Main Content

Note: Course descriptions are subject to change as individual professors develop their plans for each course.

Law 800: Basics of Accounting

Professor James D. Cox

Students will learn the basic skills involved in commercial accounting: how to read a balance sheet, how to classify debts and assets, etc. The course will include budgeting and accounting exercises designed to simulate real business scenarios. Open to 1Ls.

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.”

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 816: Counseling & Creating a New Entity

Bryan McGann, LLMLE ‘15

Whether you are counseling entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, or you are the entrepreneur, one of the first decisions you will make will be to establish an entity for the business to operate. In determining the appropriate entity type, astute attorneys will consider several areas of business and legal fundamentals, such as financial need, intellectual property protection, liability protection, regulatory needs, and other areas that matter when deciding what type of entity to create. Students in this course will learn to counsel a new entity from the initial phone call to the preparation of creation 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, intellectual property, and securities law). Among other activities, students will be exposed to real organizational documents, will learn the proper client interview techniques that will inform us in our entity recommendations, and will learn to navigate the secretary of state’s office where entities are created. Open to 1Ls.

Law 817: Excel for Lawyers

W.H. “Kip” Johnson III, T’88, L’94, B’94

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 specific to the practice of law, 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 and when and how to use absolute, relative, and mixed addressing. No prior experience with Excel is required. Open to 1Ls.

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. Open to 1Ls.

Law 831: In-House Legal Practice

Gray McCalley, L ’79, and Allen Nelson, T ‘86, L ‘89

Students in this course will (i) explore the role of in-house counsel as counsel and in-house counsel as a member of a larger commercial organization (publicly-traded company, large division of a publicly-traded company, large family-owned private company), (ii) gain an understanding of the skills that make counsel, but especially in-house counsel, effective, and (iii) apply these skills during a team assignment which will result in a presentation to “the client.” The focus of the course will be almost exclusively on the effective delivery of situation-relevant legal guidance within an organization versus examining the intricacies of a specific area of law. In the process students will be exposed to issues commonly encountered by in-house counsel, from determining who the client is to the organizational dynamics of providing legal guidance.

Law 832:  Internal Investigations

Valecia McDowell, T ’95, 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. Open to 1Ls.

Law 844:  The Counselor and the Client: The Corporate Context

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. Open only to 1Ls. Given its introductory nature, first-year students taking Business Associations during the Spring 2023 semester should not take this course.

Law 846: Compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

Cassandra Creekman 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

James Rhee

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 860: Advising Clients on Use of Trademarks and Copyrighted Material

Lisa Simpson, T ’91, L ‘94

This course will focus on the practical application of trademark and copyright law. Using examples from actual disputes, we will discuss how to advise clients who present with questions about whether they can use a particular trademark or copyrighted work. The first phase of this course will focus on trademark and specifically likelihood of confusion and infringement analysis. After a brief overview of trademark law, we will divide into groups to discuss various real-life trademark disputes and develop a plan of advice and strategy for the client in those particular scenarios. The second phase of the course will focus on fair use in copyright infringement. Similar to trademark, we will start with a short introduction to copyright and the fair use analysis, followed by group break-out discussions about certain real world examples and whether the proposed use is a fair use.

Law 861: Perspectives and Foundations of Justice

Julie Youngman, T’ 87, L ‘94

This course is designed to give first-year students a chance to step back from the detailed rules of doctrinal courses and think critically about the connections between those courses and the broader role of the law in achieving justice. We’ll explore different philosophies with which judges may approach their decision-making, and we’ll consider ways that attorneys can promote justice through their work. For the second half of class, we’ll uses Lon Fuller’s classic Harvard Law Review article, “The Case of The Speluncean Explorers” – an imaginary court opinion about explorers trapped in a cave who resort to cannibalism to survive – and enact our own supreme court argument and decision.  Students will engage in role-play, apply the legal philosophies to choose and defend a position, and explore the moral and legal issues that arise. Open to 1Ls only.

Law 863: Life or Death: The Decision-Making Process in a Death Penalty Case

Michael McAuliffe

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. Open to 1Ls.

Law 864: Lawyer as International Development Professional

John Simpkins, L ’99, and Nichelle Johnson-Billips, L ’03

This course will examine what it means to be a government lawyer working in international development, and provide a practical introduction to the role of attorneys in US development policy and programming. Students will gain an understanding of the global development ecosystem as well as explore specific issues of interest to US governmental actors through presentations, group exercises, and simulations. Open to 1Ls.

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 their organization. Their success depends on the willingness of others to work with them, work for them, and mentor them. This course recognizes the importance of these internal relationships and aims to prepare students for the communication, teamwork, and leadership required of beginning legal 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 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 university administration of a Power 5 conference private university and all of its collegiate athletes, where the class will focus on the ramifications of any removal of the “student-athlete” designation from university athletics.

Note: Due to the unpredictable travel schedules of the instructors, this class may take place on Zoom – though students should register with the expectation that it will be in person, and they will attend both sessions in Durham.

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

Laura Scott

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. Open to 1Ls.

