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 18 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.

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.

312

Cybercrime 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

The course will survey the legal issues raised by cyber-related crime. The bulk of the course will be organized around two overarching themes: (1) substantive criminal law (i.e., the scope, structure, and limitations of the criminal laws that reach cyber-related crime); and (2) criminal procedure (i.e., the scope, structure, and limitations of the privacy laws and constitutional principles that regulate law enforcement investigations of cyber-related crime).  Along the way, we will also consider topics that frequently arise in cyber-related investigations and prosecutions, such as:  jurisdictional issues (e.g., federal/state dynamics and international cooperation in collecting evidence); national security considerations (e.g., state-sponsored intrusions and IP theft, terrorists’ use of the internet, government surveillance); and encryption.  We will make regular use of contemporary case studies, including several drawn from my own experience in the national security arena. 

317

Criminal Justice Ethics 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15 pages
  • Class participation
  • Other

Criminal Justice Ethics (2 Credit Seminar) focuses on the professional and ethical laws governing attorneys in the criminal justice system. The course focuses on issues affecting both prosecutors and defense attorneys and the applicable rules of professional conduct. The course will work to deepen students’ understanding of the role and responsibilities of criminal justice attorneys in society. This is a specialized ethics course with a focus on lawyers working in the criminal justice system, as such our focus will not cover the Rules of Professional Conduct in their entirety. The class is discussion-based. The primary methods of assessment will be three (3), two-page reflection papers throughout the semester and a final 15-page research and/or analytical paper.

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.

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.

421

Pre-Trial Litigation 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This practical skills course focuses on the path civil litigators must navigate prior to trial. It is becoming increasingly rare for cases to be decided by a jury.  Lawyers must instead learn to succeed during the pretrial process.  We will examine the key components of the civil pretrial litigation process, beginning with the filing of a law suit.  The class will be divided into law firms on the second week of class. You will work with co-counsel, representing a hypothetical client, for the entire semester.  Law firms will prepare and serve discovery and respond to discovery from opposing counsel. Students will prepare and argue a short discovery motion. The last four weeks of class focus on depositions, with each student taking and defending a deposition. This course will help students synthesize and more deeply understand the strategy and the practical application of civil procedure and evidence rules used in litigation advocacy. 

Topics  include:

  • Drafting pleadings and motions
  • Preparing and responding to discovery
  • Taking and defending depositions
  • Practicing becoming a more effective advocate in the current on-line environment facing all attorneys and courts.

The course grade is based on written and practical skills-based work product and class participation, as described in the syllabus.  There is not a final exam.

428

Advanced Community Enterprise Clinic 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Spring 21
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

This two-credit course is available to students who have participated in one semester in the community enterprise clinic and wish to participate for a second semester. Students may enroll only with approval of the Director of the Clinic. Placements may be available in the event that the clinic is not fully enrolled with first-time participants, and in exceptional situations, when the clinic director determines it would be in the best interest of the clinic to make an exception to the usual maximum enrollment. Students enrolled in Advanced Clinical Studies are required to participate fully in the case work portion of the clinic, performing 100-120 hours of client representation work, but will not be required to attend the class sessions.

435A

Advanced First Amendment Law Clinic 2
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Live-client representation and case management

This two-credit course is available to students who have participated in one semester in the First Amendment Law clinic and wish to participate for a second semester. Students may enroll only with approval of the Director of the Clinic.. Students enrolled in Advanced Clinical Studies are required to participate fully in the case work portion of the clinic, performing 100-120 hours of client representation work, but will not be required to attend the class sessions.

472

Amicus Lab 2
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Simulated Writing, Litigation
  • Group project(s)

A wide range of cases raise novel scientific issues, which judges can struggle to resolve. One way to provide courts with independent information and insight regarding complex scientific issues is through the filing friend of the court, or amicus curiae briefs. The purpose of the Amicus Lab is to teach students about the use of emerging science and technology in the courts through the drafting such amicus briefs. We will draft a number of amicus briefs, including to submit to state and federal appellate courts and the US Supreme Court, on topics and in cases where independent expert views could play a useful role. These amicus briefs will be unaligned with any party and are intended to provide the court with unbiased, current, and coherent information about the scientific issue in the case.

