Duke OR Dont Go

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PM2353
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Duke OR Dont Go

Postby PM2353 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:14 pm

Hey Guys,

I was wondering if I could see what advice more knowledgeable posters can give me and/or direct me to a thread about any success in paying off big debt with big law.


With my numbers I applied to some T30s and one T14 reach at Duke because of ED accelerated decision invite. I got in with 50k in scholarship $ when I should have gotten sticker price. For me personally Duke is my number one choice. I really want to go to law school but im not an irrational person - is the debt worth the chance at scoring a biglaw job?

My worries are this - I (like the many law applicants) started obsessing over the huge debt load. I wanted to come away with something like 100 to 150k in debt. Does anyone have a thread of a poster who has paid off law school debt with biglaw?

fallingup
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby fallingup » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:15 pm

I would also like to hear responses to this.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:30 pm

I don't think you need a poster whose done this -- the majority of currently practicing attorneys have done this. If you go to Duke and do reasonably well (median or above), and you are okay with a big law job for a few years (I don't know much about Duke's LRAP), you can pay it off and have a great career. TLS is sometimes over paranoid about debt, and it makes people like us (I have struggled with this too) become unnaturally afraid of debt when its actually pretty common and natural -- that is, at a good school.

Many of the lower schools you might be considering are not worth attending for any price. So unless you have another acceptance with decent employment figures (i.e. T20), its really your only choice.

PM2353
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby PM2353 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:28 pm

Thanks joey,


I'm just concerned with everything on the internet. I try to put everything into perspective but I frequently flip flop on whether the debt load is too much or worth it. I know that its discussed on here ad nauseam.

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jvincent11
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby jvincent11 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:33 pm

Duke was the only T14 you applied to and you got 50K? Can you tell us a little more?

PM2353
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby PM2353 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:47 pm

My Stats placed me realistically in the T50 - T20 with maybe a reach school biting because im a non urm minority with some diversity softs. I applied to all of North Carolina, I have ties there and my long time relationship will be attending post secondary school there.

So I was hoping for UNC, Wake with some $$ or retake (I want to become a lawyer but not at the risk of ruining my life with massive debt) These Schools placed well in NC and were in my wheel house goal wise. I was also planning on applying to other regional schools just to see what I would get $$ wise.

Applied to Duke with fee waiver and got in. (Meanwhile my UNC and Wake both were around 75k scholly, I withdrew when I got in)


If I got into another T14 like UVA or Michigan, Id need a bigger scholly then Duke (which I wasnt going to get)

Wake 75k
UNC 75k
Duke 50k (Prob all of it was need based honestly)

anything below 50k and not HYS isnt worth it for me

BigZuck
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby BigZuck » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:49 pm

I think Duke at 50K is totally reasonable but I also think you are underestimating your debt load if you are financing everything else with loans. Interest gets piled on, etc.

PM2353
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby PM2353 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:57 pm

BigZuck wrote:I think Duke at 50K is totally reasonable but I also think you are underestimating your debt load if you are financing everything else with loans. Interest gets piled on, etc.



Yeah I crunched the numbers and its a massive amount of money. Would have been a little less massive at the other two schools but a 25k difference is nothing considering the prospects Duke has.

That being said, its going to be at the very least 150k. More like 180.

If I attend, Im hoping to land a Charlotte paying SA and live with my gf for free. Dunno how much of a dent i can put into that

I appreciate the discussion guys

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romothesavior
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby romothesavior » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:42 pm

Duke at sticker is around $250k. If you only got 50k total in scholarships, you're probably looking at 180-200k.

Probably the high end of what I'd pay for a T14, but it's reasonable.

Redfactor
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby Redfactor » Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:46 pm

Do you have kids?
Do you have a support system that can help ease the burden if things go wrong?
What are your other prospects?
Can you be happy with your current employment / situation?
Are you set on being a lawyer?


Here's the link to Duke's LRAP : http://law.duke.edu/admis/financial/lrap/

PM2353
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby PM2353 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:54 am

No to Kids. im 22 and fresh from undergrad with no debt

Parents who wont pay for law school or COL. But I could always live at home if things go sour. They have another 10 yrs of work in them max.

