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

275

International Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) required
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

This course offers a broad introduction to international law and provides a foundation for more specialized courses.  Topics covered include the key sources, actors, and institutions of international law; the application of international law by domestic courts; adjudication by international tribunals; the extraterritorial application of domestic law.  Part I of the course provides an overview of these foundations issues.  Part II is comprised of a series of case studies on selected topics in international law, including human rights, international crimes, international trade and investment, environmental protection, and the use of force.

Note on scheduling for Spring 2023:
To accommodate Professor Helfer’s responsibilities as a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, which meets in Geneva, Switzerland in March 2023, several class meetings will need to be canceled, rescheduled or held on Zoom.  Please note - the first class meeting will be held on Friday January 13, 2023 @ 12:30 to 1:45 PM.   Additional information about canceled and rescheduled classes will appear on the course syllabus.

290

Remedies 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course examines the powers and limits of the law to right those who have been wronged. We will cover different forms of remedies—including money damages, injunctions, and declaratory judgments. We will also explore ancillary remedies or enforcement mechanisms, such as the power of courts to hold parties in contempt. The course spans both private and public law contexts, with specific case studies ranging from school desegregation to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Ultimately, the goal of the course is to provide an understanding of how the law responds to transgressions of substantive law, and also to provide a richer account of the power of our legal institutions more generally.

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.

 

331

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

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

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.

347

Health Care Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A survey of the legal environment of the health services industry in a policy perspective, with particular attention to the tensions and trade-offs between quality and cost concerns. Topics for selective study include access to health care; private and public programs for financing and purchasing health services; the economics of health care and health care costs; the role of professionalism versus the new commercialism in health care; the legal and tax treatment of not-for-profit corporations; regulation of commercial practice in professional fields; fraud and abuse in government programs; the application of antitrust law in professional fields; the internal organization and legal liabilities of hospitals; public regulation of institutional providers, including certification of need; personnel licensure; private personnel credentialing and institutional accreditation; liability for medical accidents; legal liabilities associated with the administration of health benefits; and public regulation of managed-care organizations. Study of the diverse legal problems encountered by a single industry, particularly one as important, complex, and intrinsically interesting as health care, may appeal to students generally interested in public policy and in law and economics as well as those with specific interests in the health care field.

351

U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course will provide an overview of immigration law and policy. It combines a study of constitutional law, statutory interpretation, and administrative regulations. We examine the constitutional law governing noncitizens as they seek to enter and remain in the United States as well as the statutory provisions governing humanitarian protection, family-based and employment-based migration. We also discuss the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, the obligations of criminal defense attorneys to advise noncitizen clients, and the intersection of criminal and immigration enforcement systems.

The course explores the legal, social, historical, and political factors that have constructed immigration law and policy in the U.S.  In examining these various factors, the course will analyze several inherent conflicts that arise in immigration law, including, among other things, the tension between the right of a sovereign nation to determine whom to admit to the nation state and the constitutional and human rights of noncitizens to gain admission or stay in the U.S., the power of the executive branch to set and change immigration policy, issues that arise between noncitizens and citizens of the U.S. with regard to employment, security, and civil rights and the tension between the federal and state governments in regulating immigration law. Students will participate in a mock removal proceeding and will complete hypothetical immigration problems that illustrate the application of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory immigration law.

470

Poverty Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This course provides an introduction to the relationship between law and poverty, including the relevance of legal doctrine, policy and practice to the significant inequality in income, assets and basic social goods impacting tens of millions of people in the United States.

We will begin by considering historical and contemporary trends in domestic poverty, U.S. social welfare policy, the legal framework under which poverty-related claims have been adjudicated, and the role of lawyers in combatting poverty.

Grounded in poverty data, policy arguments, legal doctrine and practice, we will explore modern government anti-poverty programs and issues such as welfare, work, housing, health, education and criminalization.

We will conclude by considering non-governmental approaches to combating poverty, including market-based solutions and international human rights, with an emphasis on the role of law, lawyers and legal institutions in such efforts.

Drawing on the rich expertise of those in Durham and beyond, we will occasionally be joined by guest speakers. The primary textbook for the course is Poverty Law, Policy and Practice (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer, 2014).

473

Scholarly Writing Workshop 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation
  • Other

In a workshop led by a faculty member, students will produce an original analytic paper of substantial length (ordinarily at least 30 pages). Papers must involve significant and thorough independent research, be well-written, and provide appropriate sourcing. Participants are free to choose any topic that may be addressed seriously in an article-length piece and that may be written during one semester. Papers produced in the workshop are expected to satisfy the JD or LLM substantial research and writing project requirement.

In the workshop, participants will learn about the conventional features of academic legal writing, conduct research into and hone their topics, write and give each other feedback on first and second drafts, and complete a final draft of their paper. The faculty member leading the workshop will also provide feedback and will, as appropriate to each participant's paper topic, facilitate introductions to other faculty who may be of assistance.

Under Law School Rule 3-1 as approved in May 2022, this course will conform to a 3.5 median unless special circumstances merit exceeding that median, but it will not be subject to distributional bands outside the 3.5 median because grading is not based on a uniform metric.

Attendance is required at the first class meeting and students should come prepared with ideas for possible paper topics. Those wishing to drop the course must do so within one day following the first class.

International LLM students must be pre-certified to enroll. Interested students should check with the Office of International Studies before enrolling.

545

Urban Legal History 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Urban Legal History is a research seminar which will focus on the legal issues relating to Durham's political, social, and economic development. The class will involve intensive study of primary and secondary materials, and will require students to produce substantial (45 page) research papers.

