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

202

Art Law 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam, option
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

This course will cover a number of intersections between the law and the people and institutions who constitute the world of the visual arts, including artists, museums, collectors, dealers, and auctioneers. The course will also cover non-legal material geared to shaping practices of art market participants, such as codes and guidelines adopted by art-museum associations, as well as some relevant literature from other academic disciplines. Specific topics will include: (1) contexts in which a legal institution must determine whether a particular object is a work of "art" or art of a particular type; (2) artists' rights, including statutory and non-statutory moral rights and resale rights; (3) problems of authenticity; (4) the legal rights and duties of auctioneers, art dealers, and other intermediaries; (5) the legal structure of art museums, including issues of internal management and governance; (6) stolen art, including objects looted during World War II; and (7) developments in law and industry practice relevant to "cultural heritage," the association of particular objects with particular places or societies.

Students will be required to participate in class discussions, and will have the option of writing a 25-30-page research paper OR taking a take-home exam. Paper topics must be approved by the instructor, who will be glad to make suggestions (some of which will involve local field research).

There are no prerequisites for the course. Although some background in intellectual property (copyright and trademark law) would be helpful, none is required. A set of readings will be distributed prior to the first meeting of the class. Before then, a complete updated syllabus will be posted.

227

Use of Force in International Law: Cyber, Drones, Hostage Rescues, Piracy, and more 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This fall-only seminar is designed to introduce students with limited or no familiarity with international law to principles involved in jus ad bellum, that is, when states can resort to the use of force during periods of putative peace. It will explore, for example, what circumstances constitute an “act of war” in variety of situations.

The course will analyze when and how force may be used in self-defense and will survey topics such as humanitarian intervention, hostage rescue, air defense identification zones, freedom of navigation operations, use of force in the cyber domain, and the legal aspects of international counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations (including drone strikes). Efforts to limit the use of force in outer space as well as the implications of nuclear weapons and the emergence of autonomous weaponry will be explored.

Case studies and current news events, including some related to the conflict in Ukraine, will be examined in conjunction with the covered issues. In addition, students will get an overview of the practical issues associated with the use of force, to include the weaponry, planning, and military techniques involved.

This course obviously addresses the use of force in international law. Accordingly, class instruction will inevitably include written, oral, and visual depictions of physical force and violence—and occasionally extreme representations of the same.

You are not require to purchase any books for this course, because they are available for free online from the Duke Law Library. A key book for this course is entitled The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach (2018). You will not be required to read this entire book (it’s 960 pages!). Additionally, we will use parts of Regulating the Use of Force in International Law (2021; Necessity and Proportionality and the Right of Self-Defence in International Law (2021) and The Future Law of Armed Conflict (2022) (available online July 2022).

There is no examination, but a 20-page paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project (SRWP) or other writing requirements provided it is at least 30 pages in length and otherwise complies with SRWP requirements. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation, and may require the preparation of short presentations, and response papers.

288

Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course uses consumer bankruptcy as a lens to study the role of consumer credit in the U.S. economy and society. The class will focus on the key aspects of the consumer bankruptcy system, including who files bankruptcy, what causes bankruptcy, the consequences of bankruptcy, and the operation of the bankruptcy system. We will discuss each of these issues in the larger context of consumer debt and consumer law, and will also cover the foreclosure crisis, student loans, and issues related to debt, race, and gender. The readings will come from law and non-law sources, including the work of a variety of social scientists.

Due to substantive overlap in material for the coming semester, 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.

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, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

This survey course studies the legal and policy issues governing water 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 the law applied to groundwater use as well as laws and regulations governing the institutions who allocate water resources. We will also discuss the Safe Drinking Water Act and how environmental justice relates to water resource management.

368

Natural Resources Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • 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.

525

Artificial Intelligence Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 22
  • Research paper, 30 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

Artificial intelligence is on a tremendous growth trajectory and is being developed, adopted and used for many purposes throughout society.  From a legal and policy perspective, AI presents many interesting and complex issues because the technological developments have greatly outpaced the legal, ethical, and policy developments.  One of the important questions centers on what legal and policy frameworks and practices are appropriate to build an ecosystem of trust that will help ensure citizens and other stakeholders that artificial intelligence will benefit them and is being developed and deployed in an ethical, safe, reliable and responsible manner (the “Legal and Policy Framework Question”).  Policymakers and other stakeholders around the globe are grappling with this Legal and Policy Framework Question.  As the discussions unfold, organizations also are designing their own practices for operationalizing trustworthy or ethical artificial intelligence.

