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Search and explore Duke Law's wide variety of courses that comprise nearly every area of legal theory and practice. Contact the Director of Academic Advising to confirm whether a course satisfies a graduation requirement in any particular semester.

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NOTE: Course offerings change. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.

The list of classes marked Spring 2023 is incomplete and is being regularly updated.

JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law

JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship

International LLM - 1 year

Certificate in Public interest and Public Service Law

Areas of Study & Practice

Clear all filters 17 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
  • 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.

317

Criminal Justice Ethics 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • 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.

420

Trial Practice 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23

This is the basic trial skills course covering Opening Statement, Direct Examination, Cross Examination, Impeachment, Exhibits, Expert Witnesses and Closing Argument. In sections of 12 students per section, students prepare and perform the various skills using simulated problems and case files. After each performance, students receive constructive comments from faculty members who are also experienced trial lawyers. Students also get videotapes of their performances. The course ends with a full jury trial of a civil or criminal case with teams of two students on each side. At the end of the trial, the jury deliberates and students are able to watch the jury as it deliberates.

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.

422

Criminal Trial Practice 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22

This is the basic trial skills course with a focus on criminal litigation. Prof. Maher is an experienced criminal litigator who currently represents clients in state and federal court. The class meets one night each week, and recorded lectures are available for students to view. The course covers Story Telling, Brainstorming, Opening Statement, Direct Examination, Cross Examination, Impeachment, Experts, Exhibits, Trial Preparation, Opening Statement and Closing Argument. The class is limited to 12 students so that each week each student will prepare and perform the various skills using simulated problems and case files, some of which are based on real cases and will allow students to work with actual recordings and other evidence. After each performance, students receive constructive comments both in class and during individual video review meetings. At the end of the semester students, typically in teams of two students, will litigate a mock criminal trial with jurors. Students who have not taken evidence, but who are enrolled in evidence, may take the class.

425

Pretrial Criminal Litigation 1
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course will focus on the pretrial phase in criminal cases.  We will begin with a defendant’s initial appearance and conclude with a plea hearing.  Class discussions and readings will explore the pretrial practices of effective defense counsel, including conducting a defense investigation, working with experts, and managing clients.  The class will also emphasize oral advocacy skills, so students will be expected to appear as counsel during mock, in-class court hearings. It is anticipated that each class session will be divided into two components: (1) a short lecture/discussion period based on course readings and (2) skills practice.  Finally, this course will provide students with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with criminal case pleadings, including the drafting of at least one motion.  The course grade will be based on classroom participation, performance, and written work.  There is no final exam. 

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.

505

Criminal Justice Policy Lab 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    The growth in incarceration in the United States since the early 1970s has been “historically unprecedented and internationally unique,” as the National Research Council recently put it. This lab seminar will explore current debates about how best to improve our criminal justice system. The focus will be on concrete research projects with the potential to improve criminal justice outcomes in North Carolina. Students will learn how to conduct policy-based research on criminal justice problems, and students will choose projects and write research papers studying possible reforms. Visitors to the seminar will include leading lawyers, policymakers, and scholars to speak to the class, and to assist with the research efforts.  Students will better appreciate the challenges of designing a sound criminal justice system and also learn how as lawyers they may participate in successful and well-researched policy reform efforts.

    507

    Federal Indigent Defense in Practice 2
    • JD elective
    • JD experiential
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Simulated Writing, Litigation
    • Reflective Writing
    • Practical exercises
    • Class participation

    The Sixth Amendment guarantees “the right of the accused to require the prosecution’s case to survive the crucible of meaningful adversarial testing.”  United States v. Cronic (1984).  Federal defenders, along with the more than 12,000 private ‘panel attorneys’ appointed under the Criminal Justice Act, represent the vast majority of individuals who are prosecuted in federal court. 

    Representing indigent defendants as appointed counsel involves handling some of the most difficult cases in federal court. Being a skillful advocate in the role of a true underdog facing the power and limitless resources of the United States of America demands an approach to law practice that is relentless, a commitment to thinking outside the box, extensive knowledge of complex federal criminal laws and procedure, sharp research skills, and deep empathy for individuals who would not have a voice in the system without their counsel. 

    This skills-based simulation course focuses on writing as an advocate for the accused and developing foundational practical skills and substantive legal knowledge needed to prepare a strong defense. The course focuses on the real cases of several indigent defendants convicted of federal crimes and is structured around preparing a direct appeal from the viewpoint of a solo practicing attorney appointed at the direct appeal stage. Each student will work on preparing one defendant’s case throughout the semester. By looking at cases of several defendants, we will be able to recognize common themes that play out over and over again in the lives of many indigent defendants, caused by poverty and systemic discrimination. Substantive areas of focus will include challenging the guilty plea and sentence, overcoming waivers and unpreserved errors, common Fourth Amendment concerns arising from police searches and seizures, the government’s bread and butter charges in indigent cases: guns and drugs, and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual. The course will also necessarily consider the intersection of race, poverty, and systemic discrimination in our system of justice.

