589.01 Legislative Advocacy

This course is designed to introduce students to the state legislative process and prepare them to be competent, thoughtful advocates on behalf of community groups and coalitions. Through simulation activities, students will have multiple opportunities to learn how to engage in effective legislative and policy advocacy, including drafting legislative language, analyzing bills, creating advocacy materials, communicating with key stakeholders, and presenting testimony before a legislative body. Students will explore the legal and ethical dimensions of legislative advocacy and examine the different roles that lawyers can play in effecting change.

During the semester, students will take on the role of legislative advocate on behalf of a community group or coalition. They will follow the development of a piece of legislation from the idea phase through a public hearing. This process includes: (1) understanding a bill from the perspective of a community group/coalition; (2) defining the problem that may be solved (or created) by this bill’s passage; (3) drafting and re-drafting legislative language to strengthen and/or change the bill; (4) drafting a “backgrounder” for legislators and the general public; and (5) developing and presenting arguments in support of the bill. 

Students will work in teams of three or four to represent the interests of a simulated community group or coalition – their “client” – throughout the legislative process. Each student team’s client will represent a different perspective on the proposed bill. Class sessions will break down each procedural component and provide students with multiple opportunities to develop and practice their legislative advocacy skills simulated activities, written assignments, and reflections. Students will receive contemporaneous and written feedback from their professor and peers; students also will engage in regular self-assessment.

This course is open to 2L and 3L JD students. LLM students may enroll with permission of the instructor.

Fall 2023

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Group project(s)
Practical exercises
Class participation
Allison Korn
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW-589-01-F23
Email list: LAW-589-01-F23@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice
Course Areas of Practice