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

160AB

Legal Analysis, Research & Writing 4
  • JD 1L
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages

An introductory study of the various forms of legal writing and modes of legal research. Through an integrated approach to writing and research, the course begins by analyzing the components of judicial opinions and ends with the students independently researching and writing a sophisticated appellate brief. The principal goal of this course is the mastery of the basic tools of legal analysis, the principles of legal writing, and the techniques of legal research using both print and online resources.

This is a year-long course.  Upon successful completion of the Fall and Spring semesters, students are awarded four credits and graded on numerical scale.  A grade of Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) is given after the Fall semester.

170

Property 4
  • JD 1L
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

Property law guides how we interact through and around a variety of valuable and increasing scare resources, including land, personal possessions, and ideas.  This course explores how and why property is allocated; what default rights and obligations come with ownership; the role of private agreements with respect to property; and the extent and limits of the state’s power to set the terms of ownership.  Throughout, we will consider justifications for property rights as well as the fine-grained details of how courts and other institutions resolve conflicts about property.  There are a number of common threads that tie property law together, and a series of recurring themes that we will emphasize throughout the semester.  Among these, the most important are likely the relational and interdependent nature of property rights. As far as the law is concerned, property is not a “thing” like a piece of land, but a set of claims that some people have against others with regard to particular resources.  Such claims are deeply contextual and relational; saying that someone “owns” something is generally the beginning, not the end, of the legal inquiry.  Questions about the ways in which race, socioeconomic status, and gender have shaped property rights will inform our conversation throughout the semester.

210

Business Associations 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

This course surveys the law providing ground rules for the organization, internal governance, and financing of corporations and other forms of business associations such as partnerships and limited liability companies. Topics include limited liability, fiduciary duties, shareholder voting, derivative suits, control transactions, mergers and acquisitions, public contests, and trading. The emphasis throughout is on the functional analysis of legal rules as one set of constraints on business associations, among others.

245

Evidence 4
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. Also addressed are the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, particularly the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, and the screening of scientific and expert testimony. The course concludes with an introduction to evidentiary privileges.

255

Federal Income Taxation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

An introduction to federal income taxation, with emphasis on the determination of income subject to taxation, deductions in computing taxable income, the proper time period for reporting income and deductions, and the proper taxpayer on which to impose the tax

In planning their course schedules, students should keep in mind that Federal Income Taxation is a prerequisite for most other federal tax courses, including corporate tax, partnership tax, international tax, and the tax policy seminar.  For this reason, students who might want to take one or more advanced tax courses are strongly encouraged to take Federal Income Taxation during their second year of law school.

270

Intellectual Property 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

This course provides an introduction to copyright, trademark, and (to a lesser extent) patent law and trade secrecy. It does not require a technical background of any kind.  The course begins with an introduction to some of the theoretical and practical problems which an intellectual property regime must attempt to resolve; during this section, basic concepts of the economics of information and of the First Amendment analysis of intellectual property rights will be examined through a number of case-studies. The class will then turn to the law of trademark, copyright, and patent with a particular emphasis on copyright, developing the basic doctrinal frameworks and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will focus in particular on a number of areas where the theoretical tools developed at the beginning of the class can be applied to actual problems involving a full panoply of intellectual property rights; these areas include intellectual property on the Internet, the constitutional limits on intellectual property, and innovation, monopoly and competition in the technology sector. The overall theme of the course is that intellectual property is the legal form of the information age and thus that it is important not only for its enormous and increasing role in commercial life and legal practice, but also for its effects on technological innovation, democratic debate, and cultural formation. Much of our doctrinal work will be centered around a series of problems which help students build skills and learn the law in a highly interactive setting. You can also download the casebook for the class here – for free – to give you a sense of the topics that are covered. 

