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 filters16 courses found.
Course Number Course Title Course Credits Degree Requirements Semesters Taught Methods of Evaluation

301

AIDS and the Law 2
  • JD elective
  • JD SRWP
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
The course will explore the legal and policy landscape of the HIV/AIDS epidemic primarily in the United States. We will employ a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching about HIV law and policy, including the legal issues faced by persons with HIV disease. Speakers will include medical specialists, social workers, and persons living with HIV. Topics covered include HIV-related stigma and discrimination, HIV testing and public health laws, confidentiality and privacy rights, estate planning issues, HIV criminalization, health disparities, access to health care and health insurance, permanency planning for children and other family law issues, employee benefit issues, and torts and HIV-related private lawsuits. There is an opportunity for student presentations on AIDS Law issues. In lieu of an exam, there is a paper requirement for the course. The course is helpful but not required for those intending to enroll in the Health Justice Clinic.

This course is only offered in the fall semester.

302

Appeals 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 20
  • 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.

311

Election Law 3
  • JD elective
  • JD SRWP
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Spring 20
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Reflective Writing
  • Group project(s)
  • Oral presentation
  • Practical exercises
  • In-class exercise
  • Class participation

This course will explore selected topics in Law and Politics of American Democracy. We will examine the way the law and other forces have shaped the structure of American political participation, and we will consider alternative directions American democracy might take. Time permitting, we will focus on the right to vote, racial and political gerrymandering, campaign finance, political parties, ballot access, reapportionment/redistricting, and the Voting Rights Act.

318W

Comparative Constitutional Law, Writing 1
  • JD SRWP
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  1. Fall 19
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

Students enrolled in Law318 Comparative Constitutional Law may choose to write a 25-30 page research paper, in lieu of the 10-12 page paper, in order to satisfy the JD Substantial Research and Writing Project degree requirement.  Students choosing this option should enroll in Law 318W.

329

Education Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Fall 18
  3. 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.

536W

The Presidency and Criminal Investigations, Writing 1
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 18
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

While enrolled in LAW 536 The Presidency and Criminal Investigations, students may submit a significant research paper and earn an additional one credit for the course. 

545

Urban Legal History 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  1. Spring 20
  2. Fall 17
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Urban Legal History is a research seminar which will focus on the legal issues relating to Durham's political, social, and economic development. The class will involve intensive study of primary and secondary materials, and will require students to produce substantial (45 page) research papers.

562

Sentencing & Punishment 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 17
  2. Fall 18
  3. Fall 19
  • 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.

582

National Security Law 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • LLM-ICL (JD) elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • PIPS elective
  1. Fall 19
  2. Fall 17
  3. Fall 18
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Oral presentation
  • Class participation

This fall-only course is designed to provide students, particularly those with no background in the topic, with an overview of the American legal architecture for its security enterprise.  The class will also examine related issues that arise "in the news."  It is aimed not only at students considering a career in government or the military, but also for those headed to private practice who appreciate that the U.S.’s $719 billion defense budget, along with $1.7 trillion in defense outlays worldwide impacts virtually all potential clients.

The course analyzes the Constitutional structure governing national security matters, and the role played by the three branches of government (with special emphasis on Presidential power).  It will also examine governmental surveillance, the investigation and prosecution of national security cases, as well as First Amendment issues related to national security.  In addition, domestic security issues (to include the domestic use of the armed forces), security-based travel restrictions, the role of the Centers for Disease Control, the military justice system, civil-military relations, and the impact of national security issues on business transactions will be reviewed.

There is no examination for this course, but a 30-page research paper (constituting 65% of the grade) is required on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the instructor.  With instructor approval, the course paper may fulfill the Substantial Research and Writing Project or other writing requirements.  The remainder of the grade (35%) is based on the quality and frequency of class participation, and may require short, written products.

 

587

Race and the Law 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  • PIPS elective
  1. Spring 20
  • 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 18
  2. Spring 19
  • 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.

717

Comparative Constitutional Design 2
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 18
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

Recent constitutional reconstructions in various parts of the world have called new attention to the problems of institutional design of political systems. In this course we will examine the design and implementation of national constitutions. In particular, we will address the following questions. What are the basic elements of constitutions? How do these elements differ across time, across region, and across regime type? What is the process by which states draft and implement constitutions? What models, theories, and writings have influenced the framers of constitutions?

