Duke $$ v Michigan $$

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

Duke 75K v Michigan 90k

Poll ended at Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:23 pm

Duke
23
50%
Michigan
23
50%
 
Total votes: 46

alex510347

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Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby alex510347 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:23 pm

Hey all. So I was admitted to Duke very early in the cycle with a 75k scholarship. I've booked housing and been counting on going to Duke for a long time now. Michigan just called me and admitted me off of their waitlist with a 90k offer and in state tuition (due to my military service).

I am financing my education with loans and will be an active duty JAG officer after school. I will be making around 80k but the military gives me a 60k signing bonus. I just graduated from UT Austin and I am looking for something different. I am also from the South. These two things draw me towards Duke over Michigan as Michigan is pretty much the UT of the North. Ann Arbor is also a very small college town, while the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is relatively lively and mid sized.

I know that traditionally Michigan has been higher ranked than Duke but Duke has better employment stats and was higher ranked last year. Duke is also a much smaller school (which could be a good or a bad thing). My dream is a clerkship with the Supreme Court after the Army, which I know is pretty near impossible (but not quite from these schools). Michigan also has one of the most beautiful law schools in the Nation which is a big plus.

What do you all think? I have until the 15th of July to make a deposit.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby acr » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:36 pm

alex510347 wrote:Hey all. So I was admitted to Duke very early in the cycle with a 75k scholarship. I've booked housing and been counting on going to Duke for a long time now. Michigan just called me and admitted me off of their waitlist with a 90k offer and in state tuition (due to my military service).

I am financing my education with loans and will be an active duty JAG officer after school. I will be making around 80k but the military gives me a 60k signing bonus. I just graduated from UT Austin and I am looking for something different. I am also from the South. These two things draw me towards Duke over Michigan as Michigan is pretty much the UT of the North. Ann Arbor is also a very small college town, while the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is relatively lively and mid sized.

I know that traditionally Michigan has been higher ranked than Duke but Duke has better employment stats and was higher ranked last year. Duke is also a much smaller school (which could be a good or a bad thing). My dream is a clerkship with the Supreme Court after the Army, which I know is pretty near impossible (but not quite from these schools). Michigan also has one of the most beautiful law schools in the Nation which is a big plus.

What do you all think? I have until the 15th of July to make a deposit.


Why is this a "big" plus? It will be cool for about two days, a few pictures, then it will just be normal. I go to arguably one of the most beautiful law schools in the country and its aesthetic charm faded after like a week. Law school is law school is law school. Facilities might be a marginal benefit at the end of the day, but don't make Michigan's outward appearance a "big plus" in this decision. If Duke is better for your goals, then Duke in a tent > Michigan in a castle.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Clemenceau » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:01 pm

Maybe raleigh durham chapel hill combined > Ann Arbor. But I'll take AA over Durham every time.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:06 pm

I had a similar decision and went to Duke. Loved it. Here's what you should do:

Call Duke admissions office and tell them you'll deposit if they match your Michigan scholarship.

If they do, go to Duke
If they don't, go to Michigan, I guess

Duke's proximity to D.C. and the LENS Center (https://law.duke.edu/lens/) may also be worth looking into, given your interests.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby guynourmin » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:11 pm

Calculate your total COAs for each. LST says Michigan in-state is 32k cheaper, so that's an almost 50k difference. Sounds like you're leaning towards duke, and I certainly think their employment numbers on LST appear markedly stronger, so maybe 50k is worth it? I'm voting Duke in the poll.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Redfactor » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:28 pm

Michigan does better in clerkships and gov't.

UM also has a stronger national presence, so if you PCS to the west coast or somewhere else outside of the south and discover that you'd like to live there, UM's network will likely be stronger.

Duke is better if you want to live in the south after you're done with the military.


A lot of responses are going to be based on employment statistics, but you don't need to think about that like other applicants because you already have your job.

Also, since you don't really have to worry about job outcomes, going to a place that you find beautiful is totally reasonable.

Plus, it's cheaper.


There isn't a bad option here. Hope you enjoy your time wherever you land.