342

Federal Courts 4
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

The course considers the structure and powers of the federal courts and their relationship to the political branches and the state courts. The topics covered include justiciability, congressional authority to define and limit federal court jurisdiction, federal common law and implied rights of action, the application of state law in federal courts under the Erie doctrine, civil rights actions and immunities of state officials and governments, and habeas corpus. The focus of the course is on structural constitutional considerations relating to both the separation of powers between the three branches of the national government as well as the federalism relationship between the national government and the state governments.

384

Securities Regulation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

A study of the federal and state securities laws and the industry they govern with emphasis on the regulation of the distribution process and trading in securities; subjects dealt with include the functions of the Securities and Exchange Commission, registration and disclosure requirements and related civil liabilities, "blue-sky" laws, proxy solicitation and reporting requirements, broker-dealer regulation, the self-regulatory functions of the exchanges, and the regulation of investment companies.

427

Community Enterprise Law Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

Operating like a small private law firm, this clinic will provide students interested generally in business law practice and/or in specializing in working with nonprofit organizations with practical skills training in many of the core skills required in any transactional legal practice, including interviewing, counseling, drafting and negotiation. Under the supervision of the clinical faculty, students will represent low-income entrepreneurs, as well as a wide variety of nonprofit organizations engaged in community development activities. In their cases, students will have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of legal matters for their clients. These may include entity formation (both for-profit and nonprofit); obtaining tax-exempt status for nonprofit clients and providing ongoing tax compliance counseling; negotiating and drafting contracts; and representing clients in community development transactions. All enrolled students will be required to provide a minimum of 100 hours of legal work per semester and to participate in weekly group training meetings.

Clinics Enrollment Policy

Important:

  • This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.
  • Students MUST be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.
  • International LLM students who wish to enroll in a clinic must seek the permission of the clinic's faculty director prior to the enrollment period. Permission is required to enroll but permission does not constitute entry into the clinic.

Ethics Requirement

Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the Community Enterprise Law Clinic. Examples of ethics classes that meet the requirement include Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice (LAW 231), Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

429

Civil Justice Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

This Clinic will develop and hone civil litigation skills in the context of working on actual cases taken in directly by the CJC or working in association with the Durham and Raleigh offices of Legal Aid of North Carolina, with the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Attorney Generals’ office, and with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings. Cases will focus on vindicating the rights of impoverished individuals or groups who cannot otherwise adequately find justice in the civil courts. 

Students will be directly supervised by the Clinic Director and/or Supervising Attorney and/or Legal Aid attorneys. Cases may include prosecuting unsafe housing claims, defense of eviction claims, prosecuting unfair trade practice and debt collection claims, administrative hearing appeals for the revocation of licenses/certifications, representation of domestic violence victims, and a variety of other civil matters. 

Initial classroom training in the various stages of civil litigation will be conducted by the Clinic Director and Supervising Attorney, followed by weekly individual or group meetings and training sessions. Skill development will include interviewing clients/witnesses, review of relevant documents/discovery, assessment of cases, drafting of pleadings, drafting of discovery, taking of depositions, recognition of ethics issues, and actual court or agency appearances. All enrolled students will be required to provide a minimum of 100 hours of client legal work per semester as well as to participate in the weekly class and training sessions. The CJC is typically taken for 4 credit hours, but with permission, it may be taken for 5 or 6 hrs. with additional minimum hour requirements.

Students must be in at least their third semester of law school to enroll in the Clinic. Courses in Evidence and/or Trial Practice are recommended but not required as prerequisites or corequisites.

Important:

  • This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.
  • Students must be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.
  • International LLM students who wish to enroll in the clinic must seek the permission of the Clinic Director prior to the enrollment period.
  • An Advanced Civil Justice Clinic can be available for a second semester, with the permission of the Clinic Director.

435

First Amendment Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Live-client representation and case management

This clinic will develop counseling, litigation, and legal commentary skills in the context of working on actual cases and issues involving the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petition.  We will advise and represent individuals and groups with First Amendment concerns or claims who cannot afford the assistance of lawyers with specialized First Amendment expertise.  We will also provide commentary and legal analysis on pending or enacted legislation that implicates First Amendment freedoms, and other governmental as well as academic developments. Students will be directly supervised by the Clinic Director and the Supervising Attorney  All enrolled students will be required to work a minimum of 100 hours a semester with clients or in other professional activities such as answering questions from journalists or analyzing and preparing commentary on pending legislation, as well as to participate in the weekly class and training sessions.

