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

207

Sports and the Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

Sports occupies a central place in modern society. It constitutes a significant sector in the economy and an important form of cultural expression. This course examines the legal relations among the various parties in sports at both the professional and amateur levels. Particular attention will be given to the importance given to the maintenance of competitive balance and its impact on traditional notions of competition that apply in other business settings. Contracts law, antitrust law, and labor law provide the essential core for the investigation of issues in this course. In addition, this course seeks to provide an informed perspective on the financial and business structures that define the industry.

255

Federal Income Taxation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

An introduction to federal income taxation, with emphasis on the determination of income subject to taxation, deductions in computing taxable income, the proper time period for reporting income and deductions, and the proper taxpayer on which to impose the tax

In planning their course schedules, students should keep in mind that Federal Income Taxation is a prerequisite for most other federal tax courses, including corporate tax, partnership tax, international tax, and the tax policy seminar.  For this reason, students who might want to take one or more advanced tax courses are strongly encouraged to take Federal Income Taxation during their second year of law school.

260

Financial Accounting 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

Many attorneys are required to evaluate financial data, notably financial statements from corporations, on a regular basis. The need is not limited to corporate attorneys; indeed litigators in securities, antitrust, malpractice, or general commercial litigation frequently must analyze financial information. This course serves to both introduce basic accounting principles and practices and their relationship to the law, as well as to study a number of contemporary accounting problems relating to financial disclosure and the accountant's professional responsibility. Students with accounting degrees, MBAs or who have taken more than a couple of accounting courses are not permitted to enroll. Also, Business Essentials may not be taken concurrently with this course.

287

Principles of Commercial and Bankruptcy Law 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This is an introduction to the principles and concepts of commercial law and bankruptcy and their interplay. It is intended to provide a solid conceptual and practical grounding in all of the basic commercial and bankruptcy law issues that you are likely to encounter in your practice.

The course starts with a brief overview of the more innovative aspects of sales law, and then introduces such basic commercial law concepts as negotiable instruments, letters of credit, funds transfers, and documents of title. The course then focuses on secured transactions under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), including the concepts of security interests, collateral, perfection and priority, and foreclosure. That brings in the natural interplay with such fundamental debtor-creditor aspects of bankruptcy law as property of a bankrupt debtor’s estate, automatic stay of foreclosure and enforcement actions, use by a debtor of property subject to a security interest and adequate protection of the secured party’s interest, rejection and acceptance of executory contracts, bankruptcy trustee’s avoiding powers including preferences and fraudulent conveyances, post-petition effect of a security interest, set-offs, and subordination. The course also introduces basic corporate reorganization and international insolvency principles.

 

304

Big Bank Regulation 4
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Final Exam

Banking has evolved rapidly in just a few years. Global trade and investment have been supported and promoted by an emerging global financial system. This has in turn encouraged the growth of giant universal banks, based in the United States, the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, China and Japan. Most modern banks of any significant size (greater than $100 billion in total assets) have transnational and often truly global operations, but they also create major new risks and regulatory challenges. The debate over big banks and "too big to fail" concerns continued to be an important public policy concern in the 2016 Presidential election campaign and is certain to be so for the 2020 election. Since the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the largest in a long run of domestic and international crises since the Great Depression of the 1930s, a new Dodd-Frank framework has been emerging. This framework has fundamentally changed the way in which such financial institutions are regulated. After more than a decade of reform, however, the framework remains controversial, at least in the United States, and executive and congressional efforts to reverse the Dodd-Frank and Basel models were deployed under the previous Administration, with some success. This controversy has now become more complicated in light of actions taken by the Treasury Department and the Fed to address financial and economic difficulties inflicted by COVID-19. Climate change is also starting to have a deep impact on financial markets, and this in turn is shaping some of the actions of regulators and banks. The walls between the three main sectors of finance - banking, securities and insurance - have broken down, yet at their core banks continue to be somewhat unique in their functions and the challenges they present for financial stability.

This course will review all the domestic and international regulatory developments since the Global Financial Crisis, focusing on the established and emerging regulatory architectures and systems, both domestic and international, currently proposed reforms, and future challenges and prospects for global and domestic financial reform. 