My brother with same stats and degree, has been 3 yrs straight with 32k job in marketing. He still needs my parents help with occasional things. Like a short term loan for cell phone bill or something.

Current employment is nothing. My older brother aggressively searched for marketing firms to interview with. Took him some time but found jobs while living at home. (Id imagine i would do similar to my brother given we are both post 2008 grads and same stats)

Pretty set on being a lawyer. But the debt load is the only thing really holding me back.
-Just for discussion, I enjoyed playing football in high school and wanted to play in the pros, but that doesnt mean I was going to go to Alabama for (for argument sake) 150k debt for a chance to play in the pros and fall back on nothing. So in the same sense, I want to be a lawyer but just now contemplating is it worth the money.

GMGP
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby GMGP » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:48 pm

Current 1L here, if you are planning to go into the Charlotte or Raleigh market with a local background and a Duke JD, getting a job as a 1L is no problem at all. Firms like Womble recruit here heavily during the mini-OCI we have for 1Ls and they pay 140k+ with a low CoL. If you live frugally you can easily pay back debt in 3-4 years.

Duke places very well (near 70% in biglaw + clerkships) and in case you want to pursue PI, the loan forgiveness is very generous. Good luck with the decision making and let me know if you have questions.

Wakelaw15
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby Wakelaw15 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:58 pm

GMGP wrote:Current 1L here, if you are planning to go into the Charlotte or Raleigh market with a local background and a Duke JD, getting a job as a 1L is no problem at all. Firms like Womble recruit here heavily during the mini-OCI we have for 1Ls and they pay 140k+ with a low CoL. If you live frugally you can easily pay back debt in 3-4 years.

Duke places very well (near 70% in biglaw + clerkships) and in case you want to pursue PI, the loan forgiveness is very generous. Good luck with the decision making and let me know if you have questions.


As an NC resident, I would do some research on this. I've actually heard the opposite about NC placement. Most of the Duke students are not natives and don't want to practice in NC. If you look at where attorneys at any NC firm got their degree, you are going to see a lot of UNC and WFU. If you go to Duke and do well, you will absolutely have a good chance at great NC jobs. If you don't do well, I'm not so sure its true that places like Womble will be trying to recruit you.

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UtilityMonster
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby UtilityMonster » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:02 pm

Duke is a really good law school. I'd personally pay sticker to go there if it was my best option.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:08 pm

What are your numbers? If you are around both medians for Duke (something like 3.7-8/167-169) then I would try to go to a T30 or T40 school on a full ride. Duke is a great law school but the debt is enormous. If you are a splitter then it may be worth the gamble on Duke, since you probably aren't going to get enough money at a lesser school to make it worth while.

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sinfiery
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby sinfiery » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:22 pm

Financially, if considering your brother's work is your alternative, you should absolutely go.

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UtilityMonster
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby UtilityMonster » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:23 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:What are your numbers? If you are around both medians for Duke (something like 3.7-8/167-169) then I would try to go to a T30 or T40 school on a full ride. Duke is a great law school but the debt is enormous. If you are a splitter then it may be worth the gamble on Duke, since you probably aren't going to get enough money at a lesser school to make it worth while.


I disagree. There is a world of difference between Duke and T1. Duke is portable nationally, great name recognition, significantly better chances for big law, clerkship. He will almost certainly earn 200-300k more over lifetime with a Duke degree.

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hephaestus
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby hephaestus » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:24 pm

Wakelaw15 wrote:
GMGP wrote:Current 1L here, if you are planning to go into the Charlotte or Raleigh market with a local background and a Duke JD, getting a job as a 1L is no problem at all. Firms like Womble recruit here heavily during the mini-OCI we have for 1Ls and they pay 140k+ with a low CoL. If you live frugally you can easily pay back debt in 3-4 years.

Duke places very well (near 70% in biglaw + clerkships) and in case you want to pursue PI, the loan forgiveness is very generous. Good luck with the decision making and let me know if you have questions.


