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

238

Ethics and the Law of Lawyering 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course examines in detail the "law of lawyering" relating to such issues as the formation of the attorney-client relationship, confidentiality, communications with clients, conflicts of interest, regulation and discipline of attorneys, and numerous other areas relating to the lawyer's role in American society. In addressing these issues, we will consider the extent to which the law governing lawyers derives from the concept of a learned profession, as well as the degree to which the ethics of lawyering may differ from personal ethics and morality. While particular attention will be paid to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the class will also examine other sources of relevant law, including the Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers, court decisions and rules, statutes, and administrative regulations.  Grading is based on a final examination, written work relating to casebook problems and reflections on current issues in legal ethics, and class participation.

 

239

Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • Final Exam
    • Practical exercises

    This course examines the principles of legal ethics and professionalism. Our focus will be on identifying and responding to the key issues faced by a civil litigator, and on the model rules of professional conduct, case law, and ethics opinions that a lawyer must consider in resolving such issues. Topics include the formation and termination of the attorney client relationship, conflicts of interest, and communications with the court and opposing counsel through the discovery and trial process. We will examine the balancing of the duty of advocacy with the duty to the administration of justice. We will also explore issues such as admissions, discipline, and common law firm associate dilemmas such as billing and changing law firms. During the semester, students will prepare two short (3-5 pp) memoranda. There will also be an open book in-class exam at the end of the semester.

    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.

    312

    Cybercrime 2
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • IntllLLM IP Cert
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Fall 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
    • Class participation

    The course will survey the legal issues raised by cyber-related crime. The bulk of the course will be organized around two overarching themes: (1) substantive criminal law (i.e., the scope, structure, and limitations of the criminal laws that reach cyber-related crime); and (2) criminal procedure (i.e., the scope, structure, and limitations of the privacy laws and constitutional principles that regulate law enforcement investigations of cyber-related crime).  Along the way, we will also consider topics that frequently arise in cyber-related investigations and prosecutions, such as:  jurisdictional issues (e.g., federal/state dynamics and international cooperation in collecting evidence); national security considerations (e.g., state-sponsored intrusions and IP theft, terrorists’ use of the internet, government surveillance); and encryption.  We will make regular use of contemporary case studies, including several drawn from my own experience in the national security arena. 

    317

    Criminal Justice Ethics 2
    • JD elective
    • JD ethics
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15 pages
    • Class participation
    • Other

    Criminal Justice Ethics (2 Credit Seminar) focuses on the professional and ethical laws governing attorneys in the criminal justice system. The course focuses on issues affecting both prosecutors and defense attorneys and the applicable rules of professional conduct. The course will work to deepen students’ understanding of the role and responsibilities of criminal justice attorneys in society. This is a specialized ethics course with a focus on lawyers working in the criminal justice system, as such our focus will not cover the Rules of Professional Conduct in their entirety. The class is discussion-based. The primary methods of assessment will be three (3), two-page reflection papers throughout the semester and a final 15-page research and/or analytical paper.

    323

    Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization 2
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam

    The course will focus on the process by which a corporate debtor reorganizes under the provisions of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Prior familiarity with bankruptcy principles and debtor-creditor law is not required. These will be incorporated in the course as it unfolds. Some familiarity with business organization is helpful but not necessary.

    The subject will be covered primarily from three perspectives: the underlying business and economic dynamics that lead both to the debtor's financial crisis and to its potential to rehabilitate through a plan of reorganization; the supervision of a debtor by the bankruptcy court; and the reality that virtually all commercial transactions and financial contracting occur in the “shadow” of bankruptcy law and its potential to alter rights and obligations.

    Topics to be covered include historical, Constitutional, and policy issues underlying Chapter 11's provisions and goals; overview of basic business structures and transactions bearing on Chapter 11 reorganization; alternatives to avoid Chapter 11; the powers and oversight role of the bankruptcy court and the obligations and governance of a corporate debtor when under the protection of the bankruptcy court; the major phases of a Chapter 11 case from initial filing to consummation of a plan of reorganization (e.g., formulation of a business plan and the plan of reorganization, claims procedures and classification, plan disclosure and voting, plan confirmation, discharge, and consummation); recovery and disposition of assets in Chapter 11, including asset sales, and avoidance remedies; and numerous special topics encountered in Chapter 11 practice.

