Duke Law's JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship

The JD/LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship at Duke Law integrates rigorous course work, real-world experience, and high-level networking opportunities to position you to advise, create, and lead the innovative ventures that will drive tomorrow’s global economy.

The program provides students with a deep understanding of historical and current perspectives on entrepreneurship and the law, as well as the ability to understand the business, institutional, and strategic considerations applicable to entrepreneurs.

Graduates earning the JD/LLMLE degree not only set themselves apart but are truly ready to engage in nearly every business-related practice area."

— Bryan McGann, program director of Law & Entrepreneurship, clinical professor of law and director of the Start-Up Ventures clinic

Duke Law JD/LLMLE students complete the requirements for both the JD degree and the LLM degree in Law & Entrepreneurship in just three years, plus one summer. Students earn 87 credits for the JD and 24 for the LLMLE, with 10 credits counting towards both degrees. In addition to annual Wintersession courses, JD/LLMLE students take one or two more credits each semester than their JD peers.

The Duke Advantage

Known for interdisciplinary strength, faculty who are leaders in their fields, and ambitious research, Duke Law is home to leading programs in business, finance, and tax law, intellectual property law, environmental law, and public law.

Durham's Innovative Community

The university’s strong ties with institutions in the Research Triangle and relationships with alumni and business leaders who are successful entrepreneurs and mentors are the foundations for a dynamic learning and teaching environment.

The Law and Entrepreneurship Program builds on — and adds to — these strengths.

Collaborative, Professional

One of the defining features of the Law and Entrepreneurship Program is the focus on professional development and collaboration.

Whether you are working with a team on a class project, discussing a client’s needs in the Start-Up Ventures Clinic, or taking advantage of networking opportunities in the community, you will develop the ability to work efficiently and productively with others as you solve problems and move your projects forward.

One thing you’ll hear from a lot of different people is law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer. The joint degree program allows me to do that and then some. It taught me to think like an entrepreneur. [All the experiences] I’ve had here have helped shape that entrepreneurial perspective. That’s essential, not only for a career in the law but for any career nowadays, companies are thinking entrepreneurially and that’s what you need to do to succeed.”

— Trevor Kiviat JD/LLMLE ’16, senior counsel at NYDIG and Stone Ridge Asset Management in New York

Start-Up Ventures Clinic

The JD/LLMLE program is enhanced by guaranteed enrollment in the Duke Law School Start-Up Ventures Clinic during the 3L year. Students provide legal advice and assistance to seed- and early-stage entrepreneurial ventures that have not yet raised significant amounts of outside capital. The clinic assists clients in a wide variety of legal matters, including formation, intellectual property protection, commercialization strategies, and operational issues.

The Start-Up Ventures Clinic has been the best course experience I’ve had at Duke Law School. Working in the clinic, you learn how to communicate directly with clients and help them solve problems they didn’t even know they had. I loved helping young businesses in my community, and the experience has better prepared me to start my career.”

— Maddy Strahl JD/LLMLE ’21, now an associate in the emerging companies group at Wyrick Robbins

Summer Immersion

After their first-year, dual degree students enroll in Entrepreneurship Immersion. After starting a fast-track academic course in Durham focused on the legal, business and regulatory aspects of early-stage company formation, students venture for a week to a technology hub in the United States. In the past, students have visited Silicon Valley or New York City to meet with investors, law firms with entrepreneurial practices, and Duke alumni serving as in-house counsel at startups and high-growth tech companies like Box, Apple, Google, Block, Atlassian, and Loom.

The JD/LLMLE program has definitely opened doors for me that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about, let alone entered. Through the immersion program I got connected with a health IT company in a Durham-based accelerator. The experience exposed me to interesting legal and business issues that emerging companies face on a practical level, and more importantly, introduced me to many of the really interesting folks in the impressive Triangle entrepreneurial community.”

— Rose McKinley JD/LLMLE '17, senior counsel, corporate and securities, at Unity Technologies in Palo Alto, Calif. She spent her 1L summer working as a clerk for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco and an intern for ELXR Health in Durham

Externships and Practica

Students have completed externships and practica for course credit with organizations ranging from startups to law firms and investors, like Duke Capital Partners, formerly known as Duke Angel Network.

Duke Angel Network exposed me to every aspect of the investment process, from deal sourcing to screening to diligence and beyond... This immersive experience taught me how to ask good questions and become knowledgeable on a company and an industry in short order. It taught me — and is still teaching me — what makes a company attractive to early-stage investors."

— Meredith Thompson, JD/LLMLE '21 is an associate at McKinsey & Company

Work and Careers

Thanks to the LLMLE program’s emphasis on professional skills development, graduates are well prepared for high-level legal practice — and employers know it. Graduates of the program have found work in firms and organizations around the country, including: Cooley, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Fenwick Goodwin & West, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Morrison & Foerster, Perkins Coie, and Wilson Sonsini.

The Law & Entrepreneurship Program is already paying off for me in my practice. The heavy emphasis on practical coursework allowed me to hit the ground running by introducing me to concepts, lingo, and transaction documents that I otherwise may not have seen until a few years out of school. Specifically, I’ve used lessons learned in Kip Johnson’s Venture Capital Financing class several times in just a few short months!”

— Jay Preston JD/LLMLE '19, spent his 2L summer at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Philadelphia, where he is now an associate