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Dcc617

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Dcc617 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:11 pm

So were you like SMP with an educational delay or something? It doesn't sound like you're FLEP or GI Bill, so how do you have JAG guaranteed after law school? I'm asking because there are only a few circumstances where JAG is guaranteed and that should play into how you perceive employment statistics.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby alex510347 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:24 pm

Dcc617 wrote:So were you like SMP with an educational delay or something? It doesn't sound like you're FLEP or GI Bill, so how do you have JAG guaranteed after law school? I'm asking because there are only a few circumstances where JAG is guaranteed and that should play into how you perceive employment statistics.


I just commissioned out of ROTC and have an Ed Delay for JAG. It's not guaranteed but it's over 80 percent of Ed Delays that receive active duty JAG. If I didn't then I would go active duty needs of the Army. But I've met with General Darpino and the COL in charge of selection for JAGs each year one on one for over an hour. They broke all of this down for me. They told me that so long as I don't just frick around then coming from these schools I will get the selection. That's not really something that I'm super worried about.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby lolRCscrewyou » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:31 pm

Redfactor wrote:Michigan does better in clerkships and gov't.

UM also has a stronger national presence, so if you PCS to the west coast or somewhere else outside of the south and discover that you'd like to live there, UM's network will likely be stronger.

Duke is better if you want to live in the south after you're done with the military.


A lot of responses are going to be based on employment statistics, but you don't need to think about that like other applicants because you already have your job.

Also, since you don't really have to worry about job outcomes, going to a place that you find beautiful is totally reasonable.

Plus, it's cheaper.


There isn't a bad option here. Hope you enjoy your time wherever you land.



Uhhhhhhh, don't know about that. U of M gets lumped together with Michigan State and constantly has subpar employment rates.

If costs matter a lot to you, go to Michigan. If you are willing to go into a little more debt for better employment prospects, better location, and smaller class sizes, go to Duke. At the end of the day, they'really still both great choices :)

Edit: Job or not, it's still wise to go to a school with better employment prospects. Circumstances and plans change, so 5K a year extra may be worth the safety net you'd get from Duke.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby michlaw » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:25 am

Michigan is the right choice. In no universe do U Mich and Mich State get lumped together by anyone whose opinion you would value. The student faculty ratio difference is 1 in favor of Duke so not too sure about any meaningful smaller class benefit. If you can notice a 1 person difference in a black letter law class you should be a spotter not a JAG officer. Duke has better broad spectrum employment stats while Mich opens a few better doors. Each has its benefits. Michigan has made a lot of positive changes recently in an effort to try to deal with the ever changing legal market. The death of Detroit has hurt. Your decision would be a coin toss even money but Mich at less is an obvious choice. I do remember fondly travelling from Ann Arbor to Naval Station Great Lakes to meet about JAG. Not sure they cared that much about the law school one went to. Many joined in a different employment era and attended lesser ranked schools. That does not diminish one iota their service and commitment. Also lots of changing thoughts about how long to stay in and what to do next. Good luck.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby GFox345 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:55 am

I would strongly encourage you to research the placement prospects of the school a second time. The idiotic consensus on TLS tends to be that better Big Law numbers equates to better employment prospects overall. This is incredibly lazy. Duke may send 75% of it's class into Big Law, but it sends an incredibly small portion of its class into PI/Gov. Michigan, on the other hand, sends a fairly large portion of it's class into PI/Gov, and when you add the two values together, Michigan and Duke have very similar placement power.

There also seems to be this idiotic idea of TLS that people only go into PI/Gov when they strike out at OCI. I really don't think that idea even merits a response. It's a striking testament to how single-minded some posters on this site can be. The fact that Duke happens to place more of its class into Big Law is definitely not an absolute indication even of it's ability to place people into Big Law relative to its peer schools. At this level, the culture of the school and the students that chose it is a MUCH better explanation for the difference. The idea that a hiring partner is going to look at a resume from a student at Michigan and think "it would have been better if they'd gone to Duke" is laughable. Duke sends more people into Big Law than Harvard does, but you'd be an absolute fool to infer solely on that basis that Duke has more placement power than Harvard. Why should the determination be fundamentally different when weighing Duke against Michigan?