    This course involves working with advanced federal criminal law topics.  It is strongly recommended that students have taken at least one upper-year course in federal criminal law, procedure, or practice.

    512

    Bail Reform 1
    • JD SRWP with add-on credit
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • LLMWriting option with additional credit
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Class participation

    Bail practices define who is held in jail in the United States.  Most people held in jails are awaiting trial, and in turn, most of those people cannot afford to pay a cash bond to secure their release.  This seminar will examine the unique system of pretrial detention in the United States, from historical, legal, social, and policy perspectives. We will read leading Supreme Court cases, recent civil rights challenges and judicial rulings regarding bail practices, bail reform legislation, and empirical literature regarding the impacts of pretrial decisions and supervision on people's lives and social outcomes. Students will write short reaction papers regarding each of week's reading, and may also choose to write a more substantial research paper if they wish to earn a second credit. 

    512W

    Bail Reform, Writing Credit 1
    • JD SRWP
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 22
    • Research paper, 25+ pages

    While enrolled in LAW 512 Bail Practice, students who plan significant research projects on related topics may register for LAW 512W in order to satisfy the JD Substantial Research and Writing Project.

    533

    Government Enforcement and Global Corporate Compliance 2
    • JD elective
    • JD experiential
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Practical exercises
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation

    Students will learn about white collar criminal law principles, today’s climate of government enforcement against corporate wrongdoing and the important role that compliance programs can play in preventing, detecting and resolving those compliance issues.  The course will involve substantive lectures and classroom exercises.  The Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA) will be utilized as the substantive basis to discuss the various principles and conduct the practice simulations. The FCPA will also help demonstrate the global nature of white collar and compliance and the legal issues multi-national corporations face. 

    Students will engage in classroom exercises to develop skills frequently used in practice – analysis, drafting materials, preparing for and conducting interviews, and developing a work plan.  Students will learn to advise a client on dealing with a government enforcement action, conduct a global internal investigation, and build a corporate compliance program.  This learning combination of substantive lectures and doing simulation exercises regarding “real world” issues will provide students with practical skills in an area that is in high demand for lawyers.

    546

    International Law of Armed Conflict 3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper, 25+ pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    This seminar will examine the international law of armed conflict, and it focuses on the jus in bello context. Students will consider the rationale for the key concepts of the law of armed conflict, and examine their practical application in various contexts. Case studies (contemporary and historical) will be examined in conjunction with the topics covered. This historical context for the law of armed conflict agreements, the status of conflicts, combatants, and civilians, targeting, rules of engagement, war crimes, are all included among the topics the class will address. Students will be encouraged to relate legal and interdisciplinary sources in order to better understand the multi-faceted interaction between law and war. There is no examination for this course but a 30-page paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a legal topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. Students desiring to use the course paper to fulfill Substantial Research and Writing Project (SRWP) and possibly other writing requirements must obtain instructor. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation. Students should be aware that this course may include discussion and visual depictions (still and video) of armed conflict and other acts of extreme violence. The textbook for this course is Gary D. Solis's The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War (3rd ed., 2021). This course will only be offered in the spring.

    562

    Sentencing & Punishment 2
    • JD SRWP
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Research paper, 25+ pages
    • Class participation

    This seminar will focus on the process of imposing sentences in criminal cases, administering punishment, and attempting rehabilitation of convicted criminals. The course will first provide background regarding the purposes of punishment and the history of mandatory sentences, presumptive sentences, and sentencing guidelines, and focus on some of these issues in more detail through the use of a expert guest lecturers and a tour of the Federal Correctional Facility in Butner, NC. Students will be expected to participate meaningfully in the lectures, guest speakers and field trip, and produce a research paper on a related topic.

    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
    • 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.

    767

    Advanced Legal Research 2
    • JD elective
    • JD experiential
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Practical exercises
    • Class participation

    This course aims to prepare law students for research in practice and clerkships. The goal is to help students develop solid skills and knowledge to conduct cost-effective legal research in domestic, foreign, and international law. The primary focus of the class is on U.S. legal research, including advanced case and docket research, statutory research, regulatory research, and research on specialized topics such as legislative history, municipal law, court rules, litigation resources, and securities law. We will also cover basic resources and strategies for conducting international and foreign legal research. Grading is based on homework assignments, in-class exercises, and class participation.

    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