mst wrote:And DesertFox, I was under the impression biglaw at Duke right now is around 40% of the class, maybe higher up to 45/50. Beachbum might be able to offer his knowledge. UCLA on the other hand I thought was closer to 30% of the class right now. That difference seems substantial enough
Meh, don't count on me too much for insightful information: I'm still an 0L, so most of my knowledge is going to consist of what's currently available to the masses. But with that said, it would be a little disingenuous to compare Duke's placement power against UCLA's based on the most recent NLJ stats. Remember, Duke relies at least in part on southern markets (i.e. Charlotte, Atlanta), and when these markets started the no-offer parade... well, shit hit the fan. You can ask Vandy all about that, too.
A better comparison is made using historical trends (including clerkships), in which Duke appears to have a noticeable edge on UCLA. So I'll just go back to my original point: go with Duke unless your total debt from UCLA will end up on the lower end of that spectrum, in which case either could be a good choice.
Edit: Though I can't speak for UCLA, I can say that, based on the information I've seen and the people I've spoken with, Duke students are still more likely than not to end up doing what they want to do. I imagine the situation will continue to improve as the economy recovers and markets stabilize.