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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.

The list of classes marked Spring 2023 is incomplete and is being regularly updated.

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

227

Use of Force in International Law: Cyber, Drones, Hostage Rescues, Piracy, and more 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This fall-only seminar is designed to introduce students with limited or no familiarity with international law to principles involved in jus ad bellum, that is, when states can resort to the use of force during periods of putative peace. It will explore, for example, what circumstances constitute an “act of war” in variety of situations.

The course will analyze when and how force may be used in self-defense and will survey topics such as humanitarian intervention, hostage rescue, air defense identification zones, freedom of navigation operations, use of force in the cyber domain, and the legal aspects of international counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations (including drone strikes). Efforts to limit the use of force in outer space as well as the implications of nuclear weapons and the emergence of autonomous weaponry will be explored.

Case studies and current news events, including some related to the conflict in Ukraine, will be examined in conjunction with the covered issues. In addition, students will get an overview of the practical issues associated with the use of force, to include the weaponry, planning, and military techniques involved.

This course obviously addresses the use of force in international law. Accordingly, class instruction will inevitably include written, oral, and visual depictions of physical force and violence—and occasionally extreme representations of the same.

You are not require to purchase any books for this course, because they are available for free online from the Duke Law Library. A key book for this course is entitled The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach (2018). You will not be required to read this entire book (it’s 960 pages!). Additionally, we will use parts of Regulating the Use of Force in International Law (2021; Necessity and Proportionality and the Right of Self-Defence in International Law (2021) and The Future Law of Armed Conflict (2022) (available online July 2022).

There is no examination, but a 20-page paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project (SRWP) or other writing requirements provided it is at least 30 pages in length and otherwise complies with SRWP requirements. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation, and may require the preparation of short presentations, and response papers.

288

Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course uses consumer bankruptcy as a lens to study the role of consumer credit in the U.S. economy and society. The class will focus on the key aspects of the consumer bankruptcy system, including who files bankruptcy, what causes bankruptcy, the consequences of bankruptcy, and the operation of the bankruptcy system. We will discuss each of these issues in the larger context of consumer debt and consumer law, and will also cover the foreclosure crisis, student loans, and issues related to debt, race, and gender. The readings will come from law and non-law sources, including the work of a variety of social scientists.

Due to substantive overlap in material for the coming semester, students may not concurrently enroll in Law 288: Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt and Law 586: Current Debates in Bankruptcy Law. However, if you've taken one of the courses in a previous semester and wish to take the other, that will be permitted.

298

Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course explores laws and policies that affect decisions on United States ocean and coastal resources. We examine statutes, regulations, attitudes, and cases that shape how the United States (and several states) use, manage, and protect the coasts and oceans out to – and sometimes beyond – the 200-mile limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone. We cover government and private approaches to coastal and ocean resources, including beaches, wetlands, estuaries, reefs, fisheries, endangered species, and special areas.

338

Animal Law 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Spring 21
  • Spring 23
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This course will examine a number of topics related to the law of animals, including various issues that arise under the laws of property, contracts, torts, and trusts and estates. It will also examine various criminal law issues and constitutional law questions. The class will consider such issues as the definition of "animal" as applicable to anti-cruelty statutes, the collection of damages for harm to animals, establishing standing for animal suits, first amendment protections, and the nuances of various federal laws.

368

Natural Resources Law and Policy 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  • Fall 20
  • Fall 21
  • Fall 22
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

The law of how we use nature - timber, mining, bioversity, fisheries, water rights, and agriculture. Also an introduction to the historical and constitutional geography of American public lands: the national parks, forests, wilderness system, and grazing lands, and disputes over federal versus local control of these. There is special attention to the historical and political origins of our competing ideas of how nature matters and what we should do with it, from economically productive use to outdoor recreation to preserving the natural world for its own sake. Attention also to the complicated interplay of science and law.

505

Criminal Justice Policy Lab 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    The growth in incarceration in the United States since the early 1970s has been “historically unprecedented and internationally unique,” as the National Research Council recently put it. This lab seminar will explore current debates about how best to improve our criminal justice system. The focus will be on concrete research projects with the potential to improve criminal justice outcomes in North Carolina. Students will learn how to conduct policy-based research on criminal justice problems, and students will choose projects and write research papers studying possible reforms. Visitors to the seminar will include leading lawyers, policymakers, and scholars to speak to the class, and to assist with the research efforts.  Students will better appreciate the challenges of designing a sound criminal justice system and also learn how as lawyers they may participate in successful and well-researched policy reform efforts.

