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Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:41 pm
by lawdude321
Looking for some input...

I have been set to go to Columbia since April, but Duke made an acceptance offer w/ 90k off the waitlist yesterday. I have been very excited about Columbia and living in NYC since I had been accepted and have flights to NYC booked for next week, but still feel like I need to seriously consider Duke. I have asked Columbia if they are willing to offer me anything (will update when I get a response) and need to make a final decision on Monday. I am looking at flights right now to visit Durham on Monday. With the scholarship and difference in cost of living I am estimating that COA will be 310k for Columbia and 190k for Duke (includes summer expenses). I expect that I would graduate with 120k in debt from Columbia and no debt w/ a little bit of money in the bank from Duke.

Goals:
-Federal clerkship after law school
-Big law litigation (have strong ties to CA, TX...wanted to do law school in NYC to see if that is where I want to start my career. If not NYC, then interested in DC or TX)
-DOJ
-Possibly running for office

Let me know what other information y'all need and I appreciate the help.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:44 pm
by LawTweet
Duke. Columbia is not worth 90k more imho and your ability to graduate debt free opens lots of doors.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:45 pm
by AspiringAspirant
lawdude321 wrote:Looking for some input...

I expect that I would graduate with 120k in debt from Columbia and no debt w/ a little bit of money in the bank from Duke.


Seems like an easy choice to me. Go Duke!

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:53 pm
by GFox345
Duke, and it's not close.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:57 pm
by lawdude321
For those saying Duke, how much money would Columbia have to give me for you to switch your opinion?

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:31 pm
by saf18hornet
lawdude321 wrote:For those saying Duke, how much money would Columbia have to give me for you to switch your opinion?


Edit: 120k

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:39 pm
by LawTweet
lawdude321 wrote:For those saying Duke, how much money would Columbia have to give me for you to switch your opinion?


90k. Can't justify more than 30k in debt when a T14 debt-free option is available.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:41 pm
by grades??
This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:16 pm
by GFox345
lawdude321 wrote:For those saying Duke, how much money would Columbia have to give me for you to switch your opinion?


75k at least. Columbia is significantly more expensive than Duke to begin with, and to be honest, the outcomes from the two schools are pretty similar.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:27 pm
by TrinaChun
Duke student here--Duke is an amazing school and we also have fantastic legal employment stats. I also highly considered Columbia, but I'm so happy here at Duke where there is a strong community, talented and caring professors, and passionate and collaborative colleagues. Durham is also a great city to live in--and I am a New Yorker at heart.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:53 pm
by jbagelboy
lawdude321 wrote:For those saying Duke, how much money would Columbia have to give me for you to switch your opinion?


If CLS gave $60k I'd say you should stay put. Any less and its maybe justifiable but not favorable

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:57 pm
by jbagelboy
grades?? wrote:This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!


Duke does not have "legitimately the same outcomes." Look at the five year BL+FedCL averages and you'll see that's simply false. Duke offers comparable opportunities, but not identical. It's a *little* easier to get a *slightly* better firm or a judge with marginally more cache from Columbia; what that's worth in real dollars is the operative question. Probably not much, but non-zero.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:27 am
by Wild Card
jbagelboy wrote:
grades?? wrote:This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!


Duke does not have "legitimately the same outcomes." Look at the five year BL+FedCL averages and you'll see that's simply false. Duke offers comparable opportunities, but not identical. It's a *little* easier to get a *slightly* better firm or a judge with marginally more cache from Columbia; what that's worth in real dollars is the operative question. Probably not much, but non-zero.


With respect to NYC biglaw placement:

Cravath: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 7#p9782897 (27 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Skadden: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 8#p9783938 (24 Columbia, 4 Duke)
Davis Polk: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3#p9821843 (17 Columbia, 3 Duke)
S&C: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 9#p9823109 (10 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Simpson: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 7#p9813167 (13 Columbia, 2 Duke)

IDK where Duke Law grads are ending up, but not at the V5.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:55 am
by devilblue
Wild Card wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
grades?? wrote:This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!


Duke does not have "legitimately the same outcomes." Look at the five year BL+FedCL averages and you'll see that's simply false. Duke offers comparable opportunities, but not identical. It's a *little* easier to get a *slightly* better firm or a judge with marginally more cache from Columbia; what that's worth in real dollars is the operative question. Probably not much, but non-zero.


