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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

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
  • 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.

270

Intellectual Property 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Spring 22
  • Final Exam

This course provides an introduction to copyright, trademark, and (to a lesser extent) patent law and trade secrecy. It does not require a technical background of any kind.  The course begins with an introduction to some of the theoretical and practical problems which an intellectual property regime must attempt to resolve; during this section, basic concepts of the economics of information and of the First Amendment analysis of intellectual property rights will be examined through a number of case-studies. The class will then turn to the law of trademark, copyright, and patent with a particular emphasis on copyright, developing the basic doctrinal frameworks and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will focus in particular on a number of areas where the theoretical tools developed at the beginning of the class can be applied to actual problems involving a full panoply of intellectual property rights; these areas include intellectual property on the Internet, the constitutional limits on intellectual property, and innovation, monopoly and competition in the technology sector. The overall theme of the course is that intellectual property is the legal form of the information age and thus that it is important not only for its enormous and increasing role in commercial life and legal practice, but also for its effects on technological innovation, democratic debate, and cultural formation. Much of our doctrinal work will be centered around a series of problems which help students build skills and learn the law in a highly interactive setting. You can also download the casebook for the class here – for free – to give you a sense of the topics that are covered. 

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.

Commercial Transactions and Principles of Commercial and Bankruptcy Law have a substantial overlap, and enrollment in one precludes enrollment in the other. The courses differ in their relative emphasis on bankruptcy law. This course (Principles) is intended to give 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.

 

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. 

 

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.

333

Science Law & Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

What are the government policies that support science? How is science regulated and controlled? What can science contribute to law and policy? How do the states, the federal government and international agencies interact to set science policy? How do disparate regulations and law impact research and translation? How is scientific research funded? These questions and more will be explored by looking at the interaction of law, science, and policy. The class is a mix of law, ethics and science students, and learning how to talk to one another in a common language is an important element of the course. Classes will include consideration and analysis of cases studies. There are no prerequisites for the course and there is no requirement that students have either graduate or upper-level undergraduate training in the sciences. Course evaluation (i.e. your grade) will be based on class participation and a final exam.

All MA, PhD and JD/MA students should register under BIOETHIC 704 – approval of professor is required. All law students (other than JD/MAs) should register under LAW 333.

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
  • Take-home examination
  • Group project(s)
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

This course will focus on 3 different stages in the life of a company:  startup, growth, and private equity at the investment-bank/PE-fund scale (over half the semester is concentrated on this last category). 

The format for this course is unique. 

Teams of students (with diverse backgrounds) will act as investment-banking teams.  Each team will be given a small number of assignments relating to startups and growth equity.  Then, each team will focus on a capstone project for more than half the semester.  The scenario is that a well-known public company has asked the team to help it chose one of two public companies as an acquisition target.  The final work product will be an in-depth analysis of the client company and a reasoned selection of one of the two potential targets.  Each team will explain the basis for their selection in a report to the client and recommend a structure for the transaction to ensure the most efficient use of capital and markets.  These reports will be presented to the other members of the class at the end of the semester. 

Previous classes produced work rivaling that produced by some of the finest financial institutions in the world. 

The lectures provide the foundation to complete the various assignments.  When the course is over, each student will have gained an understanding of deal-making that will set them apart from their colleagues from other educational institutions. 

369

Patent Law and Policy 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Final Exam

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to patent law and policy. No technical background is required. The course begins by addressing the history of patents as well as the policy arguments for and against using patents as a mechanism for inducing innovation. Following this introduction, students learn the basics of patent drafting and prosecution, patent claims, and claim construction. The class then addresses in depth the central patentability criteria of subject matter, utility, nonobviousness, and disclosure. Other topics of importance that are covered in the class include: the relationship between patents and other forms of intellectual property protection, particularly trade secrecy and copyright; the intersection of patent and antitrust law; the role of the two major institutions responsible for administering the patent system, the Patent and Trademark Office and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; and the role of patents in the two major industries of the knowledge-based economy, information technology and biotechnology.

393

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

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.

 

475A

Law & Policy Lab: Data Governance 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • IntllLLM IP Cert
  • Spring 22
  • Simulated Writing, Transactional
  • Reflective Writing
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation

Focus: Health Data and Learning Health Networks 

Data Governance 


Data-savvy lawyers and practitioners must be able to work across disciplines, solve modern problems, and steward organizations of all stripes through digital issues. This course focuses on digital governance: how organizations and communities make decisions about data, code, their missions, and their membership, and how those decisions can break down or reinforce systems of structural exclusion. 

Here, students will learn how to design, build, and govern effective data communities. They will navigate realistic scenarios and attempt to build equitable collaborations around shared missions and values. And they will use the tools of the law to build policies, procedures, and accountability structures to ensure that stakeholder communities’ data is protected and productive, and that data outputs accrue to the benefit of all. 

Health Data and Learning Health Networks
 
In this simulation class, law and graduate students will attempt to organize and govern a health data collaboration. Students will work with each other and industry mentors to role-play as hospital administrators, principal investigators, and patient advocates, and decide whether and how to collaborate and share data with one another. 

This class will go beyond negotiating a data-sharing agreement between multiple parties. Students will need to decide who should be involved in their collaboration, how it should be governed, how it should manage risks, and what policies and procedures should be in place to run the collaboration, keep data safe, and maintain trust among community members. Finally, using the governance models you’ve designed, students will make decisions about data-sharing and other scenarios. 

In addition to the simulation, the class will include a series of short guest lectures on health data and data governance from leaders in the field.As this set of technologies rapidly emerges, we must consider the extent to which we allow regulation and government intervention, balancing the maintenance of social norms against the need to let a nascent technology innovate. Moving forward, as decentralized networks possibly replace centralized systems, we must find ways to maintain rule of law through appropriate legal and regulatory levers. This course aims to help each of us become active participants in these endeavors.

515

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

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

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.

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. It will focus on the roles of and partnerships between actors of development finance, such as government agencies, multilateral development banks, foundations, NGOs, and impact investors; and it will familiarize students with development finance instruments, such as budget aid, grants, loans, and blended finance mechanisms. The Course will also address critical views on aid effectiveness as well as domestic and foreign policies in developed countries that are in conflict with development assistance.

Requirements for one credit:

- Two 3-page essays: the first to be submitted on or before October 13, 2021 (15% of final grade); the second to be submitted on or before October 26, 2021 (15% of final grade);

- One 10-page paper to be submitted on or before December 10, 2021 (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 1st and 26th, 2021 (date to be determined by student and professor)

- Written outline and bibliography of presentation to be submitted to professor no later than three days prior to presentation

- Grading: pass/fail

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