Course Browser

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

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

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

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

245

Evidence 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. Also addressed are the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, particularly the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, and the screening of scientific and expert testimony. The course concludes with an introduction to evidentiary privileges.

313

Judicial Decisionmaking 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

What decides legal cases? One obvious answer is: the law. Judges apply the law to the facts of a case and an answer presents itself. This simple understanding of how law and the judicial process work may be true in many cases, but it is not true in all of them. Social scientists have sought to explain judicial decisionmaking by reference to a variety of non-legal factors, including judges' personal characteristics, their caseloads, and their relationships with each other. The social scientific study of courts raises a host of interesting questions.

For example, on a multi-member court like the Supreme Court, does it matter which Justice is assigned to write the opinion, or will the majority (or the whole Court) bargain to the same outcome anyway? If opinion assignment matters to outcomes, how might judges' choices about the division of labor influence the content of the law? How do higher courts ensure that lower courts comply with their decisions? Does the need to police lower courts alter legal doctrine, giving us more bright line rules and fewer fuzzy standards? Similarly, does the fact that certain groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, are repeat players, affect the outcome of cases? Does it affect doctrine? Finally, does it matter who is under the robes? Does the ideology of the judge, or her race or gender, matter to the outcome of cases? (Which cases?) If so, is it possible to predict how judicial characteristics will shape the law? Should our answers to these questions affect how we choose judges?

This course that will examine these questions and many like them. In law schools, these sorts of questions get limited attention: our focus is primarily on the legal doctrine or rules themselves. Social scientists take a very different approach, studying the behavior of judges rather than legal doctrine and trying to understand what accounts for judicial outcomes and the shape of legal institutions. This course will marry the social science literature and the questions it raises to a set of normative problems within the law itself.

 

315

Complex Civil Litigation / Large Scale Litigation 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Oral presentation
  • In-class exercise

This is an advanced civil procedure class taught by a former big case litigator in the Moot Courtroom (for most classes) and via Zoom (for a few classes) for those interested in learning how to litigate large cases, with an emphasis on real-world practical requirements, strategy and skills. Students will each week after the first session practice stand-up courtroom (and Zoom) 3-minute "mini- oral arguments" on many of the key cases so as to begin to prepare for big-case advocacy, which today occurs both in physical courtrooms and via video arguments. The course will focus on the problems of large multi-party and multi-forum civil cases and how courts and litigants deal with them. Coverage will include the practical steps litigators need to take as well as decision points at the outset of every litigation, joinder of parties, class actions; federal multi-district transfer and consolidation; litigation over the appropriate federal or state forum, coordination among counsel in multi-party cases, ethical issues, big-case discovery problems; ad hoc federal-state litigation coordination; judicial case management techniques and issues; arbitration; and ways of accelerating or terminating potentially or actually protracted cases, including settlement, mediation, representative trials, mini-trials and claims processing facilities.

334

Civil Rights Litigation 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course focuses on section 1983 of the United States Code, a Reconstruction-era statute that enables private parties to sue any other person who "under color" of law deprives them of the "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States.  Class participants will become familiar with the theoretical, procedural, and practical aspects of civil rights litigation, including constitutional and statutory claims, defenses and immunities, and available remedies, including attorney fees.   Related U.S. Code provisions concerning discrimination in housing, contractual relations, employment, and voting are examined where relevant. Exam-based evaluation.

387

Securities Litigation, Enforcement, and Compliance 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This survey course is designed to acquaint you with the theoretical as well as practical aspects of federal securities litigation, enforcement, and compliance, which is a dynamic area of legal practice with a number of developments occurring on multiple fronts. This course will address the massive financial frauds at Enron, WorldCom, and other large companies that occurred as the twenty-first century dawned.  It also looks at the scandals that culminated in the 2008 financial crises, which led to Congress’s enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  Additionally, it will look at more recent developments in the securities law area.  In short, this course will provide the grounding needed for you to enter a securities litigation, enforcement, or compliance practice.

417

Advanced Children's Law Clinic 3
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management

This two or three credit course is available to students who have participated in one semester in the Children's Law Clinic, and wish to participate for a second semester. Students may enroll only with approval of the Director of the Clinic. Supervisors will work with advanced students to develop an advanced experience that meets the interests of both the students and needs of the clinic. Students enrolled in advanced clinical studies are required to participate fully in the case work and/or policy portion of the clinic, performing a minimum of 100 hours (2 credits), 125 hours (3 credits) or 150 hours (4 credits) of client representation work, but will not be required to attend the class sessions. A classroom component is available for students using advanced clinic to satisfy their experiential learning requirement.

