At Duke Law’s Master of Judicial Studies Program, judges learn the analytical skills and research approaches necessary for studying judicial institutions and apply those skills to studies of domestic and international judicial institutions, common and emerging legal issues, general judicial practices, and judicial reform efforts. Director David Levi’s vision and leadership are evident. Together with several colleagues, he has brought together top scholars and experts to produce an intensive and challenging curriculum that addresses an array of issues relating to judicial institutions, judicial behavior, and decision-making.
In addition to teaching substantive law courses, such as constitutional and statutory law interpretation, federalism, international law, and analytic methods, leading scholars in the field of bias recognition help judges better identify and understand influences that may affect their decision-making. The program ends by offering judges the singular opportunity to work on a research thesis of publishable quality that may profoundly impact the judiciary.
The program is open to state, federal, and international judges who sit on courts of general jurisdiction. (Municipal judges, administrative law judges, arbitrators, and special masters are not eligible for the program.) We seek to admit a balance of representatives from each sector of the judiciary to create a diversity of ideas and approaches that will enhance the learning experience. The program requires four weeks of on-site coursework in two consecutive summers (total of eight weeks on campus), plus the writing of a thesis based on original research. Courses are highly interactive and taught by scholars from the Duke Law faculty as well as from institutions around the country.
The next class will start in May 2020. The Admissions Committee is no longer accepting applications for the 2020-2021 two-year cycle. The next class will begin 2022. For those judges who have applied for the 2020-2021 cycle, decisions will be made soon.
Duke Law offers a full scholarship to judges accepted to the program for tuition and room and board.
Duke Law welcomed its fourth incoming Judicial Studies LLM class of 21 judges — including nine federal judges, two state supreme court justices, eight state court judges, and two international judges — on May 20, 2018. The diversified group brings perspectives from all levels of the judiciary, including judges assigned to domestic relations, family court, complex business, general- trial jurisdiction, intermediate appellate, and supreme court. The curriculum is demanding, and the course work is challenging and heavy. The faculty for the first four-week session consists of 11 Duke Law professors, a federal judge, and a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Many prominent judges, practitioners, and other legal experts provide added views and insights as guest speakers. Click here to read more about the Master of Judicial Studies Class of 2020.