UT versus Duke

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

Duke or Texas?

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

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:05 pm

[/quote]Also I see the "self-selection" thing said about a lot of different schools in a lot of different contexts but I especially hear people say it about UT. Even if people are self-selecting out of high paying job or whatever (which I am a bit suspicious of but I am willing to acknowledge as potentially being a thing), how much of that should really factor into my decision-making? If it can't be quantified at all then I'm kind of inclined to just ignore it and look at the more tangible data at hand. Or maybe it's such a small factor that it should be ignored. I mean, if three people get regional midlaw out of UT or a boutique like Susman then that doesn't really help me. If 30 people get it, that's substantial. Is there any way for me to track this data down? Career services?[/quote]

Those are good questions. To be honest, there are just not a whole lot of firms that pay near market. However, and this is the thing that people grossly underestimate on this site, there are a sh*&%$t ton of firms that start out at 80-100k in Houston and Dallas. And these firms do not practice s$%#@t law. They do lots of things that big corporate law firms do but just on a smaller scale for companies that are much, much smaller than the typical biglaw corporation. However, these small companies have a significant Texas presence. If you go to Duke, you are slamming the door shut on these types of opportunities in Texas. Houston housing in the burbs is about HALF or a THIRD of the price of what you would pay in LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Boston, NYC, etc. That's a ton of money saved there. Now you would be in the burbs, so you would have to drive a bit, but the savings are more than worth it. Then there is the issue of no state income tax. That's huge. Getting a job with one of these firms is likely even if you don't have the grades to go biglaw coming out of Texas. And I had several classmates self select into some of these jobs when I was ins chool at UT Law. A friend of mine was offered a position at Baker Botts, which is one of Texas' most prestigious firms. She self selected out and chose McGinnis Kilgore in Austin. They paid her significantly less. But she just liked it better. Our cost of living allows for us to do that if we want.

In a nutshell, if you want a true biglaw job in Texas, Go to Duke. Your ties are sufficient. If you want to be able to pretty much fall into one of those 80-100k jobs and rely on Texas' low cost of living and incredibly low housing in the burbs, so that you can pay off your student loans and still live very comfortably, go to Texas.

The issue is that it is easier to miss TRUE Texas biglaw with Texas ties coming out of Texas than it is coming out of Duke. Duke is a smaller school. It's not that Texas employers think Duke is better. It's that they have to go deeper into the class at Duke to find enough applicants that will have sufficient ties to Texas and that want to come to Texas. Texas is almost twice as large. If an employer ask for top 30% at Texas, that employer gets way more than enough applicants because top 30% at a larger school means way more people. Especially when you consider that pretty much every UT Law student wants to work in Texas. We are mostly Texas residents. 65% of us are. But if you miss biglaw coming out of Texas, you have a safety net. If you miss it coming out of Duke, your screwed. So you have a hefty decision to make.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:16 pm, edited 6 times in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:18 pm

Just keep in mind cost of living and the freedom that allows one to have and the restrictions it may place on another as to his/her choice of employment. This site relies heavy on the numbers. And that is a good thing. But where this site goes wrong is the misinterpretation of that data. And that can make someone choose a school when ALL realistic explanations for those numbers have not been considered. Those numbers don't bear the whole story. So the decision is not as informed as he/she thought.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:47 pm

I'll add some clarification. The numbers said or say that around 25% of UT Law grads got big law. They also say that 40% of Joe Blow Top Law school got biglaw. People on this site automatically commit the fallacy of assuming that more students can get biglaw law out of Joe Blow Law school than UT Law. Yet, the numbers don't say that. They just say that more students at the Joe Blow Law got biglaw. That doesn't mean that Joe Blow law degree is better able to get biglaw than UT Law degree. The numbers ONLY SAY SUCH A THING if everyone at both law schools is shooting for biglaw as their top choice of employment. But that is not the case. People on this site ASSUME that biglaw is the top employment choice of any law school grad in any region of the country. They assume this because these jobs pay way more. But they also work you way more. They are more stressful. So there are valid reasons why someone would not want biglaw. But people NEED biglaw to pay down debt, right? Well, that depends on where you live. People on this site act as though regional differences across the US do not exist. And people act as though not having to pay state income tax doesn't lead to savings. People act as though the legal economies across the US are the same. The US is not homogeneous in all regions. There are different economies that usually lead to differences in cost of living. Well, if there is stress at a biglaw job, and my housing is incredibly inexpensive in addition to my cost of living, I may not need biglaw to pay down my debt and live comfortably at the same time. Perhaps, I can take the less stressful firm job that pays significantly less but still pay down my debt and live comfortably because my other expenses are cheap. And that just might lead to a better quality of life since I will have a life outside of work. I can date. I can play. I can just have time to relax. But there is no value in those things, right? So self selection must be a myth.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:56 pm

Sorry to break up the blog, but why do so few UT grads choose these wonderful midlaw jobs?

