The Duke Program in Law and Entrepreneurship integrates rigorous course work, real-world experience, and high-level networking opportunities to position you to advise, create, and lead the innovative ventures that will drive tomorrow’s global economy.
By completing this LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship alongside the traditional JD degree in three years, you will:
- develop a deep understanding of the historical and current perspectives on entrepreneurship and the law;
- understand the business, institutional, and strategic considerations applicable to entrepreneurs;
- consider the public policy and legal frameworks that promote innovation;
- master both the core substantive law and the lawyering skills that are necessary for effective representation of entrepreneurs; and
- explore your own potential for entrepreneurship.
Already have your JD? Learn more about the 1-year LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship.
The dual JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship (LLMLE) program is a unique experience - the only one in the country - where law students can learn the tools and thinking to work effectively with entrepreneurial ventures. Building on Duke Law's existing strengths in the fields of business law, intellectual property law, and innovation policy and strategic ties to entrepreneurial companies located in nearby Research Triangle Park, the Program in Law & Entrepreneurship offers a distinctive and rigorous educational experience.
JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship students complete requirements for both degrees over six semesters of law study and a startup immersion experience during the summer following their first year. Required courses include Advising the Entrepreneurial Client, Law & Entrepreneurship, Analytical Methods, and Business Strategy. JD/LLM LE students also participate in a non-law firm externship at a local startup company and/or the Start-up Ventures Clinic.
Additionally, up to three classes may be taken outside of Duke Law, with permission from Academic Affairs. JD/LLMLE students who have a business idea are encouraged to take classes for credit through Fuqua School of Business through the Program for Entrepreneurs, where you’ll work alongside an MBA student and another peer to launch your business over multiple semesters.
To apply for the JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship program, candidates complete the regular JD application and indicate their intent to enroll in the JD/LLMLE. No additional application materials or standardized testing are required.
Candidates for the JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship do not need to apply separately to any school or program at Duke other than the Law School. Complete the regular JD application, but indicate that you wish to be considered for the dual degree. You may apply to only one dual degree program.
Application Review Process
JD/LLMLE applications are reviewed through the regular Law School process. Although there are no specific prerequisites or admission requirements, the admissions committee pays particular attention to applicants with a background in business, finance, and entrepreneurial activity. In rare instances where the applicant is a strong candidate for the JD program but lacks this additional experience, the admissions committee may offer admission to the JD only.
Additional Application Materials
JD/LLMLE candidates are not required to submit a statement of purpose for the LLM; however, we encourage applicants to address their interest in law and entrepreneurship, either in their personal statement or include the JD/LLM Addendum attachment.
The LSAT is required for all Law School dual degree applicants. No additional testing is required for the JD/LLMLE.
Academic Advisor: Dean Lacoff
Students enrolled in the JD/LLM-LE must earn 108 law credits to graduate. This is 87 JD credits and 21 LLM-LE credits, calculated as follows:
- 87 credits for the JD degree
21 credits for the LLM-LE degree
- 7 of these credits will also count toward the 87 JD credits. The applicable courses are Securities Regulation (4 credits) and Business Strategy for Lawyers (3 credits).
- The remaining 14 credits are in addition to the 87 credits required for the JD.
- Total coursework: 101 credits
The JD/LLM-LE credits must be comprised of the following
- The eight prescribed first-year courses:
*Note: Joint degree students will take Constitutional Law in the fall of 2L year. For JD-LLM-LE students, Constitutional Law is replaced with Business Associations in the spring of 1L year.
- LE Summer Program: Completion of the Entrepreneurship Immersion course during the summer between 1L and 2L year.
LE Upper-Level Courses:
- The Way it All Works (1L Wintersession)
- Business Associations (spring 1L year)
- Intellectual Property (fall 2L year)
- Law & Entrepreneurship (fall 2L year)
- Analytical Methods (fall 2L year)
- Structuring Venture Capital and Private Equity Transactions or Advising the Entrepreneurial Client (fall 2L year)
- Securities Regulation (spring 2L year)
- Venture Capital Financing or Corporate Finance (spring 2L year)
- Deal Skills for the Transactional Lawyer or Negotiation or another skills-based course approved by Prof. Buell (fall 3L year)
- Start-Up Ventures Clinic or Community Enterprise Law Clinic (fall 3L year) or LLM-LE Practicum (spring 3L year)
- Business Strategy for Lawyers (fall 3L year)
- JD Ethics Requirement: A two-credit course in ethics and professional responsibility.
- JD Substantial Research and Writing Project Requirement: One faculty-supervised research paper for a minimum of two credits. This may be fulfilled by way of a seminar or an independent study. The SRWP paper must be a solo project; group projects may not be used to fulfill the requirement. The student's engagement in a substantial research and writing project must be registered with the Registrar's Office no later than the end of the drop/add period of the student's fifth semester. Courses that satisfy the SWRP are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "JD - substantial research and writing."
- JD Experiential Learning Requirement: A minimum six credits in simulation courses, clinics and/or externships. Courses that satisfy the Experiential Learning Requirement are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "experiential learning." Prescribed courses within the JD-LLM-LE curriculum that count toward the experiential learning requirement include the following: Community Enterprise Law Clinic, Deal Skills for the Transactional Lawyer, Negotiation, Start-Up Ventures Clinic, and The Way it All Works.
- JD/LLM-LE Electives: students are expected to maximize the value of the JD/LLM-LE program by selecting JD courses with a total of at least 16 credits to complement the prescribed program curriculum. LE electives are identified in the Course Browser.
Regularly-Scheduled Courses: A minimum 64 of the 101 credits must be earned in law courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction.
Regularly-scheduled law school courses include
- Law School courses and seminars, including courses cross-listed at the Law School but originating in another school or department at the University.
- Law School clinics
- Regularly-scheduled courses completed at another ABA-accredited law school, including through the inter-institutional agreement with UNC and NCCU and transfer credits for students who completed the first year at another law school or who visited away at another law school.
- Credits from an approved study abroad program.
Regularly-scheduled law school courses do NOT include
- Independent study
- Non-law courses
- Research tutorials
- Ad hoc seminars
- Regularly-scheduled law school courses include
All students are responsible for monitoring their compliance with the graduation requirements.