Course Browser

Search and explore Duke Law's wide variety of courses that comprise near every area of legal theory and practice. Contact the Director of Academic Advising to confirm whether a course satisfies a graduation requirement in any particular semester. Course evaluations can be found here.
 

NOTE: Course offerings change. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.

 

Credits
Semester
JD Course of Study
JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law
JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship
International LLM - 1 year
LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship - 1 year
Certificate in Public interest and Public Service Law
 
Clear all filters23 courses found.
Course Number Course Title Course Credits Degree Requirements Semesters Taught Methods of Evaluation

110

Civil Procedure 4.5
  • JD 1L
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Fall 18
  3. Fall 19
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A consideration of the basic problems of civil procedure designed to acquaint students with the fundamental stages and concerns of litigation, e.g., jurisdiction, pleading, discovery, trial, choice of law, and multiparty actions. In addition, this course will highlight a number of specialized topics including the role of juries in deciding civil disputes, the ethical responsibilities of the litigation attorney, and the development of alternative dispute resolution systems. At several points, this course will focus on an analysis of the procedural system's operations as revealed through empirical studies.

180

Torts 4.5
  • JD 1L
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Spring 18
  3. Fall 18
  4. Fall 19
  5. Spring 20
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

An analysis of liability for personal injuries and injuries to property. The law of negligence occupies a central place in the course content, but this course also considers other aspects of tort liability such as strict liability, liability of producers and sellers of products, nuisance, liability for defamation and invasion of privacy, and commercial torts. The subjects of causation, damages, insurance (including automobile no-fault compensation systems), and workmen's compensation are also included.

220

Conflict of Laws 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 18
  2. Spring 19
  3. Spring 20
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

A study of the special problems that arise when a case is connected with more than one state or nation. Topics include the applicable law (choice of law), personal jurisdiction, and the recognition and effect of foreign judgments.

237

Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course examines Professional Responsibility as it applies to representing poor and/or underrepresented clients (in criminal and civil cases), as well as to lawyering for social justice causes, through impact litigation and other means. We will explore the substantive law of Professional Responsibility, focusing on ethical challenges frequently encountered in social justice representation (e.g., representing clients who are uneducated or culturally different than the attorney, practicing with limited resources in an environment of many unmet legal needs, defining who the client is when representing a group or cause, and the tensions created when the requirements of Professional Responsibility are at odds with the attorney's personal morality or vision of social justice).  While we will work mostly from the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, required reading will also include scholarship on the unique ethical and moral dilemmas of social justice lawyers, and students will be encouraged to think critically about the rules of Professional Responsibility and their application in social justice contexts.  Throughout the course, we will consider and practice the lawyering skills needed to ethically represent clients and social causes, through in-class resolution of hypotheticals and experiential learning, such as simulations or role-playing.   Several practicing, social-justice attorneys will join us to guest-speak.

238

Ethics and the Law of Lawyering 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Spring 18
  3. Fall 18
  4. Spring 19
  5. Fall 19
  6. Spring 20
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course examines in detail the "law of lawyering" relating to such issues as the formation of the attorney-client relationship, confidentiality, communications with clients, conflicts of interest, regulation and discipline of attorneys, and numerous other areas relating to the lawyer's role in American society. In addressing these issues, we will consider the extent to which the law governing lawyers derives from the concept of a learned profession, as well as the degree to which the ethics of lawyering may differ from personal ethics and morality. While particular attention will be paid to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the class will also examine other sources of relevant law, including the Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers, court decisions, statutory rules, and administrative regulations.

 

239

Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 20
  2. Spring 19
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises

This course examines the principles of legal ethics and professionalism. Our focus will be on identifying and responding to the key issues faced by a civil litigator, and on the model rules of professional conduct, case law, and ethics opinions that a lawyer must consider in resolving such issues. Topics include the formation and termination of the attorney client relationship, conflicts of interest, and communications with the court and opposing counsel through the discovery and trial process. We will examine the balancing of the duty of advocacy with the duty to the administration of justice. We will also explore issues such as admissions, discipline, and common law firm associate dilemmas such as billing and changing law firms. During the semester, students will prepare two short (3-5 pp) memoranda. There will also be an open book in-class exam at the end of the semester.

