555.01 Law and Financial Anxiety

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.

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. Students may not enroll in both Law 288: Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt and Law 555: Law and Financial Anxiety without instructor permission. 

Spring 2024

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Reflective Writing
Research paper option, 25+ pages
Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
Oral presentation
Class participation
Sarah Bloom Raskin
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW-555-01-Sp24
Email list: LAW-555-01-Sp24@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice
Course Areas of Practice