Am I crazy for attending Duke at sticker minus COL?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Is Duke at sticker minus COL crazy?

Yes
16
21%
No
62
79%
 
Total votes: 78

User avatar
DaleCooper
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Am I crazy for attending Duke at sticker minus COL?

Postby DaleCooper » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:22 am

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.

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6374
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: Am I crazy for attending Duke at sticker minus COL?

Postby 5ky » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:35 am

It's a little crazy. 160k is a shitload of money.

User avatar
DaleCooper
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Am I crazy for attending Duke at sticker minus COL?

Postby DaleCooper » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:23 am

5ky wrote:It's a little crazy. 160k is a shitload of money.


Yeah, but compare the median salaries at Duke to the median salaries at the other schools mentioned in this thread. Even with tax and interest, you're looking at 4-6 years to break even. From then on, it's just pure profit.

Will you last more than 4-6 years in BigLaw? Probably not. But the V-numbers are better, the lateral opportunities are better, and the social capital is better. It's kind of a no-brainer from my perspective.

User avatar
star fox
Posts: 13709
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:13 pm

Re: Am I crazy for attending Duke at sticker minus COL?

Postby star fox » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:30 am

DaleCooper wrote:
5ky wrote:It's a little crazy. 160k is a shitload of money.


Yeah, but compare the median salaries at Duke to the median salaries at the other schools mentioned in this thread. Even with tax and interest, you're looking at 4-6 years to break even. From then on, it's just pure profit.

Will you last more than 4-6 years in BigLaw? Probably not. But the V-numbers are better, the lateral opportunities are better, and the social capital is better. It's kind of a no-brainer from my perspective.


The new big question I'd like to know is what happens to BigLaw castoffs? Transfer to another big firm? Work in a small office? Unemployed? It's the next important step in understanding the law school gamble.

User avatar
5ky
Posts: 6374
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:10 pm

Re: Am I crazy for attending Duke at sticker minus COL?

Postby 5ky » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:05 am

DaleCooper wrote:
5ky wrote:It's a little crazy. 160k is a shitload of money.


Yeah, but compare the median salaries at Duke to the median salaries at the other schools mentioned in this thread. Even with tax and interest, you're looking at 4-6 years to break even. From then on, it's just pure profit.

Will you last more than 4-6 years in BigLaw? Probably not. But the V-numbers are better, the lateral opportunities are better, and the social capital is better. It's kind of a no-brainer from my perspective.


So what you're saying is that after a NINE YEAR investment, you'll have finally broken even, and will be on the track to 'pure profit.' But the percentage of people who last over 6 years in Big Law is not very high, so bear that in mind.

If you spread it to 6 years (when you have a good chance of not lasting that long), that's paying over $2,700 a month for 72 straight months. NYC takehome is about what, 8k a month your first year?

Loan Calculator
Loan Balance: $160,000.00
Adjusted Loan Balance: $160,000.00
Loan Interest Rate: 7.60%
Loan Fees: 0.00%
Loan Term: 6 years
Minimum Payment: $50.00
Enrollment Status: Graduating Soon
Degree Program: Lawyer (LLB or JD)
Total Years in College: 3 years
Average Debt per Year: $53,333.33

Monthly Loan Payment: $2,774.17
Number of Payments: 72

Cumulative Payments: $199,740.44
Total Interest Paid: $39,740.44
Note: The monthly loan payment was calculated at 71 payments of $2,774.17 plus a final payment of $2,774.37.

It is estimated that you will need an annual salary of at least $332,900.40 to be able to afford to repay this loan. This estimate assumes that 10% of your gross monthly income will be devoted to repaying your student loans. This corresponds to a debt-to-income ratio of 0.5. If you use 15% of your gross monthly income to repay the loan, you will need an annual salary of only $221,933.60, but you may experience some financial difficulty.This corresponds to a debt-to-income ratio of 0.7.

User avatar
DaleCooper
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Am I crazy for attending Duke at sticker minus COL?

Postby DaleCooper » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:42 am

john7234797 wrote:The new big question I'd like to know is what happens to BigLaw castoffs? Transfer to another big firm? Work in a small office? Unemployed? It's the next important step in understanding the law school gamble.


I don't think there's one answer. You can lateral to another BigLaw firm, you can lateral to a MidLaw firm, you can go government, you can go in-house, you can go into business, you can go into policy, you can host a talk show on PBS... I doubt the majority of Duke grads end up hanging shingles or collecting welfare checks, given that the median mid-career salaries are among the best in the T14 (about $250k).

But, hell, if they do end up hanging shingles, they're probably pretty damn successful at that as well. Trawick Stubbs (New Bern bankruptcy) and James Scott Farrin (Durham personal injury) were both Duke grads. Beyond anecdotal stories, though, I don't have any info.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests