Note: Course descriptions are subject to change as individual professors develop their plans for each course.
Law 655: Spanish for Legal Studies
Sebastian Kielmanovich, L ’04
The purpose of the course is to introduce students to Spanish legal concepts and technical language used in the civil law tradition as applied in Latin America. The course seeks to improve the Spanish oral and written communication skills of the students. The course seeks also to expose students to some of the main issues that may arise in the practice of law dealing with Latin America. Thus, there will be discussion of cultural, historical and political traits of the region in order to provide students with better tools as facilitators of human international relations between English and Spanish speakers. The overall objective of the course is to enrich the possibilities that Spanish as a second language brings to the profession. Prerequisite: Spanish language skills sufficient to follow a class, participate and understand the written materials. If you have questions about the degree of Spanish required please consult with the instructor before registration.
El objetivo del curso es familiarizar a los estudiantes con los principales conceptos juridicos y lenguaje tecnico que se utiliza en la tradicion del derecho civil en la America de habla castellana. Se busca mejorar las habilidades de comunicacion oral y escrita en el idioma castellano. El curso busca tambien explorar algunas de las cuestiones principales que se le pueden presentar a un abogado extranjero en su practica con America Latina. Por lo tanto, se hablara de cuestiones culturales, historicas y politicas de America Latina para dar mayores herramientas al los estudiantes como futuros facilitadores de la comunicacion humana para una utilizacion mas enriquecedora de las posibilidades que brinda el castellano como un segundo idioma. Pre-requisito: Dominio suficiente del idioma castellano para poder seguir una clase, intercambiar opiniones y comprender los materiales. Si tiene preguntas sobre el nivel de dominio del lenguaje necesario, por favor consulte al instructor antes de registrarse.
Law 809: Litigation Strategy in the Corporate Context
Chris Hart, L ’05
Students will explore the role of the litigator in advising corporate colleagues and clients concerning the risks and benefits with pursuing a claim, including identifying the gateway and substantive issues, the most cost-effective approaches, and client business interests and goals. After reviewing a mock purchase agreement that ended in a dispute, students will be divided into two groups—one representing the buyer, the other the seller—and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their respective clients’ positions and propose a strategy, including the likelihood of success and potential recovery, to “the client.”Students will explore the role of the litigator in advising corporate colleagues and clients concerning the risks and benefits with pursuing a claim, including identifying the gateway and substantive issues, the most cost-effective approaches, and client business interests and goals. After reviewing a mock purchase agreement that ended in a dispute, students will be divided into two groups—one representing the buyer, the other the seller—and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their respective clients’ positions and propose a strategy, including the likelihood of success and potential recovery, to “the client.”
Law 814: Basics for the Finance Lawyer
Alexandra Johnson, T ‘99
This course will serve as a practical introduction to the practice of law and concepts related to a general commercial finance transaction. Students will engage in an article-by-article review of a sample loan agreement and hypothetical proposed transaction, thereby becoming familiar with the underlying concepts, the relevant business considerations and the types/structure of relevant documents, the interplay of contract provisions across an entire deal, and the underlying legal framework.
Law 815: Advising a Distressed Enterprise and Its Stakeholders
This course will provide students with a practical understanding of the role of outside counsel to a variety of key stakeholders in complex, high-stakes, and fast-paced business reorganizations – including distressed companies and their officers and directors, secured and unsecured creditors, distressed investors, and formal and informal committees. Discussion topics include (i) advising the Board of Directors of a distressed company during periods of significant uncertainty and risk, including as to fiduciary responsibilities and liability concerns; (ii) out-of-court and in-court restructuring alternatives, techniques, and pitfalls; (iii) preparation, commencement, and administration of a case under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code; (iv) key issues in chapter 11 proceedings, including the automatic stay, DIP financing, cash collateral, plan exclusivity, plan formulation, cramdown, 363 sales, examiners/trustees, third-party releases, and Bankruptcy Court jurisdiction and appeals; and (v) negotiation strategies and the increasing use of mediation in chapter 11. Discussions will highlight recent chapter 11 case law, and also will touch briefly upon the role of counsel to a distressed municipality and its creditors, with a brief overview of Puerto Rico’s municipal debt crisis.
