H vs. Duke ($$$$)

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Harvard (~$208k)
45
57%
Duke (~$80k)
34
43%
 
Total votes: 79

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dawyzest1
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H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby dawyzest1 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:36 pm

Hi All,

It's down to the two choices above. All the COA will be financed through loans. I'd like to clerk, then do biglaw (litigation, government/regulatory focus). I am from the south and intend to practice in Atlanta. Post biglaw, would look to government agency work or potentially academia. I really liked Duke's feel and though I've done Boston/Cambridge before for grad school, I am not thrilled to do it again. I'll suck it up for H though...

I think the CW would be Duke. Can any reasonable case be made for Harvard?

Thanks!

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Doorkeeper
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:41 pm

1. You applied to a very weird set of schools. Why didn't you apply to Yale, Stanford, Columbia, NYU or Berkeley?

2. Do you project getting any financial aid from Harvard?

3. The strength of Harvard is entirely based on how much you want to clerk, work in government, and do academia. If these are ancillary things that sound nice, but you really just want a nice biglaw job in ATL, then go to Duke and don't look back. But if these are things that you REALLY REALLY WANT IN LIFE, then Harvard.
Last edited by Doorkeeper on Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby bizzybone1313 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:47 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:1. You applied to a very weird set of schools. Why didn't you apply to Yale, Stanford, Columbia, NYU or Berkeley? I almost think you should retake the cycle.

2. Do you project getting any financial aid from Harvard?

3. The strength of Harvard is entirely based on how much you want to clerk, work in government, and do academia. If these are ancillary things that sound nice, but you really just want a nice biglaw job in ATL, then go to Duke and don't look back. But if these are things that you REALLY REALLY WANT IN LIFE, then Harvard.


What if Harvard and Duke ($$$$) were to not offer him the same thing next cycle? Normally I would agree with the cherrypicking of schools. He has two outstanding options though. He has a very difficult decision to make.

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dawyzest1
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby dawyzest1 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:49 pm

The scattershot applications has everything to do with coming very late to the cycle. That's why there's no Stanford or Berkeley. Columbia and NYU are absent because I'd never live in NYC even for 3 years.

The Harvard COA number includes anticipated aid. I am poor, but Harvard is only going to help me out so much.

I considered pausing and retaking the cycle, but the Duke scholarship is the Mordecai and I suspect they only pull that chair out once and I prefer H to S. So, I think that odd cycle and all I've ended up with my two best options. I just don't think Yale is going to happen for me and I didn't feel like paying my $96 to find out.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:49 pm

bizzybone1313 wrote:What if Harvard and Duke ($$$$) were to not offer him the same thing next cycle? Normally I would agree with the cherrypicking of schools. He has two outstanding options though. He has a very difficult decision to make.

I don't actually think he should reapply. It's just crazy because OP could've gotten CCN with $$.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:51 pm

dawyzest1 wrote:The scattershot applications has everything to do with coming very late to the cycle. That's why there's no Stanford or Berkeley. Columbia and NYU are absent because I'd never live in NYC even for 3 years.

The Harvard COA number includes anticipated aid. I am poor, but Harvard is only going to help me out so much.

I considered pausing and retaking the cycle, but the Duke scholarship is the Mordecai and I suspect they only pull that chair out once and I prefer H to S. So, I think that odd cycle and all I've ended up with my two best options. I just don't think Yale is going to happen for me and I didn't feel like paying my $96 to find out.

I see. Well then you have to answer this issue:

Doorkeeper wrote:3. The strength of Harvard is entirely based on how much you want to clerk, work in government, and do academia. If these are ancillary things that sound nice, but you really just want a nice biglaw job in ATL, then go to Duke and don't look back. But if these are things that you REALLY REALLY WANT IN LIFE, then Harvard.

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dawyzest1
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby dawyzest1 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:54 pm

I think you've framed it perfectly. Duke tried to sell me on the idea that because their environment is so intimate and collegial that professors go the extra mile to help those who have the credentials and ability to clerk find a clerkship. You buy that?

dabbadon8
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby dabbadon8 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:06 pm

dawyzest1 wrote:I think you've framed it perfectly. Duke tried to sell me on the idea that because their environment is so intimate and collegial that professors go the extra mile to help those who have the credentials and ability to clerk find a clerkship. You buy that?


Duke student here. You won't have a problem getting recommendations if you try at all, and I'd imagine they'd go to bat for you. 1L all the professors make a big effort to get to know you. My 1L year two professors had the class over to their houses. Another came out to our small section softball game. Almost all the professors are on board with clerking and intentionally make an effort to get to know you so you they can recommend you (at least in my experience). Doors are always open, and they are always in their offices.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:08 pm

dawyzest1 wrote:I think you've framed it perfectly. Duke tried to sell me on the idea that because their environment is so intimate and collegial that professors go the extra mile to help those who have the credentials and ability to clerk find a clerkship. You buy that?

