UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

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mlloyd
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UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby mlloyd » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:30 pm

Let me start out with the usual apology since people have been comparing these schools in countless threads already. I assure you I've read almost all of them and I really am hoping to get some sound advice from people who know about these schools given my situation.

Assuming the money to go to each of these schools is the same (which is almost what my situation currently is) which one should I choose given the following:

1. I will be going straight from undergrad, but will also be married by the time I enter law school.
2. My spouse (also coming out of undergrad) will be looking for a decent job (we are honestly not geographically close to any of these cities).
3. I am likely going to be shooting for appellate law or judicial clerking out of law school.

That being said, here is what I already "know" about the schools:

UT: Big school, not as prestigious because it must fill so many spots with Texas residents and is so large. Great for practicing in Texas (I'm not wanting to live in Dallas or Houston)
Austin: Awesome place. Obviously there are parts of town you want to avoid at night, but overall a great area to live in for so many reasons.

Vandy: Visited here and it seems like a cozy little law school. Student body seems friendly and is tight-knit with the professors. My only problem is it's a little lacking on opportunities especially with law reviews, clinics, and judicial clerkship placement.
Nashville: I would feel just as good living here as I would in Austin. I would go Austin over Nashville but largely just because I'm more familiar with it and my Dad lives there.

Duke: Went to ASD on March 20. Incredible school. Honestly it was everything I would be looking for in a school with law reviews, clinics, clerkships and student body.
Durham: HATED it. I come from a small town. The biggest knock on Durham is that there's nothing to do. I don't mind boring, but it seems largely to be a ghetto to me.

UVa: I'm going to visit it soon, but from what I've read the schools is practically a wash with Duke for prestige and opportunities. The student body is a little larger than Duke which I'm not a fan of, but it may be worth it considering...
Charlottesville sounds like an awesome place (and most like where I live currently). However, I echo others' concerns about job prospects for spouses.

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any reply. If you have a strong opinion about any of these options PLEASE tell me why you feel the way you do.

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let/them/eat/cake
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby let/them/eat/cake » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:32 pm

UVA

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Grad_Student
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby Grad_Student » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:33 pm

I Know it's pretty difficult to bust into BigLaw in Austin just because it is so small. If you REALLY don't want to live in Houston or Dallas then I probably wouldn't choose UT. There is a high possibility that you'll end up in one of those cities.

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spinsta
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby spinsta » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:36 pm

uva.

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Catch22
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby Catch22 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:36 pm

I've visited Charlottesville in the past, and it was certainly a beautiful town (though, if I recall correctly, there wasn't a whole lot to do directly around UVa's campus). The weather is beautiful down there, as is the campus. I've visited UT once, but it sounds like you already know a bit about it, so I won't go into detail there. Good luck with your choice, you have some great options!

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Bosque
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby Bosque » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:55 pm

Did I see a different Durham than everyone else? And did everyone else forget it is the Triangle area? Sure, you may hate Durham, but it is the Triangle AREA. Raleigh and Chapel Hill are RIGHT THERE. Hell, you could probably commute from Raleigh if you hate Durham so much.

Visit UVA and see what you think, but I would take another look at Duke.

The Agitator
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby The Agitator » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:01 pm

What is your wife concerned with? Is she trying to build a career, or does she plan to be impregnated soon and is just looking for something to help support you guys while you're in school?

You're in quite a conundrum, because:

Career opportunities for spouses:
UT>Vandy>Duke>UVA (arguable whether UT or Vandy is #1 though)

Opportunities for Clerking/Appellate Law
UVA>Duke>Vandy/UT (Duke and UVA might be negligible but I think UVA wins out)

mlloyd
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby mlloyd » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:19 pm

The Agitator wrote:What is your wife concerned with? Is she trying to build a career, or does she plan to be impregnated soon and is just looking for something to help support you guys while you're in school?

You're in quite a conundrum, because:

Career opportunities for spouses:
UT>Vandy>Duke>UVA (arguable whether UT or Vandy is #1 though)

Opportunities for Clerking/Appellate Law
UVA>Duke>Vandy/UT (Duke and UVA might be negligible but I think UVA wins out)


Yea.. I've realized this conundrum which is why I'm desperate for other input! The "good" news is that my wife will not be as focused on a career. Your second option sums it up almost perfectly. When I get out of law school, we want to have kids and I think she would much rather be a full time mom at that point.

And as for the Durham comment... believe me, I understand. If I felt I couldn't live there I wouldn't have included it on the list. I know Chapel Hill and Raleigh are good options for better quality of life and I was so impressed by Duke that I am willing to consider those.

Thanks so much to everyone so far!

beachcomber
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby beachcomber » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:23 pm

Bosque wrote:Did I see a different Durham than everyone else?


My thoughts exactly. I loved Durham. Great food, shopping, etc.... and those Duke Gardens!

zero1
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby zero1 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:08 pm

Bosque wrote:Did I see a different Durham than everyone else? And did everyone else forget it is the Triangle area? Sure, you may hate Durham, but it is the Triangle AREA. Raleigh and Chapel Hill are RIGHT THERE. Hell, you could probably commute from Raleigh if you hate Durham so much.

Visit UVA and see what you think, but I would take another look at Duke.