420

Trial Practice 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23

This is the basic trial skills course covering Opening Statement, Direct Examination, Cross Examination, Impeachment, Exhibits, Expert Witnesses and Closing Argument. In sections of 12 students per section, students prepare and perform the various skills using simulated problems and case files. After each performance, students receive constructive comments from faculty members who are also experienced trial lawyers. Students also get videotapes of their performances. The course ends with a full jury trial of a civil or criminal case with teams of two students on each side. At the end of the trial, the jury deliberates and students are able to watch the jury as it deliberates.

Please note: The Trial Practice Intensive is scheduled to begin on the evening of Thursday, January 12, and continue with sessions on the afternoon of Friday, January 13; morning of Saturday, January 14; and morning of Sunday, January 15. Attendance is required at these sessions.

460

Negotiation for Lawyers 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

For lawyers in every type of law practice, the ability to negotiate effectively is an essential skill.  As a lawyer, you will negotiate when you try to settle a lawsuit, close a merger, or arrange a plea bargain.  You will negotiate with counterparts, clients, and co-workers.  You will negotiate with service providers and the “system” – the court, the government, or your community.  And, you will continue to negotiate with your friends and family.  In this highly interactive seminar, we will explore the theories, skills, and ethics involved in legal negotiation.  With limited exceptions, in each class you will participate in a role-play simulation of increasing complexity, experiment with new techniques, and then reflect on what negotiation strategies worked best for you.  Over the course of the semester, in addition to in-person exercises, you will have opportunities to negotiate by email, telephone, and videoconference, and to evaluate the pros and cons of each so you understand how to select the most appropriate medium given the particular parties and circumstances.  Through this process, you will not only gain insight into your own negotiation style, you will develop the toolkit you need to approach each new negotiation with confidence. 

Because of the nature of the course, the amount of information delivered during the first class period, the importance of participating in the first role-play simulation during the first class period, and the typical waitlists for enrollment in the course, attendance at the first class is absolutely required.  A student who fails to attend the first class without prior consent of the instructor will forfeit his or her place in the class.  (Working for an additional week in the summer and call-back interviews are not acceptable excuses for missing the first class.)  Students who are on the waitlist for the course are encouraged to attend the first class, and those who do will be given preference to fill open slots in the class.  There is a shortened drop period for this course so that students who are waitlisted can enroll before the second class occurs.  Thus, students may drop this course without permission only before the second class. 

Because of the similarities between this course and the negotiation course taught at the Fuqua School of Business, a law student may not receive law school credit for both courses.

 

480

Mediation Advocacy 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Simulated Writing, Transactional
  • Simulated Writing, Litigation
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

With mediation now a required step in a litigated case in most state and federal courts, and a preferred approach to conflict resolution in many parts of the world, it is a process that every litigator will no doubt use in practice.  In this advanced experiential seminar, we will explore the fundamentals of mediation theory and practice from the perspective of the mediator, the attorney, and the client.  The majority of class sessions will be dedicated to group exercises and simulated mediations in which we build upon the techniques learned in Negotiation to equip you with skills that will be invaluable whether you want to mediate, represent clients effectively in mediation, or simply be a better negotiator.  You will also have the opportunity to practice persuasive writing as you draft pre-mediation statements, and will learn the essential elements of drafting agreements memorializing your settlements.  By engaging in all phases of the mediation process, you will not only improve your social and emotional competence, you will develop skills that will be useful in client interviewing and counseling, fact development and legal analysis, and a variety of other contexts beyond mediation.

502

Forensics Litigation 1.5
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

Forensic evidence, from DNA to fingerprints to ballistics, has never been more important in criminal cases. However, litigating scientific evidence in the courtroom is not like it appears on TV shows like CSI it is challenging and requires some specialized skills. We are again offering a short course to provide those skills. By the end of the course you will be able to handle sophisticated scientific evidence in the courtroom. While the focus is on forensics used in criminal cases, many of the same principles and skills apply when litigating scientific evidence in any type of case. The course is a practicum: a scientific evidence trial advocacy course. We will begin with introductory lectures both on forensics and how to prepare for trial, so that students will be fully ready for their parts in the last third of the course, which will focus on the trial simulations. During the simulations, the prosecutors will first interview their forensic experts (one of your instructors), and talk to them about their case file documents, which are taken from real cases. The class will break into groups to brainstorm potential motions to exclude expert testimony or limit language and discuss collectively as a class, both sides will conduct mock trials with direct and cross-examination of forensic experts before a judge, and finally, we will conduct closings. These sessions will be spread out over several weeks, to permit watching video of prior sessions to prepare for the next portion of the trial. We will also exchange feedback in between each session to talk about what worked and what did not. Each student will have a chance to present in these simulations. The course will also be to open to a select group of experienced practicing criminal lawyers who will collaborate with students throughout the simulations. Students will be graded on a memo written reflecting on their portion of the trial; their draft questions finalizing their planned questions; and on their participation and oral advocacy in the simulations. While having taken evidence or trial advocacy is helpful, it is not a prerequisite.

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