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.

 

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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 filters21 courses found.
Course Number Course Title Course Credits Degree Requirements Semesters Taught Methods of Evaluation

201

Legal Writing: Craft & Style 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 18
  2. Fall 19
  3. Fall 20
  • Practical exercises
  • Class participation

"Legal Writing: Craft & Style" is the new moniker for the "Advanced Legal Writing Workshop." This series of thirteen workshops is for 2Ls and 3Ls who wish to hone their legal writing or editing skills. Half of each workshop consists of a teaching component that focuses on topics from clarity to cohesiveness to effective style. The other half is spent working as a group on exercises—flawed sentences or passages from legal documents or articles. In addition to the exercises, required written work includes three short written assignments and peer reviews of each of these using criteria developed over the course of the workshop. These peer reviews will be reviewed in turn by me. In addition, I will be available to work one-on-one with any workshop participant who has a lengthier piece on which he or she would like feedback. The workshop offers two credits. It is not graded.

The workshop might be particularly useful to:

  • law review editors,
  • students on moot court,
  • students writing law-review notes or independent-study- or seminar papers (with the permission of the guiding professor),
  • students wishing to polish their writing samples, and
  • students wishing to improve the effectiveness of their writing for any reason whatsoever.

236

International Human Rights 2
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 19
  2. Spring 20
  • Final Exam
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course critically assesses the international and domestic laws, institutions, and legal and political theories that relate to protecting the fundamental liberties of all human beings. The course emphasizes (1) specific "hot button" topics within international human rights law, such as extraordinary renditions, hate speech, and lesbian and gay rights); (2) the judicial, legislative, and executive bodies that interpret and implement human rights; and (3) the public and private actors who commit rights violations and who seek redress for individuals whose rights have been violated. Course requirements include a final exam, a negotiation exercise, and student participation in class discussions.

302

Appeals 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 20
  2. Spring 21
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

This course will examine the practices and powers of American appellate courts, with a particular emphasis on the federal courts of appeals.  Our discussion will focus on the goals of these institutions and the extent to which individual components of the appellate decision-making process—including oral argument and opinion-writing—further those goals.

We will begin with an overview of the function of appellate courts—why they were created and what we expect of them today.  We will then move to the specific components of appellate adjudication, including mediation, briefing, oral argument, and judgment, as well as the personnel who contribute to the adjudication process.  Finally, we will consider the ways in which the appellate courts have been affected by an increasing caseload, and proposals for alleviating the strain on the courts.

Ultimately, the goal of the course is to expose you to how appellate courts operate and the purported goals of these institutions.  Over the course of the semester, you should also be evaluating what you think are the fundamental objectives of appellate review and whether the current structure of the courts allows them to meet those goals.

Evaluation in the course will be based on a final research paper, which may be used to satisfy the SRWP.

317

Criminal Justice Ethics 2
  • JD elective
  • JD ethics
  • IntlLLM NY Bar
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 18
  2. Spring 20
  3. Spring 21
  • Final Exam
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation
  • Other

The Criminal Justice Ethics course is centered on the law governing lawyers operating in the criminal justice system. It explores some of the critical issues facing lawyers in the roles of defense counsel, prosecutor, judge, etc., and includes several guest speakers and visits to a prison and courthouse. Case studies and problems are drawn from North Carolina cases, including some of the Duke Wrongful Conviction Clinic's cases of actual innocence.

318

Comparative Constitutional Law 2
  • JD SRWP with add-on credit
  • LLM-ICL (JD) required
  1. Fall 19
  2. Fall 20
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

This course explores constitutional law from different parts of the world. The course will start by examining the goals, methods, and practical relevance of comparative constitutional analysis. We will then turn to a comparative analysis of constitutional structures, including differing approaches to separation of powers, judicial review, and federalism. The remainder of the course will examine comparative approaches to the constitutional protection of human rights.

This course is open only to the 2L JD-LLM-ICL students.

329

Education Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 18
  2. Fall 19
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

Education Law: Constitutional, Statutory, and Policy Considerations This seminar introduces students to the legal standards that govern public schools in the United States. Constitutional topics include the right to a public education, the financing of public schools, desegregation and equal opportunity of students, limitations on student speech, school discipline and the right to due process, religion in schools, and privacy rights of students. Statutory topics include federal laws such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title IX, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act. Policy topics include school reforms, such as charters and vouchers, and the ongoing inequities in US public schools, and the school-to-prison pipeline. A research paper is required; successful completion of the paper will satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. A course pack will be used in lieu of a textbook.