    538

    Transitional Justice 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) writing, option
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 20+ pages

    This 2-credit seminar will provide an introduction to the field of “transitional justice,” which refers to a broad range of processes and mechanisms that have been developed to respond to major violations of human rights that often occur during armed conflicts, under the rule of authoritarian regimes, or in divided societies where a dominant ethnic, racial, or religious group has systematically persecuted members of a minority or other marginalized group. Transitional justice seeks to achieve one or more of the following objectives depending on the context: providing redress for victims and accountability for perpetrators through judicial or non-judicial mechanisms (while recognizing that these are not binary categories and the same person can be both a victim and a perpetrator), repairing damaged relationships between offenders and victims (also known as “restorative justice”), promoting peaceful coexistence between previously adversarial groups, truth-telling and memorialization of the historical record of human rights violations, and legal or political reforms that address the root causes of the conflict in order to prevent its recurrence in the future. The seminar will also explore the importance of different types of data or evidence both for documenting international crimes and other forms of injustice and harm that transitional justice processes seek to address, and for empirically evaluating the effectiveness of peacebuilding programs that have been implemented in Iraq, Chile, and other contexts.

    The seminar will also engage with important critiques and limitations of the field of transitional justice, which has historically been dominated by scholars and institutions from the Global North, and by Eurocentric concepts of justice that are not necessarily universal. Contemporary transitional justice efforts have focused disproportionately on what are often described as “tribal,” “ethnic,” and “sectarian” conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, but have paid considerably less attention to the enduring legacies of colonial and white supremacist violence in North America. Transitional justice also tends to prioritize accountability for some forms of violence, conflict, and crime over others. For example, compensation is often provided for victims of lethal violence (e.g., “condolence” payments made by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan to family members of civilians killed in airstrikes) but not for other forms of non-lethal harm such as sexual violence. Students will come away from the seminar with a strong understanding of the primary tools and mechanisms for transitional justice (e.g., trials, truth and reconciliation commissions, compensation), key historical case studies including Iraq, Rwanda, and the United States, and important debates and critiques that have shaped the field.

    Students can choose one of three options to fulfill the course requirements: 

    • A research paper of approximately 20-25 pages* 
    • 5 short response papers on weekly readings (approximately 1,500 words each)
    • POLSCI or LAW: 1 research design proposal for an original research project using any empirical methods (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, archival) including draft Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol (required for research with human subjects such as interviews, surveys, or participant observation)

    *LAW students will have an option to satisfy the JD Upper Level Writing Requirement through extension of the paper to 30 pages. 

    541

    Nonprofit Organizations 3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22
    • Final Exam, option
    • Research paper, 40 pages

    The subject of the course is the diverse sector of the economy composed of nonprofit organizations, and, in particular, the organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Topics to be covered include their function and role in society; issues related to their formation, governance and regulation; the tax laws and regulations specific to exempt organizations; and policy issues regarding the sector.

    546

    International Law of Armed Conflict 3
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper, 25+ pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    This seminar will examine the international law of armed conflict, and it focuses on the jus in bello context. Students will consider the rationale for the key concepts of the law of armed conflict, and examine their practical application in various contexts. Case studies (contemporary and historical) will be examined in conjunction with the topics covered. This historical context for the law of armed conflict agreements, the status of conflicts, combatants, and civilians, targeting, rules of engagement, war crimes, are all included among the topics the class will address. Students will be encouraged to relate legal and interdisciplinary sources in order to better understand the multi-faceted interaction between law and war. There is no examination for this course but a 30-page paper (constituting 60% of the grade) is required on a legal topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor. Students desiring to use the course paper to fulfill Substantial Research and Writing Project (SRWP) and possibly other writing requirements must obtain instructor. The remainder of the grade (40%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation. Students should be aware that this course may include discussion and visual depictions (still and video) of armed conflict and other acts of extreme violence. The textbook for this course is Gary D. Solis's The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War (3rd ed., 2021). This course will only be offered in the spring.

    551

    Civil Rights Enforcement Colloquium 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper option, 30 pages
    • Class participation

    This two-credit colloquium is designed to engage students on questions concerning the enforcement of civil rights (broadly defined) in America. Whereas most law school classes focus on the substance of such rights, this class will examine how civil rights are conceived and enforced – by individual rights-holders, by movement lawyers, or by governments. The colloquium will feature workshop-style presentations of works by scholars working in diverse fields, including civil rights, legal history, federal courts, and state and local government; as well as presentations by advocates involved in the work of civil rights enforcement. Students will be expected to engage with the speaker and with each other in discussion. Faculty interested in these topics also will be invited to attend and participate in the discussions.