245

Evidence 4
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Spring 18
  3. Fall 18
  4. Spring 19
  5. Fall 19
  6. Spring 20
  • Final Exam

This course covers the limitations on the information that can be introduced in court codified in the Federal Rules of Evidence. We will take up the issue of relevance, including the rules concerning the balance between the probative value and the prejudicial impact of evidence and the special problems of character and credibility. We will also address the rules pertaining to the reliability of evidence, including the prohibition against hearsay and its many exceptions, the constitutional constraints on the testimony offered during criminal trials, scientific and expert testimony, and authentication. The course touches on evidentiary privileges as well. Professor Griffin will focus on the text, legislative history, and common law roots and development of the rules. "Readings" in her course include cases, problems, some theoretical materials, and film. Professor Beskind will primarily assign readings in a treatise rather than individual cases. In his class, students will work from two case files, one criminal and one civil, taking the role of advocates and arguing the evidentiary principles being studied as they arise in the cases.

250

Family Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Fall 18
  3. Fall 19
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

A study of legal and policy issues relating to the family. Topics include requirements for marriage, nontraditional families, obligations at divorce, establishing parenthood, and adoption. Grading is based on a final examination, class participation, and written work relating to a visit to family court and completion of a divorce settlement exercise.

255

Federal Income Taxation 4
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • LLMLE (1 yr) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  1. Fall 17
  2. Spring 18
  3. Fall 18
  4. Spring 19
  5. Fall 19
  6. Spring 20
  • Final Exam

An introduction to federal income taxation, with emphasis on the determination of income subject to taxation, deductions in computing taxable income, the proper time period for reporting income and deductions, and the proper taxpayer on which to impose the tax.

260

Financial Accounting 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) elective
  • LLMLE (1 yr) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  1. Fall 17
  2. Fall 18
  3. Fall 19
  • Final Exam

Many attorneys are required to evaluate financial data, notably financial statements from corporations, on a regular basis. The need is not limited to corporate attorneys; indeed litigators in securities, antitrust, malpractice, or general commercial litigation frequently must analyze financial information. This course serves to both introduce basic accounting principles and practices and their relationship to the law, as well as to study a number of contemporary accounting problems relating to financial disclosure and the accountant's professional responsibility. Students with accounting degrees, MBAs or who have taken more than a couple of accounting courses are not permitted to enroll. Also, Business Essentials may not be taken concurrently with this course.

290

Remedies 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 18
  2. Spring 19
  3. Spring 20
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

This course examines the powers and limits of the law to right those who have been wronged. We will cover different forms of remedies—including money damages, injunctions, and declaratory judgments. We will also explore ancillary remedies or enforcement mechanisms, such as the power of courts to hold parties in contempt. The course spans both private and public law contexts, with specific case studies ranging from school desegregation to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Ultimately, the goal of the course is to provide an understanding of how the law responds to transgressions of substantive law, and also to provide a richer account of the power of our legal institutions more generally.

313

Judicial Decisionmaking 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 19
  2. Spring 20
  • Final Exam

What decides legal cases? One obvious answer is: the law. Judges apply the law to the facts of a case and an answer presents itself. This simple understanding of how law and the judicial process work may be true in many cases, but it is not true in all of them. Social scientists have sought to explain judicial decisionmaking by reference to a variety of non-legal factors, including judges' personal characteristics, their caseloads, and their relationships with each other. The social scientific study of courts raises a host of interesting questions.

For example, on a multi-member court like the Supreme Court, does it matter which Justice is assigned to write the opinion, or will the majority (or the whole Court) bargain to the same outcome anyway? If opinion assignment matters to outcomes, how might judges' choices about the division of labor influence the content of the law? How do higher courts ensure that lower courts comply with their decisions? Does the need to police lower courts alter legal doctrine, giving us more bright line rules and fewer fuzzy standards? Similarly, does the fact that certain groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, are repeat players, affect the outcome of cases? Does it affect doctrine? Finally, does it matter who is under the robes? Does the ideology of the judge, or her race or gender, matter to the outcome of cases? (Which cases?) If so, is it possible to predict how judicial characteristics will shape the law? Should our answers to these questions affect how we choose judges?

This course that will examine these questions and many like them. In law schools, these sorts of questions get limited attention: our focus is primarily on the legal doctrine or rules themselves. Social scientists take a very different approach, studying the behavior of judges rather than legal doctrine and trying to understand what accounts for judicial outcomes and the shape of legal institutions. This course will marry the social science literature and the questions it raises to a set of normative problems within the law itself.