Law 816: Counseling & Creating a New Entity
Bryan McGann, LLMLE ‘15
Meet your new client—StryveTek. StryveTek is an innovative start-up looking to form a legal entity and get started pursuing the dreams of its founders. They’ve come to you for help. Where do you go from here? Students in Counseling & Creating a New Entity will learn to counsel a new entity from the initial phone call to the preparation of organizational documents. Discussion will cover the variety of legal entities available for business, social enterprise, and philanthropic purposes—corporations, LLCs, and nonprofit corporations—and the several legal disciplines involved in the formation of an entity (e.g., corporate, tax, and securities law). Students will work with real document forms to learn how to get StryveTek up and running!
Law 820-01: Deposition Practice and Strategy
Dan Katz, L ’83
Students will learn the basic nuts and bolts of taking and defending depositions: how to prepare for a deposition, how to formulate effective questions, what objections to raise and when, how to handle difficult witnesses and counsel, etc. Students will also learn how deposition strategy directly impacted the outcome of actual trials handled by Mr. Katz. Active student participation is encouraged.
Law 820-02 & -03: Deposition Practice (two sections)
Lily Farel, L ‘06; Paul Sun, L ‘89
Students will learn the basic nuts and bolts of taking and defending depositions: how to prepare for a deposition, how to formulate effective questions, what objections to raise and when, how to handle difficult witnesses, etc. Students will have the opportunity to participate in interactive deposition exercises focused on question technique, strategy, and content.
Law 822: Hearings Practice
Collin Cox, L ‘01
Students will consider strategies both for when to draft/offer motions in an ongoing litigation matter, and how best to draft and argue such motions in a hearing before a judge. During the course, students will participate in practical mock hearing exercises, with the opportunity for direct feedback on arguments and styles.
Law 825: Practice and Strategic Development of International Transactions: Investment in Latin America
Stuart Berkson and José Meirelles
This course explores the fundamental issues, strategic considerations, and principles inherent in transnational business transactions in Latin America and the role of the international attorney in structuring and implementing such transactions. Class time is devoted to a case study of a merger and acquisition transaction involving the purchase of a Brazilian entity by a US multinational corporation. The process of constructing an "international deal" is analyzed step by step, exploring all phases of the venture. Focus is given to recognizing and anticipating potential areas of conflict and evaluating the appropriate and legally viable measures available to address these issues.
Law 832: Internal Investigations
Valecia McDowell, L ‘98
Students will study the range of legal and practical issues in the conduct of in-house investigations of potential illegal conduct by corporate employees and officers. Students will participate in simulated exercises involving interviews of company employees in the course of a hypothetical investigation.
Law 837: Legal and Policy Aspects of U.S. Civil-Military Relations
Maj. Gen. Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF (Ret.)
The seminar will address the Constitutional and statutory structure of U.S. civil-military relations, as well as contemporary issues relating to the role of the armed forces in policy debates, politics, and social issues. In addition, it will examine case studies that illustrate the tensions that can arise between the armed forces and the civilian leadership in a variety of circumstances. Methodologies and approaches for ensuring productive civil-military relations will also be discussed.
Law 844: The Counselor and the Client: The Corporate Context
Professor Erika Buell; William Curtin T ‘92; Will Yavinsky, T ‘05
This course is designed to introduce first-year JD students to the commercial, regulatory and institutional environment of contemporary business transactions, and the role of attorneys in advising and facilitating those transactions. Students will gain an understanding of the mechanisms, processes and personalities that accompany everyday commercial transactions and will be acquainted with the vocabulary used in business and other organizations. The purpose of the course is to provide a greater understanding of the business context in which lawyers function. The course is intended for all students whatever their ultimate focus and is not designed particularly for students who intend to practice corporate law. Given its introductory nature, first-year students taking Business Associations during the Spring 2021 should not take this course.