Not really. I go to H and it's very easy to get close with professors if you make an effort to do so. Go to office hours, RA for a professor or two, and do well in class and you'll be very well set up for clerkships.

It may be the case that professors at Duke are more upfront or direct or something with their students because of the small class size, but that's hardly a necessary factor to get faculty support.

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

Postby GMGP » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:09 pm

Harvard is overkill if you are looking for ATL biglaw, Duke will to the job just fine.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:14 pm

I would do Duke here all day. For older law students (like me and you) it makes even less sense to take on 200k+ in debt, and I don't think it makes sense for anyone. You have ~35 years of work ahead of you, how many of those years do you want to be paying loans?

NanaP
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby NanaP » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:28 pm

I agree, taking on 200k+ debt is crazy, even if its Harvard. Go to duke, and save yourself a ton of money. Doors won't close at Duke, just work hard, earn good grades and you should be fine. Plus your profile says you went to an ivy undergrad, so I think that counts for something.

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TripTrip
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby TripTrip » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:41 pm

I am pleasantly surprised at the Duke sentiment ITT. I'm so used to the HYS or bust mentality of TLS and the arguing about Ruby/Hamilton vs. Harvard.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Elston Gunn » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:47 pm

GMGP wrote:Harvard is overkill if you are looking for ATL biglaw, Duke will to the job just fine.

Is this really true? I thought ATL was a grade snobby bloodbath. It depends on what the ATL market is like, but I don't agree that this comes down clerkship goals vs. biglaw. I think if you really really want biglaw in ATL (which as far as I know is a very difficult market to crack, ties or no ties), I'd take Harvard. I doubt median at Duke is getting a job in ATL.

If you're fine with NYC, then Duke becomes a better option.

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dawyzest1
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby dawyzest1 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:05 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Nana and Hutz. You make excellent points and the idea of the shorter horizon to recoup the investment is something I had not paid enough attention to in my thinking.

And Elston, thanks for bringing up the Atlanta legal market. I have not been able to find a ton of details about it other than to hear that it's a real mess. ATL is a clear secondary market for Duke. They place most strongly in NYC, CA, and TX. I am NOT okay in any way with NYC. Not going to happen.

Another way to look at it is the extra $120k worth a presumably wider margin of error in terms of law school performance, e.g. if I turn out to be a below median kind of law student, where am I less screwed?

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:11 pm

Harvard no question. It's 120k, but under median is in trouble at Duke, probably no big law.

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sinfiery
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby sinfiery » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:15 pm

dawyzest1 wrote:I am NOT okay in any way with NYC. Not going to happen.


If you aren't okay with NYC then I am leaning towards Harvard here. Duke is a big feeder school for NYC and I think if you take NYC off the table, the job prospects really start to favor H over Duke.

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TripTrip
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby TripTrip » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:23 pm

sinfiery wrote:
dawyzest1 wrote:I am NOT okay in any way with NYC. Not going to happen.


If you aren't okay with NYC then I am leaning towards Harvard here. Duke is a big feeder school for NYC and I think if you take NYC off the table, the job prospects really start to favor H over Duke.

Harvard places a bigger percentage of its grads in NY than Duke. :?

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:28 pm

OP: it gives me pause that you are so adamant against NYC. For either choice, you should recognize that you could get zero offers or only 1 offer, and you have to be willing to deal with that. NYC is the biggest legal market in the united states. Both schools send many graduates to NYC firms. At either school, if you are below median you are not guaranteed a job, and you might get only one offer and have to take it.

I would go to Duke. If you strike out in Atlanta, you will have limited debt and can target other markets nearby (NC, SC, TN, GA). I personally think its true that if you attend a school on a full or huge scholarship they have an added incentive to help with job stuff. I would take Duke, read all the forums on here about succeeding in law school, take copious notes, outline throughout the semester, take practice exams/do practice questions, meet with faculty/talk with other students if and when the material is unclear, study hard, and try to rock the exams.

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sinfiery
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby sinfiery » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:31 pm

TripTrip wrote:Harvard places a bigger percentage of its grads in NY than Duke. :?


I always assumed that was, to a degree, because of self-selection.

The Harvard name, I always thought, opens up doors to every market in the country which would help the OP a lot.

Most other schools, not so much. At Cornell, you are likely going to work in NYC if you like it or not. Northwestern/Chi, in Chicago if you like it or not. CLS/NYU, in NYC if you like it or not. Etc.
For Duke, NYC is that market from what I can tell.

Of course, this isn't 100% but you really limit your options when you take these options off the table. For Harvard, I thought the prestige really helps you bid other markets.

