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

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.

242

Social Justice Lawyering 2
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation
  • Other

Working for social justice is an important part of the professional obligations of all lawyers, and for many law students, their initial motivation for pursuing a legal education. This course is designed to introduce students to the ways in which lawyers committed to social justice engage with communities, individual clients, social and political causes and legal systems to help effect social change. We will examine the types of lawyers working toward social justice, the ways in which lawyers help shape claims in social justice cases, and finally, how lawyers use their skills and training to engage in political struggles and movements to achieve social justice for the communities, causes, or individual clients that they represent.

Through readings, discussion, and independent studies of legal cases and movements in social justice, students will explore different models of social justice lawyering and the barriers present both in the representation of under-served communities and in pursuing a career in public interest law. Students will also have an opportunity to explore more deeply how they plan to be a lawyer engaged in social justice work, either in their pro bono or full-time future practice.

302

Appellate Courts 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

This course will examine the practices and powers of American appellate courts, with a particular emphasis on the federal courts of appeals.  Our discussion will focus on the goals of these institutions and the extent to which individual components of the appellate decision-making process—including oral argument and opinion-writing—further those goals.

We will begin with an overview of the function of appellate courts—why they were created and what we expect of them today.  We will then move to the specific components of appellate adjudication, including mediation, briefing, oral argument, and judgment, as well as the personnel who contribute to the adjudication process.  Finally, we will consider the ways in which the appellate courts have been affected by an increasing caseload, and proposals for alleviating the strain on the courts.

Ultimately, the goal of the course is to expose you to how appellate courts operate and the purported goals of these institutions.  Over the course of the semester, you should also be evaluating what you think are the fundamental objectives of appellate review and whether the current structure of the courts allows them to meet those goals.

Evaluation in the course will be based on a final research paper, which may be used to satisfy the SRWP.

320

Water Resources Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

This survey course examines the legal and policy issues governing water quality and resource allocation in the United States. Students will be introduced to both the Prior Appropriation systems of the western United States and the Reasonable Use systems dominating the eastern states. We will study key laws that affect water quality and quantity, including the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and others.  Students will also explore emerging issues in water policy, including the regulation of "forever chemicals," protection of wetlands, and mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, among other policy issues.  Throughout the course, students will study how environmental justice relates to water resource management.

329

Education Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

Education Law: Constitutional, Statutory, and Policy Considerations. This seminar introduces students to the legal standards that govern public schools in the United States. Constitutional topics include the right to a public education, the financing of public schools, desegregation and equal opportunity of students, limitations on student speech, school discipline and the right to due process, religion in schools, and privacy rights of students. Statutory topics include federal laws such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title IX, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act. Policy topics include school reforms, such as charters and vouchers, and the ongoing inequities in US public schools, and the school-to-prison pipeline, and recent restrictions on classroom curricula. A research paper is required; successful completion of the paper will satisfy the Substantial Research and Writing Project Requirement. A course pack will be used in lieu of a textbook, supplemented with materials posted on Sakai.

338

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

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

367

Advanced Topics in Administrative Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

The objective of this course is to provide students the tools to delve deeper into policy questions that are currently arising in administrative law: What is the purpose of the administrative state?  How is it serving the public?  What are the costs and benefits of agency specialization and independence?  To what extent is public participation helpful in maintaining accountability?

Because administrative agencies are decision-making bodies that are not directly accountable to the electorate, accountability is often achieved by encouraging public participation, transparency, and notice.  This course will explore these themes in the context of selected administrative law topics.  Example topics include: agency capture, independence of administrative law judges, over-specialization of agency-specific precedent, preclusion of judicial review, public participation in rulemaking, the Freedom of Information Act, policy-making through adjudication, and informal agency action.  For certain topics, we will focus on one or two illustrative agencies (e.g., EPA, NLRB, PTO, IRS, VA, etc.).  Reading materials will include textbook excerpts, cases, and legal scholarship.  A previous administrative law course is preferred but not required.

Each class will consist of a background lecture followed by an interactive discussion of the policy issues raised in the reading.  The course will be taught as a two-hour weekly seminar, focused on class discussion of assigned readings. Students will complete one 25–30 page research paper that can be used to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.  Students will also present their research papers to the class towards the end of the semester.

537

Human Rights Advocacy 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

This course critically assesses the field of human rights advocacy, its institutions, strategies, and key actors. It explores how domestic, regional, and global human rights agendas are set using international law frameworks; the ethical and accountability dilemmas that arise in human rights advocacy; and human rights advocacy concerning a range of actors, including governments, international institutions, and private actors. It addresses the role of human rights in social movements, including in addressing systemic racism, as well as the development of transnational human rights networks. It also considers issues such as how to resolve purported hierarchies and conflicts between internationally-guaranteed rights, efforts to decolonize the practice of human rights, and the ways in which populist and other forces also invoke human rights to further particular agendas. Drawing on case studies within the United States and abroad, it will examine core human rights advocacy tactics, such as fact-finding, litigation, standard-setting, indicators, and reporting, and consider the role of new technologies in human rights advocacy. In examining the global normative framework for human rights, this course focuses on how local, regional, and international struggles draw on, and adapt, the norms and tactics of human rights to achieve their objectives. Evaluation will be based on class participation and a final paper.

