In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and S.J.D. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 3 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./LL.M. (Juris Doctor/Master of Laws in comparative and international law), J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in cultural anthropology and English), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Medicine), J.D./M.E.M. (Juris Doctor/Master of Environmental Management), J.D./M.P.P. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Policy), J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in mechanical engineering), J.D./M.T.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Theological Studies), and J.D./Ph.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Philosophy in political science).
The Duke University School of Law offers concentrations in include intellectual property, international law, national security law, environmental studies, and business. For students interested in structuring study in a particular field, the law school offers individual academic advising on coursework and progression study. In addition, there are six in-house legal clinics. The Guantanamo Defense Clinic assists the Chief Defense Counsel for Guantanamo detainees with trial preparation. In the AIDS Legal Assistance Project, students help clients with HIV/AIDS prepare wills, apply for government benefits, and handle other issues. The Children’s Education Law Clinic represents low-income children in special education, school discipline, and disability benefits cases. The Community Enterprise Law Clinic helps students develop transactional skills in a community development law setting. The Low-Income Tax Payer Clinic helps clients in disputes with the IRS. In Wrongful Convictions, students investigate prisoners’ claims of actual innocence, and in Animal Law, students investigate issues of animal cruelty and pursue animal-protection law reform advocacy. In each clinic, students provide between 75 and 100 hours of client work. Clinics are open to all upper-class students. Seminars are offered in Bioethics, Corporate Reorganization, Entertainment Law, National Security Law, and many others. The law school has an international externship program in which students earn credit for law placements at agencies such as the U.S. Trade Representative Office and the State Department. 3L students can develop a “capstone” project that integrates advanced knowledge in a particular subject with a hands-on practice component. Some capstone projects are extensions of successful clinic experiences; others include writing an appellate brief or preparing congressional testimony with a faculty member, or working with a law reform commission. A student may take up to 3 semester hours of independent research toward their J.D. degree. Rules vary for J.D./LL.M. and LL.M. students. All independent research taken for credit is completed in cooperation with faculty. The Pro Bono Project connects volunteer law students with attorneys in nonprofit and governmental organizations as well as with attorneys engaged in private pro bono practice. Lecture series include the Duke Law Journal Lecture, Intellectual Property “Hot Topics” Conference, Great Lives in the Law, Brainerd Currie Memorial Lecture, the Kip and Meredith Frye Lecture in Intellectual Property, Herbert L. Bernstein Memorial Lecture in International and Comparative Law, and the Rabbi Seymour Siegel Lecture in Medical-Legal Ethics. Study abroad is possible through the Summer Institutes in Transnational Law in Geneva or Hong Kong. This program is required of incoming J.D./LL.M. students, and is also open to J.D. students. Students may accrue up to 6 hours of academic credit. Remediation is provided when needed. Charting Courses is an annual event designed to foster interactive dialogue among Duke Law School’s African-American students, alumni, faculty, and administrators. All minorities are welcome to attend. Duke Law School has over 50 student organizations, with the majority having special interest programming. The most widely taken electives are Business Associations, Evidence, and Intellectual Property.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 84 total credits, of which 32 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.1 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Research and Writing, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of Ethics/Professional Responsibility. All clinical courses are electives. The required orientation program for first-year students occurs the week before the start of classes, introducing students to the school’s BluePrint to Lead (Lawyer Education and Development) and culminating in a public service outing with upper-level students, faculty, and administration.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.1, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and Ethics/Professional Responsibility.