Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:DaleCooper wrote:Free COL and sticker at Duke is kind of like a one-third scholarship, and you'd be [b]clinically insane to take even a full ride at any of those schools over a third at Duke.
Haha. Well, call me crazy because I did it. And I do not think that below median at Duke gives you equal opportunities to top 10% at UNC or any of the schools I listed. If you are at a reputable school (at T1) and you have top grades, you will have good options. But there's a big risk, because if you attend one of those schools and don't do well you will have uncertain and likely bad options. On the other hand, all of the evidence suggests that bottom 40% at Duke or a peer school, even with ties, big law is not secure and even a law job at graduation is uncertain.
My thing is, top 10% at UNC opens up all the same opportunities as above median at Duke... plus some clerkships, of course, and minus certain NY and CA firms, but overall pretty similar. And if you end up top 10% at UNC, you clearly made the right decision because you got the same results for way less money. But that's a hell of a gamble. Even if you're the smartest person in your class, you never know what chaos life has in store for you. I had a bunch of semesters over 3.6 in undergrad, but I had one in the middle at 1.7 and one at 2.6 due to a medical nightmare. A friend of mine got straight As in her first semester at a T1 and was median her second semester due to the poorly-timed deaths of some people very close to her. Life happens. And those two semesters of 1L year are way too important and costly (even when free) to risk on the possibility of something going wrong or, worse, just finding out that you aren't as good at law school exams as your LSAT and GPA predicted.
I'm with RickGrimes... the OP should go to Duke and consider dropping out if he's bottom of the class. But 1.) that's probably not going to happen, 2.) if it does it was probably going to happen at UNC as well, 3.) a year of Duke Law is better on the résumé than a year of UNC Law, and 4.) there's a good chance that someone at Duke will be able to find a niche for him even with poor grades based on his unique strengths, which is not something that's anywhere near as likely to happen at UNC.
I hate knocking my alma mater here, and again I'm limiting this to law and nothing but law, but there really are a lot of very strong reasons to just pay the devil his due.