Law 882: Exploring the Role of Gender and Culture in Negotiation

Casey Thomson

In this interactive workshop, we will start by considering the impact of culture on negotiation. Studies show that deal making across cultures often results in worse outcomes for the parties. As we explore various cultural prototypes, you will learn how to negotiate effectively in cross-cultural situations while avoiding stereotyping and other common cross-cultural mistakes. We will then turn to exploring negotiation techniques through the lens of gender. We will discuss specific negotiation strategies that can be used not only to combat gender-biased behavior, but that are also useful skills for any negotiator. Throughout the workshop, students will have an opportunity to practice their negotiation skills in simulations and small group exercises. Whether you have already taken Negotiation For Lawyers or hope to do so in a future semester, the goal of this workshop is to provide you with additional tools to add to your negotiation toolkit. Class will take place on Zoom.

Law 883: Litigation Management

Brandi Bush Percy

This course will provide experiential and practical understanding of how to manage a litigated dispute from start to trial preparation. The course will focus on high-volume and high-exposure litigation and discuss the importance of early case assessments, decision tree analyses and determining the right cost in recommending and employing a particular litigation strategy to the client. The course material will review litigation strategy from the perspectives of plaintiff's

counsel, defense counsel, as well as the in-house corporate counsel. Only a small percentage of cases ever go to trial. Most state and federal courts across the Country require that the parties attempt some form of early settlement. Thus, knowledge of the process, procedure and tactics of litigation are a fundamental aspect of a competent litigator’s toolbox. The ability to effectively and efficiently drive litigation while also leveraging technology is undoubtedly a critical skill that distinguishes a great litigator. Required coursework will provide the opportunity to have mock client meetings, meet and confer conferences with opposing counsel and a mock settlement conference. Students will also have the opportunity to practice persuasive writing and oral advocacy skills through draft memos to the file, case assessments, decision tree analyses and client reports (including a litigation budget).

Law 884: Lawyering for Systemic Change: A School Policing Case Study

Peggy Nicholson

Lawyers can play a variety of roles in movements for systemic change. In such movements, there are multiple stakeholders, often with competing ideas on what changes are needed and the appropriate processes for achieving such change. For the attorneys who represent the involved stakeholders, these differences can raise both strategic and ethical challenges. However, the work also presents opportunities for lawyers to think creatively and collaboratively as they work towards their client’s goals. This course will explore the different roles, challenges, and opportunities for lawyers in movements for systemic change by examining the current issue of school policing. For many, the presence of police in schools is necessary to ensure student safety. For others, it is linked to the increased criminalization of students, especially students of color. From all sides, there have been calls to reform school policing programs. Using a case study that involves a recently surfaced video of a violent interaction between a local high school student and a school police officer, students will be put into teams and assigned one of the various stakeholders as their client. After getting an overview of the legal and ethical framework, as well as relevant practical information, students will work together to craft a legal strategy to present to their client (i.e., the class). Open to 1Ls.

Law 885: Law, Economics, and Politics of Sovereign Finance

Efraim Chagai Chalamish

Central Banks and Sovereign Funds are becoming major players in the world economy. From saving private companies to sovereign debt restructuring - sovereign finance has changed the ways markets operate and develop. In this course, we will discuss the field's historical context, current trends in governance and asset allocation, and long term investing concepts. We will also explore the politics and national security considerations that shape these institutions, and the role of their digital transformation and innovation in technology and digital assets. No prior knowledge is required.

Law 886: Patent Litigation in Practice

Chief Judge Colm Connolly, L ‘91

This course will provide an overview of patent litigation that will examine claim construction, summary judgment and Daubert motion practice, trial strategy, witness preparation and examinations at trial, opening statements, closing arguments, and common trial evidentiary issues. Students will participate in mock exercises designed to simulate recurring situations that arise in patent and other complex civil litigations.

Law 887: Cross-Cultural Lawyering

Bethan Eynon

Understanding and anticipating the experiences of underserved and marginalized clients is key to succeeding as a public interest or pro bono lawyer, especially in direct legal services. Students will (1) learn models for conceptualizing the interactions between lawyers and clients from the perspective of power and privilege; (2) complete intersectional identity exercises for self-reflection and awareness; (3) explore strategies for managing personal needs and boundaries during client interactions; and (4) practice various ways to incorporate new knowledge into interactions with clients. OPEN ONLY TO 1LS.

Law 888: Media & Internet Platforms, IP Licenses and Changing Technologies

Raphael Winick, L ‘92

This course will provide a very practical, real-world overview of how Intellectual Property rights are licensed, with a focus on how constant technological change affects agreements relating to Media, Entertainment and the Internet. License agreements are the legal lifeblood for creating and distributing content, and for building new products across every industry. Students will explore key issues in IP licenses, and some best practices for writing and interpreting those agreements against the backdrop of rapid changes in technology. The class will review real-world examples of contract provisions and drafting techniques -- including the rights you may have already granted to Instagram, Twitter and TikTok -- as well as more complex agreements between creative artists, producers, distributors, innovators, media companies and technology platforms.  Some prior exposure to IP law will be helpful, but is not a prerequisite.

NEW: Mindfulness & Meditation for Law Students

Kelli Raker

Students will learn mindfulness skills and perspectives for managing themselves that will enable them to better manage stress during and after law school, and ultimately provide high quality service to their clients and gain satisfaction in their professional practice. This course will involve practicing mindful meditations from Koru Mindfulness, an evidence-based program originally developed at Duke University, and examining how mindfulness helps practicing attorneys through select readings from Lawyering from the inside out and personal experiences. Open to 1Ls.

Gaia Clara Barcilon, LLM ‘16

Using various case studies, students will explore the implications for governments imposing social restrictions on companies that are producing income and revenue that benefits them in the first place, and the legal difficulties of inserting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights. Open to 1Ls