Law 846: Compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
Suzanne Katzenstein and Brian Zuercher
This course will explore some of the main legal and practical issues surrounding compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Drawing on recent judicial decisions, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, and the DOJ’s and SEC’s Resource Guide, students will explore topics that include: Who is a “foreign official;” what is “corrupt intent;” what constitutes a “reasonable and a bon fide expense;” when does the exception for facilitation payments apply; and what is the knowledge requirement for third parties. The course will offer practice-oriented exercises to introduce the nuts and bolts of FPCA compliance practice, including on conducting due diligence and performing risks assessments. Students will also discuss when to voluntarily disclose a potential wrongdoing, when to turn to outside counsel for third-party evaluation and when to keep investigations internal.
Law 848: Insurance Law
Richard Nicolaides, T’86
Students will become familiar with basic issues and concepts of insurance and insurance coverage. Insurance is a trillion-dollar per year industry and impacts in numerous ways on a broad range of commercial and litigation practices. Assignments and practical discussion items will include key concepts in identifying relevant insurance and related insurance coverage issues, understanding insurance policies and the role of insurance in litigation, as well as related risk transfer issues.
Law 853: The Way It All Works: Investing, Negotiating, and Operating in the Real World
Taught from the perspective of a private equity investor, CEO, and law school graduate, this course will provide students the “big picture” of how the universe of money is organized, enterprises are valued, and how lawyers, accountants, and other consultants and advisors fit into the process of raising capital, selling a company, and conducting due diligence. Students will explore concepts such as valuation (assets vs. enterprise valuation), EBITDA, allocation of risk, hurdle rates, basic financial statement analysis, merger agreement construction, and other investment-related topics, with a focus on real-world insights into how these principles work in practice. Through a simulated purchase of two competing lemonade stands, students will learn how to derive and document purchase price, while also understanding how societal biases and judgments of “value” and “success” can create systemic imbalances and arbitrage, both negative and positive, within individuals and institutions.
Law 856: Investor-State Relations: An Arbitration Case Study
Isabella Bellera Landa L'14, and Brody Greenwald T '01
This course will introduce students to current controversies in international commercial and investment-treaty arbitration. Students will develop advocacy skills used by practitioners to resolve international disputes--and to shape the future of these global institutions.
Law 859: Current Problems in Antitrust Litigation
This course will explore, and bring together, several strands of reasoning in antitrust law and litigation: First, students will examine how antitrust law relies on broad principles whose formulation and maturation is developed inductively through common law techniques. Put more simply, antitrust doctrine is made through specific cases, i.e., the law comes litigation, it is not made by Congress or an agency promulgating regulations. Second, students will appreciate antitrust law’s elasticity which balances broad principles being applied to different industries whose economics may be very different. Third, students will understand why some of the greatest lawyers in the last century—Louis Brandeis (a famous antitrust plaintiffs’ lawyer), David Boies, John Paul Stevens, Patrick Lynch, and others—were antitrust lawyers: their abilities combined legal and factual rigor with creativity. Students will explore these strands by discussing five “problems” in antitrust litigation: (1) class certification (including the critical concepts of proving “classide” impact with “common” proof under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3)); (2) making economic testimony understandable and persuasive; (3) antitrust in an era of standard essential patents (how do we apply antitrust principles to standard setting?); (4) the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act and Extraterritoriality; and (5) “Neo-Brandeisian”, a/k/a ‘hipster’ antitrust: Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.
Law 863: Life or Death: The Decision-Making Process in a Death Penalty Case
Students will follow how a major state attorney’s office handled death penalty eligible cases from the initial crime scene visit through the conclusion of the case. The course will use a specific case study – the 2009 Thanksgiving Day murders of four family members in Jupiter, Florida – to examine how charging decisions were made, including the legal criteria and other case-related issues. One of the exercises may include having students conduct a mock capital case review in a homicide case. The course also will discuss legislative and executive actions that influence how a prosecutor makes the decision to charge and/or resolve a capital case (including, as an example, the current and very public conflict between the Florida Governor and the State Attorney for the Ninth Circuit in Florida). Finally, the course examines the evolving law relating to jury and judicial decision-making in death penalty cases.
