chargers21 wrote:It's a relatively small number, hence why I picked Cornell this cycle despite really wanting Charlotte and Atlanta. Grades will likely be the deciding factor over school location within the t13 in my opinion. For big firms, there are only 4 NYC market paying firms in Charlotte (Dechert, Winston and Strawn, Cadwalader, and another I can't remember) and then like Moore, A and B, King and Spaulding, and Bryan Cave. I think about 5 Duke students end up at these firms per year, last year I think like 3 at Moore, 1 at Cadwalader, and 1 at Winston. Very few summer hires at the Charlotte offices for all of these places, and usually they seem to hire top 5% UNC/Wake students. Without a NC school, these are very unlikely landing spots right out of LS. Now I think Atlanta is a little more open. No NYC market paying firms that I can think of, but definitely a few more spots at the good firms. Ties are a necessity at both, which I actually heard directly from OCS at Cornell whose job it is to sell me on the school. So there's likely truth to that. I'm lucky enough to have slight ties to NC and decently strong ties to Atlanta, so I think targeting Atlanta isn't going to be a major issue, with decent grades of course
Frankly, I think you made the wrong choice if the costs weren't that different. If the costs were significantly different, it makes sense. Biglaw recruiters know the rankings, so you aren't at a huge disadvantage there. But you are at somewhat of a disadvantage because Duke has a much stronger alumni network in the Southeast. Once you get outside of the biglaw firms, Duke has a huge reputation advantage in the Southeast. Considering your ties, it would have made much more sense to attend Duke considering the markets you want to target. However, I don't know what the cost difference was, and it might be justifiable on those grounds.
At the end of the day, grades are always a deciding factor, but presumably, you'd do about as well at Duke as you would at Cornell (or close enough). Regardless, you made your choice on what I'm sure are defensible grounds, and you're in a good position no matter what. Even if you can't get Atlanta or Charlotte out of school (and you might), you will have opportunities to lateral if that's what you want.
Anyways, it's less of an issue for you because you have ties. If a person has no ties, it's a much bigger issue. Trying to get Atlanta or Charlotte with no ties from Cornell would be rough. It's not easy but possible from Duke.