UT versus Duke

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

Duke or Texas?

Duke
59
52%
Texas
54
48%
 
Total votes: 113

BigZuck
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UT versus Duke

Postby BigZuck » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:23 pm

Still waiting on scholarship offers from Cornell and Northwestern, decisions from NYU and Columbia (waitlists at best I'm guessing), and waitlisted at Penn, Chicago, and UVA. Fearful of paying sticker at any of the above.

So it's looking like it might be down to UT versus Duke baring anything unforeseen. I have strong ties to both Texas and California and would like to work in big law in one of those two states. My preferences right now are TX big law >>> CA big law >>>>>>> NY big law.

I have 67.5K at Duke and 45K plus instate tuition at UT.

Using the Georgetown calculator-Total COA minus interest at UT will be 120984. With interest it will be 142768.

COA at Duke minus interest will be 158077. With interest 187630. I think both schools COA will actually be somewhat less because my wife will be working and contributing toward cost of living.

Assuming I want Texas big law above all else what is the best move here? I know UT rules Texas and all but the increased big law chances out of Duke make me believe it might be worth the extra 40K. Am I wrong to think that? Also my wife will probably make about 10K a year more in Austin versus Durham, should that tip the scales in UT's favor and make it a no brainer?

Any and all advice/guidance is appreciated. I won't be retaking, I took the test three times and basically hit my PT average so I'm not going to put this thing off for another two years to retake the LSAT a 4th time.

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mg7
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby mg7 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:27 pm

Since it sounds like you want to work in TX and UT would be cheaper, I say go to UT.

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WhiteyCakes
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby WhiteyCakes » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:28 pm

Tejas.....Sounds like it's time to declare victory and send in your deposit.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby shifty_eyed » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:31 pm

If your wife is working, will you still be taking out loans for COL? Your COA estimates seem high. Either way, my vote is Texas.

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby StylinNProfilin » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:32 pm

I'm not sure if its clearly Texas. Biglaw in Texas is going to dip further into Duke's Class and that might be worth the extra 40k. I think the costs are close enough that I might consider Duke since you have strong ties to Texas.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby WokeUpInACar » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:33 pm

It seems like you are budgeting ~22k/year for COL at UT?

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romothesavior
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby romothesavior » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:36 pm

It sounds like you are really overestimating your COL at Texas. Better to overestimate than underestimate, but I've gotta think it'll be far lower if your wife works. I think you could stay under 100k. IMO UT wins this one.

BigZuck
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby BigZuck » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:37 pm

Those cost of attendance numbers are assuming taking out full loans (minus scholarships) and then 3.5% increases on tuition each year. I want to be as conservative as possible here.

And not taking out loans for COL sounds wonderful to me and I'll do the best that I can but at this point my wife and I are making a combined 90k and we figure she will make anywhere between 40-55K next year while I make nothing. Considering I pay half the rent, food, etc. it's tough to think she might be able to shoulder all that herself.

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Ruxin1
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Ruxin1 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:39 pm

BigZuck wrote:Those cost of attendance numbers are assuming taking out full loans (minus scholarships) and then 3.5% increases on tuition each year. I want to be as conservative as possible here.

And not taking out loans for COL sounds wonderful to me and I'll do the best that I can but at this point my wife and I are making a combined 90k and we figure she will make anywhere between 40-55K next year while I make nothing. Considering I pay half the rent, food, etc. it's tough to think she might be able to shoulder all that herself.


Wouldn't she prefer you guys live a little more frugally for a few years than you guys paying half the rent at 8% loaned money?

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby WokeUpInACar » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:44 pm

Ruxin1 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Those cost of attendance numbers are assuming taking out full loans (minus scholarships) and then 3.5% increases on tuition each year. I want to be as conservative as possible here.

And not taking out loans for COL sounds wonderful to me and I'll do the best that I can but at this point my wife and I are making a combined 90k and we figure she will make anywhere between 40-55K next year while I make nothing. Considering I pay half the rent, food, etc. it's tough to think she might be able to shoulder all that herself.


Wouldn't she prefer you guys live a little more frugally for a few years than you guys paying half the rent at 8% loaned money?

Yeah I've gotta think that unless you have kids it's definitely doable for 2 people to live on even 40k in Austin.

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WhiteyCakes
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby WhiteyCakes » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:45 pm

StylinNProfilin wrote:I'm not sure if its clearly Texas. Biglaw in Texas is going to dip further into Duke's Class and that might be worth the extra 40k. I think the costs are close enough that I might consider Duke since you have strong ties to Texas.


Anybody want to comment on this?

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romothesavior
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby romothesavior » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:49 pm

I don't mean to intrude on your marriage arrangement or whatever, but this law degree is an investment into both of your futures. It seems it would make far more sense to minimize your collective debt by having her shoulder the load while you're not earning rather than take on more debt to split costs evenly. Its a partnership, and this is a move for your common good. Again, I don't mean to be telling you how to run your marriage, its just an odd approach is all. And its good to stay conservative, but I think you could easily stay under 100k.