With respect to NYC biglaw placement:

Cravath: viewtopic.php?p=9782897#p9782897 (27 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Skadden: viewtopic.php?p=9783938#p9783938 (24 Columbia, 4 Duke)
Davis Polk: viewtopic.php?p=9821843#p9821843 (17 Columbia, 3 Duke)
S&C: viewtopic.php?p=9823109#p9823109 (10 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Simpson: viewtopic.php?p=9813167#p9813167 (13 Columbia, 2 Duke)

IDK where Duke Law grads are ending up, but not at the V5.


That is maybe the dumbest shit ever for two reasons: (1) Columbia is 2x the size of Duke in student population so absolute numbers aren't appropriate comparison and (2) Columbia is IN NEW YORK CITY so its students are much more likely to self select into New York. Why don't you look at how Columbia places in the south or in california or Texas? Is the only thing that matters NYC big law?

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:10 am
by cron1834
Yeah, some pretty bad Columbia homer-ism above. The answer here is obviously Duke, unless Columbia gives $60k - $75k (which they obviously won't).

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:44 am
by devilblue
Wild Card wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
grades?? wrote:This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!


Duke does not have "legitimately the same outcomes." Look at the five year BL+FedCL averages and you'll see that's simply false. Duke offers comparable opportunities, but not identical. It's a *little* easier to get a *slightly* better firm or a judge with marginally more cache from Columbia; what that's worth in real dollars is the operative question. Probably not much, but non-zero.


With respect to NYC biglaw placement:

Cravath: viewtopic.php?p=9782897#p9782897 (27 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Skadden: viewtopic.php?p=9783938#p9783938 (24 Columbia, 4 Duke)
Davis Polk: viewtopic.php?p=9821843#p9821843 (17 Columbia, 3 Duke)
S&C: viewtopic.php?p=9823109#p9823109 (10 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Simpson: viewtopic.php?p=9813167#p9813167 (13 Columbia, 2 Duke)

IDK where Duke Law grads are ending up, but not at the V5.


Williams & Connolly (24 Duke, 9 Columbia). That's where they're ending up. V5 vs W&C you tell me.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:30 am
by 01panm
devilblue wrote:
Wild Card wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
grades?? wrote:This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!


Duke does not have "legitimately the same outcomes." Look at the five year BL+FedCL averages and you'll see that's simply false. Duke offers comparable opportunities, but not identical. It's a *little* easier to get a *slightly* better firm or a judge with marginally more cache from Columbia; what that's worth in real dollars is the operative question. Probably not much, but non-zero.


With respect to NYC biglaw placement:

Cravath: viewtopic.php?p=9782897#p9782897 (27 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Skadden: viewtopic.php?p=9783938#p9783938 (24 Columbia, 4 Duke)
Davis Polk: viewtopic.php?p=9821843#p9821843 (17 Columbia, 3 Duke)
S&C: viewtopic.php?p=9823109#p9823109 (10 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Simpson: viewtopic.php?p=9813167#p9813167 (13 Columbia, 2 Duke)

IDK where Duke Law grads are ending up, but not at the V5.


That is maybe the dumbest shit ever for two reasons: (1) Columbia is 2x the size of Duke in student population so absolute numbers aren't appropriate comparison and (2) Columbia is IN NEW YORK CITY so its students are much more likely to self select into New York. Why don't you look at how Columbia places in the south or in california or Texas? Is the only thing that matters NYC big law?


Those Davis Polk and S&C numbers are for all offices, not just NYC.

Skadden LA has 11 Columbia, one Duke.
Skadden DC has 6 Columbia, one Duke.
Neither school has one in Houston.

Every V5 firm and 8 V10 firms are based in NYC. If you want that, then NYC really is what matters.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:02 pm
by AspiringAspirant
01panm wrote:
devilblue wrote:
Wild Card wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
grades?? wrote:This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!


Duke does not have "legitimately the same outcomes." Look at the five year BL+FedCL averages and you'll see that's simply false. Duke offers comparable opportunities, but not identical. It's a *little* easier to get a *slightly* better firm or a judge with marginally more cache from Columbia; what that's worth in real dollars is the operative question. Probably not much, but non-zero.