Law 867: Leadership and Communication in the Law
Paige Gentry, L ‘13, and Elle Gilley, L ‘13
The practice of law functions through teamwork. To be successful and effective in this environment, a lawyer must be able to communicate, collaborate, and lead within her organization. Her success depends on the willingness of others to work with her, work for her, and mentor her. This course recognizes the importance of these internal relationships and aims to prepare students for the communication, teamwork, and leadership required of young practitioners. Through a combination of theory, case studies, and group exercises, students in this course will begin to develop (1) an understanding of their own communication and leadership styles and skills; (2) an understanding of the communication and leadership styles of others; (3) skills to identify how and when to manage up, manage down, and collaborate within a team; (4) skills to effectively manage and work with teams; and (5) best practices for navigating difficult conversations and team dynamics.
Law 868: Commercial Real Estate Transactions and Litigation: A Primer
Joe Creech, L ’04, and Brian Schwalb, T ‘89
Commercial real estate transactions and the litigation they spawn have historically been strong indicators of existing and future market performance. Whether practicing in the depths of an economic recession or advising clients at the peak of a market cycle, successful real estate attorneys must be adept not only at recognizing legal issues, but also at identifying key business concerns and the related pitfalls their clients are likely to face. This course will introduce students to the core types of real estate transactions practicing attorneys are likely to encounter, with a particular focus on how certain issues and relationships common in real estate transactions often lead to disputes and litigation. Real world case studies, as well as select break-out discussion sessions, will be utilized to identify and reinforce key business considerations and transactional/litigation strategy.
Law 869: The Right to Bargain in Professional and Amateur Sports
Cari Grieb, L ‘06 and DeMaurice Smith
This course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the “right to bargain collectively” under the National Labor Relations Act, and its implications for both professional and amateur athletes. In the first class, students will learn how professional athletes in the Big Four have utilized this right within the past few years to negotiate domestic violence policies between players associations and leagues; students will also participate in a mock collective bargaining session, where they will negotiate domestic violence policies that improve upon the current policies in effect today. The second class will examine various consequences of college athletes having a legal right to bargain; students will participate in a mock negotiation between Hayste University and all of its university athletes, where the class will focus on the ramifications of any removal of the “student-athlete” designation from Hayste athletics.
Law 870: Artificial Intelligence: Navigating the Evolving Legal Landscape
Lee Tiedrich, E ‘88
This course will begin with an overview of artificial intelligence, including the impact it is having on society and the economy as well as on the technology. The course also will focus on the emerging legal issues arising in connection with AI. We will examine the ongoing debates about AI ethics, governance and trustworthiness. In addition, we will examine emerging issues with respect to data and intellectual property rights. We will discuss strategies for managing the emerging legal issues, and students will have an opportunity to develop strategies for managing a hypothetical/mock AI product.
Law 872: CFIUS and Cross-Border Mergers & Acquisitions
Jeff Zhang, L’05
This course will examine, from a practitioner’s perspective, the evolving history of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and its functions, procedures, and expanded jurisdictions under the new FIRRMA legislation. For cross-border M&A attorneys, CFIUS has posed new challenges at the deal-structuring stage. Students will examine a few recent CFIUS cases involving buyers from Asia, and how deal lawyers can add “value” to the deal-making process by helping their clients navigate the CFIUS regime. The course will conclude with a few open-ended questions surrounding the constitutionality of the CFIUS regime and the justification of its extra-territoriality.
Law 873: Prosecutorial Ethics
Shane Stansbury and Jason Cowley
Justice Robert Jackson once observed that “[t]he prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.” This course will examine the ethical obligations that accompany that influence. We will consider the prosecutor’s broad discretion at each stage of the criminal process, from the initiation of an investigation through trial and sentencing. We will examine the kinds of decisions that can lead to misconduct and consider how such misconduct might be remedied or deterred. We will also consider to what extent a prosecutor’s decisions are influenced by the interests of other parties (e.g., victims, investigating agents, the public) and what it means for a prosecutor to “seek justice.” Real-world case studies and simulations will be employed.