UT wins this one, though I do see the point for Duke.

ETA: What does your wife do? Would it be easier for her to work in Austin or NC?

BigZuck
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby BigZuck » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:50 pm

StylinNProfilin wrote:I'm not sure if its clearly Texas. Biglaw in Texas is going to dip further into Duke's Class and that might be worth the extra 40k. I think the costs are close enough that I might consider Duke since you have strong ties to Texas.


This is kind of what I'm thinking and what makes it kind of a toss up for me.

Either way I probably need big law. 35ish percent at UT get big law or prestigious clerkships. 60ish percent get those at Duke. That's a big difference. I just don't know how to quantify that in terms of how much extra I should be willing to pay.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby WokeUpInACar » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:55 pm

BigZuck wrote:
StylinNProfilin wrote:I'm not sure if its clearly Texas. Biglaw in Texas is going to dip further into Duke's Class and that might be worth the extra 40k. I think the costs are close enough that I might consider Duke since you have strong ties to Texas.


This is kind of what I'm thinking and what makes it kind of a toss up for me.

Either way I probably need big law. 35ish percent at UT get big law or prestigious clerkships. 60ish percent get those at Duke. That's a big difference. I just don't know how to quantify that in terms of how much extra I should be willing to pay.

I do think that the reduced biglaw numbers at UT are at least slightly due to the self-selection of people from more rural areas in Texas who return to practice there, which I'm sure is a lot less common at Duke.

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby StylinNProfilin » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:03 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
StylinNProfilin wrote:I'm not sure if its clearly Texas. Biglaw in Texas is going to dip further into Duke's Class and that might be worth the extra 40k. I think the costs are close enough that I might consider Duke since you have strong ties to Texas.


This is kind of what I'm thinking and what makes it kind of a toss up for me.

Either way I probably need big law. 35ish percent at UT get big law or prestigious clerkships. 60ish percent get those at Duke. That's a big difference. I just don't know how to quantify that in terms of how much extra I should be willing to pay.

I do think that the reduced biglaw numbers at UT are at least slightly due to the self-selection of people from more rural areas in Texas who return to practice there, which I'm sure is a lot less common at Duke.


Is that true? I grew up in West Texas and theres not a single young UT law alum I'm aware of in the area. Maybe theres some in East Texas.

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Greenandgold
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Greenandgold » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:11 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
StylinNProfilin wrote:I'm not sure if its clearly Texas. Biglaw in Texas is going to dip further into Duke's Class and that might be worth the extra 40k. I think the costs are close enough that I might consider Duke since you have strong ties to Texas.


This is kind of what I'm thinking and what makes it kind of a toss up for me.

Either way I probably need big law. 35ish percent at UT get big law or prestigious clerkships. 60ish percent get those at Duke. That's a big difference. I just don't know how to quantify that in terms of how much extra I should be willing to pay.

I do think that the reduced biglaw numbers at UT are at least slightly due to the self-selection of people from more rural areas in Texas who return to practice there, which I'm sure is a lot less common at Duke.


If by slightly you mean almost not at all? You're trying to say that people in the top third of UT are turning down $160k to return to the middle of nowhere? Seems far-fetched. I'm sure it happens at every school to a certain extent, but to say that it happens at UT in a much larger way than at Duke doesn't sound plausible.

The benefit to Duke is that not as many of your class mates will be shooting for Texas. Texas firms love taking students from top schools and bringing them back to Texas. This effect is more pronounced as you move into better and better schools, which leads me to my next point:

Keep following up with those schools that WL you. Good chance you get off of one or more of those.

BigZuck
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby BigZuck » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:11 pm

romothesavior wrote:I don't mean to intrude on your marriage arrangement or whatever, but this law degree is an investment into both of your futures. It seems it would make far more sense to minimize your collective debt by having her shoulder the load while you're not earning rather than take on more debt to split costs evenly. Its a partnership, and this is a move for your common good. Again, I don't mean to be telling you how to run your marriage, its just an odd approach is all. And its good to stay conservative, but I think you could easily stay under 100k.

UT wins this one, though I do see the point for Duke.

ETA: What does your wife do? Would it be easier for her to work in Austin or NC?


No offense taken. We actually aren't getting married until June so navigating all this money stuff will be new to us. We actually haven't sat down to create a budget, that should probably be the next step.

And she works in education. She can probably pretty easily find a job in either city, but right now she has a good offer in Austin that will probably pay her 10K more than what she has seen in NC. She's just starting to look now though so she might find something comparable.

Btw if I am overestimating COL in Austin I am doing it just as much in Durham because COL is very similar in both places. But I guess the main point here is that people don't think Duke is worth 40K more than UT at the end of the day.