As an NC resident, I would do some research on this. I've actually heard the opposite about NC placement. Most of the Duke students are not natives and don't want to practice in NC. If you look at where attorneys at any NC firm got their degree, you are going to see a lot of UNC and WFU. If you go to Duke and do well, you will absolutely have a good chance at great NC jobs. If you don't do well, I'm not so sure its true that places like Womble will be trying to recruit you.
i believe that's why the above poster emphasized "with a local background."

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:32 pm

UtilityMonster wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:What are your numbers? If you are around both medians for Duke (something like 3.7-8/167-169) then I would try to go to a T30 or T40 school on a full ride. Duke is a great law school but the debt is enormous. If you are a splitter then it may be worth the gamble on Duke, since you probably aren't going to get enough money at a lesser school to make it worth while.


I disagree. There is a world of difference between Duke and T1. Duke is portable nationally, great name recognition, significantly better chances for big law, clerkship. He will almost certainly earn 200-300k more over lifetime with a Duke degree.


It really depends. Not all T1s are equal. There are some schools where the employment outcomes for full ride recipients are similar to or better than outcomes for median students at lower T14.

BigZuck
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby BigZuck » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:02 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
UtilityMonster wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:What are your numbers? If you are around both medians for Duke (something like 3.7-8/167-169) then I would try to go to a T30 or T40 school on a full ride. Duke is a great law school but the debt is enormous. If you are a splitter then it may be worth the gamble on Duke, since you probably aren't going to get enough money at a lesser school to make it worth while.


I disagree. There is a world of difference between Duke and T1. Duke is portable nationally, great name recognition, significantly better chances for big law, clerkship. He will almost certainly earn 200-300k more over lifetime with a Duke degree.


It really depends. Not all T1s are equal. There are some schools where the employment outcomes for full ride recipients are similar to or better than median placement at lower T14.


How so? Also, which schools are you talking about specifically?

mr.hands
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby mr.hands » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:07 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
UtilityMonster wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:What are your numbers? If you are around both medians for Duke (something like 3.7-8/167-169) then I would try to go to a T30 or T40 school on a full ride. Duke is a great law school but the debt is enormous. If you are a splitter then it may be worth the gamble on Duke, since you probably aren't going to get enough money at a lesser school to make it worth while.


I disagree. There is a world of difference between Duke and T1. Duke is portable nationally, great name recognition, significantly better chances for big law, clerkship. He will almost certainly earn 200-300k more over lifetime with a Duke degree.


It really depends. Not all T1s are equal. There are some schools where the employment outcomes for full ride recipients are similar to or better than outcomes for median students at lower T14.


There is no way to measure that because schools don't release the job outcomes of their students based on their merit scholarships. This is an impossible metric and a completely arbitrary statement.

But even if this statement were true, it wouldn't (and shouldn't) provide any useful insight into the law school search.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:22 pm

mr.hands wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
UtilityMonster wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:What are your numbers? If you are around both medians for Duke (something like 3.7-8/167-169) then I would try to go to a T30 or T40 school on a full ride. Duke is a great law school but the debt is enormous. If you are a splitter then it may be worth the gamble on Duke, since you probably aren't going to get enough money at a lesser school to make it worth while.


I disagree. There is a world of difference between Duke and T1. Duke is portable nationally, great name recognition, significantly better chances for big law, clerkship. He will almost certainly earn 200-300k more over lifetime with a Duke degree.


It really depends. Not all T1s are equal. There are some schools where the employment outcomes for full ride recipients are similar to or better than outcomes for median students at lower T14.


There is no way to measure that because schools don't release the job outcomes of their students based on their merit scholarships. This is an impossible metric and a completely arbitrary statement.

But even if this statement were true, it wouldn't (and shouldn't) provide any useful insight into the law school search.


For schools where there are a specified number of recipients with a named scholarship each year, you can find them online from 2007-2012. If the school gives three people the Harold P. Wealthington scholarship each of these 6 years, and of these 18 people lets say 12 are in big law, I would argue that this is very relevant information.

mr.hands
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby mr.hands » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:42 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
mr.hands wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
UtilityMonster wrote:
I disagree. There is a world of difference between Duke and T1. Duke is portable nationally, great name recognition, significantly better chances for big law, clerkship. He will almost certainly earn 200-300k more over lifetime with a Duke degree.


