Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

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Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$)

Duke JD + LLM: $70k + $20k merit aid
39
76%
UCLA JD: $90k merit aid
12
24%
 
Total votes: 51

born4law
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Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:40 pm

Duke is asking for a binding deposit due in a few days and I'd have to withdraw from my hometown school of UCLA if I'm to commit there.

Assume all other schools in the T20 are not options (no response yet / rejected / did not apply / accepted but withdrew). LSAT retake is not an option. Extremely strong preference to work in California (born and raised there). Open to going out-of-state for school as long as the school is good enough and the environment is bustling and collegiate. Career interest is "startup law" (early company formation, private equity finance, shareholder vesting, helping startups navigate product liability issues and terms and conditions, etc.) and other tech policy issues in general.

I visited Duke/Durham this past weekend and was very impressed with the law school. The program is top-notch. BUT: the living situation / campus community really left something to be desired. Basically, if you go to Duke as an undergrad, life is amazing. But for graduate and professional students, the university has pretty much neglected any type of on-campus student life for you. Everyone basically commutes from 5-15 minutes away by car.

I'm torn between that type of lifestyle in Durham vs. Westwood, which seems way more walkable. The problem is that UCLA suffers quite a bit in terms of job prospects and national recognition.
Last edited by born4law on Tue May 07, 2013 6:52 am, edited 5 times in total.

GMGP
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$)

Postby GMGP » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:54 pm

born4law wrote:BUT: the living situation / campus community really turned me off. Basically, if you go to Duke as an undergrad, life is amazing. But for graduate and professional students, the university has pretty much neglected any type of on-campus student life for you. Everyone basically commutes from 5-15 minutes away by car. This was a real surprise for me (and honestly makes me just want to get into Michigan and give Ann Arbor a go, weather be damned).
.


WHAT? Student life at Duke is probably the best out of the T-14. Yes there is no on-campus housing, that is because no one wants to live on campus when there are awesome apartment complexes that have 50-80 other law students living there as well. Sorry if I seem a little reactionary but I just came from the Durham Bulls opening day from a box seat with free food and booze and 80 of my classmates sponsored by Duke. Wednesday we have free bowling and booze. Friday we have a free concert. The law school bends over backwards to ensure significant community. Coming from a massive undergrad, I love that about here.

If there are other reasons for passing then sure, but if you are passing on Duke because of a lack of student life I would say highly reconsider your decision.

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hephaestus
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby hephaestus » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:57 pm

What does the 70k + 20k thing mean?
Also go to Duke. QoL should not trump job prospects.

born4law
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:37 am

ImNoScar wrote:What does the 70k + 20k thing mean?
Also go to Duke. QoL should not trump job prospects.


They are offering ~$70k for the JD and ~$20k for the dual LLM program I got into. So it's 70 + 20 (basically: it's not 90 for the JD, because there's the additional tuition to be paid for the LLM component).

I get your point about job prospects, but those are also highly tied to 1L performance, which is without a doubt tied to QoL. The happier you are, the better you perform. That being said, most of the students at ASW said Durham/Duke has, much to their surprise, unbelievably high QoL. But compared to what?

Revolver066
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby Revolver066 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:04 pm

born4law wrote:
I get your point about job prospects, but those are also highly tied to 1L performance, which is without a doubt tied to QoL. The happier you are, the better you perform.


Maybe for you. This definetly isn't a universal thing.

I'd say if you are deadset California, UCLA. But if you're even open to working in NY, or if NYC biglaw>non CA biglaw, go to Duke.

born4law
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:23 pm

I've been thinking some more and my reasoning is:

This is a professional decision.
Duke is the better choice, professionally. (~60% BigLaw placement vs. UCLA's ~20%, deeper experiential offerings, better professional network afterward)
--
Go to Duke.


In terms of my lifestyle reservations about the area, can you guys help me out:

What do people think of living in Chapel Hill--where there's more of that town-and-gown lifestyle--and commuting to Duke from there? Do people do that?