Law 880: Introduction to Research for Public Interest Practice
This advanced legal research seminar will introduce students to processes, strategies, and sources for legal research in public interest practice. We will cover primary and secondary sources with an emphasis on free and low-cost research tools. We will also introduce tools for factual research and non-legal literature searches. Students will develop their research skills through a variety of practical, hands-on exercises.
Law 881, Basics of M&A: Deal Process and Documentation
Caroline Gottschalk, L ‘90
This course will provide students with an introduction to the fundamentals of mergers and acquisition transactions from diligence (and before) to closing (and beyond). It will cover the spectrum of M&A transactions, as well as the types of documents that one might encounter, prepare and/or negotiate. Opportunities for interaction may include one or more of drafting/marking up a short agreement, sample negotiation or analysis of a deal gone awry.
Additional information about how to access and complete these courses will be shared with enrolled students at the end of the initial registration period, and on an ongoing basis during drop/add.
Law 874: Improve Your Microsoft Excel Skills
Whether in a litigation or transactional practice, highly effective attorneys share in common the ability to track, manage, and present information in an efficient and accessible way – including in the form of numbers and figures. Excel is an invaluable tool in information management; for example, it can be used to (1) create sophisticated timelines for complex litigation or financing deals; (2) maintain case or deal status updates; (3) make calculations of value using multiple interactive and interdependent variables and (4) organize assignments. Students in this course will learn the basics of Excel and how to make Excel work for them, including how to find and use functions in Excel’s function library, write simple formulas, and practice good formula design. The minimum amount of time to earn 0.5 credit will be 9 hours, 47 minutes. Basic knowledge of Excel is required; any student who is unfamiliar with Excel but would like to take the course should complete this one-hour primer first: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/learning-excel-2019/build-your-foundation-in-excel?u=77842946
Effective project management goes beyond using a calendar or keeping a docket system; it focuses on developing the tools and skills to proactively plan, budget, execute, evaluate, and, perhaps most importantly, communicate about a given undertaking, whether it be related to possible litigation or a corporate transaction under review. Students in this course will learn the basics of project management, regardless of setting, including ethics, communications, teamwork, managing requirements, and risk. To earn 0.5 credit, a student must complete the entire learning path of 9 hours, 41 minutes.
Law 876: Develop Your Presentation Skills
Lawyers are often called upon to speak—in meetings, in court, in negotiations, in administrative hearings, and in many other settings—but don’t always study or practice public speaking for its own sake. The further a lawyer advances in her career, the more she’ll be called upon to exercise this critical skill, and to present information in a visually compelling way when needed. Students in this course will examine what makes the difference in public speaking, from preparation to presentation to presence. To earn 0.5 credit, a student must complete the first nine courses, plus either the training on Powerpoint (for a total of 9 hours, 17 minutes) or the training on Keynote (for a total of 10 hours, 10 minutes).
Litigators and corporate attorneys alike need to understand basic accounting and finance skills, such as how to read a balance sheet, how to classify debts and assets, and business concepts and structures that underlie agreements—and disputes. Students in this course will review basic concepts related to financial analysis, accounting, and budgeting, and learn how to use financial data to diagnose business conditions and understand issues. To earn 0.5 credit, a student must complete all modules, except Bookkeeping (which is optional), for a minimum total of 9 hours, 47 minutes.
Data fluency is especially critical for lawyers working in policy, and decision-makers working to help make better law based on data. In this course, students will learn how to prepare data, explore it visually, and use statistical methods to describe it and determine next steps. To earn 0.5 credit, a student must complete the first three modules, a minimum total of 9 hours, 48 minutes, with the fourth module optional.
Taught by Duke faculty, this course teaches best practices for how to use data analytics to make any company more competitive and more profitable. Students will learn to recognize the most critical business metrics and distinguish them from mere data, and how to score any company on how effectively it is embracing big data culture. To earn 0.5 credit, a student must complete the entire eight-hour course.