LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship

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For ten years, Duke Law offered the LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship as a stand-alone degree; we currently offer a dual-degree option for our JD students.

At this time, we are not accepting applications to this degree program for the upcoming academic year.

The Law and Entrepreneurship LLM Program is a two-semester, 24-credit program that builds on Duke Law's existing strengths in the fields of business law, intellectual property law, and innovation policy. It also takes advantage of strategic ties to entrepreneurial companies located in Durham and the surrounding Research Triangle Park region. The program provides a rigorous academic and experiential foundation for lawyers who plan to be involved with innovative businesses, either as advisers, or as CEOs or other executives. You must have received either a JD or an LLM from an accredited U.S. law school OR be a currently active member of a bar in at least one U.S. jurisdiction in order to be eligible to apply.


The program includes five required courses for a total of 16 credits; eight remaining credits must be taken as electives, and other electives may be taken if core course requirements have been met during the JD program.

Fall Semester Core Courses

During the first semester all students will be required to complete a three-course core curriculum. This core includes the following:

  • Law and Entrepreneurship: Develop a deep understanding of the relationship between entrepreneurship and law. Course features regular visits and discussions with entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial lawyers.
  • Advising the Entrepreneurial Client: Learn how to handle the legal issues inherent in the life cycle of a typical startup, from inception and incorporation through the liquidity event.
  • Business Strategy for Lawyers: Develop skills with analytical frameworks drawn from MBA curriculums at leading business schools. (Students may place out of this requirement and instead take an additional elective.)

Spring Semester Core Courses

  • Venture Capital Financing: Focus on the legal and economic structure of venture capital transactions and become familiar with the legal agreements used to document these transactions.
  • Entrepreneurship and the Law Practicum: Work in a venture capital firm, government agency, trade association, private law firm, general counsel's office, or similar setting.

Selected Electives

Students have access to a wide variety of elective courses at the Law School.


The LLMLE program is providing me the opportunity to not only explore my interests further in the classroom, but to apply those interests during the practicum in a real working environment. When I graduate, instead of a set of interests, I will have acquired a set of skills which I will use for the rest of my career.

Megan Pirooz LLMLE'14


Duke Law and Entrepreneurship Program graduates have found employment with startups, law firms, in-house counsel at software and biotech firms, venture capital firms, and university licensing offices. Some graduates have become adjunct faculty in law and business schools. Still others have founded their own firms.