    Students have two options for completing the requirements of the course:  1) short (5-10 page) papers in response to at least six of the works presented, due in advance of the presentation; or 2) a longer research paper (roughly 30 pages) dealing with a topic of their choice related to the themes of the class.  Students who take the latter option could use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Contributions to class discussions will also be a component of the course grade.

    555

    Law and Financial Anxiety 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Spring 22
    • Spring 23
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper option, 25+ pages
    • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
    • Oral presentation
    • Class participation

    This course identifies and explores aspects of the American legal system that have effects – both negative and positive – on the ability of people and society to prevent the onset of financial anxiety and economic insecurity.   Set in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic but with analogues in laws that were enacted and implemented in other contexts,  the class will explore the meaning of financial anxiety and economic insecurity and discuss why they matter.  The class will then explore various laws. and their implementation by federal and state agencies, as relevant to financial anxiety and economic insecurity.   Subjects that bear upon financial anxiety that will be explored through the prism of law include housing finance, student loan finance, personal information security and climate security. The legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the CARES Act, will be analyzed in relation to how laws regarding financial anxiety and economic insecurity have been crafted by Congress in the last decade as a response to crises such as the financial and foreclosure crisis of 2008,   With these comparative laws and financial contexts, the class will engage in discussions about the extent to which the American legal system is equipped to handle the challenges of dealing with financial anxiety in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will discuss financial anxiety in the larger context of consumer debt, agency and regulatory action, and legislative responsiveness as well as differential impacts related to debt, race and gender. The readings will come from law and non-law sources. The class will discuss issues relevant to the legal system and the study of business law and finance generally, including the use of data to illuminate legal problems, the role of lawyers and business actors, and the nature of modern policymaking.

    556

    Second Amendment: History, Theory, and Practice 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing
    • PIPS elective
    • Fall 20
    • Fall 21
    • Fall 22

    Recent Supreme Court decisions have ushered in a new era of Second Amendment theory, litigation, and politics. Current events keep issues of firearms, gun violence, gun safety, and self-defense constantly in the news. This seminar will explore the Second Amendment and other aspects of federal and state firearms law. Students will be introduced to the historical and public policy materials surrounding the Second Amendment, the regulatory environment concerning firearms, and the political and legal issues pertaining to firearm rights-enforcement and policy design. Evaluation for the seminar will be based on in-class participation and a choice between six short reaction papers or one thirty-page paper.

    586

    Current Debates in Bankruptcy Law 2
    • JD SRWP, option
    • JD elective
    • LLM-LE (JD) elective
    • IntlLLM-SJD-EXC elective
    • IntlLLM writing, option
    • IntlLLM Business Cert
    • PIPS elective
    • Spring 21
    • Spring 22
    • Fall 22
    • Reflective Writing
    • Research paper option, 25+ pages
    • Class participation

    Is bankruptcy broken?  For some years, many academics and practitioners have argued that the nation's business and consumer bankruptcy systems are outdated or otherwise not fit for their intended purpose.  The course will examine selected topics in bankruptcy law relating to this theme (but focusing most heavily on chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code).  Key reading materials will include recent major reports proposing reforms to bankruptcy law, as well as excerpts from the scholarship and leading judicial decisions.  We will consider questions including: what is bankruptcy for? Is it simply a procedural remedy for enforcing substantive rights that exist independent of the bankruptcy case, or an opportunity more fairly to redistribute assets (or losses)? Is bankruptcy special?  Should be Bankruptcy Code be read like any other statute, or do we need special principles for bankruptcy law, and broad equitable powers for bankruptcy courts, to encourage businesses and consumers to reorganize?  We will use case studies like the Purdue Pharma opioid-crisis bankruptcy to assess this.  In the final, consumer bankruptcy component of the course, we will grapple with the reality that most consumer reorganizations are unsuccessful and consider whether the current system strikes the appropriate balance between debtors’ rights and creditors’ protection. 

    We will begin each topic by covering the relevant features of bankruptcy law, and you do not need to have taken a bankruptcy class to take this seminar. The objective of the seminar is to provide insight and into and allow for debate of bankruptcy theory and policy; in the process, we will consider the extent to which abstract theories of bankruptcy hold up in the real world, and the topics we cover will include issues of pressing interest to current bankruptcy practitioners. 

    Students will be required to participate in class discussions. Students may complete either a series of reflection papers examining the reading materials and topics discussed, or one longer 25-30 page paper designed to satisfy the SRWP. 

    Due to substantive overlap in material, 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. 

    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