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

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.

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 writing
  • 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.

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.

581

Blockchain, Fintech Law and Policy. 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM required
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • 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.

590

Risk Regulation in the US, Europe and Beyond 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Faced with myriad health, safety, environmental, security and financial risks, how should societies respond?  This course studies the regulation of a wide array of risks, such as disease, food, drugs, medical care, biotechnology, chemicals, automobiles, air travel, drinking water, air pollution, energy, climate change, finance, violence, terrorism, emerging technologies, and extreme catastrophic risks. (Students may propose to research other risks as well.)

Across these diverse contexts, the course focuses on how regulatory institutions deal with the challenges of risk assessment (technical expertise), risk perceptions (public concerns and values), priority-setting (which risks should be regulated most), risk management (including the debates over "precaution" versus benefit-cost analysis, and risk-risk tradeoffs such as countervailing harms and co-benefits), and ongoing evaluation and updating.  It examines the rules and institutions for risk regulation, including the roles of legislative, executive/administrative, and judicial functions; the challenge of fragmentation and integration; the roles of oversight bodies (such as judicial review by courts, and executive review by US OMB/OIRA and the EU RSB); and the potential for international regulatory cooperation.

The course examines these issues through a comparative approach to risk regulation in the United States, Europe, and beyond (especially those countries of interest to the students in the course each year).  It examines the divergence, convergence, and exchange of ideas across regulatory systems; the causes of these patterns; the consequences of regulatory choices; and how regulatory systems can learn to do better.

This is a research seminar, in which students discuss and debate in class, while developing their own research.  We may also have some guest speakers.  Students' responsibilities in this course include active participation in class discussions, and writing a substantial research paper.  Students’ papers may take several approaches, such as analyzing a specific risk regulation; comparing regulation across countries; analyzing proposals to improve the regulatory system; or other related topics.

This course is Law 590, cross-listed as Environ 733.01 and PubPol 891.01.  Graduate and professional students from outside the Law School should enroll via those Environ and PubPol course numbers, and may contact the Nicholas School registrar, Erika Lovelace, e.love@duke.edu, or the Sanford School registrar, Anita Lyon, anita.lyon@duke.edu, with any questions about enrollment.  (The Law School does not use “permission numbers.”)

636

Food, Agriculture and the Environment: Law & Policy 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

“Food,” “agriculture,” and the “environment” are distinct American mythologies tied to our basic physical needs and imbued with significant cultural meanings. They are also deeply entwined. We all eat three or so times a day, and each of those meals arrived on our table at the very end of a dizzying journey through our national—and increasingly global—food and agriculture system. It’s a system that causes startling environmental harms; think water and air pollution, pesticides, greenhouse gases, non-human animal welfare, deforestation, soil depletion, wetlands destruction, fisheries collapse, and on and on. Yet notions of “agricultural exceptionalism” exempt agriculture from many of our nation’s environmental laws.

Undergirding the system are the people who help put food on our tables. The food and agriculture system depends on immigrants who toil in the field and on slaughterhouse lines even as it romanticizes the Jeffersonian ideal of the solitary yeoman. It co-opts the knowledge of Black, Indigenous and people of color under terms like “sustainable” and “regenerative” without reckoning with land theft, enslavement, or the patterns of discrimination and land loss that persist today.

This course will survey how law and policy created and perpetuate the interrelated social, economic and environmental iniquities of our modern food and agriculture system. More optimistically, we will study how law and policy can address systemic issues and move us toward values of equity and environmental justice, conservation, restoration, community health and economic sustainability. We will pay special attention to the federal farm bill, which is due for reauthorization in 2023.

Course format and expectations: Students will be expected to stay up on all readings, participate in weekly discussion boards, prepare several presentations and written assignments throughout the semester, and engage in the seminar each week. As a final assignment, each student will write a 10-15 page law or policy paper on a topic that they will develop in consultation with the rest of the class and the instructor. There will be an additional, optional opportunity to visit a local farm.

 

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.

    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