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

541

Nonprofit Organizations 3
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam, option
  • Research paper, 40 pages

The subject of the course is the diverse sector of the economy composed of nonprofit organizations, and, in particular, the organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Topics to be covered include their function and role in society; issues related to their formation, governance and regulation; the tax laws and regulations specific to exempt organizations; and policy issues regarding the sector.

581

Blockchain, Fintech Law and Policy. 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM required
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation
Updated: November 12, 2021

The Internet, the increased power of computing and new technology are driving the decentralization of all aspects of the global economy, including financial services. Today, we can surf the Internet, download apps, listen to music, shop, send money to friends and family, manage our financial accounts, and buy bitcoin – all from our smartphones.

For decades, banks had been one-stop shops for financial services. Financial technology firms (fintechs), leveraging the sharing of personal customer bank account data, have quickly emerged to unbundle aspects of financial services and rebundle them on platforms. The pace of platformization has picked up since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, yet financial laws and regulations have not kept pace. Data protection laws were passed in the 1970s long before the advent of fintech services and products, and customer liability protections do not fully extend to nonbank-provided mobile payment transactions.

Meanwhile, money is making a leap in evolution. From commodity-based currencies to fiat-based currencies that support commercial bank money and mobile payments, we now see an emergence in cryptocurrencies beginning with Bitcoin launched in 2009. Questions about whether central banks should issue their own form of digital currency became more pressing when Facebook announced its plans in 2020 to issue a digital currency: Libra. Now central banks around the world are exploring issuing central bank digital currencies or CBDCs. These developments raise important questions of how best to design CBDCs and what kinds of personal data can be collected on users transacting in CBDCs.

New technologies such as blockchain are driving further innovation in financial services. After the advent of native cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum with high price volatility, stablecoins were developed with the goal of being more “stable”. However, it is uncertain under US laws or regulations if these digital assets are commodities, securities, or currency. These blockchain technologies are driving decentralization of financial services, and perhaps the largest legal and policy question of all is how should decentralized finance, or DeFi, fits in our current framework of laws and regulations.

This course aims to provide you with an understanding of legal and policy issues raised by tech-driven financial innovation. You will learn about the critical legal, regulatory, and policy issues associated with cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, online lending, new payments technologies, and financial account aggregators. In addition, you will learn how regulatory agencies in the U.S. are continually adjusting to the emergence of new financial technologies.

This course will be delivered online.  Students will be assessed on class participation and a 25-30 page research paper. This paper may not be used to satisfy the JD SRWP requirement without permission.  The paper will satisfy the LLM writing requirement.

586

Current Debates in Bankruptcy Law 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Is bankruptcy broken?  For some years, many academics and practitioners have argued that the nation's business and consumer bankruptcy systems are outdated or otherwise not fit for their intended purpose.  The course will examine selected topics in bankruptcy law relating to this theme (but focusing most heavily on chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code).  Key reading materials will include recent major reports proposing reforms to bankruptcy law, as well as excerpts from the scholarship and leading judicial decisions.  We will consider questions including: what is bankruptcy for? Is it simply a procedural remedy for enforcing substantive rights that exist independent of the bankruptcy case, or an opportunity more fairly to redistribute assets (or losses)? Is bankruptcy special?  Should be Bankruptcy Code be read like any other statute, or do we need special principles for bankruptcy law, and broad equitable powers for bankruptcy courts, to encourage businesses and consumers to reorganize?  We will use case studies like the Purdue Pharma opioid-crisis bankruptcy to assess this.  In the final, consumer bankruptcy component of the course, we will grapple with the reality that most consumer reorganizations are unsuccessful and consider whether the current system strikes the appropriate balance between debtors’ rights and creditors’ protection. 

We will begin each topic by covering the relevant features of bankruptcy law, and you do not need to have taken a bankruptcy class to take this seminar. The objective of the seminar is to provide insight and into and allow for debate of bankruptcy theory and policy; in the process, we will consider the extent to which abstract theories of bankruptcy hold up in the real world, and the topics we cover will include issues of pressing interest to current bankruptcy practitioners. 

Students will be required to participate in class discussions. Students may complete either a series of reflection papers examining the reading materials and topics discussed, or one longer 25-30 page paper designed to satisfy the SRWP. 

Due to substantive overlap in material, students may not concurrently enroll in Law 288: Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt and Law 586: Current Debates in Bankruptcy Law. However, if you've taken one of the courses in a previous semester and wish to take the other, that will be permitted. 

