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

200

Administrative Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

A study of the legal framework governing administrative agencies under the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, with a particular focus on agency rulemaking and adjudication; Presidential power; Congressional control of agencies through statutes and other mechanisms of oversight; and judicial review of agency actions.

235

Environmental Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
  • Class participation

This course examines the laws governing interactions between human activities and the environment.  These include the laws governing the air, water, toxic chemicals, hazardous waste, resource use, biodiversity and ecosystems, and climate change.  The course focuses on the U.S. legal system, with some comparative analysis of the law in other countries and international regimes.  The course assesses key features of these environmental laws, including the rationales for environmental protection (e.g. ethical, economic); the choice of regulatory policy instruments (e.g. standards, taxes, trading, information disclosure); and the roles of different levels of government (e.g. local, state, national, international), branches of government (e.g. legislative, executive/administrative, judicial), and non-governmental actors.  We will study how these laws handle key questions such as:  (i) How serious a problem is it?  (ii) How much protection is desirable, overall and regarding distributional impacts?  (iii) How best to achieve this protection?  (iv) Who decides and acts upon these questions?  The course helps develop critical skills including statutory and regulatory interpretation, regulatory design, policy analysis, case law analysis, and litigation strategy.   This course, Law 235, is intended for professional and graduate students, and is also cross-listed as Environ 835 in the Nicholas School of the Environment.  Law students (e.g. JD, LLM, SJD) should enroll in Law 235, while students from outside the Law School (e.g. MEM, MPP, MBA, MA, PhD) should enroll in Environ 835, and may contact the Nicholas School registrar, Erika Lovelace, e.love@duke.edu , with any questions about enrollment.  (The Law School and the professor teaching this course do not have “permission numbers.”)  For undergraduate students, the Nicholas School offers a different course, Environ 265.

298

Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course explores laws and policies that affect decisions on United States ocean and coastal resources. We examine statutes, regulations, attitudes, and cases that shape how the United States (and several states) use, manage, and protect the coasts and oceans out to – and sometimes beyond – the 200-mile limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone. We cover government and private approaches to coastal and ocean resources, including beaches, wetlands, estuaries, reefs, fisheries, endangered species, and special areas.

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.

327

Energy Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

The course will examine the legal framework governing energy production and consumption in the United States, and policy approaches for balancing energy needs with other societal goals. The course will include three main modules: (1) electricity sector regulation; (2) energy resources for electricity generation; and (3) oil and gas law. Key themes will include:

(1) The historic origins of public utility regulation;
(2) The major U.S. laws that govern energy production and use;
(3) The distinct roles of the federal and state governments; and
(4) Efforts to manage competing societal interests

Final grades will be comprised of the following:

  1. Final exam, open book/open note one day exam:
  2. Case study discussion leader: 
  3. Class participation and current events: 

The case study will be a group project where students will be assigned a case study. The group will lead the class discussion and exercise on the case study. In addition, each student in the group will prepare a 3-page policy brief that advocates for an outcome to a decision maker. The grade will be based on both the group discussion and the policy brief.

Students will also be responsible for submitting discussion questions on the readings and short reflections on current events weekly. Students must submit questions for at least 10 weeks.

368

Natural Resources Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

The law of how we use nature - timber, mining, bioversity, fisheries, water rights, and agriculture. Also an introduction to the historical and constitutional geography of American public lands: the national parks, forests, wilderness system, and grazing lands, and disputes over federal versus local control of these. There is special attention to the historical and political origins of our competing ideas of how nature matters and what we should do with it, from economically productive use to outdoor recreation to preserving the natural world for its own sake. Attention also to the complicated interplay of science and law.

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.

520

Climate Change and the Law 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 5-10 pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15 pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This 2-credit seminar will examine global climate change and the range of actual and potential responses by legal institutions – including at the international level, within the United States and other countries (such as Europe, China, and others), at the subnational level, and at the urging of the private sector.