The goal of the seminar is to give students a foundation in the emerging AI laws and policies and insight on the broader process of how laws and policies need to adapt for significant technological changes.  This seminar will explore in detail several approaches currently being considered to answer the Legal and Policy Framework Question, including regulatory approaches, standards, soft law, and self-regulation. As the students study various approaches, they will be asked to consider several sub-questions, such as (a) how the AI legal and policy framework should be calibrated to address risk, (b) the extent to which the framework should be sector specific or apply across industries, (c) which frameworks enable society to capitalize on AI’s benefits and mitigate potential risks, and (d) what is the optimal level of cross-border harmonization and how best to achieve it.   The course also will explore certain other legal issues arising in connection with AI, such antitrust and competition law and intellectual property and proprietary rights matters.

537

Human Rights Advocacy 2
  • 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
  • Class participation

This course critically assesses the field of human rights advocacy, its institutions, strategies, and key actors. It explores how domestic, regional, and global human rights agendas are set using international law frameworks; the ethical and accountability dilemmas that arise in human rights advocacy; and human rights advocacy concerning a range of actors, including governments, international institutions, and private actors. It addresses the role of human rights in social movements, including in addressing systemic racism, as well as the development of transnational human rights networks. It also considers issues such as how to resolve purported hierarchies and conflicts between internationally-guaranteed rights, efforts to decolonize the practice of human rights, and the ways in which populist and other forces also invoke human rights to further particular agendas. Drawing on case studies within the United States and abroad, it will examine core human rights advocacy tactics, such as fact-finding, litigation, standard-setting, indicators, and reporting, and consider the role of new technologies in human rights advocacy. In examining the global normative framework for human rights, this course focuses on how local, regional, and international struggles draw on, and adapt, the norms and tactics of human rights to achieve their objectives. Evaluation will be based on class participation and a final paper.

This class is a pre-requisite or corequisite for Law 437 International Human Rights Clinic.

538

Transitional Justice 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) writing, option
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages

This 2-credit seminar will provide an introduction to the field of “transitional justice,” which refers to a broad range of processes and mechanisms that have been developed to respond to major violations of human rights that often occur during armed conflicts, under the rule of authoritarian regimes, or in divided societies where a dominant ethnic, racial, or religious group has systematically persecuted members of a minority or other marginalized group. Transitional justice seeks to achieve one or more of the following objectives depending on the context: providing redress for victims and accountability for perpetrators through judicial or non-judicial mechanisms (while recognizing that these are not binary categories and the same person can be both a victim and a perpetrator), repairing damaged relationships between offenders and victims (also known as “restorative justice”), promoting peaceful coexistence between previously adversarial groups, truth-telling and memorialization of the historical record of human rights violations, and legal or political reforms that address the root causes of the conflict in order to prevent its recurrence in the future. The seminar will also explore the importance of different types of data or evidence both for documenting international crimes and other forms of injustice and harm that transitional justice processes seek to address, and for empirically evaluating the effectiveness of peacebuilding programs that have been implemented in Iraq, Chile, and other contexts.

The seminar will also engage with important critiques and limitations of the field of transitional justice, which has historically been dominated by scholars and institutions from the Global North, and by Eurocentric concepts of justice that are not necessarily universal. Contemporary transitional justice efforts have focused disproportionately on what are often described as “tribal,” “ethnic,” and “sectarian” conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, but have paid considerably less attention to the enduring legacies of colonial and white supremacist violence in North America. Transitional justice also tends to prioritize accountability for some forms of violence, conflict, and crime over others. For example, compensation is often provided for victims of lethal violence (e.g., “condolence” payments made by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan to family members of civilians killed in airstrikes) but not for other forms of non-lethal harm such as sexual violence. Students will come away from the seminar with a strong understanding of the primary tools and mechanisms for transitional justice (e.g., trials, truth and reconciliation commissions, compensation), key historical case studies including Iraq, Rwanda, and the United States, and important debates and critiques that have shaped the field.

Students can choose one of three options to fulfill the course requirements: 

  • A research paper of approximately 20-25 pages* 
  • 5 short response papers on weekly readings (approximately 1,500 words each)
  • POLSCI or LAW: 1 research design proposal for an original research project using any empirical methods (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, archival) including draft Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol (required for research with human subjects such as interviews, surveys, or participant observation)

*LAW students will have an option to satisfy the JD Upper Level Writing Requirement through extension of the paper to 30 pages. 

