Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

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fwaam
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Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby fwaam » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:39 pm

So I'm having a hard time choosing between these two schools--not something most TLS-ers would have an issue with, I know, but I'm a bit different from most TLS-ers. Considerations:

* Duke has offered me a substantial scholarship. Not a full ride, but the functional equivalent (or nearly so) once COL differences are factored in.
* I'm from the South, prefer warm weather, would like to stay close to family, and am 90% sure I'll want to be in the South after graduation.
* Not entirely sure what I want to do, but thinking small firm or government work... in other words, Harvard's LRAP would help out some, but the debt would still be a significant burden (I've done the numbers on this).
* The number of opportunities Harvard offers and the name/cultural cloat/etc. have their appeal, but I'm not sure that's important enough to me to spend so much money on it. Still, clinics/externships are important to me and Harvard wins there.
* I visited both. I loved Duke and could definitely see myself there for the next 3 years. I'm a little more ambivalent about Harvard, but I think I would enjoy being there too.
* I don't like big cities.

So I've been wrestling with this one for awhile. Harvard is attractive because it's Harvard--the connections I'd make, the opportunities, just the chance to tell people I'm at Harvard. On the other hand, I really liked Duke, am debt-averse and for the kinds of jobs I'm looking at, it sounds like Duke would be more than good enough. (The lawyers I know were quite impressed when I got into Duke. I haven't dared tell a lot of people about Harvard, which may be my answer right there.)

Thoughts?

showNprove
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby showNprove » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:07 am

.
Last edited by showNprove on Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

papercranes
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby papercranes » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:12 am

fwaam wrote:So I'm having a hard time choosing between these two schools--not something most TLS-ers would have an issue with, I know, but I'm a bit different from most TLS-ers. Considerations:

* Duke has offered me a substantial scholarship. Not a full ride, but the functional equivalent (or nearly so) once COL differences are factored in.
* I'm from the South, prefer warm weather, would like to stay close to family, and am 90% sure I'll want to be in the South after graduation.
* Not entirely sure what I want to do, but thinking small firm or government work... in other words, Harvard's LRAP would help out some, but the debt would still be a significant burden (I've done the numbers on this).
* The number of opportunities Harvard offers and the name/cultural cloat/etc. have their appeal, but I'm not sure that's important enough to me to spend so much money on it. Still, clinics/externships are important to me and Harvard wins there.
* I visited both. I loved Duke and could definitely see myself there for the next 3 years. I'm a little more ambivalent about Harvard, but I think I would enjoy being there too.
* I don't like big cities.

So I've been wrestling with this one for awhile. Harvard is attractive because it's Harvard--the connections I'd make, the opportunities, just the chance to tell people I'm at Harvard. On the other hand, I really liked Duke, am debt-averse and for the kinds of jobs I'm looking at, it sounds like Duke would be more than good enough. (The lawyers I know were quite impressed when I got into Duke. I haven't dared tell a lot of people about Harvard, which may be my answer right there.)

Thoughts?


Sounds like you want Duke.

If you haven't told a lot of people about Harvard it's because you might get talked into something you don't really want or need.

Duke is a great school and having next to no debt would be fantastic. Even though everyone shouts LRAP, the freedom and flexibility to not have to worry and to have a terrific law degree anyway is a terrific opportunity. The prestige and connections of Harvard aren't necessary for you to do what you want to do.

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gossipgirl
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby gossipgirl » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:12 am

Duke.

It's where you seem like you want to go.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby prezidentv8 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:13 am

For what it's worth, I love Duke and am even trolling for the school even though I should be studying for finals.

Harvard's nice too though.

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tristanlxboyd
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby tristanlxboyd » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:20 am

I'm no expert, but this is how I see it: going to Harvard is going to give you more upward mobility, whereas Duke will give you more freedom in the short term (i.e. 10 years), just because of relative debtlessness. I think that freedom is especially beneficial to you if you want to remain in a specific region (outside of big cities) and want to do small firm work, or blaze your own trail.

fwaam
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby fwaam » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:27 am

papercranes wrote:Sounds like you want Duke.

If you haven't told a lot of people about Harvard it's because you might get talked into something you don't really want or need.


I would say that's a good deduction. Half my reason for going to Harvard would be that other people are impressed by it, which is probably not a great reason when both schools open all the doors I'm likely to want opened. (Still, it's hard to say no.)

tristanlxboyd wrote:I'm no expert, but this is how I see it: going to Harvard is going to give you more upward mobility, whereas Duke will give you more freedom in the short term (i.e. 10 years), just because of relative debtlessness. I think that freedom is especially beneficial to you if you want to remain in a specific region (outside of big cities) and want to do small firm work, or blaze your own trail.