Go to Michigan. There is absolutely no universe in which Duke is worth 50k more than Michigan, and if you think that there is, I think you've been drinking a little too much of the Kool Aid.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:03 am

GFox345 wrote:I would strongly encourage you to research the placement prospects of the school a second time. The idiotic consensus on TLS tends to be that better Big Law numbers equates to better employment prospects overall. This is incredibly lazy. Duke may send 75% of it's class into Big Law, but it sends an incredibly small portion of its class into PI/Gov. Michigan, on the other hand, sends a fairly large portion of it's class into PI/Gov, and when you add the two values together, Michigan and Duke have very similar placement power.

There also seems to be this idiotic idea of TLS that people only go into PI/Gov when they strike out at OCI. I really don't think that idea even merits a response. It's a striking testament to how single-minded some posters on this site can be. The fact that Duke happens to place more of its class into Big Law is definitely not an absolute indication even of it's ability to place people into Big Law relative to its peer schools. At this level, the culture of the school and the students that chose it is a MUCH better explanation for the difference. The idea that a hiring partner is going to look at a resume from a student at Michigan and think "it would have been better if they'd gone to Duke" is laughable. Duke sends more people into Big Law than Harvard does, but you'd be an absolute fool to infer solely on that basis that Duke has more placement power than Harvard. Why should the determination be fundamentally different when weighing Duke against Michigan?

Go to Michigan. There is absolutely no universe in which Duke is worth 50k more than Michigan, and if you think that there is, I think you've been drinking a little too much of the Kool Aid.


You forgot the part where OP should ask Duke to scholarship match first.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Dcc617 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:39 am

alex510347 wrote:
Dcc617 wrote:So were you like SMP with an educational delay or something? It doesn't sound like you're FLEP or GI Bill, so how do you have JAG guaranteed after law school? I'm asking because there are only a few circumstances where JAG is guaranteed and that should play into how you perceive employment statistics.


I just commissioned out of ROTC and have an Ed Delay for JAG. It's not guaranteed but it's over 80 percent of Ed Delays that receive active duty JAG. If I didn't then I would go active duty needs of the Army. But I've met with General Darpino and the COL in charge of selection for JAGs each year one on one for over an hour. They broke all of this down for me. They told me that so long as I don't just frick around then coming from these schools I will get the selection. That's not really something that I'm super worried about.


And ROTC service for sure qualifies you for in-state? Or are you technically active duty?

alex510347

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby alex510347 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:45 pm

I'm in the IRR. So I'm not a cadet anymore. That's what the Michigan financial aid office told me. But I'm not 100 percent sure outside of that. It's my understanding that any military receives it. I will be on an assignment to law school for the military so I believe that that counts.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby alex510347 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:46 pm

Quick update. Duke just matched their offer and are saying 90k as well.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby landshoes » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:10 pm

Is there any way you can visit? But frankly, if you like the area of the country that it's in better, and think you'll fit there better, then go to Duke.

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Dcc617

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Dcc617 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:20 pm

alex510347 wrote:Quick update. Duke just matched their offer and are saying 90k as well.


I'd say it's pretty much all fit at this point. Go to where you'd be happier.

ETA Congrats!

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby ithrowds » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:28 pm

alex510347 wrote:Quick update. Duke just matched their offer and are saying 90k as well.


Just my 2 cents obviously, but I picked Duke over peer schools and am completely happy with my decision. The city of Durham catches a lot of flak (generally from people who either have never been or haven't been in years), but the consensus I get from locals and people that did their UG at Duke/UNC prior to law school is that its become a completely different, livelier, safer city now. Also when you take into account Chapel Hill/Raleigh, there is generally more than enough to do to keep you busy in the region.

In terms of transportability of degree, Duke is one of only a couple T14s with an exclusive regional interview week program in addition to the OCI process, which allows you to interview directly with firms in cities like San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago, Miami, etc.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Anon. E. Moose » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:57 pm

I picked Michigan over Duke and don't regret it for a second - obviously I'm just one data point, but journal, OCI, clerkship, etc. have all worked out well for me. Ann Arbor is a great town, and on a good scholarship, you can't go wrong. All my friends have jobs (a handful found them after OCI, but got them).

Some people say the building doesn't matter, and I wouldn't prioritize it over any real factor - but between two schools with similar employment and cost, I'll just say it's nice to go to school in a castle.

Michigan also has a strong military presence: Guard, IRR like you, veterans, FLEP all represented.