338

Animal Law 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 19
  2. Spring 20
  3. Spring 21
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

This course will examine a number of topics related to the law of animals, including various issues that arise under the laws of property, contracts, torts, and trusts and estates. It will also examine various criminal law issues and constitutional law questions. The class will consider such issues as the definition of "animal" as applicable to anti-cruelty statutes, the collection of damages for harm to animals, establishing standing for animal suits, first amendment protections, and the nuances of various federal laws.

355

Sex in Law 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 19
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 15-20 pages
  • Class participation

This fall semester the course will be taught as a seminar focused specifically on sex in law.  We will begin with a history of biological sex classifications, societies' interest in those classifications, and the special benefits and/or burdens they have involved for individuals.  This section of the course will feature the male-female binary, but in that context, we will also discuss the legal treatment of individuals with intersex conditions.  We will then turn to an examination of modern sex classifications and equality law, and the way these have developed in tandem with academic work critiquing the social or gendered construction of sex.  This section of the course will focus on the application of the Equal Protection Clause to discrimination “on the basis of sex” and the doctrine that has developed around the federal statutes prohibiting sex discrimination.  We will end with focus on two current debates: the first about the merits of a sex-blind approach to equality law—whether, for example, society should continue to support or permit some men’s and women’s-only spaces; and the second about whether sexual orientation and gender identity should be considered aspects of “sex” for purposes of this law.
This is not an exam course.  Grades are based on six short – 1500+ words – analytical papers related to the assigned materials, and regular, active participation in seminar discussions.  If you wish to write a longer piece on a topic related to the subject matter of the course, we will consider an additional one credit independent study alongside the seminar.  An independent study paper does not replace the critique papers. Please request permission of the instructors before enrolling in Law 335W.

408

Appellate Litigation Clinic (Spring) 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  1. Spring 20
  2. Spring 19

Spring continuation of Appellate Litigation Clinic.

435A

Advanced First Amendment Law Clinic 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • PIPS elective
  • PIPS experiential
  1. Spring 20
  2. Fall 20
  • Live-client representation and case management

This two-credit course is available to students who have participated in one semester in the First Amendment Law clinic and wish to participate for a second semester. Students may enroll only with approval of the Director of the Clinic.. Students enrolled in Advanced Clinical Studies are required to participate fully in the case work portion of the clinic, performing 100-120 hours of client representation work, but will not be required to attend the class sessions.

471

Science Regulation Lab 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM Environ Cert
  1. Spring 20
  2. Spring 19
  3. Spring 21

SciReg Lab teaches students about the use of emerging science and technology in the regulatory agencies through the drafting and submission of comments to federal rule-makings. The comments will be unaligned with any party and are intended to provide the regulatory agencies with unbiased, current, accurate and coherent information about the science underlying the proposed rule. The course is cross-listed in the Law School and Graduate School and the students will be drawn from the sciences, ethics, policy and law to work in interdisciplinary teams. The course will begin with a brief overview of notice-and-comment rulemaking, and how to translate scientific information into the language of courts and agencies. The ethical issues presented by this process will be an important component of the course content. With the assistance of faculty, the students will track pending rulemakings and select proceedings in which to file a comment. A background is science is recommended, but not required.

504

Critical Race Theory 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 19
  2. Fall 20
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

Critical race theory (CRT), a scholarly movement that began in the 1980s, challenges both the substance and style of conventional legal scholarship.  Substantively, critical race scholars (“race crits”) reject formal equality, individual rights, and color-blind approaches to solving legal problems.  Stylistically, race crits often employ new methodologies for legal scholarship, including storytelling and narrative.  This course introduces CRT’s core principles and explores its possibilities and limitations.  With a heavy focus on writings that shaped the movement, the course will examine the following concepts and theories: storytelling, interest convergence theory, the social construction of race, the black-white paradigm, the myth of the model minority, intersectionality, essentialism, working identity, covering, whiteness and white privilege, colorblindness, microaggressions, and implicit bias.  Students will apply these theories and frameworks to cases and topics dealing with, among other things, first amendment freedoms, affirmative action, employment discrimination, and criminal disparities and inequities.  The course affords students an opportunity to think about the ways in which racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism are inextricably interwoven as well as an opportunity to challenge critically our most basic assumptions about race, law, and justice.

