Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

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rickgrimes69
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Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Tue May 29, 2012 3:23 pm

So just as I thought I had this whole "where am I going next year" thing figured out, Michigan E-mailed to ask if I was still interested in attending. Michigan was a top choice for a long time, but then Duke gave me $54k and I sort of fell in love with the very nice admissions staff, low COL and the idea of not freezing to death every winter. I'm going to write back to Michigan and let them know they need to meet - or preferably beat - Duke's scholly (I've already spent a bunch on signing an apartment, buying plane tickets, etc).

My eventual goal is to work in MN Biglaw, then transition over to an in-house gig. I might work in NYC for a few years first, I could really go either way. I know Biglaw placement is roughly equivalent between the two schools. My big concern is that the Duke name won't carry as far in MN as Michigan's will. That being said, I also wonder if that might be offset from reduced competition from Duke for the MN market. Can anybody familiar with the MN market verify one way or the other? Do I have any significant benefit from going to U of M over Duke?
Last edited by rickgrimes69 on Tue May 29, 2012 5:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Cartman
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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby Cartman » Tue May 29, 2012 3:40 pm

If you've really fallen in love with Duke and have that nice scholly offer, it seems reasonable to ask for a matching scholarship at Mich as a condition of your attending. You can always see what they say.

I'm a fellow waitlister who got the email as well.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue May 29, 2012 5:27 pm

Was fullride at UMN never an option for you?

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Tue May 29, 2012 5:33 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:Was fullride at UMN never an option for you?


They gave me most of a full ride but I turned them down for several reasons, the most pertinent being their awful big law placement (even in MN). I can elaborate if anyone's interested.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby omg clay aiken ! » Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:30 am

All those kids graduating from St Thomas, Hamline and William Mitchell are getting the biglaw jobs? lolok. UMN is basically the only school that does place well in the twin cities.

You should ask them to kindly put their offer back on the table and then take it.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:17 am

omg clay aiken ! wrote:All those kids graduating from St Thomas, Hamline and William Mitchell are getting the biglaw jobs? lolok. UMN is basically the only school that does place well in the twin cities.

You should ask them to kindly put their offer back on the table and then take it.


I never said kids graduating from ST, Hamline or WM were getting biglaw jobs. But kids from UMN aren't either - they placed barely 10% of C/O 2010 into Biglaw. I've also spoken with partners at MN biglaw firms who confirmed that they would dip lower into the class of a T14 school than they would at UMN (duh).

I wasn't thrilled about attending regardless. UMN's campus is ugly and their law school is basically located in a basement. I also felt very unwelcome by UMN: they refused to give me in state tuition, despite the fact I have a valid MN drivers license and have lived in the state my entire life (minus last year). They refused to negotiate my scholarship whatsoever, even when faced with competing offers from better schools. Heck, they refused to even give me a fee waiver when I applied, despite being way above their numbers. Not only that, I found the admissions staff to be unhelpful, inconsistent, and generally very unwelcoming. So my choice, which should have been difficult, was made pretty easy overall.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby flem » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:18 am

I would think Michigan would have better placement but I don't know if it's worth an additional 54K. Have you sent them your Duke offer?

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:51 am

I doubt there will be a difference in placement between the two schools, though Michigan has a significant alumni network in the Twin Cities that could help you out, you could probably overcome it at Duke with legwork. FWIW I have a friend who is heading to UVA but targetting the MN market- he approached a number of firms trying to determine what kind of grades he'd need and the typical answer was top 1/2.

Also, keep in mind that MN biglaw pays significantly less than its NYC/Chi counterparts so servicing a lot of debt could still be difficult.

edit: More than 10% of UMNers are getting "biglaw" as well, as most market paying firms in the TC aren't NLJ250. I went to the NALP website and found there were about 90 SA spots in 2011 in MN, though many firms weren't listed as well.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:28 am

flem wrote:I would think Michigan would have better placement but I don't know if it's worth an additional 54K. Have you sent them your Duke offer?


Yes. Still waiting to hear back.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:36 am

minnbills wrote:I doubt there will be a difference in placement between the two schools, though Michigan has a significant alumni network in the Twin Cities that could help you out, you could probably overcome it at Duke with legwork. FWIW I have a friend who is heading to UVA but targetting the MN market- he approached a number of firms trying to determine what kind of grades he'd need and the typical answer was top 1/2.


