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

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.

314

Federal Habeas Corpus 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Midterm
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

What is habeas corpus and why has it earned the title of the “Great Writ”?  Habeas corpus allows prisoners to challenge their detentions and it empowers judges to free prisoners that are unlawfully detained.  The writ reaches the most unpopular prisoners: enemies of the state, war criminals, and those convicted of the most heinous crimes.  Due to its historic role as the last resort for prisoners to obtain judicial review, the U.S. Supreme Court has called the Great Writ one that is “indispensable” and one that “indisputably holds an honored position in our jurisprudence.”  Thus, prisoner litigation is the subject of this course, and in particular, the rights and remedies available to prisoners who seek to challenge their detention.

We will use my co-authored casebook: the first to cover federal habeas corpus comprehensively, presenting post-conviction review and executive detention litigation in an accessible way.  It is available on Sakai, along with the rest of our course materials. We will begin with an examination of the writ of habeas corpus, under which federal courts examine whether detentions are authorized.  We will explore the historical evolution of the writ from a common law prerogative writ to the U.S. federal system and the meaning of the enigmatic Suspension Clause of the U.S. Constitution. We will then focus on habeas litigation by state prisoners convicted of crimes.  We will study the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and how it intersects with the key Supreme Court decisions that define the limits and procedures for habeas corpus, including through the doctrines of exhaustion, procedural default, non-retroactivity, and miscarriage of justice innocence “gateway” claims.

In the second part of the course, we will examine the Suspension Clause and how Article III of the Constitution shapes the power of judges to use habeas corpus.  We will explore the use of habeas corpus to remedy unlawful executive detention, including immigration detention, military detention, and national security detention.  We will study recent statutes and Supreme Court decisions relating to persons indefinitely detained or facing military commission trials post-9/11.  We will conclude by studying the intersection of habeas corpus and civil litigation, and with a broader look at the future of habeas corpus.

We will conduct a series of practical exercises based on real cases, during synchronous classes and offline.  Short lectures will often be recorded in advance to focus our synchronous time on engaging with  the material. The goal is for you to understand the doctrine and theory but also develop practical litigation skills, directly applicable to prisoner litigation, and also to litigation generally. Some will be in-class exercises, while others will be written exercises outside of class.  You will be given feedback on your work throughout the semester. Similarly, grading will be based not just on a final  exam, but on class participation (in synchronous classes, in comments on each other’s work, and on the Sakai forum discussion pages), written answers to three review exercises, written comments on classmates’ answer to review exercises, a midterm exam, and a final exam. All midterm and final exam grading is blind.

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-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.

345

Gender & the Law 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course will explore the relationship between gender and the law, understanding gender in its broadest sense including sex, sexuality, gender identity, and gender queerness. It will focus on sex discrimination doctrines under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution as well as under federal and state statutory frameworks such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and cognate state statutes. It will also address the shifting scope of substantive due process doctrine, particularly given the recent Supreme Court Dobbs opinion. Other statutes such as the Americans with Disabilities Act will also be explored. Constitutional Law is highly recommended as a prerequisite.

The course will center around legal case studies to evaluate the relationship between law and justice in many areas that affect gender minority lives, including: employment, schools, health care, prison, public accommodations, family, youth and aging, and beyond. The emphasis will be on social justice lawyering strategies and the possibilities and limits that litigation, legislation, and policy developments present for work in these areas. Some film is used in class. Evaluation is by an end-of-term, untimed, open book examination, as well as 3 reaction papers assigned throughout the class. Other individual or group projects may also be required. Engaged student discussion and open-mindedness to new, different, and challenging ideas is invited and valued.

399

Forensic Psychiatry 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the major areas of interface between psychiatry and law. Basic concepts of clinical psychiatry and psychopathology will be highlighted throughout the course. The attorney and the psychiatrist roles in the commitment process, right to treatment and right to refuse treatment, competency to stand trial, and criminal responsibility will be explored using a number of methods. Discussion of assigned readings, short lectures, interviews and observation of patients involved in legal proceedings, films, guest speakers, and field trips will form the basis of the course. The students will periodically be asked to use the information from the course together with independent and group research to complete short projects and class exercises.

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.

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.

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.

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.

570

Criminology and Criminal Procedure 2
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • Class participation

In this seminar, we will read social science research to examine the empirical assumptions of rules, systems, and practices of criminal law and procedure. We will cover a series of empirical questions, which may include: (1) Does stop and frisk policing reduce crime? (2) Can body cameras change police behavior? (3) Does the death penalty deter? (4) Are there alternatives to incarceration that can keep us safe? (5) Is there racial disparity in sentencing, and if there is, what can we do about it? (6) What is the right age of majority to separate the juvenile and adult justice systems?

While some background in social science and statistics may be helpful, it is not a requirement for the course. Students will be evaluated based on class participation and a series of reaction papers. Students will also be asked to lead discussion of some of the readings.

588

Investigating and Prosecuting National Security Cases 2
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing 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.

599

Race, Bioethics and the Law 2
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s) option, 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

Much of the mainstream dialogue regarding medicine, technological advances, and healthcare has relied on the premise of fairness and equality. However, this is not the entire story. Many of the advancements we take for granted were produced at the expense of racially marginalized individuals. Though these challenges can feel insurmountable, we have the tools to develop solutions. The goal of this course is to teach students the shared history of racism in medicine and to empower them to address these disparities through bioethics and the law. The course will cover historical bioethical incidents that shaped racially marginalized individuals’ relationships with healthcare and science. It will also examine healthcare, bioethics, and the law through the lens of racially marginalized peoples and anti-Blackness in law and policy. Lastly, it will also cover various approaches to integrating anti-racist principles into the practice of law.

732

Topics in Access to Justice 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation
  • Other

“Access to justice” (sometimes denominated “A2J”) is a multidimensional concept that eludes easy definition. This course will use the term expansively, to capture the ways in which our civil legal system does or does not respond to the legal needs of ordinary people.
This course will examine the structural obstacles that impede access to civil justice as well as contemporary opportunities for reform. Access barriers can have a variety of sources. Barriers can be doctrinal (e.g., the civil right to counsel), practical (e.g., courts’ ability to accommodate non-English-speaking litigants), economic (e.g., the rise of binding arbitration), or political (e.g., limited funding for legal aid offices), and nearly all are multifactorial. Similarly, opportunities for improvement can be found in doctrine, institutional design, community engagement, and technology. Compared to a course on substantive law, our focus will be on the institutional, procedural, and practical dimensions of the access problem.

The course will be divided into roughly three components. In Part I, we will consider theories and doctrines of civil legal access. In Part II, we will consider institutional and procedural features that shape access to our civil legal system, as well as the roles of different actors and constituencies in the civil justice system, including: lawyers and the legal profession; self-represented litigants; community organizations; courts; and non-judicial government institutions. In Part III, we will consider a handful of “pressure points” in access to civil justices—that is, areas of the law where legal needs are especially significant, and where access is especially challenging. Among the areas will consider will be family law, housing law, consumer law and consumer bankruptcy, and immigration law. Solutions and opportunities for change will be discussed throughout all three parts of the course.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, four response papers and a research proposal.

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.

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