Important:

This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.

Students must be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.

Ethics Requirement

Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the First Amendment Clinic. Examples of ethics classes that meet the requirement include Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice (LAW 231), Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

441

Start-Up Ventures Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

The Start-Up Ventures Clinic represents entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses and social ventures on a variety of matters related to the start-up process, including formation, founder equity and vesting, shareholder agreements, intellectual property protection and licensing agreements, commercialization strategies, and other issues that new enterprises face in their start-up phases.

The course incorporates client representation with a seminar and individualized supervision to provide students with a range of opportunities to put legal theory into practice and to develop core legal skills such as interviewing, client counseling, negotiation, and drafting. Students in this course will, among other things, have the chance to deepen their substantive legal knowledge in entrepreneurial law and business law more generally, while at the same time developing critical professional skills through the direct representation of start-up businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Important:

    • See Clinics Enrollment Policy
    • This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.
    • Students MUST be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.
    • International LLM students who wish to enroll in a clinic must seek the permission of the instructor prior to the enrollment period. Permission is required to enroll but permission does not constitute entry into the clinic.
  • Business Associations and Advising the Entrepreneurial Client or Start-Up Law are recommended but not required.

Ethics Requirement

Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the Start-Up Ventures Clinic. Examples of ethics classes that meet the requirement include Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice (LAW 231), Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

443

Environmental Law and Policy Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

The Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic is an interdisciplinary clinic that represents non-profit community-based and environmental organizations throughout the region to address a wide variety of environmental concerns in a variety of different venues. Students work in interdisciplinary teams and engage directly with clients to develop legal and advocacy strategies, conduct site-based assessments, develop legislative and regulatory proposals, and participate in community outreach and education efforts. Students also may engage in litigation, regulatory, and policy proceedings as case needs dictate. Skills training is conducted in weekly seminars and case management meetings and emphasizes client counseling, legal and policy advocacy, working with experts, and networking. Although the mix of topics addressed varies among semesters, matters typically include environmental justice, climate change, water quality, natural resources conservation, endangered species protection, sustainable agriculture, public trust resources, and environmental health. Clinic faculty make an effort to honor student preferences for case assignments, consistent with case needs and each student’s objectives for professional growth and development.

Clinic Enrollment and Credit Policies

To enroll, law students must have completed their 1L year and Nicholas School students must have completed their first semester. International LLM students may enroll during their second semester with permission from the clinic's directors. Variable credit (4-6 hours) is allowed for law students with permission from the clinic’s directors.

Although not a prerequisite, students are encouraged to have completed Environmental Law, Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy, and/or Administrative Law prior to enrollment.

Ethics Requirement for Law Students

Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. Examples of ethics classes that meet the requirement include Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice (LAW 231), Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

Important to Note: This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting. Students MUST be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.

493

Wrongful Convictions Clinic 4
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Live-client representation and case management
  • Class participation

The Wrongful Convictions Clinic pursues plausible claims of legal and factual innocence made by incarcerated people in North Carolina convicted of serious felonies. 

Students in the clinic study the causes of wrongful convictions, including mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions, faulty forensic evidence, “jailhouse snitches,” and race. Student-attorneys work under the supervision of faculty to develop, manage, and litigate cases by carrying out a wide range of legal activities, including communicating with our clients, locating and interviewing witnesses about facts, gathering documents and records, drafting a range of legal documents and memos, working with experts, and helping to prepare for evidentiary hearings and oral arguments in state and federal courts. Most clinic cases do not involve DNA.

Many former students describe their time in the clinic, working to exonerate individuals incarcerated for crimes they didn't commit, as their most rewarding experience during law school.

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.

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