That vibes with what I've been told; that the schools are essentially rated as peers so if all else was equal, the only way Mich might give me an edge is due to their extensive alum presence in MN. I haven't heard the top 1/2 figure, but it doesn't sound unreasonable. In contrast, the firms I spoke to said that I would need to graduate from UMN in the top quarter of my class to even be considered, with the majority of hires coming from the top 15%.

Also, keep in mind that MN biglaw pays significantly less than its NYC/Chi counterparts so servicing a lot of debt could still be difficult.


This is true - at sticker it would be very difficult. But with my 54k scholly at Duke and the low COL (I have enough savings to cover this through my 1L), I've crunched the numbers and it seems manageable.

I'm looking at a loan principle of maybe $150k. Paying that off in 5 years would require monthly payments of roughly $3000, which is hefty, but doable: with a starting salary of $110k I'd be pulling in about $5500 / month after taxes, leaving me ~$2500 / month to cover living expenses. IMO, that's a completely livable wage for Minnesota, and I'd be debt free in 5 years. 10 years would knock ~$1200 off my monthly payments if I wanted more breathing room, but also doubles the amount I pay in interest - just an option should I discover my salary wouldn't cut it.

edit: More than 10% of UMNers are getting "biglaw" as well, as most market paying firms in the TC aren't NLJ250. I went to the NALP website and found there were about 90 SA spots in 2011 in MN, though many firms weren't listed as well.


That's interesting re the SA positions, but I'm not sure if that translates to improved biglaw hiring. Law School Transparency (LinkRemoved) says only 10% get placed into firms of 250+ attorneys - do smaller firms still pay MN biglaw rates?

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:19 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
That vibes with what I've been told; that the schools are essentially rated as peers so if all else was equal, the only way Mich might give me an edge is due to their extensive alum presence in MN. I haven't heard the top 1/2 figure, but it doesn't sound unreasonable. In contrast, the firms I spoke to said that I would need to graduate from UMN in the top quarter of my class to even be considered, with the majority of hires coming from the top 15%.

This is true - at sticker it would be very difficult. But with my 54k scholly at Duke and the low COL (I have enough savings to cover this through my 1L), I've crunched the numbers and it seems manageable.

I'm looking at a loan principle of maybe $150k. Paying that off in 5 years would require monthly payments of roughly $3000, which is hefty, but doable: with a starting salary of $110k I'd be pulling in about $5500 / month after taxes, leaving me ~$2500 / month to cover living expenses. IMO, that's a completely livable wage for Minnesota, and I'd be debt free in 5 years. 10 years would knock ~$1200 off my monthly payments if I wanted more breathing room, but also doubles the amount I pay in interest - just an option should I discover my salary wouldn't cut it.

That's interesting re the SA positions, but I'm not sure if that translates to improved biglaw hiring. Law School Transparency (LinkRemoved) says only 10% get placed into firms of 250+ attorneys - do smaller firms still pay MN biglaw rates?


One thing to keep in mind is that UMN uses a quartile grading system. Meaning firms will only know which quartile you fall into, not what your exact class rank is, though I suppose they'll look at your actual grades and have a sense of where you fall. The exception to this rule is with clerkships. If you're applying to one they'll determine your actual class rank. So I'm skeptical of anyone who says "you have to be top 15%" or something close to that since that's not a possibility with hiring in the private sector.

And yes, there are firms under 250 attorneys that pay MN market, or close to it, which is 120k. To my knowledge, there are only three firms in the twin cities that even have 250+ attorneys, though many of the NYC/Chi firms have satellite offices in MPLS.

That said, your chances of making it into a high paying gig are obviously much higher coming from a T14 school. The odds are against you at UMN. So if you have your heart set on getting into a job like that right away (or at all,) then T14 is a better bet.

Have you read the MN legal market thread? I don't think the OP has posted for a while but if you could track him down I would.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:24 pm

minnbills wrote:
rickgrimes69 wrote:
That vibes with what I've been told; that the schools are essentially rated as peers so if all else was equal, the only way Mich might give me an edge is due to their extensive alum presence in MN. I haven't heard the top 1/2 figure, but it doesn't sound unreasonable. In contrast, the firms I spoke to said that I would need to graduate from UMN in the top quarter of my class to even be considered, with the majority of hires coming from the top 15%.

This is true - at sticker it would be very difficult. But with my 54k scholly at Duke and the low COL (I have enough savings to cover this through my 1L), I've crunched the numbers and it seems manageable.

