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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

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

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 elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

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.

The final grade for this course will be based upon several factors, including a final exam, discussion team memos and presentations, and class participation.

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.

321

The Law and Policy of Innovation: the Life Sciences 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

This course analyzes the legal and policy regimes that shape the introduction of new products, processes, and services in the life science industries. Innovation in biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, health services, and health care delivery is central to the heavily regulated life sciences sector, and thus the sector offers a window into multiple intersections of scientific innovation, regulatory policy, and law.  Innovation in this sector is also shaped by multiple bodies of law (e.g. intellectual property law, FDA law, federal and state-based insurance and professional regulation, antitrust, tax), each with its own private and public constituencies, and therefore offers an opportunity to assess how different bodies of law approach the common issue of innovation.  Although this course focuses on innovation in the life science industries, this focus will produce lessons for innovation policy in other regulated and less-regulated industries. 

460

Negotiation for Lawyers 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

For lawyers in every type of law practice, the ability to negotiate effectively is an essential skill.  As a lawyer, you will negotiate when you try to settle a lawsuit, close a merger, or arrange a plea bargain.  You will negotiate with counterparts, clients, and co-workers.  You will negotiate with service providers and the “system” – the court, the government, or your community.  And, you will continue to negotiate with your friends and family.  In this highly interactive seminar, we will explore the theories, skills, and ethics involved in legal negotiation.  With limited exceptions, in each class you will participate in a role-play simulation of increasing complexity, experiment with new techniques, and then reflect on what negotiation strategies worked best for you.  Over the course of the semester, in addition to in-person exercises, you will have opportunities to negotiate by email, telephone, and videoconference, and to evaluate the pros and cons of each so you understand how to select the most appropriate medium given the particular parties and circumstances.  Through this process, you will not only gain insight into your own negotiation style, you will develop the toolkit you need to approach each new negotiation with confidence. 

Because of the nature of the course, the amount of information delivered during the first class period, the importance of participating in the first role-play simulation during the first class period, and the typical waitlists for enrollment in the course, attendance at the first class is absolutely required.  A student who fails to attend the first class without prior consent of the instructor will forfeit his or her place in the class.  (Working for an additional week in the summer and call-back interviews are not acceptable excuses for missing the first class.)  Students who are on the waitlist for the course are encouraged to attend the first class, and those who do will be given preference to fill open slots in the class.  There is a shortened drop period for this course so that students who are waitlisted can enroll before the second class occurs.  Thus, students may drop this course without permission only before the second class. 

Because of the similarities between this course and the negotiation course taught at the Fuqua School of Business, a law student may not receive law school credit for both courses.

 

545

Urban Legal History 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Urban Legal History is a research seminar which will focus on the legal issues relating to Durham's political, social, and economic development. The class will involve intensive study of primary and secondary materials, and will require students to produce substantial (45 page) research papers.

573

Shaping Law and Policy: Advocacy and the Affordable Care Act 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Class participation

This seminar will examine how legal advocacy shapes law and public policy at the federal level, with particular emphasis on the last decade+ of history under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It will draw upon case histories of public interest litigation, administrative law advocacy, legislative development, and popular opinion strategies. Each weekly seminar will focus on one or two of the health policy issues addressed in the ACA, across its various stages of development and evolution. Topics will include the individual mandate, Medicaid expansion, state waivers, insurance exchanges, insurance coverage requirements, and insurer risk protections, as well as broader legal issues involving administrative rulemaking, constitutional rights, federalism, statutory history, standing, and severability, Our class will examine how attorneys and their allies can play either offense or defense, or even switch roles, as the later stages of policy debates shift. The ACA provides an organizing context for illustrating how Washington-oriented attorneys and related legal advocates operate, while offering a quick introduction to a host of contemporary issues in health law and policy. The seminar will provide a balanced representation of efforts by ACA defenders, opponents, and those in-between as they engaged in various regulatory and litigation activities to advance, negate, or alter the law’s original intentions. Study of the diverse and often-shifting legal problems encountered by a single industry, particularly one as important and complex as health care, may appeal to students generally interested in public policy and in law and economics, not just health care, as well as those interested in sharpening their skills in legal advocacy through involvement in litigation and administrative rulemaking. Relatively early selection of potential paper topics is advised.   

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.

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.

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 (in person or online), 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.”)