No real data, just the sentiment I've picked up from TLS

dissonance1848
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby dissonance1848 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:33 pm

Since OP does not want NYC biglaw, this really does tip things in favor of Harvard.

The CW is that one should only take HYS with big debt vs. other T14 with little debt if
you want to clerk, academia, biggov.... and secondary markets without ties.

Since OP wants basically secondary markets, not NYC, they basically have to go to Harvard
if they want a real shot. If they end up at median/below from Duke, they will have little debt,
but will be shut out of biglaw, period.

If they want biglaw, they need Harvard, even with the debt.

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TripTrip
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby TripTrip » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:44 pm

sinfiery wrote:
TripTrip wrote:Harvard places a bigger percentage of its grads in NY than Duke. :?


I always assumed that was, to a degree, because of self-selection.

The Harvard name, I always thought, opens up doors to every market in the country which would help the OP a lot.

Most other schools, not so much. At Cornell, you are likely going to work in NYC if you like it or not. Northwestern/Chi, in Chicago if you like it or not. CLS/NYU, in NYC if you like it or not. Etc.
For Duke, NYC is that market from what I can tell.

Of course, this isn't 100% but you really limit your options when you take these options off the table. For Harvard, I thought the prestige really helps you bid other markets.

No real data, just the sentiment I've picked up from TLS

I can see that from CW, sure. But I think we ignore the national reach of T14 schools. Yes, some are better for certain regions than others, but Duke isn't going to shut any doors because of location.

There was a MN biglaw attorney who answered questions on here and was talking about Duke specifically. He said Duke grads wouldn't have much trouble competing with midwest schools (I think it's implied that this is true as long as they weren't a flight risk/could show ties). viewtopic.php?f=4&t=146346&start=75

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dawyzest1
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby dawyzest1 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:51 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote: I personally think its true that if you attend a school on a full or huge scholarship they have an added incentive to help with job stuff.


An excellent point, and yet another reason why this decision is not cut and dried. Duke does not want Mordecai Scholars wandering around on the streets and I have consistently heard they do what they can to help you meet with a good outcome. I don't agree that a "not so good law student, still want to be a lawyer" situation would lead me to NYC from Duke. I think in that case, I would be looking squarely at trying to access the Raleigh/Charlotte legal market. If disaster awaits me at Harvard, I see the NYC thing as more of a possibility. Though if that were the case, I'd try to make Boston happen. I have ties in Boston and could live there much more comfortably than New York. Now, I am certain that the Boston market is all messed up just like Atlanta, but this is just me speculating from a totally ex ante perspective.

In terms of working hard, following sage advice, etc. with respect to succeeding in law school, I plan to do all of that of course, but I just can't develop the confidence that will be enough in absence of confronting the actual work. Law school just seems like a different ballgame and I am approaching it with as much humility as I can.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Elston Gunn » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:56 pm

TripTrip wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
TripTrip wrote:Harvard places a bigger percentage of its grads in NY than Duke. :?


I always assumed that was, to a degree, because of self-selection.

The Harvard name, I always thought, opens up doors to every market in the country which would help the OP a lot.

Most other schools, not so much. At Cornell, you are likely going to work in NYC if you like it or not. Northwestern/Chi, in Chicago if you like it or not. CLS/NYU, in NYC if you like it or not. Etc.
For Duke, NYC is that market from what I can tell.

Of course, this isn't 100% but you really limit your options when you take these options off the table. For Harvard, I thought the prestige really helps you bid other markets.

No real data, just the sentiment I've picked up from TLS

I can see that from CW, sure. But I think we ignore the national reach of T14 schools. Yes, some are better for certain regions than others, but Duke isn't going to shut any doors because of location.

There was a MN biglaw attorney who answered questions on here and was talking about Duke specifically. He said Duke grads wouldn't have much trouble competing with midwest schools (I think it's implied that this is true as long as they weren't a flight risk/could show ties). http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 6&start=75

It's not that Duke isn't respected across the country. It's that Atlanta firms are extremely snobby and likely have grade cutoffs around top 1/3 for Duke, whereas plenty of NYC firms won't because there are just so many of them. The cutoffs for Harvard will be lower.
Last edited by Elston Gunn on Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gunnar Stahl
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Re: H vs. Duke ($$$$)

Postby Gunnar Stahl » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:59 pm

dissonance1848 wrote:Since OP does not want NYC biglaw, this really does tip things in favor of Harvard.

The CW is that one should only take HYS with big debt vs. other T14 with little debt if
you want to clerk, academia, biggov.... and secondary markets without ties.

Since OP wants basically secondary markets, not NYC, they basically have to go to Harvard
if they want a real shot. If they end up at median/below from Duke, they will have little debt,
but will be shut out of biglaw, period.

If they want biglaw, they need Harvard, even with the debt.

no




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