     

    336

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

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

    360

    International Taxation 2
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Final Exam

    This course covers the basic rules governing the U.S. income taxation of international business and investment transactions. After a brief explanation of basic American income tax concepts, the principal rules of taxation relating to income of American taxpayers that is earned abroad, and the income of foreign taxpayers that is earned in the U.S., will be described and discussed. The course will then focus on how the United States’ rules interact with taxation systems in other countries, exploring the concepts of source of income and residence of the taxpayer, and their role in the tax rules relating to international trade. The course will also include consideration of the role of bilateral tax treaties as a means of promoting crossborder investments and international trade through the avoidance of international double taxation. The OECD model treaty will be examined as an illustration of the interaction between double tax treaties and domestic regulations. The course will also describe and discuss the role of transfer pricing in tax avoidance efforts by business taxpayers, especially U.S. multinational corporations.  Finally, the course will explore recent developments in the international effort to reduce tax-base erosion and income shifting among taxing jurisdictions.

    379

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

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

    Partnership Tax is offered in fall semester only.

    515

    Contract Drafting for the Finance Lawyer 2
    • JD elective
    • JD experiential
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Fall 20
    • Spring 21
    • Practical exercises
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation
    • Variable by section

    Contract Drafting is an upper-level course that teaches basic practical skills in contract drafting through written drafting exercises. The exercises will be done both in and outside of class, and extensive peer and instructor editing will be used. While the skills taught will be basic, they will also be translatable to more sophisticated contracts, such as those that Duke Law students can expect to see and draft in practice. The course will be a combination of lecture and in-class drafting and editing exercises, with an emphasis on the exercises. There will be pre-class reading assignments from the text, possibly supplemented with other outside reading. Some drafting exercises will be assigned to be done outside of class for subsequent in-class editing. Grading will be on the basis of these written drafting assignments, the quality of editing others' drafts, and class participation.

    531

    In House Law Practice 2
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Group project(s)
    • Oral presentation

    This course explores the substantive and procedural aspects of inhouse law practice. Class sessions often include guest general counsels to survey in-house legal topics, engage with real world challenges, discuss current relevant events, and distill best practices for the role. Students will have team-based interdisciplinary project assignments that draw from topics discussed in the class, reflecting real-world scenarios and providing legal representation experience. Guest general counsels are typically leading practitioners who engage with the class from a variety of perspectives, ranging from Chief Legal Officers of Fortune 50 companies to general counsels who helped grow entrepreneurial startups into household names.

    The course is designed for any student interested in inhouse practice – those who wish to work in a law firm or governmental role and interact with inhouse counsel, those who would like to practice inhouse, and those who are interested in exploring different career paths.  It is intended to provide law school students with an understanding of and practical skills for inhouse practice, legal issues unique to that role, and practical issues that face inhouse lawyers. 

    20%: Reflection Message Board Posts
    Each student will publish five brief message board posts during the semester reflecting upon insights or thoughts of interest from guest general counsel presentations.

    30%: Memo
    Student assume the role of attorney with an inhouse legal department and prepare a 5-page memo responding to a fact pattern and scenario; the memo provides an opportunity to demonstrate legal analysis and practical approaches to the issues.  They will also record and upload a five-minute presentation of their memo's findings to the "general counsel" of the company.

    40%: Project
    Halfway through the semester, students divide into teams of 4 persons. Each team will receive a fact pattern for a significant business-level-event problem which they will analyze and present their findings, legal analysis and recommendation to the CEO and board of directors for said company.

    10%: Class Engagement

    No prerequisites are necessary.

    539

    Ethics in Action 2
    • JD elective
    • JD ethics
    • IntlLLM NY Bar
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23

    The class will function as an ethics committee considering current issues and ethics inquiries based upon actual disputes. The participants, working in small groups, will draft detailed ethics opinions that the full class will consider, revise, and the like.

    549

    Corporate Counseling and Communication 2
    • JD elective
    • JD experiential
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Final Exam
    • Practical exercises
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation

    The goal of this class is for students to develop skills working with sophisticated clients on complex issues that lack easy answers and to simulate the practice of law in a way that a young associate is likely to experience it whether at a large law firm or in a small legal office. The primary focus is interviewing and counseling business clients and drafting client-related communications.