546

International Law of Armed Conflict 3
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • 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.

585

Philanthropy, Voluntarism and Not-For-Profit Law and Management 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23

The scope of this seminar is as broad as the idea of the voluntary society itself, with particular attention to the American version thereof. The central question is the extent to which, and how, a large number of people of varying ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds, living together in a country, state or city, organized into representative governments, should - can - rely on voluntary action by willing citizens to fulfill both their own individual needs and the needs of the respective communities in which they live. To explore that question requires us to examine alternative allocations of responsibility for solving particular problems - voluntary, not-for-profit, for-profit, joint public/private, publicly encouraged/subsidized, and publicly coerced - along with examples, reasons, and theories for particular forms of organization. We will need to probe what it is that motivates donors and volunteers to give money and time, and to assess not only their effectiveness in solving problems but also the comparative praiseworthiness of their respective motives. Charitable and corporate foundations, as well as the tax-exempt organizations to which they and other donors contribute, are part of the inquiry, especially as to their goals, decision rules, governance, and public accountability. We will try to compare the experience of other countries with that of the U.S. in these regards, and we will continuously examine the framework of public policy that embodies public judgments about the desirability of allocating some part of the burden of social problem-solving to voluntary organizations alone or in partnership with public organizations, as well as the tax policies that are crafted to facilitate such problem-solving policies. Cross-listed with PPS280S.

587

Race and the Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

This seminar will examine the social, political, and legal forces that shape race relations in the United States. Using interdisciplinary materials, participants will engage three core questions:  (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. The seminar will include a speakers’ series in which leading experts and commentators will assist seminar participants to think through these pressing questions.  Evaluation will consist of class attendance and participation, reflection papers, and a final project directed toward devising solutions. Participation from a diverse group of students is encouraged. 

716

Cybersecurity and National Security Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Group project(s)
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

The acquisition, management, analysis, dissemination, and security of data are increasing important issues for individuals, commercial enterprises and governments.   New technologies create a more connected and personal digital society.  Every day, transactions engaged in by individuals generate ever expanding amounts of personal information, including credit card transaction information, purchasing histories, bank and other financial transaction information, location information, health information, real property ownership information, information relating to interactions with the criminal justice system, information shared on social media and other types of information.  Not only is the volume of personal information escalating rapidly; much of it is revealed in on line transactions, enabling it to be acquired for multiple uses, and much resides on servers and storage media where it can be accessible or potentially accessible to commercial enterprises and government agencies. New cybersecurity risks are demanding responses from governments as they address attacks on critical infrastructure, election interference and the potential for manipulation of the data used to train artificial intelligence tools.

In both the commercial sector and the government sector, the legal and policy issues associated with data, cybersecurity and surveillance are growing in importance.   Discussion of these issues in either sector cannot ignore the others, because the issues frequently intersect.  They also transcend national boundaries. For example, in President Obama’s proposals to revise government policy towards signals intelligence collection, he states that such policies implicate “the cooperation we receive from other nations on law enforcement, counterterrorism, and other issues; our commercial, economic, and financial interests, including a potential loss of international trust in U.S. firms and the decreased willingness of other nations to participate in international data sharing, privacy, and regulatory regimes …”[1]  This intersection of issues creates particular challenges for existing constitutional, legislative and international governance models.

In the government sector, increased risks such as nation state cyber threats now create new priorities to add to those efforts spurred by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  Combating and preventing terrorist and cybersecurity attacks relies heavily on the collection of information through electronic surveillance.  The tension between these efforts and individual privacy creates frictions that are forcing reconsideration of existing methods of mediating these interests.  This tension then creates challenges for long accepted ideas of nation state use of signals intelligence interception and other information gathering operations (such as the gathering of intelligence about potentially hostile governments).  Similar reconsideration is occurring in the commercial sector, where consumers’ desire for confidentiality in the data that relates to them can conflict with markets for information and commercial and entrepreneurial interests that wish to take advantage of such data to provide new goods and services that consumers value.  


[1] Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-28, p. 1 (January 17, 2014).

 

781

Music's Copyright: A Historical, Incentives-Based, and Aesthetic Analysis of the Law of Music 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course will begin by exploring the historical structure of incentives in music and the changing economics of music production, including the preconditions for thinking of music as "property" and the gradual shift from patronage to a market-oriented system. It will then proceed to examine music's unusually complex and increasingly fraught relationship with copyright law. The fundamental notions of originality and illicit copying are at odds with both functional limitations and long-standing aesthetic practices in music, such as the long history of accepted borrowing. As a result, there is an unusual body of music-specific case law that features intriguing circuit splits, vigorous disputes about expert testimony and prior art, and specialized doctrinal issues. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of these issues, and their application in prominent cases involving the songs "Blurred Lines," "Stairway to Heaven," and Katy Perry's "Dark Horse," as well as pending disputes over Lizzo's "Truth Hurts" and "Baby Shark," and then apply this knowledge in a mock trial. The course will also cover the complicated licensing schemes that attach to different uses of music, from traditional revenue streams to fresh disputes regarding royalties for new uses such as ringtones and streaming services. This portion will include a discussion of the new Music Modernization Act. Finally, the class will conclude with an in-depth examination of the ongoing debates about how both the law and business practices might adapt to the new musical forms (such as sampling and remixing) and business models (such as do-it-yourself distribution) enabled by digital technology. Throughout the semester, the course will include a special focus on current and ongoing disputes, issues, scholarship, and proposals.

The writing for this course may be used to satisfy the JD Substantial Research and Writing Project Requirement.

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