592

Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics 3
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • IntlLLM NVE Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

Robots, with us for several generations already, were long confined to narrow uses and trained users, assembling our vehicles and moving our products behind the scenes. In recent years, robotic tools have begun to step out of the back room and take center stage. Even more, these tools are fueled by constantly advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that allow them to participate in the world of the mind as much as the world of muscle. Are we ready? Probably not. In order to capture the full opportunities and benefits of AI & robotics, surely our legal systems and ethical frameworks must evolve. We must find ways to ensure that human-robot interactions occur in ways that are safe and are consistent with our cultural values. We must take care that our policies and laws provide artificial intelligence tools with the direction we need without quashing or hindering the innovations that could improve our lives.

The course will bring together three core areas: (1) law, (2) ethics, and (3) applied technology. Because frontier technologies challenge existing legal regimes and ethical frameworks, this course and its assigned project encourage law, ethics, and policy students to interact with networks of experts who are actively thinking about ethical technology development and with technology policy networks that explore the social implications of a world increasingly inclusive of AI.

Beyond time spent for class preparation and in-class time, each student in Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics will be required to complete a substantial research-based Report that demonstrates a deep, research-based understanding of a topic about which the student shall become knowledgeable such that he/she could take part meaningfully in and contribute to present-day discussions of law, policy, and ethics in the topic area. This Report may qualify for the JD SRWP degree requirement or the International LLM writing requirement upon permission of the instructor.

NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE OR TECHNOLOGY IS NEEDED FOR THIS COURSE.

745

Trade Secrecy: Doctrine, Policy, Frontier Issues 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This seminar introduces trade secrecy doctrine and examines the most important policy contexts in which trade secrecy are arising today. No background knowledge is required. However, students must be prepared to be quick studies of various areas of technology and law. Of the various U.S. intellectual property regimes, trade secrecy is perhaps the most doctrinally elusive. Historically a common law tort that also borrowed from property and contract, trade secrecy has become codified in state, federal, and international regimes. The codification of trade secrecy doctrine has coincided with increasing recognition that it is often the most important mechanism by which firms protect returns on innovation and/or business investment. Notably, trade secrecy (and secrecy more generally) is becoming increasingly important not only for private firms, but also for national and regional innovation and security strategies. This seminar begins with an introduction to the trade secret doctrinal canon (including a discussion of how trade secrecy intersects with patent, copyright, and data exclusivity protection). It then discusses empirical evidence on uses of trade secrecy. Next, it considers various policy contexts, ranging from cybercrime and data regulation to employment and public administration. The seminar concludes by examining frontier technology areas in which trade secrecy plays a prominent role. These include machine learning and biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

755

Data Governance and Data Sharing 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Data often is referred to as the “new oil” or the “new gold,” given its potential to help unlock many economic and social benefits ranging from making industries more innovative and efficient to aiding in drug discovery, combatting climate change, and identifying and addressing social disparities.  The exponential growth of data has enhanced the need to develop robust data governance and data sharing practices, which can implicate a broad range of legal and policy issues, including privacy, cybersecurity, intellectual property, antitrust, corporate, and emerging AI policies.  Since many U.S. organizations collect and process data in multiple countries, data governance and sharing systems often need to factor in the laws of multiple jurisdictions.The goal of the seminar is to give students a foundation in the key legal and policy issues shaping data governance and data sharing practices, and insight on how organizations are operationalizing data governance and data sharing in the quickly evolving legal environment.  The course addresses relevant US laws and policies as well as select international laws and policies in order to help prepare students to address data governance and sharing practices that extend across certain jurisdictions.  To accomplish these learning objectives, the seminar begins with an overview of data governance and a series of classes focusing on legal and policy issues implicated by data governance.  Next, the seminar includes a series of classes focused on data sharing, including emerging laws and policies promoting data sharing and contractual strategies and challenges for implementing data sharing.  Finally, the course will explore how policymakers are turning to certain technology solutions to help address competing legal and policy concerns such as protecting privacy, on the one hand, and promoting data sharing and transparency, on the other.

769

Design Law 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages

The law regulates the design of almost all of the artefacts that we experience. It establishes intellectual property rights that incentivize the creation of new design and that restrict the ability of other designs from being made. And a host of other legal fields regulate the shape, efficiency, safety, and accessibility of virtually everything around us. Sometimes these different laws work together; while at other times they work at cross purposes. This seminar will explore the various ways in which law regulates design. We will begin with examinations of the intellectual property doctrines that do so, including design and utility patents, copyright, and trade dress. Then we will consider other areas of the law that influence design, including, possibly, tort law, disability law, environmental law, administrative law, and tax law. We will read traditional legal doctrinal materials, including cases, statues, and regulations. And we will also read contemporary scholarship in law, design, and business. Ideally, the course will also include presentations by designers and attorneys in order to give students a richer understanding of the field.

Methods of evaluation:  class participation, and either 30-page SRWP or six 4-5-page papers >

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