    The first part of the class is split into five two-week segments. In the first week of each segment, the class will study a legal issue and prepare to interview the client. Then, one student interviews the client about a simulated scenario in a conference call as the rest of the class observes.  After the call, the class assesses the legal issues and strategies for responding. Students must then decide what advice to give.

    In the second week of each segment, the class evaluates potential responses and prepares to advise the client. Another student counsels the client as the class observes. The focus of the class is on client communications, legal strategy, and developing professional skills, and students will gain exposure to the types of issues commonly faced by corporate counsel, including contract negotiations and potential claims.

    Students will also practice working in a law office environment by sending emails to the professor that simulate reports to a supervising attorney and by submitting timesheets showing work they have completed. The final three weeks focus on a 15-page paper that will require independent research on a complex legal topic assigned by the professor. Through these exercises, students will learn to speak confidently with experienced business executives, collect information efficiently from busy professionals, and deliver practical, business-oriented legal advice orally and in writing.

    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

    577

    Emerging Issues in Sports and the Law 2
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
    • Class participation

    The course will examine the regulation of NCAA athletics and the enforcement of NCAA rules. It will examine in detail several high profile NCAA cases including those involving Penn State, Miami and UNC-Chapel Hill.

    580

    Law & Economics Colloquium 2
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Reflective Writing
    • Class participation

    This research seminar will involve discussing some of the latest research at the intersection of the fields of law and economics. The research papers will deal with a wide variety of topics, depending on the speaker’s interests, such as the law and economics of contract law, corporate law, intellectual property, tax, constitutional law, or legislation. We will invite speakers who are doing some of the most cutting-edge interdisciplinary work in law to present their ongoing work to the seminar. Students will be asked to prepare, in advance, short reaction papers to the speakers’ work. The requirements for the class are completion of the reaction papers and active participation in the debates over the papers being presented. There will be one class meeting each week.

    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. 

    738

    Financial Law and Regulation: Practitioner's Perspective 2
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Class participation

    Every aspect of financial law and regulation depends heavily on its daily practice.  The environment changes all the time, and the scope of regulatory discretion, at every level of government (state, federal and international) is so large that successful practitioners must understand the current trends in regulatory thinking and practice.  This course will allow students to dive deep into a different aspect of modern financial regulation every week by bringing in prominent alumni practitioners who are experts in specific areas of the field.

    The course will be structured as follows:

    1. Six 4 hour components, focusing on specific aspects of financial practice according to the expertise of the teacher. Lee Reiners will hold an opening 2 hour class session.
    2. Taught by a series of expert practitioners, who will spend two days at the school. Classes will be held on Thursday and Friday.
    3. The course is a seminar based on a compilation of readings provided during the course.
    4. Students will be graded based upon class participation and six, 1,500-word, writing assignments pertaining to each of the six topics discussed by our guest lecturers.

    Likely topics to be covered include:

    • Derivatives regulation
    • High frequency trading
    • FDIC resolution and the insurance fund
    • Volcker Rule and Regulation W
    • Bank capital requirements

     

    Class will run from Feb 15th to April 5th and will consist of 13 class sessions that are 2 hours long. Seven class sessions will be on a Friday morning from 9-11am and 6 class sessions will be on Thursday afternoon from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.

    754

    IP Transactions 2
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • IntllLLM IP Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Final Exam
    • Class participation

    Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are the currency of an innovation economy. Each of these forms of intellectual property may be bought and sold, licensed, or used as security. How each is used will depend on the business context; the needs of a start-up company being far different from those of a multinational corporation. This course will focus on intellectual property transactions in various business contexts, including: maximizing value and assessing risks; using intellectual property in financing start-ups; protecting trade secrets; employment issues related to intellectual property; intellectual property licensing; and intellectual property in mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcy.

    773

    Research Methods in Business Law 2
    • JD elective
    • JD experiential
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Final Exam
    • Practical exercises
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation

    This advanced legal research seminar will introduce students to specific sources and strategies for researching a variety of business law topics, such as corporations, securities, and commercial bankruptcy. We will cover key primary and secondary sources for business law research: state and federal cases, statutes, regulations, and other administrative materials; subject-specific secondary sources; company disclosure documents; and sources for factual company and industry research, among others. The course will emphasize research processes, strategies, and evaluation of sources in a changing information environment. Students will develop their research skills through a variety of hands-on exercises simulating research assignments in practice. Grades will be based on review questions, research exercises, class participation, and a take-home final exam.

    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