Also, is there any way to park in the law school lot? I will pay serious money to park there.

Lastly, do people fly out to other east coast cities recreationally at all (at least after the 1L slog)? Seems like an interesting bonus for someone from CA who hasn't really explored the east as much...

WearyCartographer
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby WearyCartographer » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:53 pm

born4law wrote:I've been thinking some more and my reasoning is:

This is a professional decision.
Duke is the better choice, professionally. (~60% BigLaw placement vs. UCLA's ~20%, deeper experiential offerings, better professional network afterward)
--
Go to Duke.


In terms of my lifestyle reservations about the area, can you guys help me out:

What do people think of living in Chapel Hill--where there's more of that town-and-gown lifestyle--and commuting to Duke from there? Do people do that?

Also, is there any way to park in the law school lot? I will pay serious money to park there.

Lastly, do people fly out to other east coast cities recreationally at all (at least after the 1L slog)? Seems like an interesting bonus for someone from CA who hasn't really explored the east as much...


1. I definitely know people who commute from Chapel HIll. It's totally doable (in fact a lot of the apartment complexes law students choose are down in South Durham right on the Chapel Hill line). You're probably looking at a 20 minute commute each way.

That said - I think your dislike of Durham is misplaced. Frankly no grad students WANT to live on Duke's campus since you can get much nicer / cheaper housing off campus. Given the low CoL a car is extremely affordable and somewhat necessary as a practical matter. I live in a nice, historic house in Durham in a beautiful neighborhood and pay under $500 a month for my share. Durham as a city really has a lot going for it. Of course, it's not a major metropolitan area, but once you get past that fact - there's really a lot to like about it.

2. As a 1L (unless you find people to carpool with) you will be relegated to the Green Zone for parking regardless of your willingness to pay for better parking. This involves a 5 to 7 minute walk to the law school. It's not ideal - but I came to enjoy it especially when the weather was nice. To directly answer your question, as a 2L and 3L you can win a parking pass in the law lot at the PILF (Public Interest Law Foundation Auction) during your spring of your 1L year. There's only one and it usually goes for a ridiculous sum when you consider the alternatives (think $1200+). PILF auction aside - you enter a lottery for a closer parking pass (Chemistry and Whitford Lots if you care to look them up) for your 2L year. I'd say more than 60% of the 2L class gets one of these passes. 3L you're guaranteed a Chem or Whitford pass.

3. People definitely take weekend trips away from Durham. The vast majority of people drive places. So Western NC Mountains, Outer Banks and DC (only about 4 hours) are the most popular destinations. RDU actually is a decently sized airport so you can get to any of the major eastern cities via a direct flight at non outrageous sums. Remember though - you're a student first. Not only will it cost money to fly to New York or Miami for the weekend - it also cuts into study time. Trips are fine - just don't go overboard.

mr.hands
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby mr.hands » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:11 pm

You would have to be a moron of *epic* proportions to choose UCLA.You have the same amount money from each school and Durham is cheaper.

They aren't even peer schools...

dissonance1848
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby dissonance1848 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:22 pm

So, wtf is up with the LLM? Forget about the LLM at Duke, OP. The only LLM's considered to be worth shit are the Tax LLMs from NYU, UF, and was it Harvard or Georgetown?

Anyways, this is a no brainer....

Duke for 70k, unless some peer schools (NU,UVA,UM,Penn,etc.) offer something similar,

or you happen to get into one of HYS.

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worldwithoutend
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby worldwithoutend » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:23 pm

If you choose Duke, look into the West Village apartments. A fair number of law students live there. You can walk to the bars and restaurants in the Brightleaf/downtown area from there, and yet you won't be any further from campus. It's probably one of the more expensive options in Durham, but I'd wager it's still a lot cheaper than LA.

BigZuck
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:32 pm

Just live at Trinity Commons, overpay for a crazy nice place that is still a fraction of what it would cost in LA, and you won't have to drive anywhere. Done.

born4law
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:17 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone, this has been great!

