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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

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.

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.

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.

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
  • Spring 23
  • 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. 

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

529

Corporate Governance 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation

Corporate governance is a major policy issue in business regulation, and has increasingly become headline news in recent political debates. This course will discuss the major debates in corporate governance, the challenges for designing an optimal system for governing corporations, and the increasingly important role of lawyers in these policy debates. To that end, the course may host guest speakers with various backgrounds that have unique experience in corporate governance matters. The course will focus on a range of issues. For example, is shareholder activism by hedge funds and other institutional shareholders good for shareholder value, or does it promote short-termism? Are CEOs paid too much, and should their compensation be regulated? Do anti-takeover devices entrench managers or promote long-term strategic growth? Does state competition for corporate charters lead to a race to the top or the bottom? In discussing each of these topics, this course will consider whether corporations are best regulated by the government or market discipline. As part of the course, students will acquire the skills to review empirical studies, and evaluate the implications of these studies for legal policy and corporate practice. Business Associations is a prerequisite for this class (except for LLM students who are taking Business Associations in the same semester).

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.

777

Deal Skills for the Transactional Lawyer 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 22
  • Simulated Writing, Transactional
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises

This course is designed to prepare students for transactional law practice by introducing them to the process of structuring, negotiating, documenting and closing a corporate acquisition transaction.

The course is highly interactive.  Students will be assigned to “firms” that represent the parties to a hypothetical M&A transaction.  During the term, you will advise your client regarding deal structure, prepare due diligence requests and a due diligence report, draft an acquisition agreement, and negotiate the terms of the deal with counsel for the other party.  The negotiation exercises will take place “live” in class and will be videotaped.  The professor will provide written feedback on drafting assignments and negotiations to help students refine their deal-making skills.

Topics covered will include:

  • Common transaction structures and the factors that affect choice of deal structure
  • Strategic and tactical approaches to negotiating an M&A transaction
  • Conducting a due diligence review
  • How to review contracts and other due diligence documents
  • Effective drafting techniques for the transactional lawyer
  • Understanding the “business deal” and translating it into contract language
  • The role of representations & warranties, covenants, conditions precedent and  other provisions found in the typical acquisition agreement
  • Preparing for and conducting a closing

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