We will meet weekly at a time convenient for all of the students in the lab. Students will initially focus upon the preparation of background memoranda on the selected scientific issues. These memoranda will be used to develop draft amicus briefs over the course of the semester. No scientific background is required, but it would be helpful, as would the basic Evidence course.

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.

514

Research Methods in Administrative Law 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Short Research Assignments
  • Class participation

This course focuses on administrative law research, including federal regulations, the federal rulemaking process, documents produced by federal agencies such as “no action” letters and guidance documents, and research into the enabling legislation and related legislative process. It will also cover research into legislative and regulatory stakeholders, demonstrating tools to discover information on companies, lobbyists, and individuals, with the goal of facilitating student research expertise in addressing administrative law issues in practice. Classwork will be supplemented by discussions with current practitioners in the regulatory field, demonstrating real-world issues faced by administrative lawyers.

520

Climate Change and the Law 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15 pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This 2-credit seminar will examine global climate change and the range of actual and potential responses by legal institutions – including at the international level, within the United States and other countries (such as Europe, China, and others), at the subnational level, and at the urging of the private sector.

We will compare alternative approaches that have been or could be taken by legal systems to address climate change: the choice of policy instrument (e.g., emissions taxes, allowance trading, infrastructure programs, technology R&D, information disclosure, prescriptive regulation, carbon capture & storage, reducing deforestation, geoengineering, adaptation);  the spatial scale; the targets of the policy and criteria for deciding among these policy choices.  We will examine actual legal measures that have been adopted so far to manage climate change:  international agreements such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), its Kyoto Protocol (1997) and Paris Agreement (2015), plus related agreements like the Kigali Amendment (on HFCs) and ICAO (aviation) and IMO (shipping); as well as the policies undertaken by key national and subnational systems.  In the US, we will study national (federal) and subnational (state and local) policies, including EPA regulation under the Clean Air Act, other federal laws and policies relevant to climate change mitigation, state-level action by California, RGGI states, and North Carolina. We will also explore litigation involving tort/nuisance civil liability and the public trust doctrine to advance climate policy. 

Questions we will discuss include:  How effective and efficient are the policies being proposed and adopted? What actions are being taken at the local, national and international levels, and which reinforce or conflict with one another?  Can current institutions and legal frameworks deal with a problem as enormous, complex, long-term, uncertain, and multi-faceted as climate change?  What roles do scientific research, technological breakthroughs, and economic realities play in shaping legal responses?  How should the legal system learn from new information over time? How should we appraise the United Nations climate negotiations, and are there other models for international cooperation?  How should principles of equity, just transitions, and intergenerational justice guide efforts to address climate change? Should greenhouse gas emitters (countries, businesses, consumers) be directly liable or responsible for climate change impacts and compensate victims for their losses?  What is the best mix of mitigation and adaptation policies?  How will climate policy be influenced by geopolitical changes such as the rise of China?  How should the law address extreme catastrophic risk?  How should geoengineering be governed? What is the best path for future climate policy? 

Students must read the assigned materials in advance of class, and participate in class discussion. Each student will submit a short (5-6 page) paper, addressing the week's readings (and adding outside research), for three (3) of the 12 class sessions (not counting the first class session). A sign-up sheet will be circulated at the beginning of the course for students to select the 3 topics/class sessions for which they will submit these 3 short papers (so that these papers are spread across the semester). In addition, each student will write a longer research paper (15 pages), due at the end of the semester. Grades will be based on: 33% class participation, 33% the 3 short papers, and 33% the longer paper.

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. 

588

Investigating and Prosecuting National Security Cases 2
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • LLMWriting option with additional credit
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

National security cases present unique challenges to prosecutors and defense attorneys. From the outset of an investigation, and before charges are brought, prosecutors and investigators must take into account a number of considerations, including coordination with the intelligence community and potential conflicts that may arise between law enforcement and intelligence gathering. After a case is charged, such cases frequently present other challenges, such as complying with discovery obligations while protecting classified information and obtaining testimony from foreign witnesses who may be beyond the reach of the U.S. government. This course will provide an in-depth examination of the unique issues that lawyers face in national security prosecutions and the substantive and procedural tools used to navigate those issues.  We will also examine the advantages and limitations of civilian prosecutions and consider the effectiveness of current procedures and criminal statutes in addressing modern national security threats.  An emphasis will be placed on case-specific examples and hypotheticals, drawing in part on the instructor’s experience and pending public cases.  The course will culminate in a simulation in which students are presented with a rapidly unfolding national security incident in which they are asked to address various hypotheticals at different stages of the case.