BigZuck wrote:Just live at Trinity Commons, overpay for a crazy nice place that is still a fraction of what it would cost in LA, and you won't have to drive anywhere. Done.

True. I checked these out (and the Lofts) while I was there at ASW. Very expensive though. Totally destroys the low CoL factor. Is this the closest I can live to campus? Anything even closer (besides sleeping in the law library)?

worldwithoutend wrote:If you choose Duke, look into the West Village apartments.

Looked into this. Definitely an option. Downtown's not bad and is definitely being transformed right now. The Triangle is Austin 10-15 years ago. Mark my words: this area's gonna blow up big time (way more than it already has).

dissonance1848 wrote:So, wtf is up with the LLM? Forget about the LLM at Duke, OP. The only LLM's considered to be worth shit are the Tax LLMs from NYU, UF, and was it Harvard or Georgetown?

OK so I knew about the "LLM rule" long before applying. I'm not doing this for the LLM per se. I'm doing it for the experience. You get internships at venture capital firms, get to work directly with young startups in the area, and I was going to take a lot of the curriculum anyway because that's the area I want to get into, so why not just get it credentialed? I know firms don't care. I know most people don't even know what an LLM is. It's more of a way to start in the summer, do what I like, and have that startup law career option be something a lot easier to settle into.

WearyCartographer wrote:2. As a 1L (unless you find people to carpool with) you will be relegated to the Green Zone for parking regardless of your willingness to pay for better parking.

Is there a Google Doc or some other way to collaborate on carpooling to get that coveted law lot?
Last edited by born4law on Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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gaud
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby gaud » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:18 pm

tl;dr

Duke all day

BigZuck
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby BigZuck » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:30 pm

I have walked from Weyburn to UCLA law and Trinity to Duke law. The Weyburn walk sucked harder.

If you want to do UCLA, do UCLA. YOLO. But objectively speaking I think Duke is a much better decision.

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J-e-L-L-o
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:37 pm

Deposit at Duke dude

born4law
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:47 am

I've decided to deposit at Duke!

The rankings don't even do this comparison justice. The employment opportunities out of Duke are a world apart from UCLA. So are the caliber of students and faculty. It's going to be a slight adjustment for me as a die-hard Californian, but it's North Carolina for crying out loud, a state that's wildly transforming itself (and the best weather on the east coast). The odds of me regretting not going to Duke are way higher than me regretting taking the (temporarily) comfortable route of UCLA.

Thanks TLS, you're feedback has been really useful! :D

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cahwc12
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby cahwc12 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:35 am

I'm glad you went with Duke, but why are you considering the LLM?

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untar614
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby untar614 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:47 am

cahwc12 wrote:I'm glad you went with Duke, but why are you considering the LLM?

Yeah, I think that was the best decision.

What's the LLM in/for?

born4law
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:13 pm

untar614 wrote:
cahwc12 wrote:What's the LLM in/for?


As I said earlier in the thread, I applied to this specific LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship despite knowing about the "LLM rule" that dictates it should only be tax and then if it's tax it should only be at X Y Z schools.

This isn't about the degree. I know the profession doesn't give a damn about it. It's about the guaranteed experience I'll get in the area of law I want to be involved in (startups/venture capital). I could care less about the actual dual-degree.

If I already know I'm going to take most of the classes in this LLM's curriculum, then why not just get a degree for doing so? Plus, I like the idea of summer start, where I can get a grip on the law school routine ahead of time.

I'm really trying to see why I shouldn't do this program, given my interests? Honestly, please tell me why, I'm open to hearing all angles. Either way, I think re-submitting my application to be considered as a regular JD is EXTREMELY risky at this point. That would be really dumb to do.

Also: I want to note that the program doesn't take any longer than 3 years and doesn't put me out of contention for a good summer job (summer classes are only for this incoming term and then for a brief period right after 1L ends).

born4law
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:15 pm

Haha, wow. Looks like my answer silenced the critics. Or did it? Let's hear the counter-arguments! C'mon LLM haters! Make me regret my decision!