513

Murder Trials: Real-World Lessons in Persuasive Advocacy 2
  • JD elective
  • JD experiential
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 19

Credits earned in this seminar, grounded in simulating participation in certain aspects of a murder trial, apply to the experiential learning requirement for graduation. The course's backbone will be real first-degree murder cases that resulted in conviction and the death penalty. Simulations in the form of class exercises and writing assignments will be based upon those high-stake cases' actual evidence, defense and prosecuting attorneys' decisions and actions, and the controlling constitutional and evidentiary law. The simulations will include but not be limited to attorneys' brainstorming to make tactical decisions, composing jury selection questions to pick a "fair" but "death-qualified" jury, and writing and presenting opening statements and closing arguments. In the simulated activities, students will learn to practice the art of persuasive, zealous advocacy in the face of challenges to professionalism, ethical dilemmas, and complex tactical choices. Lessons about advocacy, though learned in the context of death penalty cases' memorable circumstances, apply equally to students' future practice in transactional or civil litigation practice.

556

Second Amendment: History, Theory, and Practice 2
  • JD SRWP, option
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 20
  2. Spring 19
  3. Fall 20

The Supreme Court's decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago have ushered in a whole new era of Second Amendment theory, litigation, and politics. Current events keep issues of firearms, gun violence, gun safety, and self-defense constantly in the news. This seminar will explore the Second Amendment and the various state constitutional analogs historically, theoretically, and pragmatically. Students will be introduced to the historical and public policy materials surrounding the Second Amendment, the regulatory environment concerning firearms, and the political and legal issues pertaining to firearm rights-enforcement and policy design. Evaluation for the seminar will be based on eight short reaction papers and in-class participation.

562

Sentencing & Punishment 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 18
  2. Fall 19
  3. Fall 20
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

This new seminar will focus on the process of imposing sentences in criminal cases, administering punishment, and attempting rehabilitation of convicted criminals. The course will first provide background regarding the purposes of punishment and the history of mandatory sentences, presumptive sentences, and sentencing guidelines, and focus on some of these issues in more detail through the use of a expert guest lecturers and a tour of the Federal Correctional Facility in Butner, NC. Students will be expected to participate meaningfully in the lectures, guest speakers and field trip, and produce a research paper on a related topic.

567

Identity, Politics, and the Law: Seminar 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 20
  • Reflective Writing
  • Class participation

This seminar will explore the current state of thinking about the relationship between identity, politics and legal regulation. In particular, attention will be paid during this upcoming semester to the situation in Puerto Rico. Among the topics that will be considered are the roles that race and colonial identity have played in leading to Puerto Rico's current political status ("foreign in a domestic sense"). We will also consider how these factors (and others) have played into the current debt crisis that the Commonwealth is facing. In addition to Puerto Rico, we will also have discussions of other topics connecting to the broader theme of Law, Identity and Politics such as the Gender Gap in Legal Employment, the future of the Voting Rights Act, and the litigation over the Travel Ban.

Every week, students will be asked to do reaction papers to presentations by guest speakers. These guests are a set of scholars who are doing some of the most current research on the above-mentioned topics.

The requirements for the class are completion of the reaction papers and active participation in the debates over the papers being presented. There will not be a final exam or final paper. There will be one class meeting most weeks; on one occasion though we will have two sessions.

587

Race and the Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 20
  2. Spring 21
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

Are we a post-racial society? Is English-only the way to go? Is there a model minority? Are Native American children better off with Native American parents? Should affirmative action be abolished? Are all women white and all blacks men? Was Brown right? This seminar will explore the historical and contemporary treatment of race in the United States by both the courts and the legislature. The seminar will employ an interdisciplinary approach to examining the social and political forces that have and continue to contribute to the development of legal doctrine in the areas of education, employment, health care, interracial sex and marriage, and public accommodations, among other things. Throughout, the seminar will explore the definition of race, the intersection of race and gender, the interplay of race and class, the juxtaposition of various racial groups, and the utility of a biracial dichotomy in a multiracial and multiethnic society. Materials will include cases, films, law review articles, excerpts from books, and other nonlegal materials. The seminar will examine race from a multiracial, multiethnic perspective. Participation from a diverse group of students is encouraged. A paper will be required.