551

Civil Rights Enforcement Colloquium 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 30 pages
  • Class participation

This two-credit colloquium is designed to engage students on questions concerning the enforcement of civil rights (broadly defined) in America. Whereas most law school classes focus on the substance of such rights, this class will examine how civil rights are conceived and enforced – by individual rights-holders, by movement lawyers, or by governments. The colloquium will feature workshop-style presentations of works by scholars working in diverse fields, including civil rights, legal history, federal courts, and state and local government; as well as presentations by advocates involved in the work of civil rights enforcement. Students will be expected to engage with the speaker and with each other in discussion. Faculty interested in these topics also will be invited to attend and participate in the discussions.

Students have two options for completing the requirements of the course:  1) short (5-10 page) papers in response to at least six of the works presented, due in advance of the presentation; or 2) a longer research paper (roughly 30 pages) dealing with a topic of their choice related to the themes of the class.  Students who take the latter option could use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Contributions to class discussions will also be a component of the course grade.

552

Law and Governance in China 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) writing
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Class participation

China’s development without a western-style rule of law raises numerous questions. Does law matter in China? If yes, how does it work? What roles has law played in China’s economic, social and political development? This seminar covers both law on the books and law in action, emphasizes change and development in understanding law and governance, and takes China as a comparative case study to deepen our understanding of the fundamental nature of legal institutions. This seminar also features guest speakers from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and other institutions. 

Evaluation: class participation: 30%, students should read assigned readings in advance and be prepared to be on call every week; paper(s): 70%. Students can choose to write five response papers (four pages each) or a research paper (20 pages minimum). Students should submit their research paper proposal by Sept. 23, which explains their research question, methods and plan. Finalized paper is due on December 16. The instructor keeps the discretion of approving or not approving a research paper proposal. Research papers are also qualified to satisfy JD students’ writing requirements (30 pages minimum), if they so choose. 

555

Law and Financial Anxiety 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course identifies and explores aspects of the American legal system that have effects – both negative and positive – on the ability of people and society to prevent the onset of financial anxiety and economic insecurity.   Set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic but with analogues in laws that were enacted and implemented in other contexts,  the class will explore the meaning of financial anxiety and economic insecurity and discuss why they matter.  The class will then explore various laws. and their implementation by federal and state agencies, as relevant to financial anxiety and economic insecurity.   Subjects that bear upon financial anxiety that will be explored through the prism of law include housing finance, student loan finance, personal information security and climate security. The legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the CARES Act, will be analyzed in relation to how laws regarding financial anxiety and economic insecurity have been crafted by Congress in the last decade as a response to crises such as the financial and foreclosure crisis of 2008,   With these comparative laws and financial contexts, the class will engage in discussions about the extent to which the American legal system is equipped to handle the challenges of dealing with financial anxiety in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will discuss financial anxiety in the larger context of consumer debt, agency and regulatory action, and legislative responsiveness as well as differential impacts related to debt, race and gender. The readings will come from law and non-law sources. The class will discuss issues relevant to the legal system and the study of business law and finance generally, including the use of data to illuminate legal problems, the role of lawyers and business actors, and the nature of modern policymaking.

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.

558

Foreign Anti-Bribery Law 2
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • LLMWriting option with additional credit
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

Corruption is one of the major factors inhibiting economic development and undermining governmental legitimacy.  Developed governments generally enforce rules prohibiting domestic corruption, but have historically been less concerned with (and even encouraging of) foreign government corruption.  The United States passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977, which prohibits covered entities from bribing foreign officials, represents a major shift in this policy.  In the last fifteen years, most other major economies and economic institutions (the IMF, the World Bank) have followed suit, although enforcement has been inconsistent.  This seminar will examine the origins and evolution of this effort to regulate firms' relationships with foreign government officials.  The seminar explores the history, economics, and policy behind anti-corruption efforts and the major challenges ahead.  The seminar will engage academic articles that address the economic effects of corruption, the politics of anti-corruption enforcement, the variation in current anti-bribery agreements (the UN Convention Against Corruption and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention), and influence of these rules on foreign investment and trade.  The seminar is designed to be very participatory, with students leading discussion. 

Students will be evaluated on a series of critique papers, leading a class discussion, and class participation. If students wish to write a paper on a topic related to the course materials, they may request the opportunity to complete an additional  two credit independent study.  A final paper cannot replace the critique papers.