I really want to go to UT, I'm just afraid of missing the big law boat and being 100K in debt.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby WokeUpInACar » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:11 pm

StylinNProfilin wrote:
WokeUpInACar wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
StylinNProfilin wrote:I'm not sure if its clearly Texas. Biglaw in Texas is going to dip further into Duke's Class and that might be worth the extra 40k. I think the costs are close enough that I might consider Duke since you have strong ties to Texas.


This is kind of what I'm thinking and what makes it kind of a toss up for me.

Either way I probably need big law. 35ish percent at UT get big law or prestigious clerkships. 60ish percent get those at Duke. That's a big difference. I just don't know how to quantify that in terms of how much extra I should be willing to pay.

I do think that the reduced biglaw numbers at UT are at least slightly due to the self-selection of people from more rural areas in Texas who return to practice there, which I'm sure is a lot less common at Duke.


Is that true? I grew up in West Texas and theres not a single young UT law alum I'm aware of in the area. Maybe theres some in East Texas.

You can see from these ABA c/o 2011 numbers below that UT places FAR more attorneys into firms of <100, which obviously *could* be due to them simply having worse options, but I think it speaks to the demographics of the school, and it being 65%+ Texas residents, many of whom are fine with returning to where they are from.

Duke
Image

UT
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hobie2515
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby hobie2515 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:19 pm

Duke's class size is also significantly smaller than UT (For 2011, 207 vs 382). Perhaps this is another contributing factor. OP, I don't know if you care about this at all but it might be something to consider.

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Greenandgold
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Greenandgold » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:20 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:You can see from these ABA c/o 2011 numbers below that UT places FAR more attorneys into firms of <100, which obviously *could* be due to them simply having worse options, but I think it speaks to the demographics of the school, and it being 65%+ Texas residents, many of whom are fine with returning to where they are from.



In this case, the obvious answer is the right answer. Also, being "fine with" and wanting something are two different things. If you can't get a biglaw job, what are your options? Most likely moving back home and practicing law anywhere that will take you... These people aren't going to UT and spending tons of money hoping to do that. It's just their best option when they end up below median.

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StylinNProfilin
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby StylinNProfilin » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:23 pm

I gues I'm in the minority but I think the difference between top 1/3 at Texas and top half at Duke is worth 40k. Its hard to quantify what exactly that spread is worth but I would feel alot better about landing biglaw and being debt-owned scares me to death, so it'd be worth it to me.

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WokeUpInACar
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby WokeUpInACar » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:29 pm

Greenandgold wrote:
WokeUpInACar wrote:You can see from these ABA c/o 2011 numbers below that UT places FAR more attorneys into firms of <100, which obviously *could* be due to them simply having worse options, but I think it speaks to the demographics of the school, and it being 65%+ Texas residents, many of whom are fine with returning to where they are from.



In this case, the obvious answer is the right answer. Also, being "fine with" and wanting something are two different things. If you can't get a biglaw job, what are your options? Most likely moving back home and practicing law anywhere that will take you... These people aren't going to UT and spending tons of money hoping to do that. It's just their best option when they end up below median.

The distribution at UT simply isn't as bimodal at other schools. I wasn't really trying to say that tons of people are turning down biglaw, but that a lot more "midlaw" type jobs exist there than almost anywhere else.

Big Mac Meal
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Big Mac Meal » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:35 pm

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Greenandgold
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Greenandgold » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:37 pm

WokeUpInACar wrote:
Greenandgold wrote:
WokeUpInACar wrote:You can see from these ABA c/o 2011 numbers below that UT places FAR more attorneys into firms of <100, which obviously *could* be due to them simply having worse options, but I think it speaks to the demographics of the school, and it being 65%+ Texas residents, many of whom are fine with returning to where they are from.



In this case, the obvious answer is the right answer. Also, being "fine with" and wanting something are two different things. If you can't get a biglaw job, what are your options? Most likely moving back home and practicing law anywhere that will take you... These people aren't going to UT and spending tons of money hoping to do that. It's just their best option when they end up below median.

The distribution at UT simply isn't as bimodal at other schools. I wasn't really trying to say that tons of people are turning down biglaw, but that a lot more "midlaw" type jobs exist there than almost anywhere else.


Well right, but I think that's more a result of people being from Texas than attending UT. If OP strikes out at biglaw from Duke then I'm guessing he'd have about the same options as someone striking out at UT, since he's from Texas. And if not, the difference in opportunities would be negligible enough that it shouldn't factor into his choice when deciding between the two.

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Crowing
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Crowing » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:42 pm

I am actually going to vote for Duke here. It seems like while you prefer TX biglaw you want biglaw period over just being in TX. The COL difference as presented in the OP doesn't seem to justify the significant drop in high-end opportunities between Duke and UT. If you need biglaw either way, for that difference it seems UT is actually riskier despite the lower cost.




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