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:56 pm

I know people on this site want big law. I'm just saying don't interpret numbers to say that one place is better over another place for that when the numbers don't necessarily say that. Am I saying that UT can place into biglaw as easily as Harvard and we just don't know for sure? Of course not. But does Duke place into Texas biglaw at a superior rate over UT Law? I don't know the answer to that question. But neither does anyone else. There is not a large enough discrepancy to make that conclusion. The small one that does exist one way or the other can be logically explained away based on what I just pointed out above. The numbers just don't illustrate a COMPLETE picture of what may be happening.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using data to make decisions. That is very wise. But if you are going to use those numbers, make sure that you draw proper conclusions from them. And you can't do that if you are interpreting them incorrectly.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:57 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Sorry to break up the blog, but why do so few UT grads choose these wonderful midlaw jobs?

Haha. This made me chuckle.

I know you are being a smart ass. So I'll be one back. I'm not a mind reader. And I would think you are not that stupid to assume I am a mind reader. I never gave a definitive reason why anyone was doing anything. I just explained possible factors for why something may not be the case. There is a difference.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby bizzybone1313 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:21 pm

I would be careful about following utlaw2007's advice. He graduated before the market crashed. I am from Texas myself and know a lot of people that graduated from UT Law after the market crashed. A lot of these people struggled mightily to place well. I think the problem with UT is that isn't anywhere close to being a true national school like Duke is. Sure, some grads can get to Cali or NYC from UT, but can they do it as easily as many if not most of the T-14? I am going to struggle with this problem myself when I apply next year. If I were to attend UT, I will most likely be stuck in Texas for my entire career. I would like the option to move to NYC or D.C. in the future if the right opportunity came along. A school like Duke would leave this door open.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:25 pm

bizzybone1313 wrote:I would be careful about following utlaw2007's advice. He graduated before the market crashed. I am from Texas myself and know a lot of people that graduated from UT Law after the market crashed. A lot of these people struggled mightily to place well. I think the problem with UT is that isn't anywhere close to being a true national school like Duke is. Sure, some grads can get to Cali or NYC from UT, but can they do it as easily as many if not most of the T-14? I am going to struggle with this problem myself when I apply next year. If I were to attend UT, I will most likely be stuck in Texas for my entire career. I would like the option to move to NYC or D.C. in the future if the right opportunity came along. A school like Duke would leave this door open.


Have you read ANY of the OP's posts? He wants to work in Texas. His question is what law school will place better for him in Texas? And I told him to go to Duke if he wants true big law in Texas if he has Texas ties. So clearly, you have not read all of my posts either.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:28 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Sorry to break up the blog, but why do so few UT grads choose these wonderful midlaw jobs?

Haha. This made me chuckle.

I know you are being a smart ass. So I'll be one back. I'm not a mind reader. And I would think you are not that stupid to assume I am a mind reader. I never gave a definitive reason why anyone was doing anything. I just explained possible factors for why something may not be the case. There is a difference.

You make a lot of fair points but at the end of the day a very small percentage of UT grads end up at midlaw firms. I don't know why this is, but it's worth noting for someone who thinks they can go to Texas and slide into midlaw if the biglaw boat passes them by.

For those curious, in 2011 a higher percentage of Duke grads ended up at firms of 26-100 attorneys.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:29 pm

@Bizzybone I think it would benefit you to read and correctly ascertain the content of a post before you draw a conclusion from it. If you can't do that sufficiently, you do not need to go to law school. And I'm being serious. Case law and statutes are much more difficult to read and comprehend than LSAT questions, especially when you have to work on your own to find out what is relevant to a given situation.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:31 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Sorry to break up the blog, but why do so few UT grads choose these wonderful midlaw jobs?

Haha. This made me chuckle.

I know you are being a smart ass. So I'll be one back. I'm not a mind reader. And I would think you are not that stupid to assume I am a mind reader. I never gave a definitive reason why anyone was doing anything. I just explained possible factors for why something may not be the case. There is a difference.

You make a lot of fair points but at the end of the day a very small percentage of UT grads end up at midlaw firms. I don't know why this is, but it's worth noting for someone who thinks they can go to Texas and slide into midlaw if the biglaw boat passes them by.