NOTE: An additional 2 credits are available for students who wish to write a longer paper in order to satisfy the JD or JD/LLM Upper-Level Writing Requirement. Students wishing to take this option should enroll in Law 558W Foreign Anti-Bribery Writing Credit. These credits will count towards the Independent Study Research Credit Limit (Rule 3-12) *LAW 558W MUST be added no later than 7thweek of class.*

558W

Foreign Anti-Bribery Law, Independent Study 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Add on credit

While enrolled in Law 558 Foreign Anti-Bribery Law, students have the option to take 2 additional credits in order to satisfy the JD or JD/LLM Writing Requirement. These credits will count towards the Independent Study Research Credit Limit (Rule 3-12). This section will meet in-person on schedule to be determined. The instructor will meet online with any student who prefers that. Students will be placed in groups of 2 or 3 students for a writing group. The instructor will meet with each writing group separately. *LAW 558W MUST be added no later than 4th week of class.*

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.

566

International Environmental Law 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • Fall 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • Class participation

This class explores international environmental law, one of the fastest growing fields of international cooperation. In 1972, there were only a smattering of international environmental treaties. Today, hundreds of agreements have been negotiated, covering such diverse topics as acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer, climate change, protection of biological diversity, desertification, and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and chemicals.

This course will provide a general introduction to the basic concepts and mechanisms of international environmental law. The overarching question we will examine is: What role can law play in addressing international environmental problems? More specifically, we will ask:

  • Why do states cooperate in developing international environmental norms? What factors promote or hinder cooperation?
  • What legal mechanisms or approaches facilitate the development of international environmental standards?
  • What role do science and expertise play in international environmental cooperation?
  • What types of international environmental standards are most effective? How do we evaluate effectiveness?
  • What incentives do states have to comply with international environmental standards? What disincentives?

The course will be structured in roughly two parts.  In the first part of the course, we will discuss the background, history, and political economy of international environmental law, as well as some of the main principles of international environmental law.  In the second part of the course, we will examine in detail a number of environmental treaties—from areas such as ozone protection, climate change, marine pollution, fisheries protection, and biodiversity—in an effort to understand how international environmental law works, and doesn’t.  Students will be expected to participate in class discussions and write a 20+ page research paper on a topic of their choice. 

576

Agency Law in a Changing Economy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

Agency law encompasses the legal consequences of consensual relationships in which one person (the “principal”) manifests assent that another person (the “agent”) shall, subject to the principal’s right of control, have power to affect the principal’s legal relations through the agent’s acts and on the principal’s behalf. As the principal’s representative, an agent owes fiduciary duties to the principal. Agency doctrine applies to a wide range of relationships in which one person has legally-consequential power to represent another, populating the category, “agent,” with a variety of exemplars: lawyers, brokers in securities and other markets, officers of corporations and other legal entities, talent and literary agents, auction houses, and more. Usually, agency relationships contemplate three distinct persons: agent, principal, and third parties with whom the agent interacts, with legal consequences for all three. Agency law also governs the relationship between a principal and its agents, including its employees. The pervasiveness of agency means that its implications remain relevant despite changes in business structures and economies more generally.  This seminar covers the legal doctrines that make agency a distinct subject with in the law, in particular those differentiating agency from general contract and tort law. It also covers a number of contemporary examples in which agency doctrine may—or may not—apply with significant consequences. These may include the status of Uber drivers and other actors who perform services via platforms; the duties of commodities brokers, including merchants in financial derivatives products; the consequences of imputing an agent’s knowledge to the principal; agency as a vehicle for the imposition of vicarious liability; and the consequences for the agent and third party when a principal is undisclosed, unidentified, or undetermined. 
The seminar will meet weekly with assigned readings. Each student will write a research paper on a topic to be chosen with the instructor’s consent and will make brief presentations to the seminar as work on the paper proceeds

581

FinTech Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • 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. 

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.

590

Risk Regulation in the US, Europe and Beyond 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Faced with myriad health, safety, environmental, security and financial risks, how should societies respond?  This course studies the regulation of a wide array of risks, such as disease, food, drugs, medical care, biotechnology, chemicals, automobiles, air travel, drinking water, air pollution, energy, climate change, finance, violence, terrorism, emerging technologies, and extreme catastrophic risks. (Students may propose to research other risks as well.)

Across these diverse contexts, the course focuses on how regulatory institutions deal with the challenges of risk assessment (technical expertise), risk perceptions (public concerns and values), priority-setting (which risks should be regulated most), risk management (including the debates over "precaution" versus benefit-cost analysis, and risk-risk tradeoffs such as countervailing harms and co-benefits), and ongoing evaluation and updating.  It examines the rules and institutions for risk regulation, including the roles of legislative, executive/administrative, and judicial functions; the challenge of fragmentation and integration; the roles of oversight bodies (such as judicial review by courts, and executive review by US OMB/OIRA and the EU RSB); and the potential for international regulatory cooperation.