 

307

Internet and Telecommunications Law & Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course will examine the regulation of technology, and specifically the technology of Internet and telecommunications. We will examine the possible application of antitrust law and more specific forms of regulation, and will consider pending policy proposals. We will also examine the constitutional (principally First Amendment) constraints on any such regulation.

319

Analytical Methods 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

Lawyers face non-legal, analytical issues every day. Business lawyers need to understand a business in order to represent their client properly. Litigators need to judge the best route in adopting a litigation strategy. Family lawyers routinely need to value a business. Environmental lawyers need to understand economic externalities. Social lawyers need familiarity with financial instruments that have positive and negative attributes. Students taking this course will find it foundational in running a business, advising a business, or litigating business matters that go beyond the strict letter of the law. In this sense, this is not your standard doctrinal law school course. Rather, it is designed to give students the tools necessary to interact with the business community and run a company or firm.

The areas of focus include:

  • Decision Analysis, Games and Information: We will explore a standard technique that has been developed to organize thinking about decision-making problems and to solve them.
  • Accounting: Basic accounting concepts will be introduced, and the relationship between accounting information and economic reality will be examined.
  • Microeconomics: This unit presents basic economic concepts--the operation of competitive markets, imperfect competition, and market failures--that are necessary to this understanding.
  • Statistics and Artificial Intelligence: We will address the basic statistical methods, including regression analysis, as well as issues that commonly arise when statistics are used in the courtroom. We will also have a brief introduction to statistical learning, which forms the basis for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

This basic introductory survey course is aimed at students who have only a basic background in math (basic high school algebra) and may have majored in humanities and social science as an undergraduate.

322

Copyright Law 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This is a comprehensive course in copyright law. We will examine the legal rights that cover works of creative expression such as literature, music, film, photography, visual art, and software. The class will cover some of the fundamental pillars of the world of creative expression in which we all live—the economic and legal architecture of our culture. This is because copyright’s rules provide the economic incentives that influence our creative output as well as part of the legal framework that shapes our communications technology. The broad impact of copyright law means that it is of importance to a wide range of legal practice and not merely to the specialist. No technical background is needed.

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.

 

325

Corporate Finance 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course is designed to familiarize law students with the principles of corporate finance. In the world of corporate finance, the distinction between lawyers and investment bankers has blurred. Whether negotiating a merger agreement, acquisition, or divestiture, rendering a fairness opinion, preparing for an appraisal hearing, litigating securities class action or derivative suits, issuing new securities, taking a firm private via an LBO or public via an IPO, corporate lawyers and investment bankers work side-by-side. Lawyers with an appreciation of the basics of corporate finance gain a distinct advantage. This course will also provide important tools for litigators to work with financial expert witnesses and calculate damages.

Topics include: the time value of money; the relation between risk and return; the workings and efficiency of capital markets; behavioral finance; valuing perpetuities and annuities; valuing corporate securities (stock, bonds, and options); valuing businesses as a going concern; optimal capital structure and dividend policies; debt covenants and other lender protections; derivatives; and the application of these principles to legal practice.

[This course serves as a prerequisite for Corporate Restructuring and Venture Capital and Private Equity, two courses offered at the Fuqua School of Business and cross-listed in the Law School.]

326

Corporate Taxation 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A study of the provisions of the Internal Revenue code governing the tax effects of the major events that occur in the life span of a corporation, including the taxation of distributions to shareholders and the formation, reorganization, and liquidation of corporations.

No papers are required, but class participation is expected. Students interested in taxation should take this course; it also has application to general corporate practice (mergers and acquisitions).

It is strongly recommended that students take Business Associations before taking Corporate Taxation

Federal Income Taxation is a prerequisite (waivable at the discretion of the instructor for a student with a comparable tax background acquired in some other way).