We will compare alternative approaches that have been or could be taken by legal systems to address climate change: the choice of policy instrument (e.g., emissions taxes, allowance trading, infrastructure programs, technology R&D, information disclosure, prescriptive regulation, carbon capture & storage, reducing deforestation, geoengineering, adaptation);  the spatial scale; the targets of the policy and criteria for deciding among these policy choices.  We will examine actual legal measures that have been adopted so far to manage climate change:  international agreements such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992), its Kyoto Protocol (1997) and Paris Agreement (2015), plus related agreements like the Kigali Amendment (on HFCs) and ICAO (aviation) and IMO (shipping); as well as the policies undertaken by key national and subnational systems.  In the US, we will study national (federal) and subnational (state and local) policies, including EPA regulation under the Clean Air Act, other federal laws and policies relevant to climate change mitigation, state-level action by California, RGGI states, and North Carolina. We will also explore litigation involving tort/nuisance civil liability and the public trust doctrine to advance climate policy. 

Questions we will discuss include:  How effective and efficient are the policies being proposed and adopted? What actions are being taken at the local, national and international levels, and which reinforce or conflict with one another?  Can current institutions and legal frameworks deal with a problem as enormous, complex, long-term, uncertain, and multi-faceted as climate change?  What roles do scientific research, technological breakthroughs, and economic realities play in shaping legal responses?  How should the legal system learn from new information over time? How should we appraise the United Nations climate negotiations, and are there other models for international cooperation?  How should principles of equity, just transitions, and intergenerational justice guide efforts to address climate change? Should greenhouse gas emitters (countries, businesses, consumers) be directly liable or responsible for climate change impacts and compensate victims for their losses?  What is the best mix of mitigation and adaptation policies?  How will climate policy be influenced by geopolitical changes such as the rise of China?  How should the law address extreme catastrophic risk?  How should geoengineering be governed? What is the best path for future climate policy? 

Students must read the assigned materials in advance of class, and participate in class discussion. Each student will submit a short (5-6 page) paper, addressing the week's readings (and adding outside research), for three (3) of the 12 class sessions (not counting the first class session). A sign-up sheet will be circulated at the beginning of the course for students to select the 3 topics/class sessions for which they will submit these 3 short papers (so that these papers are spread across the semester). In addition, each student will write a longer research paper (15 pages), due at the end of the semester. Grades will be based on: 33% class participation, 33% the 3 short papers, and 33% the longer paper.

523

Law of the Sea 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation
Updated: November 12, 2021

This 1-credit course offers a brief introduction to the customary rules, cases and treaties that constitute the international law of the sea: the legal regime regulating activities of coastal, flag and port states across 70 percent of the earth’s surface.

During our short time together (we should complete this fast-track course before spring break) we will seek to cover the breadth of this wide-ranging area of international law while also diving deep into specific topics. Like the law of the sea, the course will emphasize the jurisdictional zones that have been created over centuries of practice, adjudication and codification, and which dictate and have been shaped by the balance of coastal state and flag state interests in ocean uses and resources.

Our deep dives will be guided in part by your specific interests, and could cover issues such as fisheries; deep seabed mining and oil and gas extraction; marine environmental protection; dispute settlement; baselines, limits and boundaries; submarine pipelines and cables; piracy, terrorism and military activities; or shipping, salvage and shipwrecks.

Weekly readings will come from academic journals, popular press sources, treaty texts, case decisions and textbook excerpts. In order to participate in class discussion, assigned material must be read in advance of our meetings. Students will submit short papers (2-3 pages) addressing each week’s reading for six of our seven meetings, excluding our first. Grades will be based on class participation (50%) and the six short papers (50%).

636

Food, Agriculture and the Environment: Law & Policy 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

“Food,” “agriculture,” and the “environment” are distinct American mythologies tied to our basic physical needs and imbued with significant cultural meanings. They are also deeply entwined. We all eat three or so times a day, and each of those meals arrived on our table at the very end of a dizzying journey through our national—and increasingly global—food and agriculture system. It’s a system that causes startling environmental harms; think water and air pollution, pesticides, greenhouse gases, non-human animal welfare, deforestation, soil depletion, wetlands destruction, fisheries collapse, and on and on. Yet notions of “agricultural exceptionalism” exempt agriculture from many of our nation’s environmental laws.