For those curious, in 2011 a higher percentage of Duke grads ended up at firms of 26-100 attorneys.


Fair point, but the OP wants to work in Texas. Do those stats say whether those Duke grads work in Texas? That's where he wants to work. That is a fair point you raise, but I don't believe there are any stats that show the firm size AND location of that firm. So the only info available for the OP's issue is anecdotal.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby bizzybone1313 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:33 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:I would be careful about following utlaw2007's advice. He graduated before the market crashed. I am from Texas myself and know a lot of people that graduated from UT Law after the market crashed. A lot of these people struggled mightily to place well. I think the problem with UT is that isn't anywhere close to being a true national school like Duke is. Sure, some grads can get to Cali or NYC from UT, but can they do it as easily as many if not most of the T-14? I am going to struggle with this problem myself when I apply next year. If I were to attend UT, I will most likely be stuck in Texas for my entire career. I would like the option to move to NYC or D.C. in the future if the right opportunity came along. A school like Duke would leave this door open.


Have you read ANY of the OP's posts? He wants to work in Texas. His question is what law school will place better for him in Texas? And I told him to go to Duke if he wants true big law in Texas if he has Texas ties. So clearly, you have not read all of my posts either.


I read the entire thread. All I am saying it is tough to really and truly justify UT over Duke. I personally know a UCLA law grad that is now working in the oil field over here in West Texas, because his law career essentially came to an end. A lot of T-20 schools have become risky bets. In the long term, are you willing to concede that Duke is a safer bet than UT? I am from Texas myself. Don't get me wrong-- I have as much pride and respect for UT as does anyone else in this state, but I am not going to jeopardize my future if another school places much better than UT. I wasn't trying to be a jerk by directly addressing your posts.
Last edited by bizzybone1313 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:34 pm

My point is that if he misses Texas biglaw coming out of Duke, I doubt very seriously he will be able to work at a 20-100 lawyer firm in Texas.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby bizzybone1313 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:41 pm

I don't know OP. You are in a tough spot. The poll's results confirm this. I would keep bumping this thread and get more thoughts and input before making a decision. Come back to TLS and tell us what you ultimately decided to do.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:42 pm

bizzybone1313 wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:I would be careful about following utlaw2007's advice. He graduated before the market crashed. I am from Texas myself and know a lot of people that graduated from UT Law after the market crashed. A lot of these people struggled mightily to place well. I think the problem with UT is that isn't anywhere close to being a true national school like Duke is. Sure, some grads can get to Cali or NYC from UT, but can they do it as easily as many if not most of the T-14? I am going to struggle with this problem myself when I apply next year. If I were to attend UT, I will most likely be stuck in Texas for my entire career. I would like the option to move to NYC or D.C. in the future if the right opportunity came along. A school like Duke would leave this door open.


Have you read ANY of the OP's posts? He wants to work in Texas. His question is what law school will place better for him in Texas? And I told him to go to Duke if he wants true big law in Texas if he has Texas ties. So clearly, you have not read all of my posts either.


I read the entire thread. All I am saying it is tough to really and truly justify UT over Duke. I personally know a UCLA law grad that is now working in the oil field over here in West Texas, because his law career essentially became to an end. A lot of T-20 schools have become risky bets. In the long term, are you willing to concede that Duke is a safer bet than UT? I am from Texas myself. Don't get me wrong-- I have as much pride and respect for UT as does anyone else in this state, but I am not going to jeopardize my future if another school places much better than UT. I wasn't trying to be a jerk by directly addressing your posts.


I totally think Duke is a better law school for placement. That's why I recommended Duke over Texas. I also went on to point out that the smaller firms in Texas will hire a Texas grad over a Duke grad with his little Texas ties any day of the week. OP wants to work in Texas. And I still recommended Duke over Texas if he wants true Texas big law. It's a smaller school. Texas is a large school. There just aren't enough spots to go around. The only large school that I would recommend anyone attend is Harvard. All the other ones are terribly risky to attend, including Texas. But OP said he wanted to work in Texas. That changes things a bit. His ties are not strong enough to likely get hired by a smaller firm in Texas unless it's super small and practices undesirable law. So my responses were formed off of his desire to work in Texas and the strength of his ties to Texas.

I appreciate your respectfulness. I'm sorry if you may have taken offense to anything I said. I was just emphasizing the hyper meticulousness nature of practicing law.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:45 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:That being said, if you have Texas ties, I'd take Duke if I were you. It's a smaller school. Texas is a larger school. There are only so many spots to go around. And I love Texas. And that is my law school alma mater. But I'm also being real with you. The difference in debt is just not great enough to justify taking Texas over Duke if you have Texas ties.