With respect to NYC biglaw placement:

Cravath: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 7#p9782897 (27 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Skadden: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 8#p9783938 (24 Columbia, 4 Duke)
Davis Polk: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3#p9821843 (17 Columbia, 3 Duke)
S&C: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 9#p9823109 (10 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Simpson: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 7#p9813167 (13 Columbia, 2 Duke)

IDK where Duke Law grads are ending up, but not at the V5.


That is maybe the dumbest shit ever for two reasons: (1) Columbia is 2x the size of Duke in student population so absolute numbers aren't appropriate comparison and (2) Columbia is IN NEW YORK CITY so its students are much more likely to self select into New York. Why don't you look at how Columbia places in the south or in california or Texas? Is the only thing that matters NYC big law?


Those Davis Polk and S&C numbers are for all offices, not just NYC.

Skadden LA has 11 Columbia, one Duke.
Skadden DC has 6 Columbia, one Duke.
Neither school has one in Houston.

Every V5 firm and 8 V10 firms are based in NYC. If you want that, then NYC really is what matters.


To be clear OP, you should not decide that you want to go to NYC just because all the V[Insert Silly Cut-Off Number] firms are there. There are legit reasons to go to NY -- one of them being that it's the easiest market to crack with low grades -- but unless you already know that you want NY Corporate work, the Vault list tells you very little and should hold no sway over what market "matters" to you. If the list actually ranked top firms for associates, then it would look much different. For instance, Munger and W&C (to name a few) are far better options than any "V10" (outside of Wachtell), but are ranked lower.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:22 pm
by Nebby
Duke will make your goals attainable with no debt. That's a good deal

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:39 pm
by proteinshake
Duke for sure.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:55 pm
by Lavitz
Yeah, I don't understand the people pushing the V5 as if that's supposed to be the ideal outcome for everyone. It's not like they're great to work at. And NYC biglaw in particular is worse than biglaw pretty much anywhere else. Maybe "V5" has better exit options than other firms--but mainly for corporate in NYC. OP seemingly has never even been to NYC. OP also mentioned litigation. In that case, a V5 or really any huge firm in NYC is not the ideal outcome. A firm like W&C in DC would be much better.

I get that Columbia would allow OP to see if NYC is another good market for them, but I guess I just don't see why someone with no ties to NYC and no interest in corporate would choose NYC over TX, DC, or CA if they had ties there and had those options. I'm sure the extra exposure to NYC so OP can decide if they want to start there even if they have options in other cities is worth something, but certainly not $120,000. In fact, I'm pretty sure Duke would be better than Columbia for at least TX, if not the other markets.

So, with current offers, I vote for Duke.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:47 pm
by Dcc617
Wait, where is the rest of the money coming from for Duke? Are you planning to spend all your savings? Rich family? Not rich parents taking out a second mortgage?

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:14 pm
by Wild Card
devilblue wrote:
Wild Card wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
grades?? wrote:This is Duke and it's an obvious decision. Duke has legitimately the same outcomes and it's a huge money difference. Enjoy durham!


Duke does not have "legitimately the same outcomes." Look at the five year BL+FedCL averages and you'll see that's simply false. Duke offers comparable opportunities, but not identical. It's a *little* easier to get a *slightly* better firm or a judge with marginally more cache from Columbia; what that's worth in real dollars is the operative question. Probably not much, but non-zero.


With respect to NYC biglaw placement:

Cravath: viewtopic.php?p=9782897#p9782897 (27 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Skadden: viewtopic.php?p=9783938#p9783938 (24 Columbia, 4 Duke)
Davis Polk: viewtopic.php?p=9821843#p9821843 (17 Columbia, 3 Duke)
S&C: viewtopic.php?p=9823109#p9823109 (10 Columbia, 3 Duke)
Simpson: viewtopic.php?p=9813167#p9813167 (13 Columbia, 2 Duke)

IDK where Duke Law grads are ending up, but not at the V5.


Williams & Connolly (24 Duke, 9 Columbia). That's where they're ending up. V5 vs W&C you tell me.


24 Duke students worked at W&C this summer? You should update that thread.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:39 pm
by devilblue
There are 24 lawyers from Duke there and 9 from Columbia. I have no idea about summer programs.

Re: Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke $$

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:57 pm
by lawdude321
****Update

Columbia did not give me any $$$ in response. I am flying into Raleigh tomorrow to check Duke out on Monday. Money I have is savings. I really appreciate the insights everyone is providing.

Little more background on me and what I want after law school...like most people going to law school this is subject to change as you learn more about practicing law. Most of what I know is based on this site.

