Jeffrey D Ward


Clinical Professor of Law

Jeff Ward is director of Duke’s Center on Law & Technology (DCLT), which coordinates Duke’s leadership at the intersection of law and technology with programs such as the Duke Law Tech Lab, a pre-accelerator for legal technology companies, and the Access Tech Tools initiative, a program to help students and Duke’s community partners to employ human-centered design thinking and available technologies to create tools to enhance access to legal services.

Ward focuses his scholarship and professional activities on the law and policy of emerging technologies (blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT, etc.), the future of lawyering, and the socio-economic effects of rapid technological change, with a focus on ensuring equitable access to the tools of economic growth and the resources of the law.

Ward currently teaches Law & Policy Lab: Blockchain and Frontier Robotics & AI: Law & Ethics, as well as Intellectual Property, Business Law, and Entrepreneurship for Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering’s Masters of Engineering Management Program.

Ward is involved with several law-tech leadership organizations, including the Kauffman Foundation-supported Legal Technology Laboratory, the American Association of Law Schools Section on Technology, Law, and Legal Education, the North Carolina Bar Association’s Committee on the Future of Law. Through this work and through his role as a 2017-2019 Duke Alumni Association “Faculty Fellow,” Ward frequently presents nationwide on technology- and economic development-related topics.

Prior to serving as director of the DCLT, Ward was director of the Start-Up Ventures Clinic, supervising attorney in the Law School’s Community Enterprise Clinic, and an associate with the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins, where he focused on M&A and capital markets transactions and served as a Public Interest Law Initiative Fellow with the at the Community Economic Development Law Project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.

Ward earned both his JD and his LLM in International & Comparative Law from Duke Law School, his MA in Literature from Northern Illinois University, and his BA in the Program of Liberal Studies (Great Books) and a concentration in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics from the University of Notre Dame. Before turning to the law, Ward worked first as a business consultant with a global management-consulting firm in Chicago and then as an English teacher in the Chicago suburbs.

Ward is licensed to practice in North Carolina and maintains his own law practice, counseling start-ups and offering corporate and transactional legal services to for-profit and non-profit business entities.  He and his wife have two children.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Clinical Professor of Law
  • Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Duke Law School 210 Science Dr, Duke Box 90362, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 613-7153
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • J.D. Duke University, 2009

Courses Taught

  • AIPI 560: Legal, Societal, and Ethical Implications of AI
  • BIOETHIC 591: Topics in Science Policy
  • BIOETHIC 675S: Law and Policy Lab: Data Governance
  • BIOETHIC 700: Research Independent Study in Bioethics and Science Policy
  • BIOETHIC 703: Frontier AI & Robotics: Law and Ethics
  • EGRMGMT 520: Intellectual Property, Business Law, and Entrepreneurship
  • LAW 130: Contracts
  • LAW 475A: Health Data and Learning Health Networks
  • LAW 571: Future of Contracts
  • LAW 592: Frontier AI & Robotics: Law and Ethics
  • LAW 640: Independent Research
  • PUBPOL 890: Advanced Special Topics in Public Policy

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Ward, J; Kouser, T, Health-Related Digital Autonomy: An Important, But Unfinished Step, American Journal of Bioethics, vol 21 no. 7 (2021), pp. 31-33 [abs].
  • Ward, J, Foreword: Black Box Artificial Intelligence and the Rule of Law, Law and Contemporary Problems, vol 84 no. 3 (2021), pp. i-v [abs].
  • Ward, J; Reyes, C, Digging into Algorithms: Legal Ethics and Legal Access, Nevada Law Journal, vol 21 no. 1 (2020), pp. 325-377 [abs].
  • Ward, J, 10 Things Judges Should Know About AI, Judicature, vol 103 no. 1 (2019), pp. 12-18 [abs].
  • Ward, J, When and How Should We Invite Artificial Intelligence Tools to Assist With the Administration of Law? A Note From America, Australian Law Journal, vol 93 no. 3 (2019) [abs].