This class is a pre-requisite or corequisite for Law 437 International Human Rights Clinic.

552

Law and Governance in China 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) writing
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Class participation

China’s development without a western-style rule of law raises numerous questions. Does law matter in China? If yes, how does it work? What roles has law played in China’s economic, social and political development? This seminar covers both law on the books and law in action, emphasizes change and development in understanding law and governance, and takes China as a comparative case study to deepen our understanding of the fundamental nature of legal institutions. This seminar also features guest speakers from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and other institutions. 

Evaluation: class participation: 30%, students should read assigned readings in advance and be prepared to be on call every week; paper(s): 70%. Students can choose to write five response papers (four pages each) or a research paper (20 pages minimum). Students should submit their research paper proposal by Sept. 23, which explains their research question, methods and plan. Finalized paper is due on December 16. The instructor keeps the discretion of approving or not approving a research paper proposal. Research papers are also qualified to satisfy JD students’ writing requirements (30 pages minimum), if they so choose. 

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
  • 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.

558

Foreign Anti-Bribery Law 2
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing option with additional credit
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

Corruption is one of the major factors inhibiting economic development and undermining governmental legitimacy.  Developed governments generally enforce rules prohibiting domestic corruption, but have historically been less concerned with (and even encouraging of) foreign government corruption.  The United States passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977, which prohibits covered entities from bribing foreign officials, represents a major shift in this policy.  In the last fifteen years, most other major economies and economic institutions (the IMF, the World Bank) have followed suit, although enforcement has been inconsistent.  This seminar will examine the origins and evolution of this effort to regulate firms' relationships with foreign government officials.  The seminar explores the history, economics, and policy behind anti-corruption efforts and the major challenges ahead.  The seminar will engage academic articles that address the economic effects of corruption, the politics of anti-corruption enforcement, the variation in current anti-bribery agreements (the UN Convention Against Corruption and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention), and influence of these rules on foreign investment and trade.  The seminar is designed to be very participatory, with students leading discussion. 

Students will be evaluated on a series of critique papers, leading a class discussion, and class participation. If students wish to write a paper on a topic related to the course materials, they may request the opportunity to complete an additional  two credit independent study.  A final paper cannot replace the critique papers.

NOTE: An additional 2 credits are available for students who wish to write a longer paper in order to satisfy the JD or JD/LLM Upper-Level Writing Requirement. Students wishing to take this option should enroll in Law 558W Foreign Anti-Bribery Writing Credit. These credits will count towards the Independent Study Research Credit Limit (Rule 3-12) *LAW 558W MUST be added no later than 7thweek of class.*

558W

Foreign Anti-Bribery Law, Independent Study 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Add on credit

While enrolled in Law 558 Foreign Anti-Bribery Law, students have the option to take 2 additional credits in order to satisfy the JD or JD/LLM Writing Requirement. These credits will count towards the Independent Study Research Credit Limit (Rule 3-12). This section will meet in-person on schedule to be determined. The instructor will meet online with any student who prefers that. Students will be placed in groups of 2 or 3 students for a writing group. The instructor will meet with each writing group separately. *LAW 558W MUST be added no later than 4th week of class.*

593

Sexuality and the Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Midterm
  • Class participation

Issues in the legal regulation of sexuality and gender identity are among the most contested in US law today. Issues which either have been litigated in US courts in recent years or are currently being litigated include the ability of same-sex couples to marry, people’s access to contraception or abortion, as well as the ability of LGBTQ persons to access health care, public accommodations, employment, and education without discrimination. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the investigation of the legal regulation of human sexuality and gender identity. It examines the historical and jurisprudential foundations of these legal constructs with insights developed through feminist and queer theory. These disciplines will be deployed to better understand the scope of the rights to sexual and gender equality, liberty, and autonomy available to people not only in theory, but in fact, and not only at the national level, but at the state and local levels.

707

Statutory Interpretation Colloquium 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper, 25+ pages

    The objective of the course is to introduce students to important issues concerning the theory and doctrine of statutory interpretation through exposure to cutting-edge legal scholarship. The colloquium will feature bi-weekly presentations of works-in-progress by leading scholars of statutory interpretation, legislation, and administrative law. In the week preceding each presentation, students will read and discuss foundational materials (a mix of academic commentary and case law) on topics related to the work-in-progress.

    Students may opt to prepare six short (5-10 page) papers in response to each work-in-progress, which would be due in advance of the presentation and used to stimulate discussion. Alternatively, students may write one 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 may use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

    717

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

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

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

    794

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

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

    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