Go Blue!

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Redfactor » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:42 pm

lolRCscrewyou wrote:
Redfactor wrote:Michigan does better in clerkships and gov't.

UM also has a stronger national presence, so if you PCS to the west coast or somewhere else outside of the south and discover that you'd like to live there, UM's network will likely be stronger.

Duke is better if you want to live in the south after you're done with the military.


A lot of responses are going to be based on employment statistics, but you don't need to think about that like other applicants because you already have your job.

Also, since you don't really have to worry about job outcomes, going to a place that you find beautiful is totally reasonable.

Plus, it's cheaper.


There isn't a bad option here. Hope you enjoy your time wherever you land.



Uhhhhhhh, don't know about that. U of M gets lumped together with Michigan State and constantly has subpar employment rates.

If costs matter a lot to you, go to Michigan. If you are willing to go into a little more debt for better employment prospects, better location, and smaller class sizes, go to Duke. At the end of the day, they'really still both great choices :)

Edit: Job or not, it's still wise to go to a school with better employment prospects. Circumstances and plans change, so 5K a year extra may be worth the safety net you'd get from Duke.


No, it doesn't. This is not a Penn/Penn State issue. Good try though.

However, assuming, arguendo, that people do confuse UM and Michigan State, I clearly stated that this was about national presence and the strength of the network. UM sends more grads to more markets than Duke. Disagree until you're blue in the face but it won't change reality. If OP wanted to live in the west coast, there would be a greater number of UM law grads nearby than Duke law grads to network with.

As for employment, there isn't an extra "safety net" that Duke provides over UM grads other than a better LRAP program. Look at the employment numbers rather than just the 'large firm score' listed on the front page of LST.

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lolRCscrewyou

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby lolRCscrewyou » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:21 am

Redfactor wrote:
lolRCscrewyou wrote:
Redfactor wrote:Michigan does better in clerkships and gov't.

UM also has a stronger national presence, so if you PCS to the west coast or somewhere else outside of the south and discover that you'd like to live there, UM's network will likely be stronger.

Duke is better if you want to live in the south after you're done with the military.


A lot of responses are going to be based on employment statistics, but you don't need to think about that like other applicants because you already have your job.

Also, since you don't really have to worry about job outcomes, going to a place that you find beautiful is totally reasonable.

Plus, it's cheaper.


There isn't a bad option here. Hope you enjoy your time wherever you land.



Uhhhhhhh, don't know about that. U of M gets lumped together with Michigan State and constantly has subpar employment rates.

If costs matter a lot to you, go to Michigan. If you are willing to go into a little more debt for better employment prospects, better location, and smaller class sizes, go to Duke. At the end of the day, they'really still both great choices :)

Edit: Job or not, it's still wise to go to a school with better employment prospects. Circumstances and plans change, so 5K a year extra may be worth the safety net you'd get from Duke.


No, it doesn't. This is not a Penn/Penn State issue. Good try though.

However, assuming, arguendo, that people do confuse UM and Michigan State, I clearly stated that this was about national presence and the strength of the network. UM sends more grads to more markets than Duke. Disagree until you're blue in the face but it won't change reality. If OP wanted to live in the west coast, there would be a greater number of UM law grads nearby than Duke law grads to network with.

As for employment, there isn't an extra "safety net" that Duke provides over UM grads other than a better LRAP program. Look at the employment numbers rather than just the 'large firm score' listed on the front page of LST.


Perhaps it's just that I live in a bubble over here and everyone outside of it thinks Michigan has more of a presence than Duke, but I have a very hard time believing that. Unfortunately, unless someone conducted opinion polls, neither your nor I can claim we are correct so I digress.

I'm not sure how you are reading those numbers, but according to the jobs data tab Duke has better hiring rates. 85% of U of M grads are employed in full time, legal positions. Duke is just shy of 89%. Please correct me if I'm wrong (seriously, not trying to argue. Just trying to see where you are coming from), but that seems pretty black and white.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/duke/jobs/2015/

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/ ... jobs/2015/

Now, if you mean that U of M spreads their grads more thinly over various types of legal positions, sure. 100% agree with you. Michigan has a higher percentage in PI and clerkships, so you can perhaps find a Michigan grad more easily in more fields than a Duke grad. But if we are just talking overall full time, legal employment, Duke wins hands down.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby stressball2015 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:02 am

lolRCscrewyou wrote:
Redfactor wrote:
lolRCscrewyou wrote:
Redfactor wrote:Michigan does better in clerkships and gov't.

