Ad Hoc Seminars, Capstone Projects & Independent Studies

Ad Hoc Seminars

Ad Hoc Seminars are student-developed, student-directed seminars that explore specialized topics. Students create the course proposal and syllabus and seek a faculty facilitator to support the course.

Recent ad-hoc seminars include: East Asian Legal Studies, Gaming Law, Hate Crimes and the Law, International Criminal Tribunal, Introduction to Asylum Law, Juries, Latter-Day Saints' Perspectives and the Law, Sit Ins, Walkouts, and Blow Ups, The War on Drugs, and Wine Law.

How to propose an Ad Hoc Seminar

Capstone Projects

In response to the American Bar Association's challenge to bring more practical training into legal education, Duke offers third-year students an opportunity that is unique among elite law schools: to develop a "Capstone Project." Students work closely with a faculty member on an intensive, real-life project that builds on previous study and integrates academic and practical learning.

Third-year Capstone Projects provide students the foundational skills for the transition between law school and the beginning of their professional careers, whether in private practice, public service, teaching, or a non-law position. Projects will introduce students to complex legal problem-solving comparable to the work expected of young scholars, associates at top law firms, and junior lawyers at national public interest law firms or major regulatory agencies. Although the precise parameters of each individual project will be flexible, the program will have core requirements for each project, including a substantial final written work product that reflects the process of planning, analysis, implementation, and evaluation. All projects will be supervised by a member of the governing faculty, and in some cases with the assistance of outside experts in the substantive area of the project.

In undertaking a Capstone Project, students will spend a substantial portion of time over the semester or academic year engaged in intensive legal work in an area of professional interest. Capstone Projects will allow third-year law students, working alone or in teams of up to four students, to translate what they have learned during the first two years of law school into practical legal skills through in-depth exploration of a particular area of the law or public policy, while expanding their problem solving and team-building skills.

How to create a Capstone Project

Independent Studies

Independent studies offer students the opportunity to pursue a particular interest or passion through in-depth research and the production of a final paper similar to those submitted in seminars. Students undertaking independent study projects typically meet with their supervising faculty member(s) at least several times throughout the semester to ensure that the project is progressing as both parties expect.

Independent Study Enrollment Form