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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

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

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.

260

Financial Accounting 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

Many attorneys are required to evaluate financial data, notably financial statements from corporations, on a regular basis. The need is not limited to corporate attorneys; indeed litigators in securities, antitrust, malpractice, or general commercial litigation frequently must analyze financial information. This course serves to both introduce basic accounting principles and practices and their relationship to the law, as well as to study a number of contemporary accounting problems relating to financial disclosure and the accountant's professional responsibility. Students with accounting degrees, MBAs or who have taken more than a couple of accounting courses are not permitted to enroll. Also, Business Essentials may not be taken concurrently with this course.

287

Principles of Commercial and Bankruptcy Law 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This is an introduction to the principles and concepts of commercial law and bankruptcy and their interplay. It is intended to provide a solid conceptual and practical grounding in all of the basic commercial and bankruptcy law issues that you are likely to encounter in your practice.

The course starts with a brief overview of the more innovative aspects of sales law, and then introduces such basic commercial law concepts as negotiable instruments, letters of credit, funds transfers, and documents of title. The course then focuses on secured transactions under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), including the concepts of security interests, collateral, perfection and priority, and foreclosure. That brings in the natural interplay with such fundamental debtor-creditor aspects of bankruptcy law as property of a bankrupt debtor’s estate, automatic stay of foreclosure and enforcement actions, use by a debtor of property subject to a security interest and adequate protection of the secured party’s interest, rejection and acceptance of executory contracts, bankruptcy trustee’s avoiding powers including preferences and fraudulent conveyances, post-petition effect of a security interest, set-offs, and subordination. The course also introduces basic corporate reorganization and international insolvency principles.

 

322

Copyright Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This is a comprehensive course in copyright law. We will examine the legal rights that cover works of creative expression such as literature, music, film, photography, visual art, and software. The class will cover some of the fundamental pillars of the world of creative expression in which we all live—the economic and legal architecture of our culture. This is because copyright’s rules provide the economic incentives that influence our creative output as well as part of the legal framework that shapes our communications technology. The broad impact of copyright law means that it is of importance to a wide range of legal practice and not merely to the specialist. No technical background is needed.

325

Corporate Finance 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course is designed to familiarize law students with the principles of corporate finance. In the world of corporate finance, the distinction between lawyers and investment bankers has blurred. Whether negotiating a merger agreement, acquisition, or divestiture, rendering a fairness opinion, preparing for an appraisal hearing, litigating securities class action or derivative suits, issuing new securities, taking a firm private via an LBO or public via an IPO, corporate lawyers and investment bankers work side-by-side. Lawyers with an appreciation of the basics of corporate finance gain a distinct advantage. This course will also provide important tools for litigators to work with financial expert witnesses and calculate damages.

Topics include: the time value of money; the relation between risk and return; the workings and efficiency of capital markets; behavioral finance; valuing perpetuities and annuities; valuing corporate securities (stock, bonds, and options); valuing businesses as a going concern; optimal capital structure and dividend policies; debt covenants and other lender protections; derivatives; and the application of these principles to legal practice.

[This course serves as a prerequisite for Corporate Restructuring and Venture Capital and Private Equity, two courses offered at the Fuqua School of Business and cross-listed in the Law School.]

335

Private Equity and Hedge Funds 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

The alternative asset classes of private equity and hedge funds represent a significant and growing share of investment activity worldwide and are at the center of many of the most pressing current issues in finance and financial law. While traditionally lightly regulated, both areas have received increasing regulatory attention since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Both also figure prominently in major ongoing debates concerning financial stability, market efficiency, corporate governance, financial innovation and complexity, and even income inequality. This course introduces private equity and hedge funds from the perspectives of finance, regulation, and legal practice, covering the foundational issues of securities, tax, organizational, and fiduciary law that they raise. Students will learn the basic regulatory framework applicable to fund structuring, fund managers and sponsors, fund offerings, and fund investments, and gain experience with the key agreements among the parties involved. In addition, the course will critically assess the current regulation of private equity and hedge funds and proposals for reform. Through reading materials, course discussions, guest lectures, and group work, students will gain insight into the perspective of fund managers, advisors, investors, those who transact with such funds, and those who regulate the fund industry.

Prerequisites: Students must have previously completed or be concurrently enrolled in Business Associations or an introductory course on business organizational law/company law taken at another law school (whether in the U.S. or abroad). Prior coursework in securities regulation and taxation may be useful, but is not required.

Grading: The course grade will be based on: (i) a final examination, (ii) class participation, and (iii) quizzes, problem sets, or other short assignments.

336

Mergers & Acquisitions: A Practitioner's Perspective 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation

This two-credit course will consider and analyze corporate mergers and acquisitions and the process of initiating and completing a corporate acquisition. Topics covered will include the structures commonly used in M&A transactions (and the factors affecting choice of deal structure); strategies employed by the acquiring company and the target firm in negotiating an acquisition and the differing roles played by the various parties involved; the critical role of information in M&A deals; conducting due diligence; the elements and structure of a typical acquisition agreement; certain techniques for effective drafting of M&A agreements; the roles and responsibilities of management, Boards of Directors and shareholders in connection with transactions; securities laws affecting transactions; acquisition financing; and getting the transaction to closing.