UM also has a stronger national presence, so if you PCS to the west coast or somewhere else outside of the south and discover that you'd like to live there, UM's network will likely be stronger.

Duke is better if you want to live in the south after you're done with the military.


A lot of responses are going to be based on employment statistics, but you don't need to think about that like other applicants because you already have your job.

Also, since you don't really have to worry about job outcomes, going to a place that you find beautiful is totally reasonable.

Plus, it's cheaper.


There isn't a bad option here. Hope you enjoy your time wherever you land.



Uhhhhhhh, don't know about that. U of M gets lumped together with Michigan State and constantly has subpar employment rates.

If costs matter a lot to you, go to Michigan. If you are willing to go into a little more debt for better employment prospects, better location, and smaller class sizes, go to Duke. At the end of the day, they'really still both great choices :)

Edit: Job or not, it's still wise to go to a school with better employment prospects. Circumstances and plans change, so 5K a year extra may be worth the safety net you'd get from Duke.


No, it doesn't. This is not a Penn/Penn State issue. Good try though.

However, assuming, arguendo, that people do confuse UM and Michigan State, I clearly stated that this was about national presence and the strength of the network. UM sends more grads to more markets than Duke. Disagree until you're blue in the face but it won't change reality. If OP wanted to live in the west coast, there would be a greater number of UM law grads nearby than Duke law grads to network with.

As for employment, there isn't an extra "safety net" that Duke provides over UM grads other than a better LRAP program. Look at the employment numbers rather than just the 'large firm score' listed on the front page of LST.


Perhaps it's just that I live in a bubble over here and everyone outside of it thinks Michigan has more of a presence than Duke, but I have a very hard time believing that. Unfortunately, unless someone conducted opinion polls, neither your nor I can claim we are correct so I digress.

I'm not sure how you are reading those numbers, but according to the jobs data tab Duke has better hiring rates. 85% of U of M grads are employed in full time, legal positions. Duke is just shy of 89%. Please correct me if I'm wrong (seriously, not trying to argue. Just trying to see where you are coming from), but that seems pretty black and white.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/duke/jobs/2015/

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/ ... jobs/2015/

Now, if you mean that U of M spreads their grads more thinly over various types of legal positions, sure. 100% agree with you. Michigan has a higher percentage in PI and clerkships, so you can perhaps find a Michigan grad more easily in more fields than a Duke grad. But if we are just talking overall full time, legal employment, Duke wins hands down.


Agreed. My law school adviser showed me the same data when I was choosing and noted that Duke had better employment rates than Michigan for full time legal positions in general.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:53 pm

alex510347 wrote:Quick update. Duke just matched their offer and are saying 90k as well.


Awesome -- congrats. Feel free to PM me if you have any Duke specific questions. You're in a great position either way.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby grades?? » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:58 pm

Duke no question.

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Re: Duke $$ v Michigan $$

Postby Redfactor » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:03 pm

lolRCscrewyou wrote:
Redfactor wrote:
lolRCscrewyou wrote:
Redfactor wrote:Michigan does better in clerkships and gov't.

UM also has a stronger national presence, so if you PCS to the west coast or somewhere else outside of the south and discover that you'd like to live there, UM's network will likely be stronger.

Duke is better if you want to live in the south after you're done with the military.


A lot of responses are going to be based on employment statistics, but you don't need to think about that like other applicants because you already have your job.

Also, since you don't really have to worry about job outcomes, going to a place that you find beautiful is totally reasonable.

Plus, it's cheaper.


There isn't a bad option here. Hope you enjoy your time wherever you land.



Uhhhhhhh, don't know about that. U of M gets lumped together with Michigan State and constantly has subpar employment rates.

If costs matter a lot to you, go to Michigan. If you are willing to go into a little more debt for better employment prospects, better location, and smaller class sizes, go to Duke. At the end of the day, they'really still both great choices :)

Edit: Job or not, it's still wise to go to a school with better employment prospects. Circumstances and plans change, so 5K a year extra may be worth the safety net you'd get from Duke.


