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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

120

Constitutional Law 4.5
  • JD 1L
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

An examination of the distribution of and limitations upon governmental authority under the Constitution of the United States. Included are study of the doctrine of judicial review of legislative and executive action, the powers of Congress and the President, the limitations on state governmental powers resulting from the existence or exercise of congressional power, and judicial protection against the exercise of governmental power in violation of rights, liberties, privileges, or immunities conferred by the Constitution.

250

Family Law 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A study of how law regulates intimate adult relationships and relationships between parents and children. We will discuss constitutional and statutory rights and restrictions on marriage, adult relationships, adoption, parentage, child custody, dissolution of adult relationships, and financial support for children. We will explore the evolution of family law in relation to racial and gender equality and consider issues of socioeconomic inequality and access to justice.  Grading is based on a final examination and class participation. 

343

Federal Courts I: Constitution & Judicial Power 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Final Exam

Federal Courts is sometimes thought of as the love child of Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure. It takes the Con Law I themes of federalism, separation of powers, and protection of individual rights and develops them in the context of jurisdiction, procedure, and remedies. Most experienced litigators--including criminal and regulatory litigators--consider the course essential.

Federal Courts 1 is the first of a two course sequence designed to provide exhaustive coverage of the material at a very civilized pace. Both parts one and two are three-credit courses ordinarily taken in the Fall and Spring of the same year. They have separate exams that are graded independently. There is no requirement that one take both installments, but it is strongly recommended.

Federal Courts 1 (The Constitution and Judicial Power) focuses on the nature of the Article III judicial power and its place in the constitutional scheme. We begin with the justiciability doctrines (standing, ripeness, mootness, and finality), then move on to Congress's control over federal court jurisdiction and adjudication in non-Article III courts (e.g., bankruptcy courts and administrative agencies). This installment also addresses the relationship between federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court's power to review state court decisions, the Erie doctrine's restriction on the common lawmaking powers of federal courts, and the implication of private rights of action under federal statutes.

544

The Collective Action Constitution 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) writing
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

Collective action problems arise where every member of a group has a choice between alternatives, and if each member acts in a narrowly self-interested fashion or all members are unable to coordinate their actions, the outcome will be worse for all members by their own estimations than it will be if all or some of them choose another alternative.  Collective action problems are caused either by externalities (e.g., a prisoners’ dilemma), or by coordination difficulties (e.g., deciding which side of the road to drive on).  This seminar will examine the extent to which the United States Constitution can be understood as solving collective action problems that arise for the states and as empowering the states themselves and the federal government to solve such problems.  Topics will include:

  1. the number and importance of multi-state collective action problems both today and at the time of the creation of the Constitution;
  2. collective action theory in the social sciences;
  3. the promise and perils of relying on interstate compacts and other agreements to solve multi-state collective action problems;
  4. the necessity of federal power to solve such problems and a general examination of how Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution authorizes Congress to do so;
  5. the Interstate Commerce Clause and related structural principles (i.e., the anti-commandeering doctrine and the dormant commerce doctrine);
  6. the Taxing and Spending Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause;
  7. the many other parts of the Constitution that can be explained to a significant extent by the logic of collective action (e.g., the Foreign and Indian Commerce Clauses; Article I, Section 10; the Treaty Clause of Article II; certain heads of federal jurisdiction in Article III, especially diversity and suits between states; the Privileges and Immunities Clause and the Territories Clause, both of Article IV; Article V’s requirements for constitutional amendments; and Article VII’s requirements for ratification of the Constitution);
  8. the inability of the collective action theory of the Constitution to explain certain parts of the Constitution, especially the Reconstruction Amendments, which follow a different structural logic;
  9. various challenges to the theory (e.g., that partisan polarization and congressional dysfunction undermine federal power to solve collective action problems; that the theory threatens to collapse the text of the Constitution into its underlying purposes; that the theory limits federal power too much (according to legal liberals) or not enough (according to legal conservatives); and that claims about whether collective action is rational or likely to occur are historically contingent and normatively contestable; and
  10. why the theory should matter to judges, elected officials, academics in several disciplines, and engaged citizens.

Readings will draw from The Federalist Papers and other Founding materials (e.g., the Articles of Confederation, Madison’s Vices memorandum, various letters of the Founders, the Virginia Plan, and the Constitution); book chapters (by, e.g., Akhil Amar, Jack Balkin, Daniel Farber, Jack Rakove, and Neil Siegel); law review articles (by, e.g., Robert Stern, Donald Regan, Steven Calabresi, Robert Bork, Robert Cooter, Neil Siegel, and Ernest Young); U.S. Supreme Court opinions from the Marshall Court to the present; and select draft chapters of my book manuscript.

Students will be required to write a 30-page research paper on a topic related to the substance of the seminar, which may be used to fulfill the JD SRWP degree requirements, the LLM writing requirement, or the special writing requirement for JD/LLMs. 

Grades will be based on the quality of students’ course participation (40%) and the quality of their research papers (60%).

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556

Second Amendment: History, Theory, and Practice 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22

Recent Supreme Court decisions have ushered in a new era of Second Amendment theory, litigation, and politics. Current events keep issues of firearms, gun violence, gun safety, and self-defense constantly in the news. This seminar will explore the Second Amendment and other aspects of federal and state firearms law. Students will be introduced to the historical and public policy materials surrounding the Second Amendment, the regulatory environment concerning firearms, and the political and legal issues pertaining to firearm rights-enforcement and policy design. Evaluation for the seminar will be based on in-class participation and a choice between six short reaction papers or one thirty-page paper.

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.

582

National Security Law 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This fall-only survey course is designed to provide students, particularly those with no background in the topic, with an overview of the American legal architecture related to the U.S. security enterprise. The class will also examine related issues that arise "in the news." It is aimed not only at students considering a career in government or the military, but also for those headed to private practice who appreciate that the U.S.’s $778 billion defense budget, ($2 trillion in defense outlays worldwide), impact virtually all potential clients.

The course includes analyzing the constitutional structure governing national security matters, and the role played by the three branches of government (with special emphasis on Presidential power). It will also examine governmental surveillance, the investigation and prosecution of national security cases, as well as First Amendment issues related to national security. In addition, homeland security issues (to include the domestic use of the armed forces), security-based travel restrictions, public health emergencies, civil-military relations, and the impact of national security issues on business transactions will be reviewed. The textbook for this course will be Dycus, et al., National Security Law (7th ed., 2020) ISBN9781543806793 as well as the National Security Law and Counterterrorism Law 2022-2023 Supplement. Other materials may be provided as necessary. The instructors will offer practical, real-world perspectives on the issues discussed based on their extensive careers in government.

There is one assigned time block for the course, but the structure of classes may vary, and students may be divided into sections, discussion groups, and panels.

The course is expected to include guest speakers. There may be occasional asynchronous content, including short lectures, podcasts, and some documentary footage. Students will have advance notice of all required participation elements.

Given this is a course in national security, class instruction will likely include written, oral, and visual depictions of physical force and violence—and occasionally extreme representations of the same.

There is no examination for this course, but a 30-page research paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructors. With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project provided all SRWP requirements are met. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation (which may include short papers and/or brief oral presentations).

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