Students will be expected to complete a final paper of 10-15 pages in length on a topic approved by the instructor. JD or LLM students who wish to use the paper to satisfy the substantial writing requirement of their degree should enroll in a 1 credit independent study with Professor Stansbury and will be expected to write a final paper of 25-30 pages in length. The Independent Study will be graded on a credit/no-credit basis.

598

Family Creation: A Non-Judicial Perspective 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Reflective Writing
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This seminar will focus on the role of the legislative and administrative process in family creation. We will examine situations in which a child born in one family becomes part of another through mechanisms such as adoption, foster care, or surrogacy. Particular attention will be given to intercountry adoption and surrogacy, which raise complex issues of law and policy, including those relating to the definition of family, state sovereignty, immigration and citizenship, human rights, and ethics and transparency. Not all countries participating in intercountry adoption and surrogacy are subject to relevant international treaties, and even where treaties are in effect, implementation has been characterized by conflict and delay. At the local level, regulation through oversight of private agencies, adoptive families, and third party intermediaries has been uneven. Throughout our examination of these issues, we will focus attention on the ways in which race and class have shaped policy, often in ways that harm families and children.

This seminar aims to give students the opportunity to understand the policymaking process by closely examining what has transpired in the field of family creation in the last 15-20 years, and considering what the future may hold, both within the U.S. and abroad. Students will be expected to explore and understand the intersection between policy, treaty, and national law, as well as the interrelationship between the legislative and administrative processes. Because the seminar will examine not only the law within the U.S. but that in other countries, students will be able to explore the differences in culture and policy that exist nation to nation and consider how those differences affect these inherently international issues relating to family creation.

Readings will draw from the United States and international sources and will include existing and proposed legislation, existing and proposed administrative regulations, treaty provisions, court decisions interpreting these sources, academic and journalistic writings, and audiovisual materials.

714

Coastal Resilience in the Face of Climate Change 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation

This seminar will provide students an opportunity to engage closely with emerging law and policy issues associated with the need to increase coastal resilience in the face of climate change.  The recent experiences of both North and South Carolina with Hurricane Florence have highlighted the need for coastal communities to address a wide range of issues associated with climate change.  In addition to designing approaches to increase resilience when faced with storms and rising sea levels, these issues include: (1) information-gathering (via maps, drones, and scientific research about coastal/ocean processes); (2) law and policy refinements (via statutes, regulations, and guidance); and (3) possible litigation to develop useful common law doctrines relevant to the tidelands and the public trust.  Through the use of current cases and policy issues under debate in coastal communities, students will work together to research the most salient questions presented by these issues.  They will analyze relevant facts, laws, policies, socio-economic considerations, and local ordinances, and prepare proposed solutions to these questions in the form of advisory memos and recommendations.  

737

Environmental Litigation 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

During the past 40 years, environmental litigation in the federal courts of the United States has played an important role in shaping our quality of life.  Federal statutes designed to improve air and water quality, manage waste, protect species, and establish rules for the management of ocean resources have spawned numerous federal cases – some filed by affected industry, some by the government, and others filed by conservation groups and private citizens.  The resulting precedents affect many aspects of the environment in which we live.

This course introduces students to the progression of a hypothetical environmental case in United States federal courts.  The course begins with the appearance of a potential client, addresses several considerations relevant to a decision whether to file a complaint, examines discovery planning and execution, studies the preparation of dispositive motions, and concludes with an overview of the appeal process.  The course assumes that the hypothetical case will be decided on motions for summary judgment or for injunctive relief.  Therefore, class discussions focus on the manner in which such a case unfolds, with particular attention to developing both the facts and the theory of the case, framing pleadings, and designing and managing discovery.  The course explores these subjects from the perspective of counsel for defendants as well as for plaintiffs.  Students should emerge from the course better equipped to handle various practical aspects of litigation.

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