Juris Doctor

Program Code: LAW-JD
Degree Designation: Juris Doctor
Department: School of Law
Website: law.duke.edu/study/jdrequirements

Program Summary

Duke Law School offers a JD program that is rigorous, relevant, innovative, and interdisciplinary.

First-year students begin their study of law through the traditional core courses of civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts, and legal analysis, research, and writing. At least one core first-year course is a small section of around thirty-five students, with most first-year classes taught in double sections.

The first-year writing course is taught in sections of less than thirty students.

From the first-year foundation, Duke has built an extensive upper-level curriculum that blends traditional coursework with an extensive array of practical skills courses and clinics and opportunities to study in small groups with faculty.

Students must complete 87 course credits to earn the JD degree.

While the core curriculum is strong across the board, Duke has given special attention to those areas in which there is likely to be a growing demand for lawyers over the coming decades—business and finance law, international and comparative law, constitutional and public law, and fields relating to science and technology such as intellectual property and environmental law.

JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law

The JD/LLM in international and comparative law allows students to earn both the JD and LLM degrees in three years, with additional coursework between the first and second year at the Duke Law Summer Institute in Transnational Law. Courses for the LLM degree focus on international and comparative law and prepare students for careers in international law practice. During the six semesters of law study and in coursework at Duke’s summer institute, JD/LLM students participate in 24 course credits in international and comparative law.

Courses required for the LLM include international law; comparative law; research methodology in international, foreign, and comparative law; a selected seminar focused on international and comparative law; and coursework or an independent study for which a significant piece of writing is required.

Candidates for the JD/LLM in international and comparative law must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in these courses.

JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship

The JD/LLM in law and entrepreneurship allows students to earn both the JD and LLM degrees in three years, with a summer of additional coursework. Coursework in the LLM degree provides students with a deep understanding of the historical and current perspectives on entrepreneurship and the law; enables students to understand the business, institutional, and strategic considerations applicable to entrepreneurs; fosters an understanding of the public policy and legal frameworks that promote innovation; ensures that students master both the core substantive law and the lawyering skills that are necessary for effective representation of entrepreneurs; and provides students with an opportunity to explore their potential for entrepreneurship.

Students must complete 24 course credits in entrepreneurship, business law, and IP courses for the LLM degree. Upper-level courses for JD/LLMLE students include, for example, Law 534 (Advising the Entrepreneurial Client), Law 778 (Law and Entrepreneurship), Law 319 (Analytical Methods), Law 203 (Business Strategy), Law 532 (Venture Capital Financing), and Law 441 (Start-Up Ventures Clinic).

JD/MA Degree

Duke offers the opportunity for students to earn both a law degree and a master’s degree in bioethics and science policy. Students who wish to pursue this program may apply to The Graduate School after matriculating at the law school.

JD/MBA and Accelerated JD/MBA Degrees

Students and faculty affiliated with Duke Law School and The Fuqua School of Business have many opportunities to collaborate on issues at the intersection of law and business. Students who are particularly ambitious and focused in this area may apply to the program by submitting separate applications to both the Law School and to The Fuqua School of Business.

Course of Study. Students who are admitted to both degree programs may choose to begin their studies either at Duke Law School or at The Fuqua School of Business. The JD/MBA can be completed in four years, rather than the five it would take to complete each degree separately.

A typical course of study might begin with the first-year curriculum at the law school, followed by the first-year curriculum in The Duke MBA, and then two years of classes selected from both schools, with approximately two-thirds of the courses taken in the law school. However, students may choose to spend their first year at the business school and their second at the law school, or the first two years at the law school and the third at the business school. This flexibility is typical of the opportunities in the JD/MBA program.

Accelerated JD/MBA Option

Typically, JD/MBA students will complete both degrees in four years (eight semesters) of study. However, with careful course scheduling, some students are able to complete their JD/MBA in three and a half years (seven semesters). Students who pursue this option are attracted by the opportunity to get a head start on their entry into the job market. Students do not need to commit themselves to the accelerated JD/MBA option during the application process; one can explore the possibility during the first year of study at Duke. For more application information, visit law.duke.edu/admis/degreeprograms/jd-mba.

JD/MBA Careers

JD/MBA students have a wide range of career options, whether they choose to pursue legal practice informed by a deeper understanding of business and finance, work in finance or management drawing on their legal expertise, or some other combination of the two disciplines. Three summers for both legal and business employment and internships allow students to gain experience in both fields. And they can take full advantage of the resources and advice of both Duke Law’s Career Center and the Duke MBA Career Management Center.