their own form of digital currency became more pressing when Facebook announced its plans in 2020 to issue a digital currency: Libra. Now central banks around the world are exploring issuing central bank digital currencies or CBDCs. These developments raise important questions of how best to design CBDCs and what kinds of personal data can be collected on users transacting in CBDCs.

    New technologies such as blockchain are driving further innovation in financial services. After the advent of native cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum with high price volatility, stablecoins were developed with the goal of being more “stable”. However, it is uncertain under US laws or regulations if these digital assets are commodities, securities, or currency. These blockchain technologies are driving decentralization of financial services, and perhaps the largest legal and policy question of all is how should decentralized finance, or DeFi, fits in our current framework of laws and regulations.

    This course aims to provide you with an understanding of legal and policy issues raised by tech-driven financial innovation. You will learn about the critical legal, regulatory, and policy issues associated with cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, online lending, new payments technologies, and financial account aggregators. In addition, you will learn how regulatory agencies in the U.S. are continually adjusting to the emergence of new financial technologies.

    This course will be delivered online.  Students will be assessed on class participation and a 25-30 page research paper. This paper may not be used to satisfy the JD SRWP requirement without permission.  The paper will satisfy the LLM writing requirement.

    586

    Current Debates in Bankruptcy Law 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Fall 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper option, 25+ pages
    • Class participation

    Is bankruptcy broken?  For some years, many academics and practitioners have argued that the nation's business and consumer bankruptcy systems are outdated or otherwise not fit for their intended purpose.  The course will examine selected topics in bankruptcy law relating to this theme (but focusing most heavily on chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code).  Key reading materials will include recent major reports proposing reforms to bankruptcy law, as well as excerpts from the scholarship and leading judicial decisions.  We will consider questions including: what is bankruptcy for? Is it simply a procedural remedy for enforcing substantive rights that exist independent of the bankruptcy case, or an opportunity more fairly to redistribute assets (or losses)? Is bankruptcy special?  Should be Bankruptcy Code be read like any other statute, or do we need special principles for bankruptcy law, and broad equitable powers for bankruptcy courts, to encourage businesses and consumers to reorganize?  We will use case studies like the Purdue Pharma opioid-crisis bankruptcy to assess this.  In the final, consumer bankruptcy component of the course, we will grapple with the reality that most consumer reorganizations are unsuccessful and consider whether the current system strikes the appropriate balance between debtors’ rights and creditors’ protection. 

    We will begin each topic by covering the relevant features of bankruptcy law, and you do not need to have taken a bankruptcy class to take this seminar. The objective of the seminar is to provide insight and into and allow for debate of bankruptcy theory and policy; in the process, we will consider the extent to which abstract theories of bankruptcy hold up in the real world, and the topics we cover will include issues of pressing interest to current bankruptcy practitioners. 

    Students will be required to participate in class discussions. Students may complete either a series of reflection papers examining the reading materials and topics discussed, or one longer 25-30 page paper designed to satisfy the SRWP. 

    Due to substantive overlap in material, students may not concurrently enroll in Law 288: Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt and Law 586: Current Debates in Bankruptcy Law. However, if you've taken one of the courses in a previous semester and wish to take the other, that will be permitted. 

    592

    Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics 3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • IntllLLM IP Cert
    • Fall 20
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation

    Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. In order to capture the full opportunities and benefits of AI & robotics, surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

    The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics, and (3) applied technology. Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course and its assigned project encourage law, ethics, and policy students to interact with networks of experts who are actively thinking about ethical technology development and with technology policy networks that explore the social implications of a world increasingly inclusive of AI.

    Beyond time spent for class preparation and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based Report that demonstrates a deep, research-based understanding of a topic about which the student shall become knowledgeable such that he/she could take part meaningfully in and contribute to present-day discussions of law, policy, and ethics in the topic area. This Report may qualify for the JD SRWP degree requirement or the International LLM writing requirement upon permission of the instructor.

    NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE OR TECHNOLOGY IS NEEDED FOR THIS COURSE.

    713

    Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship 2-3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Fall 21
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam
    • Research paper option, 25+ pages
    • Class participation

    In recent years, there has been growing pressure on profit-seeking corporations to address social problems, such as inequality and climate change. This class will critically evaluate the law and policies underlying recent developments that have allowed or required firms to take on a more active role in social and environmental issues. The class covers a range of topics, including the economic structure of nonprofit firms, the debate on corporate purpose and the profit-maximization norm, the rise of ESG investing, the proliferation of new legal hybrid forms, recent developments in the law of managerial fiduciary duties, the role of microfinance and fair trade in promoting development, and tax and subsidy policies to encourage corporations to pursue social goals, including the recent Opportunity Zone program. The inquiry will focus primarily on what types of structures best align investors’ interest in profit-making with different social purposes. 

    To be enrolled in the class, students must either take Business Association in the same semester, or have taken it in the past.  

    Student enrolled in the three-credit option need to write a research paper (in satisfaction of the JD Substantial Research and Writing Requirement or the International LLM Substantial Research Paper Requirement) in addition to doing the take-home exam.  The additional credit will count towards the Independent Study Research Credit Limit (Rule 3-12).

    The take-home exam will be comprised of questions relating to a real or imaginary business structure or transaction that involves social issues. The exam will be made available on December 6, and the deadline for submitting it will be December 19.

    741

    Climate Change and Financial Markets 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • IntlLLM Environ Cert
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Research paper, 25+ pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    This course will focus on one of the most important elements in combatting, adapting to and mitigating the impact of climate change, namely the role of finance.  We will review the status of climate change science to gain an understanding of the challenge facing all of us.  Recognition and commitments by governments, including most particularly the United States, China, and Europe, will then be reviewed, before we consider the multiple linkages between finance and climate change, including the adverse impact of cryptocurrency.

    Against this introduction the course will then delve into the various dimensions of financial markets and the players involved.  This is important to understand the broad ranging impact and opportunities for addressing climate change.  Once the markets and market participants are understood, the course will review the diverse roles of government agents and regulators, each of whom can have a far-reaching impact in shaping the markets and market behavior.  We will also assess the recognition of the challenge by financial market participants and their actual and potential responses to it.

    A particularly thorny area is that of market analytics.  Many market operators claim to be “green,” but at this point the methods for determining the veracity of the claims remain very underdeveloped and often contradictory.  We will consider what has still to be done before we can really evaluate the “green” performance of firms and funds.  We will also face the real challenges that such firms face when trying to adapt.

    The course will conclude with an assessment of the overall state of financial markets as one of the most important arenas in the struggle to meet the great challenges posed by climate change.

    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