I'm looking at a loan principle of maybe $150k. Paying that off in 5 years would require monthly payments of roughly $3000, which is hefty, but doable: with a starting salary of $110k I'd be pulling in about $5500 / month after taxes, leaving me ~$2500 / month to cover living expenses. IMO, that's a completely livable wage for Minnesota, and I'd be debt free in 5 years. 10 years would knock ~$1200 off my monthly payments if I wanted more breathing room, but also doubles the amount I pay in interest - just an option should I discover my salary wouldn't cut it.

That's interesting re the SA positions, but I'm not sure if that translates to improved biglaw hiring. Law School Transparency (LinkRemoved) says only 10% get placed into firms of 250+ attorneys - do smaller firms still pay MN biglaw rates?


One thing to keep in mind is that UMN uses a quartile grading system. Meaning firms will only know which quartile you fall into, not what your exact class rank is, though I suppose they'll look at your actual grades and have a sense of where you fall. The exception to this rule is with clerkships. If you're applying to one they'll determine your actual class rank. So I'm skeptical of anyone who says "you have to be top 15%" or something close to that since that's not a possibility with hiring in the private sector.

And yes, there are firms under 250 attorneys that pay MN market, or close to it, which is 120k. To my knowledge, there are only three firms in the twin cities that even have 250+ attorneys, though many of the NYC/Chi firms have satellite offices in MPLS.

That said, your chances of making it into a high paying gig are obviously much higher coming from a T14 school. The odds are against you at UMN. So if you have your heart set on getting into a job like that right away (or at all,) then T14 is a better bet.

Have you read the MN legal market thread? I don't think the OP has posted for a while but if you could track him down I would.


Yes, I've posted in that thread but OP has been MIA so far.

I should point out that if I could work in NYC for a few years and lateral over to MN, I'd be fine with that too. I just don't want to get stuck in NYC as I don't want to settle there long term.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:26 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
Yes, I've posted in that thread but OP has been MIA so far.

I should point out that if I could work in NYC for a few years and lateral over to MN, I'd be fine with that too. I just don't want to get stuck in NYC as I don't want to settle there long term.


There are ton of Minnesotans who go to top schools, work in another market, and come back. I don't think you'd have any problem coming back at some point. Might even be the better option for paying back your loans.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:36 pm

minnbills wrote:
rickgrimes69 wrote:
Yes, I've posted in that thread but OP has been MIA so far.

I should point out that if I could work in NYC for a few years and lateral over to MN, I'd be fine with that too. I just don't want to get stuck in NYC as I don't want to settle there long term.


There are ton of Minnesotans who go to top schools, work in another market, and come back. I don't think you'd have any problem coming back at some point. Might even be the better option for paying back your loans.


The numbers are actually pretty equivalent. I'd be able to pay off my loans maybe 1-2 years faster working in NYC. But after the increased COL and taxes in NYC, any accelerated repayment plan basically negates any extra money I'd be making from my NYC salary. I'd save a few thousand in interest overall, but it doesn't seem worth it when compared to the increased workload and stress I'd encounter working in NYC. And as much as I like the city, it's not like I'll have any time to, you know, enjoy it as a first year.

If I did end up working in NYC biglaw for 3-5 years, what's the best way to make myself marketable for when I want to transfer back home?

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby minnbills » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:48 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
If I did end up working in NYC biglaw for 3-5 years, what's the best way to make myself marketable for when I want to transfer back home?


That's something I don't know. Once you choose a school I would find an alum who made the transition and just ask to sit down for coffee or whatever. I'd imagine attorneys with experience at a big firm like that would be well valued here, though.

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby omg clay aiken ! » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:00 pm

minnbills wrote:
rickgrimes69 wrote:
That vibes with what I've been told; that the schools are essentially rated as peers so if all else was equal, the only way Mich might give me an edge is due to their extensive alum presence in MN. I haven't heard the top 1/2 figure, but it doesn't sound unreasonable. In contrast, the firms I spoke to said that I would need to graduate from UMN in the top quarter of my class to even be considered, with the majority of hires coming from the top 15%.

This is true - at sticker it would be very difficult. But with my 54k scholly at Duke and the low COL (I have enough savings to cover this through my 1L), I've crunched the numbers and it seems manageable.

I'm looking at a loan principle of maybe $150k. Paying that off in 5 years would require monthly payments of roughly $3000, which is hefty, but doable: with a starting salary of $110k I'd be pulling in about $5500 / month after taxes, leaving me ~$2500 / month to cover living expenses. IMO, that's a completely livable wage for Minnesota, and I'd be debt free in 5 years. 10 years would knock ~$1200 off my monthly payments if I wanted more breathing room, but also doubles the amount I pay in interest - just an option should I discover my salary wouldn't cut it.