Undergirding the system are the people who help put food on our tables. The food and agriculture system depends on immigrants who toil in the field and on slaughterhouse lines even as it romanticizes the Jeffersonian ideal of the solitary yeoman. It co-opts the knowledge of Black, Indigenous and people of color under terms like “sustainable” and “regenerative” without reckoning with land theft, enslavement, or the patterns of discrimination and land loss that persist today.

This course will survey how law and policy created and perpetuate the interrelated social, economic and environmental iniquities of our modern food and agriculture system. More optimistically, we will study how law and policy can address systemic issues and move us toward values of equity and environmental justice, conservation, restoration, community health and economic sustainability. We will pay special attention to the federal farm bill, which is due for reauthorization in 2023.

Course format and expectations: Students will be expected to stay up on all readings, participate in weekly discussion boards, prepare several presentations and written assignments throughout the semester, and engage in the seminar each week. As a final assignment, each student will write a 10-15 page law or policy paper on a topic that they will develop in consultation with the rest of the class and the instructor. There will be an additional, optional opportunity to visit a local farm.

 

647

Research Tutorial: Marine Species at Risk in a Changing Atlantic 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM required
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Oral presentation

Professors Michelle Nowlin and Steve Roady are working with colleagues at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and the Environmental Law Institute to organize a workshop that will take place on November 3-4, 2022 at the Duke in D.C. office.  The workshop, Transboundary Marine Species at Risk in a Changing Atlantic: Taking Stock of Canadian and US Scientific and Governance Responses, Enhancing Future Cooperation, will bring together marine scientists, government experts, and legal scholars to assess the population and recovery status of species at risk of extinction due to habitat degradation, incidental impacts of commercial activities, and climate change; compare national approaches to species management and protection; assess the effectiveness of existing agreements; and  explore ways to improve bilateral and regional cooperation and address changes in migration patterns as the ocean warms.  This Research Tutorial provides students at the Law School and the School of the Environment with the opportunity to engage with experts and contribute to this workshop.  Students would conduct legal research and literature reviews and develop case studies that they would present at the workshop.  Students also would attend the full two-day workshop, serving as rapporteurs of the different sessions, and then work with the workshop’s steering committee to produce a report of the proceedings.

At the federal level, the regulatory regimes for the management and conservation of ocean life forms present different issues in the USA and Canada.  As a general rule, this country’s environmental laws provide more robust protections than those in Canada.  At the same time, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been more aggressive than its US counterpart (the National Marine Fisheries Service) in efforts to limit damage to such species as endangered whales.  The ability of these two agencies to work cooperatively in a constructive fashion is growing in importance as climate change is driving more ocean species to shift the balance of their activities from one side of the USA/Canada border to the other.  With specific species (e.g., the right whale, the blue whale, and the American eel) as the focus of case studies, students in this tutorial would engage in comparative analyses of the differing regulatory approaches in the two countries and endeavor to formulate suggestions for improvement. 

Enrollment requires instructor permission, and applicants should have both interest in this field and some background in/academic focus on marine species, international or environmental law, and government policy/governance.   Students interested in applying for the course should submit a short (250-500 word) statement of interest about why they would like to enroll in the course and highlighting coursework and/or experience. Statements should be sent to Professor Roady sroady@duke.edu, no later than 4 pm on Friday, June 17.  Students will be notified before the first registration window opens on Tuesday morning so that you can factor the seminar into your semester credit load. 

714

Coastal Resilience in the Face of Climate Change 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation

This seminar will provide students an opportunity to engage closely with emerging law and policy issues associated with the need to increase coastal resilience in the face of climate change.  The recent experiences of both North and South Carolina with Hurricane Florence have highlighted the need for coastal communities to address a wide range of issues associated with climate change.  In addition to designing approaches to increase resilience when faced with storms and rising sea levels, these issues include: (1) information-gathering (via maps, drones, and scientific research about coastal/ocean processes); (2) law and policy refinements (via statutes, regulations, and guidance); and (3) possible litigation to develop useful common law doctrines relevant to the tidelands and the public trust.  Through the use of current cases and policy issues under debate in coastal communities, students will work together to research the most salient questions presented by these issues.  They will analyze relevant facts, laws, policies, socio-economic considerations, and local ordinances, and prepare proposed solutions to these questions in the form of advisory memos and recommendations.  

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.

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