The days when law schools turned out budding attorneys who knew the legal theories but were clueless about how to use them are over. As the practice of law grows more complex — particularly in the sizzling areas of intellectual property and e-commerce — law schools are scrambling to create courses that will not only teach the concepts, but give students real-life experience as well.

That is the aim of a new course launched this month at Duke University Law School in Durham, N.C. Dubbed “Legal Dynamics of the Start-up Environment,” the course will match 10 students with .com and biotech companies in the Research Triangle Area, giving them the chance to learn first-hand the legal and business issues faced by venture-based enterprises.