That's interesting re the SA positions, but I'm not sure if that translates to improved biglaw hiring. Law School Transparency (LinkRemoved) says only 10% get placed into firms of 250+ attorneys - do smaller firms still pay MN biglaw rates?


One thing to keep in mind is that UMN uses a quartile grading system. Meaning firms will only know which quartile you fall into, not what your exact class rank is, though I suppose they'll look at your actual grades and have a sense of where you fall. The exception to this rule is with clerkships. If you're applying to one they'll determine your actual class rank. So I'm skeptical of anyone who says "you have to be top 15%" or something close to that since that's not a possibility with hiring in the private sector.

And yes, there are firms under 250 attorneys that pay MN market, or close to it, which is 120k. To my knowledge, there are only three firms in the twin cities that even have 250+ attorneys, though many of the NYC/Chi firms have satellite offices in MPLS.

That said, your chances of making it into a high paying gig are obviously much higher coming from a T14 school. The odds are against you at UMN. So if you have your heart set on getting into a job like that right away (or at all,) then T14 is a better bet.

Have you read the MN legal market thread? I don't think the OP has posted for a while but if you could track him down I would.



Do you know how UMN does in terms of Art. III clerkship placement? I was trying to track down some data on that a while ago and came up dry....

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby rayiner » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:03 pm

omg clay aiken ! wrote:
minnbills wrote:
rickgrimes69 wrote:
That vibes with what I've been told; that the schools are essentially rated as peers so if all else was equal, the only way Mich might give me an edge is due to their extensive alum presence in MN. I haven't heard the top 1/2 figure, but it doesn't sound unreasonable. In contrast, the firms I spoke to said that I would need to graduate from UMN in the top quarter of my class to even be considered, with the majority of hires coming from the top 15%.

This is true - at sticker it would be very difficult. But with my 54k scholly at Duke and the low COL (I have enough savings to cover this through my 1L), I've crunched the numbers and it seems manageable.

I'm looking at a loan principle of maybe $150k. Paying that off in 5 years would require monthly payments of roughly $3000, which is hefty, but doable: with a starting salary of $110k I'd be pulling in about $5500 / month after taxes, leaving me ~$2500 / month to cover living expenses. IMO, that's a completely livable wage for Minnesota, and I'd be debt free in 5 years. 10 years would knock ~$1200 off my monthly payments if I wanted more breathing room, but also doubles the amount I pay in interest - just an option should I discover my salary wouldn't cut it.

That's interesting re the SA positions, but I'm not sure if that translates to improved biglaw hiring. Law School Transparency (LinkRemoved) says only 10% get placed into firms of 250+ attorneys - do smaller firms still pay MN biglaw rates?


One thing to keep in mind is that UMN uses a quartile grading system. Meaning firms will only know which quartile you fall into, not what your exact class rank is, though I suppose they'll look at your actual grades and have a sense of where you fall. The exception to this rule is with clerkships. If you're applying to one they'll determine your actual class rank. So I'm skeptical of anyone who says "you have to be top 15%" or something close to that since that's not a possibility with hiring in the private sector.

And yes, there are firms under 250 attorneys that pay MN market, or close to it, which is 120k. To my knowledge, there are only three firms in the twin cities that even have 250+ attorneys, though many of the NYC/Chi firms have satellite offices in MPLS.

That said, your chances of making it into a high paying gig are obviously much higher coming from a T14 school. The odds are against you at UMN. So if you have your heart set on getting into a job like that right away (or at all,) then T14 is a better bet.

Have you read the MN legal market thread? I don't think the OP has posted for a while but if you could track him down I would.



Do you know how UMN does in terms of Art. III clerkship placement? I was trying to track down some data on that a while ago and came up dry....


For C/O 2011, 12 federal clerkships out of 261 (5%).

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Re: Duke v. Michigan for MN market?

Postby splitterstatus » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:32 am

I got offers from both schools, but ended up choosing Michigan. If you love Duke's campus, I think you would really enjoy Michigan's. The law buildings and facilities blew me away. I talked to a counselor and they did say they match or increase offers, but not for people who already have substantial amounts. You may qualify, so send an email and see. Not sure Michigan is worth the extra money, but rest assured it has good national reach and can take you back to MN easily




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