593

Sexuality and the Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 19
  2. Spring 21
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Midterm
  • Class participation

Issues in the legal regulation of sexuality are among the most contested in US law today.  Determining a) whether gays and lesbians are entitled to the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, b) whether the gender identities of transgender persons are to be accepted in public facilities like restrooms, c) if and when women should have access to contraception or abortion, and d) whether LGBTQ persons can rely on constitutional and statutory provisions providing for equal protection or nondiscrimination when availing of government provided services or commercial services, are all questions which either have been litigated in US courts in recent years, or are currently being litigated.  Assessing the merits of the arguments of parties involved in litigating these issues requires delving into the disparate areas of law which converge in these cases.  These areas of law include the jurisprudences of liberty, privacy, equal protection and the free exercise of religion, as well as issues concerning the extent of executive authority.  This course will explore these issues through an examination of recent US jurisprudence, as well as statutory law and regulatory actions, as they pertain to LGBTQ rights and women’s reproductive rights at both the state and national level.  While the primary focus will be on developments in the US, the treatment of similar issues in selected foreign jurisdictions will be introduced occasionally to present alternative approaches.

707

Statutory Interpretation Colloquium 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  1. Spring 20
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

The objective of the course is to introduce students to important issues concerning the theory and doctrine of statutory interpretation through exposure to cutting-edge legal scholarship. The colloquium will feature bi-weekly presentations of works-in-progress by leading scholars of statutory interpretation, legislation, and administrative law. In the week preceding each presentation, students will read and discuss foundational materials (a mix of academic commentary and case law) on topics related to the work-in-progress.

Students may opt to prepare six short (5-10 page) papers in response to each work-in-progress, which would be due in advance of the presentation and used to stimulate discussion. Alternatively, students may write one longer research paper (roughly 30 pages) dealing with a topic of their choice related to the themes of the class. Students who take the latter option may use the colloquium to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

718

Social Choice Theory: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Beyond 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 19
  2. Spring 21
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Class participation

Social choice theory is the systematic study of how to combine individual preferences, or some other indicator of individual well-being, into a collective ranking. Although scholars have worried about this problem for centuries, most intellectual progress in social choice theory has occurred in the last century—with Arrow's stunning "impossibility theorem," and the development of the notion of the "social welfare function." This latter construct serves as the foundation for many disciplines within economics (such as optimal tax theory or the economics of climate change). It also provides a rigorous and comprehensive framework for thinking about cost-benefit analysis—currently the dominant policy tool in the U.S. government.

This course will provide an introduction to social choice theory, with a particular focus on the social welfare function and on cost-benefit analysis. In the course of addressing these topics, we will also spend substantial time discussing the philosophical literatures on well-being and on inequality. What is the connection between someone's well-being and her preferences, her happiness, or her realization of various "objective goods"? And—on any conception of well-being—how should we structure policy choice to take account of the distribution of individual welfare? Addressing these questions is essential for thinking clearly about collective choice and, in particular, social welfare functions and cost-benefit analysis.

My two books, Well-Being and Fair Distribution: Beyond Cost-Benefit Analysis (Oxford University Press 2012), and Measuring Social Welfare: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) will serve as the main texts for the course, with additional readings from philosophy, economics, and law.  The course does not require advanced mathematics. However, students should not be "math phobic". The readings and our discussion will use some mathematical notation to communicate key ideas—as does, of course, any economics text on cost-benefit analysis--and students should not be afraid of seeing this notation. Students should also be prepared to engage in philosophical discussion.

The course will be taught as a 2-hour weekly seminar. Students will be asked to do the reading for each seminar; to write a short (1-2 page) reaction paper; and to participate in class discussion. Students will also write a 10-page final paper.  This final paper can either be (a) a critical discussion of one or more chapters from Well-Being and Fair Distribution or Measuring Social Welfare, or (b) a critical discussion of some other book or article relevant to the topics of the seminar.

 

774

Taboo Trades & Forbidden Exchanges 2
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 19
  2. Spring 20
  3. Fall 20

This class examines exchanges and transactions that are traditionally taboo, and sometimes illegal. Importantly, what constitutes a taboo trade is culturally dependent, changing over time and across cultures. For example, typical taboo trades in modern western societies include organs, blood, babies, sexual relations, votes for money, and a wide range of other issues. In other cultures and other times, however, humans were sold as a matter of course, whereas land was considered inalienable.

Students will discuss reading selections from law, economics, anthropology, psychology, and sociology. During most class meetings, we will host speakers (generally visiting faculty from other law schools) who will discuss current projects related to taboo trades.