Jeffrey D Ward


Associate Dean for Technology and Innovation in the Duke Law School

Jeff Ward is Clinical Professor of Law and currently teaches Contracts and technology-focused courses such as Frontier AI & Robotics: Law & Ethics and Data Governance. He is affiliated faculty at the Initiative for Science & Society and at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering where he teaches Legal, Legal, Societal & Ethical Implications of AI for Artificial Intelligence for Product Innovation Master of Engineering students and Intellectual Property, Business Law, and Entrepreneurship for Master of Engineering Management students.

Through his work at Duke and as a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Ward focuses his scholarship and professional activities on the law and policy of emerging technologies, 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. In all his work on ethical technology development, he focuses on facilitating structures to allow diverse communities of stakeholders to have a voice in their socio-technical futures and on breaking down the habitual walls of law to seek inspiration and engagement from other viewpoints and disciplines. 

As Director of the Duke Center on Law & Technology (DCLT), Ward collaborates with DCLT affiliates to ensure that new technologies ultimately empower and ennoble all people and expand access to quality legal services. The DCLT offers programs such as:

  • the Duke Law Tech Lab, a pre-accelerator program focused on justice tech companies—“those that create technology solutions to help people navigate legal matters with tech solutions that foster hope, independence, and self-empowerment and contribute to a fairer legal system” (definition by Justice Tech Association, 2022). 
  • Duke Law By Design, a program to help students and Duke’s community partners to employ human-centered design methodologies and available technologies to create tools and processes to enhance access to legal services.
  • The Digital Governance Design Studio, which builds legal and governance models, develops interactive trainings, and pursues research at the intersection of governance, technology, and advice, helping students become digital-savvy professionals, collaborators, and stewards.
  • Duke LawNext – a range of programs focused on the digital transformation and ongoing innovation of legal operations and legal services delivery.

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 was the recipient of Duke Law’s 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award.

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: +1 919 613 7153
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • J.D. Duke University, 2009

Courses Taught

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

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, 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].
  • Ward, J, 10 Things Judges Should Know About AI, Judicature, vol 103 no. 1 (2019), pp. 12-18 [abs].