The course examines these issues through a comparative approach to risk regulation in the United States, Europe, and beyond (especially those countries of interest to the students in the course each year).  It examines the divergence, convergence, and exchange of ideas across regulatory systems; the causes of these patterns; the consequences of regulatory choices; and how regulatory systems can learn to do better.

This is a research seminar, in which students discuss and debate in class, while developing their own research.  We may also have some guest speakers.  Students' responsibilities in this course include active participation in class discussions, and writing a substantial research paper.  Students’ papers may take several approaches, such as analyzing a specific risk regulation; comparing regulation across countries; analyzing proposals to improve the regulatory system; or other related topics.

This course is Law 590, cross-listed as Environ 733.01 and PubPol 891.01.  Graduate and professional students from outside the Law School should enroll via those Environ and PubPol course numbers, and may contact the Nicholas School registrar, Erika Lovelace, e.love@duke.edu, or the Sanford School registrar, Anita Lyon, anita.lyon@duke.edu, with any questions about enrollment.  (The Law School does not use “permission numbers.”)

593

Sexuality and the Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Midterm
  • Class participation

Issues in the legal regulation of sexuality and gender identity are among the most contested in US law today. Issues which either have been litigated in US courts in recent years or are currently being litigated include the ability of same-sex couples to marry, people’s access to contraception or abortion, as well as the ability of LGBTQ persons to access health care, public accommodations, employment, and education without discrimination. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the investigation of the legal regulation of human sexuality and gender identity. It examines the historical and jurisprudential foundations of these legal constructs with insights developed through feminist and queer theory. These disciplines will be deployed to better understand the scope of the rights to sexual and gender equality, liberty, and autonomy available to people not only in theory, but in fact, and not only at the national level, but at the state and local levels.

640

Independent Study 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
    • Research paper, 25+ pages

    Per Rule 3-12, the Law School permits students to pursue independent study, approved and supervised by a member of the faculty. For more information, please visit https://law.duke.edu/academics/independentstudies/. With permission only.

     

    707

    Statutory Interpretation Colloquium 2
    • JD SRWP
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
      • Reflective Writing
      • Research paper, 25+ pages

      The objective of the course is to introduce students to important issues concerning the theory and doctrine of statutory interpretation through exposure to cutting-edge legal scholarship. The colloquium will feature bi-weekly presentations of works-in-progress by leading scholars of statutory interpretation, legislation, and administrative law. In the week preceding each presentation, students will read and discuss foundational materials (a mix of academic commentary and case law) on topics related to the work-in-progress.

      Students may opt to prepare six short (5-10 page) papers in response to each work-in-progress, which would be due in advance of the presentation and used to stimulate discussion. Alternatively, students may write one longer research paper (roughly 30 pages) dealing with a topic of their choice related to the themes of the class. Students who take the latter option may use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

      741

      Climate Change and Financial Markets 2
      • JD SRWP, option
      • JD elective
      • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
      • IntlLLM writing, option
      • IntlLLM Environ Cert
      • IntlLLM Business Cert
      • Spring 22
      • Spring 23
      • Research paper, 25+ pages
      • Oral presentation
      • Class participation

      This course will focus on one of the most important elements in combatting, adapting to and mitigating the impact of climate change, namely the role of finance.  We will review the status of climate change science to gain an understanding of the challenge facing all of us.  Recognition and commitments by governments, including most particularly the United States, China, and Europe, will then be reviewed, before we consider the multiple linkages between finance and climate change, including the adverse impact of cryptocurrency.

      Against this introduction the course will then delve into the various dimensions of financial markets and the players involved.  This is important to understand the broad ranging impact and opportunities for addressing climate change.  Once the markets and market participants are understood, the course will review the diverse roles of government agents and regulators, each of whom can have a far-reaching impact in shaping the markets and market behavior.  We will also assess the recognition of the challenge by financial market participants and their actual and potential responses to it.

      A particularly thorny area is that of market analytics.  Many market operators claim to be “green,” but at this point the methods for determining the veracity of the claims remain very underdeveloped and often contradictory.  We will consider what has still to be done before we can really evaluate the “green” performance of firms and funds.  We will also face the real challenges that such firms face when trying to adapt.

      The course will conclude with an assessment of the overall state of financial markets as one of the most important arenas in the struggle to meet the great challenges posed by climate change.

      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