In the first half of the course, we will review the historical roots of constitutions and investigate their provisions and formal characteristics. We will also discuss the circumstances surrounding the drafting of several exemplary or noteworthy constitutions, from various regions of the world. We will then examine particular features of institutional design in depth. These will include judicial review, presidentialism vs. parliamentarism, federalism, and the relationship of the national legal system to international law.

758

Originalism and Its Discontents 3
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  • IntlLLM writing, option
  1. Spring 20
  2. Spring 18
  3. Spring 19
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research paper, 25+ pages
  • Class participation

Originalism is a major school of constitutional interpretation and a growing field of study. Both public discourse and legal practice commonly feature originalist arguments as well as criticisms of originalism. To engage these arguments, lawyers and citizens should be able to weigh the merits of a diverse set of originalist theories. This course is designed to acquaint you with a number of originalist and nonoriginalist arguments; enable you to judge for yourself the strengths and weaknesses of each; and give you an opportunity to sharpen your own views on the topic. It examines various originalist theories (original intentions, original meanings, original methods, and so on), different emphases in originalist argumentation over time (the “old” originalism vs. the “new”), and forms of argument used in support or opposition (conceptual, normative, positive). The course will be taught as a two-hour weekly seminar, focused on class discussion of the readings. Each student will choose weeks in which to submit a total of eight short papers (5-8 pp.) in response to the readings. These papers will be circulated to all participants via Sakai and will serve, together with my own comments at the start of each session, as a basis for class discussion. Alternatively, students may instead pursue independent research projects related to originalism, submitting first and final drafts (~30 pp.) in compliance with the upper-level writing requirement. Students choosing this option must do so prior to the close of the Drop/Add period.

776

Supreme Court Litigation 2
  • JD elective
  • JD SRWP
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Fall 17

This course has three objectives:  

  1. To gain a working knowledge of the unique role the Supreme Court plays in our legal system—identifying and resolving important disputed recurring issues of federal law—and of the demands thus placed on lawyers who practice before it;
  2. To provide a very intense experience in honing your legal writing skills, by the preparation of two short (10-12 page double spaced) briefs reflecting different phases of Supreme Court litigation, each to be prepared over a separate four week period, with on-going one-on-one interaction with the professor and detailed comments on the final brief;
  3. To study the oral argument process as now practiced in the Court, including moot court arguments be each student in a current case, study of actual arguments from the present Court Term and, if possible, attendance at one or more moot courts by arguing lawyers and discussions with those lawyers.  

    The uniqueness of practice in the Supreme Court stems primarily from the certiorari process, by which the Court identifies the 1% of petitioning cases it will hear on the merits. Lawyers on both sides must convince the Court that the case at hand does or does not present a legal issue of sufficient moment and controversy as to presently demand the Court's attention. We will discuss in detail the features of a case that enhance or detract from its chances for certiorari.  After a case is granted and goes forward on the merits, the selective nature of the Court's jurisdiction—and its focus on resolving recurring legal issues rather than simply deciding cases—shapes the lawyer's approach to the case in important ways, which will be considered in class sessions dealing with the drafting of merits briefs and the role that amicus briefs play in the Court's work.

    All of these goals will be pursued through the study of three or four actual cases from the present Term.  The greatest amount of effort, by both the students and the professor, will be invested in the two short brief writing assignments.  These assignments, an Opposition to Certiorari and a Reply Brief on the merits, will demand both an understanding of the nature of the Supreme Court's process and a firm grasp on the law and facts of the particular case.  In both instances you will prepare an outline, meet with the professor to discuss your approach, and then prepare the final brief.  Neither brief will require extensive research beyond the materials cited in the case filings you will be provided with.  Both briefs will demand an ability to think and write in clear simple English, and self-critically evaluate and revise what you have written—with feedback from the instructor - to make it as coherent and persuasive as possible to the Justices and their clerks.    A limited number of students may satisfy the upper-level writing requirement through an additional credit of work and with the permission of the instructor.  

794W

Law in Slavery & Freedom: From the Historical to the Contemporary/ Writing Credit
  • JD SRWP
  • JD elective
  • IntlLLM/SJD/EXC elective
  1. Spring 18
  • Research paper, 25+ pages

Students enrolled in Law 794 Law in Slavery & Freedom:  From the Historical to the Contemporary, may earn an additional credit by writing an additional 25+ page paper, due at the end of the semester . *LAW 794W must be added no later than 7th week of class.*