 

315

Complex Civil Litigation 3
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 18
  2. Spring 19
  3. Spring 20
  • Final Exam
  • Oral presentation
  • In-class exercise

This is an advanced civil procedure class taught in the Moot Courtroom for those interested in large scale litigation, with an emphasis on practical application and stand-up courtroom 3-minute "mini- oral arguments" on many of the key cases. The course will focus on the problems of large multi-party and multi-forum civil cases and how courts and litigants deal with them. Coverage will include the practical steps litigators need to take as well as decision points at the outset of litigation, joinder devices, especially (but not only) class actions; federal multi-district transfer and consolidation; litigation over the appropriate federal or state forum, coordination among counsel in multi-party cases, ethical issues, big-case discovery problems; ad hoc federal-state litigation coordination; judicial case management techniques and issues; and ways of accelerating or terminating potentially or actually protracted cases, including settlement, alternative dispute resolution, representative trials, mini-trials and claims processing facilities.

319

Analytical Methods 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-LE (JD) required
  • LLMLE (1 yr) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Business Cert
  1. Fall 19
  2. Fall 17
  3. Fall 18
  4. Spring 19
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

Lawyers face non-legal, analytical issues every day. Business lawyers need to understand a business in order to represent their client properly. Litigators need to judge the best route in adopting a litigation strategy. Family lawyers routinely need to value a business. Environmental lawyers need to understand economic externalities. Social lawyers need familiarity with financial instruments that have positive and negative attributes. Students taking this course will find it foundational in running a business, advising a business, or litigating business matters that go beyond the strict letter of the law. In this sense, this is not your standard doctrinal law school course. Rather, it is designed to give students the tools necessary to interact with the business community and run a company or firm. While there is no prerequisite for this course, students should be comfortable with numbers and graphs.

The areas of focus include:

  1. Decision Analysis, Games and Information: We will explore a standard technique that has been developed to organize thinking about decision-making problems and to solve them.
  2. Accounting: Basic accounting concepts will be introduced, and the relationship between accounting information and economic reality will be examined.
  3. Microeconomics: This unit presents basic economic concepts--the operation of competitive markets, imperfect competition, and market failures--that are necessary to this understanding.
  4. Statistics: We will address the basic statistical methods, including regression analysis, as well as issues that commonly arise when statistics are used in the courtroom.

The course grade will be made up of (roughly) weekly problem sets, and a final examination.

334

Civil Rights Litigation 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 18
  2. Spring 19
  3. Spring 20
  • Final Exam
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course focuses on section 1983 of the United States Code, a Reconstruction-era statute that enables private parties to sue any other person who "under color" of law deprives them of the "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States.  Class participants will become familiar with the theoretical, procedural, and practical aspects of civil rights litigation, including constitutional and statutory claims, defenses and immunities, and available remedies, including attorney fees.   Related U.S. Code provisions concerning discrimination in housing, contractual relations, employment, and voting are examined where relevant. Exam-based evaluation.

342

Federal Courts 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 19
  2. Spring 20
  3. Spring 18
  4. Spring 19
  • Final Exam

The course considers the structure and powers of the federal courts and their relationship to the political branches and the state courts. The topics covered include justiciability, congressional authority to define and limit federal court jurisdiction, federal common law and implied rights of action, the application of state law in federal courts under the Erie doctrine, civil rights actions and immunities of state officials and governments, and habeas corpus. The focus of the course is on structural constitutional considerations relating to both the separation of powers between the three branches of the national government as well as the federalism relationship between the national government and the state governments.

343

Federal Courts I: Constitution & Judicial Power 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Fall 18
  • Final Exam

This installment focuses on the nature of the Article III judicial power and its place in the constitutional scheme. We begin with the justiciability doctrines (standing, ripeness, mootness, and finality), then move on to Congress's control over federal court jurisdiction and adjudication in non-Article III courts (e.g., bankruptcy courts and administrative agencies).

This installment also focuses on the relationship between federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court's power to review state court decisions, the Erie doctrine's restriction on the common lawmaking powers of federal courts, and the parameters of federal question jurisdiction.

344

Federal Courts II - Public Law Litigation 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 18
  2. Spring 19
  • Final Exam

This installment addresses a broad variety of public law litigation, including private rights of action to enforce federal statutes and constitutional litigation against federal and state governments and their officials. We will give significant attention to both federal and state sovereign immunity, as well as to doctrines of qualified and absolute immunity that protect individual government officers. The course also discusses the roles of state and federal courts in hearing public law litigation, including principles of judicial federalism limiting federal court interference with state judicial proceedings. We conclude with an extensive unit on federal habeas corpus remedies, including both challenges to federal executive detention (including the War on Terror cases) and collateral attack on state criminal convictions.

Federal Courts I (Fall 2015) is not required.

470

Poverty Law 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 18
  2. Spring 19
  3. Spring 20
  • Final Exam

This course provides an introduction to the relationship between law and poverty, including the relevance of legal doctrine, policy and practice to the significant inequality in income, assets and basic social goods impacting tens of millions of people in the United States.