That's interesting. One question I still haven't had answered satisfactorily is how much difference the name of your law school makes 10+ years out. Common sense suggests that at that point work experience would be far more important, but I'd hate to find myself wishing I'd chosen Harvard when I'm 45 (at which point the debt would all be paid off anyway).


Edit: FWIW, there are definitely things I find attractive about Harvard. I just didn't feel like I'd need to explain that on a place like TLS, whereas I would have to explain why I'm seriously considering Duke instead.

lakerfanimal
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby lakerfanimal » Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:58 am

You really seem like you want to be at Duke.. if you're close to 100% sure you want to stay and settle in the south then go there because you'll probably be happier and if you establish yourself well there passing up Harvard probably won't hurt you.

However, if you ever want to leave the region or have more options Harvard will allow you to do that a lot more easily than Duke. So I think it's a question how committed you are to sticking to your plan/how confident you are that you'll stick to your plan.

sfdreaming09
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby sfdreaming09 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:04 am

Harvard.

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dspit
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby dspit » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:08 am

Take the LSAT again.
Last edited by dspit on Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby A'nold » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:08 am

I, like 95% of poster on here, would take Harvard. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am already in debt. However, in your case I say Duke all the way. Don't do something you don't want to do. It's not like you are choosing like Emory over Harvard b/c you want to be in the south. You would be going to basically the best southern law school in the country and a national t14 school.

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A'nold
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby A'nold » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:09 am

A'nold wrote:I, like 95% of poster on here, would take Harvard. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am already in debt. However, in your case I say Duke all the way. Don't do something you don't want to do. It's not like you are choosing like Emory over Harvard b/c you want to be in the south. You would be going to basically the best southern law school in the country and a national t14 school.



Edit: scratch that, I agree w/ the guy above me: Retake. :)

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thickfreakness
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby thickfreakness » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:13 am

Tough call. I'd probably take Duke, because like you mentioned, the debt can be really, really tough to deal with, even with a good LRAP program. Also, working in the south you're not going to have those 160K biglaw salaries, biglaw down here pays more like 100k-135k. Harvard DOES open a ton of doors, though.

splinter23x
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby splinter23x » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:18 am

After reading your original post, I would've said Harvard, but I understood those saying Duke. But then you said this:

tristanlxboyd wrote:One question I still haven't had answered satisfactorily is how much difference the name of your law school makes 10+ years out. Common sense suggests that at that point work experience would be far more important, but I'd hate to find myself wishing I'd chosen Harvard when I'm 45 (at which point the debt would all be paid off anyway).

Now it's Harvard all the way. Absolutely, where you went to school does matter 10+ years later. There is really no door that Harvard doesn't plow through; a Duke resume can't say the same thing. This is the legal profession. Go to Harvard, hands down.

Flanker1067
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby Flanker1067 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:26 am

Lucky for you, neither Cambridge or Boston are big cities. Harvard. (And I am going to Duke)

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:55 am

thickfreakness wrote:Also, working in the south you're not going to have those 160K biglaw salaries, biglaw down here pays more like 100k-135k. Harvard DOES open a ton of doors, though.

What? Did you read OP's post about wanting small firm or government work? I'm not entirely sure how this makes an argument for Duke over Harvard.


OP: You clearly really want Duke, so take Duke for that reason. It's a great school and you should be happy where you end up. I wouldn't take Duke over Harvard in your shoes, but I'm in my shoes. Do what you think fits for you. Best of luck!

choculamaviva
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby choculamaviva » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:33 am

My vote is for Duke. Seem like you would be happier there for the next 3 years and happier for the decade after that not being in debt.

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Shaggier1
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby Shaggier1 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:52 am

* I visited both. I loved Duke and could definitely see myself there for the next 3 years. I'm a little more ambivalent about Harvard, but I think I would enjoy being there too.
* I don't like big cities.


Go to Duke man. You loved the campus, you are barely paying (for a T14!!), and you get to be close to your family and graduate from the school that is King of the South, which is where you want to practice.

cavebat2000
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby cavebat2000 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:58 am

You do realize the deposit deadline for Duke is tomorrow? You need to decide like NOW and send your stuff to them via overnight FEDEX directly to their office. Just talked to them on the phone and they really strict about that. I got a scholarship too and that didn't seem to give me any flexibility in terms of getting this stuff in late.

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jcunni5
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby jcunni5 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:05 pm

Duke. In the south I don't think duke will limit you and you will be happy no debt and I hear the atmosphere is very relaxed

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holydonkey
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby holydonkey » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:08 pm

Go to Harvard. The name will open far more doors.

JOThompson
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby JOThompson » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:10 pm

Duke.

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Always Credited
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby Always Credited » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:12 pm

Retake for Y/S

lucille
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby lucille » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:15 pm

Duke.

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FuManChusco
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Re: Harvard vs Duke ($$$)

Postby FuManChusco » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:19 pm

The only school you turn down Harvard/Stanford for is Yale.




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