358

Structuring Venture Capital and Private Equity Transactions 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

In the world of venture capital and private equity, there is no difference between a good business person and a good lawyer. They both must know capitalization structure and law, and they both must know tax and accounting.

Many never achieve this mastery, and those who do only get there after many years of practice. This course helps the law and business student drive to the top of their game sooner and more effectively than their peers from other institutions.

The goal is to focus on the formation of deals. We look at the business reasons that parties come together, we look at the business reasons that deals fail to meet expectations, and we look at the business reasons that deals work. This is especially important in private equity and venture capital deals, where exit strategies have to be anticipated from the very outset of a deal.

 

369

Patent Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to patent law and policy. No technical background is required. The course begins by addressing the history of patents as well as the policy arguments for and against using patents as a mechanism for inducing innovation. Following this introduction, students learn the basics of patent drafting and prosecution, patent claims, and claim construction. The class then addresses in depth the central patentability criteria of subject matter, utility, nonobviousness, and disclosure. Other topics of importance that are covered in the class include: the relationship between patents and other forms of intellectual property protection, particularly trade secrecy and copyright; the intersection of patent and antitrust law; the role of the two major institutions responsible for administering the patent system, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; and the role of patents in the two major industries of the knowledge-based economy, information technology and biotechnology.

379

Partnership Taxation 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

The course will cover the tax implications of organizing and operating businesses as partnerships for tax purposes, investing in tax partnerships and acquisitions and dispositions of partnership interests. Partnership Tax is offered in fall semester only.

Partnership Tax is offered in fall semester only.

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).

460

Negotiation for Lawyers 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

For lawyers in every type of law practice, the ability to negotiate effectively is an essential skill.  As a lawyer, you will negotiate when you try to settle a lawsuit, close a merger, or arrange a plea bargain.  You will negotiate with counterparts, clients, and co-workers.  You will negotiate with service providers and the “system” – the court, the government, or your community.  And, you will continue to negotiate with your friends and family.  In this highly interactive seminar, we will explore the theories, skills, and ethics involved in legal negotiation.  With limited exceptions, in each class you will participate in a role-play simulation of increasing complexity, experiment with new techniques, and then reflect on what negotiation strategies worked best for you.  Over the course of the semester, in addition to in-person exercises, you will have opportunities to negotiate by email, telephone, and videoconference, and to evaluate the pros and cons of each so you understand how to select the most appropriate medium given the particular parties and circumstances.  Through this process, you will not only gain insight into your own negotiation style, you will develop the toolkit you need to approach each new negotiation with confidence. 

Because of the nature of the course, the amount of information delivered during the first class period, the importance of participating in the first role-play simulation during the first class period, and the typical waitlists for enrollment in the course, attendance at the first class is absolutely required.  A student who fails to attend the first class without prior consent of the instructor will forfeit his or her place in the class.  (Working for an additional week in the summer and call-back interviews are not acceptable excuses for missing the first class.)  Students who are on the waitlist for the course are encouraged to attend the first class, and those who do will be given preference to fill open slots in the class.  There is a shortened drop period for this course so that students who are waitlisted can enroll before the second class occurs.  Thus, students may drop this course without permission only before the second class. 

Because of the similarities between this course and the negotiation course taught at the Fuqua School of Business, a law student may not receive law school credit for both courses.

 

476

Ethical Technology Practicum 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

Technological developments have greatly outpaced the legal, ethical, and policy developments in many areas of emerging technology.  As a result, these developments raise important questions on the legal and policy frameworks and practices most appropriate to build an ecosystem of trust that will help ensure citizens and other stakeholders that these innovations will benefit them and are being developed and deployed in an ethical, safe, reliable and responsible manner.  Policymakers and other stakeholders around the globe are grappling with these questions.  As the policy discussions unfold, organizations also are developing their own practices for operationalizing trustworthy or ethical technology.  To do this, organizations often assemble cross-functional teams and develop policies and practices to guide their organization, drawing on myriad sources such as existing and proposed laws, “soft law,” and other resources.  When it comes to the development of individual or novel technologies or platforms, those teams often include ethical guidance to inform “ethics by design” that can help direct developers, and the development of products themselves. The goals of this Practicum are to provide (a)the foundational legal, ethical, and policy frameworks, drawing upon the growing body of existing and proposed laws, ethics by design approaches, and other literature and resources, and (b) practical experience working in a cross-functional team to help an organization design a plan to help manage ethical development of an emerging technology or technological platform in their portfolio. Students will be evaluated on various steps in developing their plans, working with their client, their completed plan, and presentation of their work. 

519

Contract Drafting 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation
  • Other

Contract Drafting is an upper-level simulation course that teaches basic practical skills by having students work “in role” as lawyers undertaking various drafting tasks in a series of exercises. While the skills taught will be basic, they will also be translatable to more sophisticated contracts. The course will feature lectures, class discussions, and in-class business issue-spotting and drafting exercises, with an emphasis on the exercises. There will be pre-class reading assignments from the text, sometimes supplemented with other outside reading, including various sample contracts. Some exercises will be group projects, and regular peer feedback, along with feedback from the instructor, will be a feature. Grading will be on the basis of written drafting assignments, at least one graded peer-feedback assignment, and class participation.

Students who take Law 519 Contract Drafting may not take Law 522 Contract Drafting: The Next Generation.

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