JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship

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The dual JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship 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.

Erika Buell and students at Muir WoodsBuilding 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 Law & Entrepreneurship Program offers a distinctive and rigorous educational experience.

By completing the 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.

JD/LLM in Law & 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 Business Associations, Advising the Entrepreneurial Client, Securities Regulation, Analytical Methods, and Business Strategy, along with courses in intellectual property and finance. JD/LLM-LE students also participate in a non-law firm practicum at a local startup company or investment firm, and/or the Start-up Ventures Clinic.

Additionally, up to three classes may be taken outside of Duke Law, with permission from Academic Affairs. Students who have a business idea are encouraged to take classes for credit through Fuqua School of Business, where you’ll work alongside an MBA student and another peer to launch your business over multiple semesters. 

How to Apply

To apply for the JD/LLM in Law & 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 & 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

Applications to the dual JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship 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/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship 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.