I just added clarification for this if the OP wanted to increase his chances of working at a serviceable firm in Texas. True Texas biglaw and Texas midlaw/large small law have totally different views on Texas ties.

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beachbum
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby beachbum » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:29 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:My point is that if he misses Texas biglaw coming out of Duke, I doubt very seriously he will be able to work at a 20-100 lawyer firm in Texas.


This is almost definitely an accurate statement. But if he misses biglaw out of UT, will he be able to work at these firms? That's unclear. He'll also be racking up debt (from either school) to the point where, while biglaw might not be a true necessity, it's still highly desirable. And Duke is the superior option for biglaw placement. Again, I think it boils down to whether Duke's placement advantage is worth $40k, and that's going to depend on OP's attitude towards risk.

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shifty_eyed
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby shifty_eyed » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:50 pm

I think it comes down to whether BigZuck's priority is TX big law with any legal employment in TX as "fallback" OR TX big law first choice with ANY biglaw ANYWHERE as "fallback".

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:07 pm

shifty_eyed wrote:I think it comes down to whether BigZuck's priority is TX big law with any legal employment in TX as "fallback" OR TX big law first choice with ANY biglaw ANYWHERE as "fallback".


Yep.

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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby BigZuck » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:23 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
shifty_eyed wrote:I think it comes down to whether BigZuck's priority is TX big law with any legal employment in TX as "fallback" OR TX big law first choice with ANY biglaw ANYWHERE as "fallback".


Yep.


Yep.

Both my options pretty much mean that I almost need big law to pay off the debt. For me, TX big law> CA big law> big law somewhere else (aka probably just NY)> anything non big law. Unless I have some tangible data I'm just going to have to ignore the possibility of something like Texas midlaw that could possibly service my lower debt load at UT.

It's looking like unless I can get UT to lower my COA (which is something I will earnestly try to do) then I'm probably better off at Duke. Or maybe Northwestern will go crazy and give me some of that sweet, sweet scholarship lovin' that they just started throwing around :)

Anyway I enjoy reading everyone's perspectives so if there's more to add I'd love to hear it. This all has really helped clarify my own thought process. I will try to keep up with this thread as this cycle continues to wind down.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:07 am

If you just have to have biglaw, I'd go Duke. While Texas biglaw would be best for you, biglaw anywhere is not too bad of a fallback. And you sound like that would appease you more than going midlaw/big small law.

Duke is a smaller school. So there are more opportunities to be had coming out of that school. Texas places an awful lot of grads in good paying jobs. The problem is that they make up a smaller percentage. So there are an awful lot of Texas grads who aren't getting favorable jobs.

utlaw2007
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:10 am

I do wish more top law school students were open to the possibilities of law firm entrepreneurship. The risks are just crazy high, though. But at least the reward is, too.

Going to a school that has prestige in the area where you practice gives you a leg up as to your brand. One of the main reasons why I don't like biglaw is that you don't learn useful skills that will enable you to break off on your own for the most part.

But biglaw does open the doorway for a big corporate in-house job down the road. That's a popular destination among many biglaw associates. There is a pay cut, but the hours provide for a much better work-life balance.

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Longhorn88
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby Longhorn88 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:36 am

Image

vs.

Image



/thread

BigZuck
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby BigZuck » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:02 am

Ok, hate to be "that guy" but I'm going to go ahead and bump this thread with some added information:

Went to both schools ASWs. Loved Duke, was kind of lukewarm on UT but I think a lot of that can be contributed to the effort put forth by each school to sell themselves, not so much the quality of the school if that makes any sense.

UT has offered me 9K more total so my total COA at Duke will be about 50K more than at UT. Does anyone think that tips the scales in UT's favor?

Also my fiancée has been offered a great job with her current organization that she can do in Austin that will probably pay her about 20K more than any job she can find in Durham. There is a chance that she might be able to do the same job in Durham but no guarantee of us being able to swing that. My thinking is this:

She can do the job in either place- go to Duke even though it is 50K more expensive than UT because of the greatly increased chances of Texas big law/federal clerkship.

She can only do the job in Austin- go to UT because I will be saving about 50K and she will make about 60K more over those three years. Duke is not worth 110K more than UT.

Those are my thoughts, am I missing anything?

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sinfiery
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Re: UT versus Duke

Postby sinfiery » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:17 am

Seems like a very reasonable marker to base your decision on.




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