BigZuck
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby BigZuck » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:43 pm

I think people are dubious about LLMs like this because they think they don't help get you a job or provide particularly useful knowledge, especially compared to the time commitment and cost.

GMGP
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby GMGP » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:44 pm

born4law wrote:
untar614 wrote:
cahwc12 wrote:What's the LLM in/for?


As I said earlier in the thread, I applied to this specific LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship despite knowing about the "LLM rule" that dictates it should only be tax and then if it's tax it should only be at X Y Z schools.

This isn't about the degree. I know the profession doesn't give a damn about it. It's about the guaranteed experience I'll get in the area of law I want to be involved in (startups/venture capital). I could care less about the actual dual-degree.

If I already know I'm going to take most of the classes in this LLM's curriculum, then why not just get a degree for doing so? Plus, I like the idea of summer start, where I can get a grip on the law school routine ahead of time.

I'm really trying to see why I shouldn't do this program, given my interests? Honestly, please tell me why, I'm open to hearing all angles. Either way, I think re-submitting my application to be considered as a regular JD is EXTREMELY risky at this point. That would be really dumb to do.

Also: I want to note that the program doesn't take any longer than 3 years and doesn't put me out of contention for a good summer job (summer classes are only for this incoming term and then for a brief period right after 1L ends).


Also just a good signal to employers that you want to go to California and work in Silicon Valley. 20k for it, sounds interesting, you get to spend your summer months in the South, I concur with your analysis.

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dp73816
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby dp73816 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:28 am

I'm doing the LLM next year. However, people need to realize that the program is not an "LLM" in the traditional sense - its a "skeleton key," interdisciplinary Masters program that allows you to study at the Law, Business & Engineering schools, depending on your interests. Essentially, you get to go to a premium graduate school AND be placed into a VC firm or startup company of your choosing, all without taking the GMAT (or some other placement test) or having to do OCIs/OCRs. Can someone seriously debate the value of a degree that allows you to study where ever you want within one of the great academic institutions of our country? Please, before berating someone because of the letters "L-L-M," do a little research - the "LLM" designation is there only because it allows people who have already spent a ton of $$/energy on their education to jump most of the barriers and study something they're truly passionate about.

The program was started by a guy who went to Duke Law and ran into issues with attorneys simply not understanding the rigors of the business world. Consequently, he came back and helped to create this program. The reason people throw stones at this idea is, quite frankly, that most people who go to law school are living in the past; they dont understand that the legal industry is fundamentally changing, and the roles and skills of attorneys have to along with it. Law and business, at least in the corporate world, are coalescing - regulatory frameworks must be understood at all points when developing strategy and operational infrastructures. The same can be said for smaller startup companies, though it is arguably more important in their situations (as capital is usually lacking).

So, why not get a degree you can tailor to your interests, at a university that is universally respected? Further, why not take the backdoor it gives you into the other programs, and use it to your fullest advantage? The positional restraints of being an "attorney" are only there if you want them to be.

And, if you want to get your MBA anyways, why not do this program instead? Most MBAs takes two years and costs twice as much; if you're worried about time-value, you must give this program some thought. People seriously need to do their homework before judging a program such as this, as such interdisciplinary training seems to be the way of the future (see Cornells NYC Tech, etc.)


----
PS: In the real world, success is not about where you went to school or what your grades were, but what you do and how you handle people and their problems. To gain a network like Duke's in a role where you are immediately "Of Counsel" is a boon networking opportunity, and likely more important than the academic training itself.

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J-e-L-L-o
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby J-e-L-L-o » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:41 pm

can you provide a link to the program? This sounds relevant to my interest. I am an engineering student but would like to get experience in both IP and business (transactions, equity, and VC...) that it entails.

born4law
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Re: Duke ($$) vs. UCLA ($$) -- Binding Deposit Due Soon

Postby born4law » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:52 pm

J-e-L-L-o wrote:can you provide a link to the program?


http://law.duke.edu/llmle/jd/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJC4zvU7L_U




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