We will begin by considering historical and contemporary trends in domestic poverty, U.S. social welfare policy, the legal framework under which poverty-related claims have been adjudicated, and the role of lawyers in combatting poverty.

Grounded in poverty data, policy arguments, legal doctrine and practice, we will explore modern government anti-poverty programs and issues such as welfare, work, housing, health, education and criminalization.

We will conclude by considering non-governmental approaches to combating poverty, including market-based solutions and international human rights, with an emphasis on the role of law, lawyers and legal institutions in such efforts.

Drawing on the rich expertise of those in Durham and beyond, we will occasionally be joined by guest speakers. The primary textbook for the course is Poverty Law, Policy and Practice (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer, 2014).

501

Civil Litigation in U.S. Federal Courts: Transnational Issues 3
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 19
  2. Fall 17
  3. Spring 19
  • Final Exam

This course analyzes civil suits in U.S. federal courts that raise cross-border, international and foreign legal issues. Specific topics covered include transnational jurisdiction, international forum selection, transborder choice of law, extraterritorial application of U.S. law, federal rules for service of process and discovery of evidence abroad, the special treatment of foreign governments as parties, and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.

553

Empirical Research Methods in Law 1
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 18
  • Final Exam, option
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages, option
  • In-class exercise

There are three major objectives for this course: (1) to provide you with a substantive understanding of empirical methods and an opportunity to learn the principals of these methods with hands-on experience with easy-to-use statistical software (e.g., Excel and Stata); (2) to develop skills to choose and work with experts, and the ability to develop and refute quantitative evidence; and (3) to develop the necessary skills for critical thinking and evaluation of empirical work in academic studies and expert witness reports.

The course will be divided into three major components. The first section of the course will introduce a broad range of topics in methodology, from study design and hypothesis testing to descriptive statistics and multivariate regression techniques in the context of legal issues faced by practicing attorneys. The second section will include a series of lectures by judges and empirical scholars with a wealth of experience working with and as expert witnesses. The final section of the course will utilize this new knowledge and training to critically evaluate empirical scholarship and expert reports. Together, these course components will provide you with a comprehensive background in empirical methods and will prepare you for sophisticated and critical consumption of statistical analyses. The course also will equip those of you who are interested in pursuing academia with a foundation in quantitative research to produce empirical scholarship.

Participation during class is strongly encouraged, and computers are allowed in the classroom. Course grades will be based on class participation (10%), hands-on exercises (10%), and a discussion paper (80%).  For the paper, you will be asked to evaluate an Expert Report and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the study based on the research methods covered in this course. You have the option to take an in-class exam as a substitute for the paper.

 

579

Mass Torts 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 19
  • Final Exam
  • Class participation

Mass Torts is a course designed to introduce students to the theory, practice, and strategy associated with the substantive law, procedure, and resolution of a wide variety of mass tort litigations.  Most mass torts are consolidated by the Judicial Panel on Multi- District Litigation, and the organization of the course is based on the life of a case in MDL: origins, pleadings, referral to a transferee judge, e-discovery, fact discovery, expert discovery, motion practice, test cases, pre-trial hearings, trials, appellate practice, remands, settlement, and claims resolution facilities.  There will also be substantial emphasis on larger themes and issues that are implicated by mass torts in the relationship between federal and state courts, in competing theories of liability and procedure, in the interaction of litigation, bankruptcy, and administrative processes, in the roles of public and private litigation and attorneys, in the respective interests of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of federal and state governments, and in a variety of competing economic, jurisprudential, policy, and practical concerns.  The course will be updated during the semester with emerging developments in currently pending mass tort litigation including opioids, asbestos, and Roundup.  The readings are prepared specifically for this course and will consist of excerpts from judicial opinions, pleadings, briefs, motions, and other original source material as well as excerpts from law review articles, press accounts, and books.  The grade will be based on a take home examination consisting of short answer and essay questions.  

702

Alternative Dispute Resolution 3
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Fall 18
  3. Fall 19
  • Final Exam

This course surveys the most common types of alternative dispute resolution processes: negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and court-annexed and governmental-agency ADR -all of which have gained wide-spread use as alternatives to traditional litigation. The survey encompasses three perspectives; the advocate's perspective in choosing the most appropriate ADR process in light of the different advantages and disadvantages of the various processes; the third-party neutral's perspective in facilitating or fashioning a just resolution of the parties' dispute; and the policy maker's perspective in utilizing ADR as a more efficient and cost effective substitute for traditional adjudication.