PUBLISHED:June 30, 2014

Rising 2Ls: Registration Advice

Dear 2L Students,


We hope you are enjoying your summer!  With the release of the Fall 2014 class schedule, we know many of you are in planning mode for the upcoming semester.  Below, you will find course registration advice  information about Foundations grades, and an update on a new clinical offering.  


Course registration advice.  The registration portal is intended to be a one-stop shop for information about course registration.  There, you can find the Fall 2014 class schedule, registration dates and times, new & notable classes, faculty advice on course sequencing, and within the next few weeks, the fall 2014 exam schedule and a tentative spring 2015 class schedule.   On the right-hand side of that page, you will find a section devoted to frequently asked questions (FAQs).  Even with all of this information available, it can be difficult to know where to begin in scheduling your classes.  Following are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions that may help you get started on planning your semester:


  • What are my degree requirements?  In a nutshell, rising 2L students seeking the JD only must complete 87 credits, and as part of those 87 credits, satisfy three additional JD requirements:  ethics, professional skills and upper-level writing.  Dual degree students also must complete the ethics, professional skills and upper-level writing requirements, but JD/LLM students (international, and law and entrepreneurship) must complete 107 credits, and students earning a dual degree outside of the law school must earn 75 law credits.  JD/LLM and dual degree students also must complete additional degree requirements associated with their second degree program.  Please visit the JD degree requirements page and the JD/LLM and dual degree requirements pages to learn more about your graduation requirements.
  • How many credits should I take next semester?  The answer depends on several things, including whether you are in a dual degree program, intend to participate in OCI, or will be a student organization leader or journal member.  After the first year, JD students must complete an average of 13.5 credits per semester.  The minimum number of credits you can take in any semester is 12, and JD students who anticipate a busy fall 2L semester may choose to take a lighter course load (ie.,12-14 credits).  Check out Professor Beale's general course selection advice on this topic.
    • I am a dual degree student.  How many credits should I take?  The typical JD/LLM in international and comparative law and JD/LLM-LE student must average a little more than 15 credits (~15.25) per semester during 2L and 3L years, and a dual degree student (earning a JD with another school) must average 10.5 law credits per semester during 2L and 3L years.  For questions about managing credits as a JD/LLM or dual degree student, please contact Anne Sherman ( 
  • What classes satisfy the ethics requirement?  Successful completion of an ethics course that provides instruction in the model rules of professional conduct is both a graduation requirement and a prerequisite for most clinics and externships.  For this reason, we encourage rising students to complete this requirement during 2L.  The classes that satisfy the ethics requirement in fall 2014 are:  Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering for Civil Litigation (LAW 239), Criminal Justice Ethics (Law 317), and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).   Readings in Ethics (611A) does not satisfy the ethics requirement.  At least two large sections of Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (Law 238) will be offered in the spring semester as well.
  • What is the upper-level writing requirement, and when should I plan to complete this?  ​To satisfy the JD writing requirement, students must complete "an original analytic paper of substantial length (ordinarily 30 pages)," under the supervision of a faculty member who provides feedback to the student on a draft of the paper.  The student must revise the paper taking into account the faculty member’s feedback.  Students may satisfy this requirement in a seminar, an upper-level writing class, or other course, an independent study, or a journal note.  Students may complete the requirement as early as 2L fall, but should start the project no later than the fifth semester of law school.  There are two forms associated with the upper-level writing requirement:  the registration form, which you submit during drop/add of the semester in which you intend to complete the writing requirement, and the certification form, which must be submitted at the end of the semester to document completion of this requirement.    Law School Rule 3-31 outlines the JD writing requirement in detail.
  • How can I practice or improve my legal writing skills?  If you are interested in practicing or improving your legal writing skills, consider taking one of the upper-level writing courses taught next semester by our legal writing faculty:
  • How do I know what classes to take?  ​While there are few required courses after 1L, Professor Beale's advice highlights the conventional wisdom that Duke Law students should consider taking Business Associations, Evidence, Federal Income Tax and Administrative Law before they graduate.  These classes are offered every semester, and are building blocks for more advanced coursework in the Law School.  Beyond those classes, you may want to consult the course sequencing advice developed by Duke Law's faculty for students interested in corporate law, litigation and public interest.  You also may want to talk directly with Duke Law faculty in your areas of interest, LEAD Fellows or mentors, career advisors, and practitioners in your field.  You also can meet with Anne Sherman to talk through curricular options. 
  • What classes have prerequisites or corequisites?  Information about pre- and corequisites can be found in the description for a course, and a general guide to prerequisites will be available on the registration portal (coming soon!).  Some prerequisites of which you should be aware are:
    • Evidence is a prerequisite for Trial Practice
    • Ethics is a prerequisite for clinics and externships, including Duke in DC (see above)
    • Copyright is a prerequisite for Entertainment Law
    • Business Associations is a co- or prerequisite for Mergers & Acquisitions
    • Mergers & Acquisitions is a prerequisite for Deal Skills
    • International Human Rights Advocacy is a co- or prerequisite for the International Human Rights Clinic


Introducing the new Civil Justice Clinic!  The Law School is offering a new clinic this fall – the Civil Justice Clinic – enabling students to provide substantive legal assistance to low-income clients on civil litigation matters in partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina.  The Clinic is a one-semester, four credit course, offered in both the fall and spring.  As with our other clinical courses, the Clinic will include three basic components: a substantive seminar, direct client representation, and individual supervision and instruction. All students who participate in the Clinic will have an opportunity to participate in a hearing or trial during the course of the semester.

Please be on the look-out for future correspondence about course registration, and feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.


Anne Sherman, Assistant Dean, Academic Advising