636

Food, Agriculture and the Environment: Law & Policy 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • 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 most basic physical needs and imbued with our most significant cultural meanings. They are also irrevocably entwined. Most of us eat at least three times a day and, unless you are in extraordinary circumstances, those meals were produced within our national—and increasingly global—food and agriculture system. And 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 as farmworkers and work the 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 helped create 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. And if you read Omnivore’s Dilemma and want to learn what the Farm Bill actually does, this is your chance.

Course format and expectations: Students will be expected to stay up on all readings, participate in weekly discussion boards, prepare several small 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.

 

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.

    713

    Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship 2-3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • Spring 21
    • Fall 21
    • Final Exam
    • Research paper option, 25+ pages
    • Class participation

    In recent years, there has been growing pressure on profit-seeking corporations to address social problems, such as inequality and climate change. This class will critically evaluate the law and policies underlying recent developments that have allowed or required firms to take on a more active role in social and environmental issues. The class covers a range of topics, including the economic structure of nonprofit firms, the debate on corporate purpose and the profit-maximization norm, the rise of ESG investing, the proliferation of new legal hybrid forms, recent developments in the law of managerial fiduciary duties, the role of microfinance and fair trade in promoting development, and tax and subsidy policies to encourage corporations to pursue social goals, including the recent Opportunity Zone program. The inquiry will focus primarily on what types of structures best align investors’ interest in profit-making with different social purposes. 

    To be enrolled in the class, students must either take Business Association in the same semester, or have taken it in the past.  

    Student enrolled in the three-credit option need to write a research paper (in satisfaction of the JD Substantial Research and Writing Requirement or the International LLM Substantial Research Paper Requirement) in addition to doing the take-home exam.  The additional credit will count towards the Independent Study Research Credit Limit (Rule 3-12).

    The take-home exam will be comprised of questions relating to a real or imaginary business structure or transaction that involves social issues. The exam will be made available on December 6, and the deadline for submitting it will be December 19.

    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.  

    716

    Cybersecurity and National Security Law and Policy 3
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
    • Group project(s)
    • In-class exercise
    • Class participation

    The acquisition, management, analysis, dissemination, and security of data are increasing important issues for individuals, commercial enterprises and governments.   New technologies create a more connected and personal digital society.  Every day, transactions engaged in by individuals generate ever expanding amounts of personal information, including credit card transaction information, purchasing histories, bank and other financial transaction information, location information, health information, real property ownership information, information relating to interactions with the criminal justice system, information shared on social media and other types of information.  Not only is the volume of personal information escalating rapidly; much of it is revealed in on line transactions, enabling it to be acquired for multiple uses, and much resides on servers and storage media where it can be accessible or potentially accessible to commercial enterprises and government agencies. New cybersecurity risks are demanding responses from governments as they address attacks on critical infrastructure, election interference and the potential for manipulation of the data used to train artificial intelligence tools.

    In both the commercial sector and the government sector, the legal and policy issues associated with data, cybersecurity and surveillance are growing in importance.   Discussion of these issues in either sector cannot ignore the others, because the issues frequently intersect.  They also transcend national boundaries. For example, in President Obama’s proposals to revise government policy towards signals intelligence collection, he states that such policies implicate “the cooperation we receive from other nations on law enforcement, counterterrorism, and other issues; our commercial, economic, and financial interests, including a potential loss of international trust in U.S. firms and the decreased willingness of other nations to participate in international data sharing, privacy, and regulatory regimes …”[1]  This intersection of issues creates particular challenges for existing constitutional, legislative and international governance models.

    In the government sector, increased risks such as nation state cyber threats now create new priorities to add to those efforts spurred by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  Combating and preventing terrorist and cybersecurity attacks relies heavily on the collection of information through electronic surveillance.  The tension between these efforts and individual privacy creates frictions that are forcing reconsideration of existing methods of mediating these interests.  This tension then creates challenges for long accepted ideas of nation state use of signals intelligence interception and other information gathering operations (such as the gathering of intelligence about potentially hostile governments).  Similar reconsideration is occurring in the commercial sector, where consumers’ desire for confidentiality in the data that relates to them can conflict with markets for information and commercial and entrepreneurial interests that wish to take advantage of such data to provide new goods and services that consumers value.  


    [1] Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-28, p. 1 (January 17, 2014).

     

    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