Background
-Finance Major, graduated in December
-Finance Analyst at Fortune 50 company for 3 years in school (30+ hours per week...not intern level work...most of my peers were 40+)
-Found it boring and extremely easy work
-Looked at IB positions, but really wanted to move away from finance. Studied it because my dad pushed me to

Understanding on Real Wold
IBankers, Consultants, Law Associates are all monkeys. Just with different monkey tasks. Much of the corporate associate work seems similar to IB in that you are working on M&A activity, but instead of making models in excel and producing pitch books you are reading through documents, fixing errors and doing due diligence work. Corporate lawyers have a lower cap than those going into finance. Both sound terrible and like shitty lifestyles for having any semblance of a good work/life balance.

Being an litigation associate also sounds like monkey work. From what I have gathered it is doc review, research, etc. You have a better line of sight to what is coming so can worry less about having stuff dropped in your lap at 9pm on a Monday as you are heading out of the office. Hours are brutal when trial is coming up, but at least you knew it was coming. Very few people in biglaw litigation get to do more intellectually challenging work like taking depositions and going into court, until they are a senior associate or partner. Exit opportunities are government or lateraling too a smaller firm so less $$$ in the equation than corporate law. The government work (ideally DOJ, but know it is extremely competitive) and working at a smaller firm as a litigation partner sounds intellectually challenging (maybe even enjoyable) and that you have the ability to have balance. These exit opportunities sound a lot more interesting than those afforded to a corporate lawyer.

Where I Think I want to Live
I grew up in Socal and moved to Texas for undergrad. I don't really like socal-too expensive and overrated. I loved Texas (did not think i would when I first moved, originally told my dad I was never moving to a "backwards state like TX"), have lots of friends there, and cost of living is incredible. I am friendly with at least one partner at all the major Texas firms so ties are strongest there. Issue I don't like with Texas is that people see this as below NYC, DC, LA, SF. I probably should not care about this, but I am competitive and feel like I would be settling by not attempting NYC/DC as Texas is less "prestigious". The type of work in DC seems most in line with my passions, but I have no ties and I understand how difficult it is to get there. NYC seems like a cool place to live a few years, but I do not see it long-term unless I end up killing it. I also see it as "cheaper" for me to be in NYC as a law student than as an associate. The amount I lose to taxes and cost of living as an NYC associate for 2-3 years vs. TX associate is about equal to the 120k extra I am spending as a law student. I feel like I would be able to enjoy the city more as a law student than as law firm associate.

Way I see my path right now is if I am in the top 3rd of my class at Columbia or Duke I would try my luck in NYC or DC. If I kill it, I stay...If I don't I lateral to Texas. If I am below the top 3rd I head to Texas. Most "prestigious" law opportunities are now out of reach. I can make killer money for Texas and enjoy a better work/life balance than NYC/DC.

Way I view my Decision right now
I am lean Columbia, but far from committed. I loved my visit, I have been envisioning myself in NYC for months now, I have friends in the city (I know I want see them much, but good relief from law school every once in a while), and it is a more prestigious school...I want to see how I can stack up against the best competition. The 120k difference in the grand scheme of life as a lawyer I don't think is that big of a deal...probably worst case is one year more of work until retirement. I don't live a very lavish lifestyle (I hate "stuff", I am unsure on kids, and have ties to a low COL area where I would be happy if I end up). I think I will always ask "What-if" if I went to Duke, while I wouldn't if I went to Columbia. Super snobby of me, but I always felt "less" than many of my friends in college for going to a lower ranked school because it was so cheap than going to some of the "higher-ranked", "ivy-caliber" school. Much of my identity (for better or worse) is tied to my success in education and work.

I view Columbia as giving me a slight edge with everything. Above posters are right they have the same BL/FC rates, but seems like the quality is a bit less for Duke graduates. I think a Columbia name gives me an edge on DOJ work (which is probably my largest goal going into law school). Duke I have almost double the chance of making law review and there are other benefits to a smaller class size. My perspective in location livability before I visit is NYC>Durham.


Appreciate people pointing out flaws in my thinking. If you think I said something idiotic call it out. If you can see how Columbia could make more sense in my case I appreciate that as well. Sorry for the long AF post, but I really do appreciate you reading it

Sorry for any spelling/grammar mistakes...had to write this quickly as I am packing crap up.