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

231

Ethics in Action: Large Firm Practice 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Simulated Writing, Transactional
  • Simulated Writing, Litigation
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

Large, multi-jurisdictional law firms face complex issues of regulation and professionalism. Managing and solving those issues require keen analytical, litigation, and transactional drafting skills. This course will offer an opportunity to practice those skills while gaining a background in the law governing lawyers. Students will participate in a two-credit, experiential seminar that can be used for either ethics or experiential credit.

Students will gain a background in the ABA Model Rules (and state variants) by analyzing and resolving simulated ethical inquiries that might be received by the general counsel’s office of a large firm and presenting their proposed resolution in class. In addition, students working in teams will tackle a more complex, multi-issue inquiry that will require deeper research and a written memorandum that will be revised in response to feedback. The course will conclude with a transactional drafting exercise such as an engagement letter and fee agreement involving client intake issues.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

353

Equity Valuation and Advanced Financial Statement Analysis 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • Fall 21

Valuing a business—big or small—is often a central focus of leading legal, banking, investment and business institutions.

  • It drives whether a company does an acquisition or sale.
  • It is often a key component in damages in litigation.
  • It guides how managers make disclosures in private transactions and public filings.
  • At its most macro level, it drives the policy of governments.

This course provides students with the tools to understand valuation principles, coupled with the depth of accounting necessary to understand the drivers of that valuation—all using the rigor of Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) materials.

Whether working at a bank, a law firm, a prosecutor's office, an agency or an investment manager, many graduates find themselves without the skills needed to understand the value of entities and their financial statements. Those who have these skills are highly valued and often end up running corporations, law firms, and agencies.

This is a high-level course for those with experience in corporate finance and accounting. It is designed to give the advanced student a deeper dive into important concepts relating to equity valuation and financial statement analysis. Familiarity with numbers is essential.

The areas of focus include:

  • Equity Valuation Process
  • Discounted Dividend Valuation
  • Free Cash Flow Valuation
  • Market-Based Valuation: Price Multiples
  • Residual Income Valuation
  • Financial Reporting Mechanics
  • Financial Reporting Standards
  • Advanced Topics in Understanding the Income Statement
  • Advanced Topics in Understanding the Balance Sheet
  • Advanced Topics in Understanding the Cash Flow Statement
  • Financial Analysis Techniques
  • International Standards Convergence
  • Financial Statement Analysis: Applications
  • Inventories
  • Long-Lived Assets
  • Income Taxes
  • Long-Lived Liabilities and Leases
  • Employee Compensation: Postretirement and Share-Based Intercorporate Investments
  • Multinational Operations
  • Evaluating Financial Reporting Quality

Course Materials

The two primary texts are Equity Asset Valuation, 4th Edition (CFA Institute Investment Series), by Pinto (Wiley, 2020), and International Financial Statement Analysis, 4th Edition (CFA Institute Investment Series), by Robinson (Wiley, 2020). Handouts and problem sets will be distributed in class. Problem sets will be graded.

Course Requirements

1. Class Attendance and Preparation

Students are expected to attend all sessions. You should read appropriate materials prior to class.

2. Problem Sets

Problem sets will be assigned throughout the class. Most of these will be graded. Some problems will not be graded and will be done in teams.

3. Examinations

There will be a three-hour mid-term examination on the Equity Valuation section of the course and a three-hour final examination on the Financial Statement Analysis section.

4. Grading

Final course grades will be determined by the following allocation:

  • 25% Class Participation
  • 25% Problem Sets
  • 25% Mid-Term Exam
  • 25% Final Exam

5. The Honor Code

You are expected to follow the Duke University Honor Code. Specific issues concerning homework and the final examination will be discussed in the first class meeting.

6. Prerequisites

One of the following courses (or their equivalents): Corporate Finance, Accounting, or Financial Information. Exceptions can be made by the instructor.

358

Structuring Venture Capital and Private Equity Transactions 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Fall 22
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

In the world of venture capital and private equity, there is no difference between a good business person and a good lawyer. They both must know capitalization structure and law, and they both must know tax and accounting.

Many never achieve this mastery, and those who do only get there after many years of practice. This course helps the law and business student drive to the top of their game sooner and more effectively than their peers from other institutions.

The goal is to focus on the formation of deals. We look at the business reasons that parties come together, we look at the business reasons that deals fail to meet expectations, and we look at the business reasons that deals work. This is especially important in private equity and venture capital deals, where exit strategies have to be anticipated from the very outset of a deal.

 

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.

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
  • Spring 23
  • 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.

 

550

Legal Issues of Cybersecurity and Data Breach Response 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course will cover the dynamic and rapidly evolving legal field of cybersecurity and data breach response.  The course will focus on the workflow during the aftermath of any sort of data security incident, a rapidly growing legal practice area, where legal professionals have emerged as critical decision-makers. Every class will begin with a 15-20 minute discussion of current events.  The course will be broken up into two parts.   The first part of the course will cover the foundation of the legal aspects of data breach response, in the form of traditional discussion.  The second part of the course will involve a fictional fact pattern/simulation of a data security incident at a financial firm, with student teams conducting various tasks, with “real-life” outside legal experts playing various roles.  The tasks will include: intake; board briefing; law enforcement liaison; federal/state regulatory interphase; insurance company updates; and vendor/third party/employee briefings.

591

Development Finance 1
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

The Course will:

  • Provide an overview of development challenges in Low and Middle-Income Countries - exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic - and the shared global responsibility under the UN Agenda 2030 to reconcile economic, social, and ecological objectives.
  • Focus on the roles of and partnerships between actors of development finance, such as government agencies, multilateral development banks, foundations, NGOs, and the private sector, particularly impact investors.
  • Familiarize students with development finance instruments, such as budget aid, grants, loans, and blended finance mechanisms.
  • Address critical views on aid effectiveness.
  • Highlight policies in developed countries in conflict with the objectives of development assistance.

Requirements for one credit:

  • Two 3-page essays: the first to be submitted on or before September 14, 2022 (15% of final grade); the second to be submitted on or before October 4, 2022 (15% of final grade)
  • One 10-page paper to be submitted on or before December 2, 2022 (40% of final grade)
  • Active participation in class discussions (30% of final grade)
  • There will be no final exam

Requirements for a second credit (optional):

  • Online presentation to professor of approx. 25 minutes
  • Topic in the field of Development Finance proposed by student
  •  Time of presentation between November 7th and 25th, 2022 (date to be determined by student and professor)
  • Written outline (not full text) and bibliography of presentation to be submitted to professor no later than three days prior to presentation
  • Separate grade

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.

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