No, it doesn't. This is not a Penn/Penn State issue. Good try though.

However, assuming, arguendo, that people do confuse UM and Michigan State, I clearly stated that this was about national presence and the strength of the network. UM sends more grads to more markets than Duke. Disagree until you're blue in the face but it won't change reality. If OP wanted to live in the west coast, there would be a greater number of UM law grads nearby than Duke law grads to network with.

As for employment, there isn't an extra "safety net" that Duke provides over UM grads other than a better LRAP program. Look at the employment numbers rather than just the 'large firm score' listed on the front page of LST.


Perhaps it's just that I live in a bubble over here and everyone outside of it thinks Michigan has more of a presence than Duke, but I have a very hard time believing that. Unfortunately, unless someone conducted opinion polls, neither your nor I can claim we are correct so I digress.

I'm not sure how you are reading those numbers, but according to the jobs data tab Duke has better hiring rates. 85% of U of M grads are employed in full time, legal positions. Duke is just shy of 89%. Please correct me if I'm wrong (seriously, not trying to argue. Just trying to see where you are coming from), but that seems pretty black and white.

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/duke/jobs/2015/

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/ ... jobs/2015/

Now, if you mean that U of M spreads their grads more thinly over various types of legal positions, sure. 100% agree with you. Michigan has a higher percentage in PI and clerkships, so you can perhaps find a Michigan grad more easily in more fields than a Duke grad. But if we are just talking overall full time, legal employment, Duke wins hands down.


I just want to make is clear that I am not talking about the school's reputation. I am merely talking about sheer numbers. Historically, UM has sent ~2x as many grads out west as Duke and more grads to NY. This is not a dig at Duke at all, it's just a natural result when the class size has historically been almost twice the size of Duke's. (UM has been shrinking its class so that trend may become different.) And like I mentioned in my first post, the selection would switch if OP wanted to stay in the south. It's not called the Harvard of the South for no reason.

As for employment statistics, I don't want to derail this thread too much, so I will keep it brief. But know that I don't subscribe to TLS meta.

The employment statistic you mentioned is okay for a rough gauge, but it can be misleading to the point that it's harmful to an applicant. If your statistic were a good indicator, then Duke at (89.9%) would be better than Harvard (86.6%), Stanford (85.5%), or Yale (81.2%). However, I don't think any rational person would believe that employment prospects at Duke are superior over HYS.

I personally think the best indicator of a school's placement power in biglaw is the distribution of where students land within private firms. Ideally, you're going to want to see as few as possible land in firms of <50 attorneys and for it to be very, very top-heavy on 250+ attorney positions. (Sure, some will self-select boutiques or starting their own practice with someone, etc.) To me, this is the true sign of the T-14 vs. all other schools and how to discern the subtle differences among the T-14. All schools within T-14 should have <10% of their private-firm grads taking those <50 attorney positions, while I doubt any more than 2-3 schools ranked #15 or worse can crack 30%, and none come in below 25%. To me, this is the true "safety net" that a T-14 provides.

If you're curious and have 30 minutes, play around with LST's ABA report format and just look up random schools from all tiers. You'll find weak schools very bottom heavy, t-20 along with Fordham and BU/BC bimodal or evenly distributed, and T-14 very top heavy all the way to HYS who are almost exclusively 250+.

Now, take a look at the distributions of these two schools and you'll find that the difference between Duke and UM is a handful of students at most and nowhere near what I would consider a "safety net."

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/duke/ABA/2015/

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/michigan/aba/

As for clerkships, I look at two things: 1) % of class who obtains federal clerkships, AND 2) ratio of federal clerkships to state clerkships. I think the second is equally, if not more important as it demonstrates the number of those interested in clerking but failing to obtain Art. III slots. (Sure, certain states have high court clerkships = to art. III, but not enough to invalidate the approach, imo.) Michigan places more in federal clerkships and has a better ratio.

I hope this clears up a little bit about how I approach T-14 biglaw and clerkship placement power :)

Again, both schools are great and there isn't a bad choice, especially now that Duke matched.

Grats to OP on the options and for making the career choice!



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