335

Private Equity and Hedge Funds 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

The alternative asset classes of private equity and hedge funds represent a significant and growing share of investment activity worldwide and are at the center of many of the most pressing current issues in finance and financial law. While traditionally lightly regulated, both areas have received increasing regulatory attention since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Both also figure prominently in major ongoing debates concerning financial stability, market efficiency, corporate governance, financial innovation and complexity, and even income inequality. This course introduces private equity and hedge funds from the perspectives of finance, regulation, and legal practice, covering the foundational issues of securities, tax, organizational, and fiduciary law that they raise. Students will learn the basic regulatory framework applicable to fund structuring, fund managers and sponsors, fund offerings, and fund investments, and gain experience with the key agreements among the parties involved. In addition, the course will critically assess the current regulation of private equity and hedge funds and proposals for reform. Through reading materials, course discussions, guest lectures, and group work, students will gain insight into the perspective of fund managers, advisors, investors, those who transact with such funds, and those who regulate the fund industry.

Prerequisites: Students must have previously completed or be concurrently enrolled in Business Associations or an introductory course on business organizational law/company law taken at another law school (whether in the U.S. or abroad). Prior coursework in securities regulation and taxation may be useful, but is not required.

Grading: The course grade will be based on: (i) a final examination, (ii) class participation, and (iii) quizzes, problem sets, or other short assignments.

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.

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.

384

Securities Regulation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

A study of the federal and state securities laws and the industry they govern with emphasis on the regulation of the distribution process and trading in securities; subjects dealt with include the functions of the Securities and Exchange Commission, registration and disclosure requirements and related civil liabilities, "blue-sky" laws, proxy solicitation and reporting requirements, broker-dealer regulation, the self-regulatory functions of the exchanges, and the regulation of investment companies.

390

Structuring and Regulating Financial Transactions 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

The principles applied in structuring financial products in the commercial context reflect a balance of the interests of corporate stakeholders and the rights of third parties. This course will examine these principles with the goal of equipping the student with a base of knowledge that would be readily applied in a finance practice of a commercial law firm. Focusing primarily on traditional syndicated debt finance and securitization transactions, we will examine evolving market conventions that influence debt terms, the rights and expectations of stakeholders in distressed situations and bankruptcy, and the regulatory and compliance structure governing the issuance of these obligations. As part of this process, we also will explore the structuring of letters of credit, derivative transactions, debtor-in-possession financing, and other related financial products.

393

Trademark Law and Unfair Competition 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 22
  • Spring 23
  • Final Exam

This class offers an introduction to the law of trademark and unfair competition. Whether or not students intend to specialize in trademark law, a basic understanding of its rules will better enable them to advise clients who wish to protect their own marks, as well as those facing claims that they have infringed someone else’s mark. No technical background is needed. Trademarks include brand names and logos, and can also extend to other features that identify the source of a product for its consumers – including colors, packaging, and design – when they meet certain requirements. The course will begin with the requirements for obtaining trademark protection: distinctiveness, use in commerce, special rules for trade dress, and various bars to protection such as genericity and functionality. It will then cover confusion-based trademark infringement, secondary liability, anti-dilution, statutory and common law defenses, false advertising, and cybersquatting. Could a Utah theme park called “Evermore” stop Taylor Swift from calling her album “Evermore”? Did Lil Nas X’s Satan shoes infringe Nike’s trademarks? With the proliferation of craft brews, are we running out of brand names for beer, particularly pun-based “hoptions”? The course will address these and other pressing questions.

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.

710

Derivatives: Financial Markets, Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

Modern capital and financial markets rely on a wide variety of complex instruments, including Treasury securities, structured debt and equity instruments, and derivatives of various kinds.  Public awareness regarding these instruments has grown since the Financial Crisis of 2008 because they are thought to have played an important role in both the rapid growth of financial markets (“financialization”) and their destabilization.  Yet these instruments and the role they play in modern markets remain little understood.  A basic understanding of these instruments has now become important in modern financial law practice and any discussions on financial policy and regulation.

This course will review the workings of derivative instruments in the capital markets and how such instruments themselves are used.  The relationship between banking and capital markets, and between government and the private markets, will be explored, as will the most important legal and fiduciary responsibilities involved.  While not highly technical, the various principal types of government securities and derivatives will be examined. 

Warren Buffet once called derivatives “weapons of mass financial destruction.”  We will consider the numerous public policy issues relating to derivatives, their role in the Crisis of 2008 (and more recent financial distress such as the Eurozone crisis and the US debt ceiling controversy), the history of attempts to regulate these instruments, and the current regulatory structure.

Final grades are based on a final exam and in class participation.

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.

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