It really depends. Not all T1s are equal. There are some schools where the employment outcomes for full ride recipients are similar to or better than outcomes for median students at lower T14.


There is no way to measure that because schools don't release the job outcomes of their students based on their merit scholarships. This is an impossible metric and a completely arbitrary statement.

But even if this statement were true, it wouldn't (and shouldn't) provide any useful insight into the law school search.


For schools where there are a specified number of recipients with a named scholarship each year, you can find them online from 2007-2012. If the school gives three people the Harold P. Wealthington scholarship each of these 6 years, and of these 18 people lets say 12 are in big law, I would argue that this is very relevant information.


I can't find this information. Which schools, specifically, are you referring to and where are these employment outcomes online? Maybe i'm just looking in the wrong place

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DaleCooper
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby DaleCooper » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:24 pm

Wakelaw15 wrote:As an NC resident, I would do some research on this. I've actually heard the opposite about NC placement. Most of the Duke students are not natives and don't want to practice in NC. If you look at where attorneys at any NC firm got their degree, you are going to see a lot of UNC and WFU. If you go to Duke and do well, you will absolutely have a good chance at great NC jobs. If you don't do well, I'm not so sure its true that places like Womble will be trying to recruit you.


Another Tar Heel native here (albeit one currently at NYU)... as far as I can tell, if you are a North Carolinian with a Duke J.D., you will be able to get a 130k job. You can be bottom of the class, they don't care.

The reason NC BigLaw is so grade-conscious at UNC and Wake is because everybody at UNC and Wake wants NC BigLaw. Meanwhile, only about 20-30 people in Duke's class will want to stay in NC... the rest are going to NY, DC, California, or Texas. And school prestige matters, especially when you're dealing with banking clients. Everybody knows that "J.D., Duke University" is just as prestigious in its own way as "J.D., magna cum laude, Wake Forest University - Law Review, Order of the Coif". Nobody other than the firm itself is going to know whether you were top-third or bottom-fifth. If you are at Duke Law, you are by definition smart and capable of working hard. And you are on a curve filled with people who will end up at V100 firms in NY, DC, California, and Texas. Firms know that, and they will take a chance on you... especially if you have local ties. Worst case scenario, you flame out. If that happens, big deal; the associate model is built on the expectation that not everybody makes partner.

A lot of my BigLaw friends thought I was crazy to turn down Duke, because in one's words, "You can literally slack off and party for three years straight and then make 130k in Charlotte."

(Note: This is not true of all NC BigLaw firms, just some. RBH wants superstars only, regardless of whether you went to Carolina or Columbia.)

GMGP
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Re: Duke OR Dont Go

Postby GMGP » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:58 pm

Wakelaw15 wrote:
GMGP wrote:Current 1L here, if you are planning to go into the Charlotte or Raleigh market with a local background and a Duke JD, getting a job as a 1L is no problem at all. Firms like Womble recruit here heavily during the mini-OCI we have for 1Ls and they pay 140k+ with a low CoL. If you live frugally you can easily pay back debt in 3-4 years.

Duke places very well (near 70% in biglaw + clerkships) and in case you want to pursue PI, the loan forgiveness is very generous. Good luck with the decision making and let me know if you have questions.


As an NC resident, I would do some research on this. I've actually heard the opposite about NC placement. Most of the Duke students are not natives and don't want to practice in NC. If you look at where attorneys at any NC firm got their degree, you are going to see a lot of UNC and WFU. If you go to Duke and do well, you will absolutely have a good chance at great NC jobs. If you don't do well, I'm not so sure its true that places like Womble will be trying to recruit you.


You're right that most Duke grads don't want to practice locally, but if you express an interest in it (and going to UNC, WF, NCSU, ect. for undergrad helps A LOT) then you are in great shape, even if you're below median. They would rather take a 3.2 kid who has a clear intent to stay in NC than a 3.5 kid who they know will ditch them for a NYC or DC firm for 2L summer. At least this has been my experience and observation.




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