Duke Law School is a community of lawyers. Some are in the earliest days of their careers; some are in the depths of intense study and research rooted in years of practice, teaching, and public service. When you arrive here, you become a colleague in an intensive and collaborative exploration of the law. We encourage and expect you to create your own adventure, to use the vast resources at your disposal to contribute to Duke Law, to the community, and to the legal profession.
“The Duke Way is a combination of intellectual engagement at the highest level, a commitment to serving the common good, and extraordinary collaboration and collegiality that sets us apart from other law schools. We take scholarship, service, professionalism, and teaching seriously; but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.”
Duke Law’s curriculum is designed to be flexible, giving you the opportunity to design much of your course schedule to meet your intellectual and career goals. You’ll find a vast selection of courses and opportunities to develop specialized expertise, with particularly strong concentrations of courses, programs and opportunities in the following areas:
Why Duke Law?
Duke Law’s curriculum begins with a slate of first-year courses designed to instill foundational knowledge in core concepts and strong legal writing and analytical skills. Upper level courses are designed to deepen your legal skills and strengthen your understanding of how the law informs and changes the world around us. Our goal is to provide you with the resources and tools you need to design your own curricular path—a path that excites you, challenges you, and prepares you for success and leadership in the law.
About 15 percent of Duke Law students choose to pursue a dual degree. The flagship JD/LLM offers both a JD and a Master of International and Comparative Law degree in just three years. With a similar schedule, you can participate in our JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship program. Or, pick from a list of dual degree programs offered in partnership with other Duke University programs.
Clinical legal education at Duke Law centers on client representation and professional development in a firm-like setting. By participating in a clinic, you’ll provide critically needed legal services to the community as you learn the practice of law. You’ll interview witnesses, gather evidence, represent your clients in court, negotiate settlements, write memos and briefs, and begin to build your professional portfolio — with the benefit of wise counsel from our top-notch clinical faculty.
Duke Law faculty value knowledge in the service of society. They tackle complex, real-world problems in the scholarship and teaching, they serve as government advisors and legal commentators, and they invite students to participate fully in their exploration of the law. They keep an open-door policy with students and an open-communication policy with far-flung alumni. Duke professors are colleagues, mentors, and friends to students ¾ during your time at Duke Law and long afterward.
Duke Law attracts students from around the world who are incredibly smart, insatiably curious, and committed to excellence. Through a wide variety of student organizations, nine journals, and a full slate of student-planned conference and events, Duke Law students contribute to an academic environment that values creativity, encourages collaboration, and stresses professional development.
The practice of law is increasingly global. To help you prepare for an international practice, Duke Law offers a wide variety of programs, ranging from our signature JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law and summer employment opportunities around the globe to summer institutes in Geneva and Hong Kong and a full complement of courses in international law.
Helping our students successfully launch their careers is a priority at Duke Law. Our Career Center is devoted to providing a full complement of resources and tools that will assist you in identifying the career that’s right for you, staking out your goals and the steps needed to get you there, and connecting you to the mentors and employers that will get you started on your life in the law.
Duke Law has approximately 9,500 alumni in every state in the country and in many countries around the world. Many return to campus each year, to recruit students, to provide advice, to teach, and, perhaps, to attend a basketball game. Duke Law alumni are leaders in every field ¾ and they offer a loyal and lifelong network that you’ll call on long after you leave law school.
Diversity at Duke Law is more than a statement or a goal: it is part of our educational mission. We value diversity, in the broadest sense, because the law is a field and profession that must serve and protect all members of society. The educational experience of our students is demonstrably enriched by an exchange of ideas and experiences among students, faculty, staff, and alumni who contribute diverse perspectives.
Serving the community is a way of life at Duke Law. We view it as part of our responsibility as law students, lawyers, community leaders, and good citizens. Our Public Interest and Pro Bono Program, one of the oldest formal public interest programs in the country, you can participate in legal service programs, volunteer in the community, and take advantage of a range of tools that can help you launch a career in service.
Leadership is a critical component of a Duke Law education and a fully engaged life in the law. Our “Blueprint to LEAD” outlines the values we think are critical for leadership, and we incorporate these ideals into our curriculum, programs and interactions with each other. By articulating these ideals and living them, by supporting and encouraging creativity, and by giving you the tools you need to accomplish your goals, we set you on course to achieve extraordinary things.
Qualifications for Admission to the Bar
In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners. For additional information, please visit the American Bar Association (ABA) website.