As a Duke kid, I can tell you now that we rarely go to Raleigh. Chapel Hill is a 20 minute drive and is great for parties, but that's about it. You will be spending the majority of your time in Durham. 9th Street, Parizades, the restaurants close to Satisfaction, etc. The law kids in particular almost always stay here on the weekends and head to James Joyce. And as for commuting, I've never heard of anyone doing that. Most of the 2ls I know live in The Lofts, which is next to Friday's.

showNprove
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby showNprove » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:16 pm

.
Last edited by showNprove on Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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thesouthside
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby thesouthside » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:17 pm

Duke... Duh

tylenol_jones
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby tylenol_jones » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:25 pm

I'd say it's essentially a toss-up between UVA and Duke, with the winner being whichever location is preferable (however defined) for you and your wife. Considering that you have fairly high aims, UT and Vandy should be discarded, as their clerkship/elite firm/elite whatever placement simply doesn't compare. Because you seem to plan on being able to support your wife and future family with just your job, you should go to the place with the best job opportunities--namely, UVA or Duke.

As far as I can tell, their placement is extremely similar across the board, so I'd follow "fit," job prospects for your wife, and scholarship money.

bauerahl
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby bauerahl » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:21 am

I think it should come down to UVA v. UT. Austin will provide far more job opportunities for your wife and Texas is a great school. UVA is a little better than duke for clerkship placement. It comes down to balancing those two considerations.

irishlaw
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby irishlaw » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:08 am

mlloyd wrote:Let me start out with the usual apology since people have been comparing these schools in countless threads already. I assure you I've read almost all of them and I really am hoping to get some sound advice from people who know about these schools given my situation.

Assuming the money to go to each of these schools is the same (which is almost what my situation currently is) which one should I choose given the following:

1. I will be going straight from undergrad, but will also be married by the time I enter law school.
2. My spouse (also coming out of undergrad) will be looking for a decent job (we are honestly not geographically close to any of these cities).
3. I am likely going to be shooting for appellate law or judicial clerking out of law school.

That being said, here is what I already "know" about the schools:

UT: Big school, not as prestigious because it must fill so many spots with Texas residents and is so large. Great for practicing in Texas (I'm not wanting to live in Dallas or Houston)
Austin: Awesome place. Obviously there are parts of town you want to avoid at night, but overall a great area to live in for so many reasons.

Vandy: Visited here and it seems like a cozy little law school. Student body seems friendly and is tight-knit with the professors. My only problem is it's a little lacking on opportunities especially with law reviews, clinics, and judicial clerkship placement.
Nashville: I would feel just as good living here as I would in Austin. I would go Austin over Nashville but largely just because I'm more familiar with it and my Dad lives there.

Duke: Went to ASD on March 20. Incredible school. Honestly it was everything I would be looking for in a school with law reviews, clinics, clerkships and student body.
Durham: HATED it. I come from a small town. The biggest knock on Durham is that there's nothing to do. I don't mind boring, but it seems largely to be a ghetto to me.

UVa: I'm going to visit it soon, but from what I've read the schools is practically a wash with Duke for prestige and opportunities. The student body is a little larger than Duke which I'm not a fan of, but it may be worth it considering...
Charlottesville sounds like an awesome place (and most like where I live currently). However, I echo others' concerns about job prospects for spouses.

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any reply. If you have a strong opinion about any of these options PLEASE tell me why you feel the way you do.


From your negative impressions of Durham, I'd say go to UVA. But I daresay that Duke has slightly better opportunities than UVA across the board, unless you're gunning for a SCOTUS clerkship.

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ac1317
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby ac1317 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:33 am

While it's a little presumptive to start counting on clerkships, if that's your priority, then UVA. Otherwise, it's either Duke or UVA, with the tie-breaker being family concerns. You'd be a fool to take UT or Vandy over Duke and UVA without significant $$$.

canuck996
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby canuck996 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:20 am

I guess I fail to see the logic that anyone would be a fool to choose Vandy over Duke.

Nashville is an objectively better city than Durham and both places provide similar job prospects and the schools are separated in the rankings by 1 school - hardly an astronomical jump.
Looking at the entering statistics it appears that there are a great number of fools out there because the admissions statistics are eerily similar.
Duke's 2011 median 3.74/169
Vanderbilt's 2011 median 3.72/168

The proximity of the entering statistics demonstrate that you would not be a fool to choose Vandy over Duke.

****

The Agitator
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby The Agitator » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:54 pm

If Duke has better employment prospects than Vandy with almost identical medians, that's bad - that means even though you have to finish higher in the class at Vandy, you are up against people are essentially as intelligent.

somethingblue
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby somethingblue » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:56 pm

DUKE!!!!!!

Went there for undergrad; let me tell you, there is PLENTY to do in the Dirty D.

canuck996
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby canuck996 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:44 pm

The Agitator wrote:If Duke has better employment prospects than Vandy with almost identical medians, that's bad - that means even though you have to finish higher in the class at Vandy, you are up against people are essentially as intelligent.


Where exactly are you getting this "have to finish higher in your class at Vandy" information??
Last edited by canuck996 on Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

scd001
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby scd001 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:48 pm

Maybe you should let your spouse choose since they will be greatly affected.

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drylo
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby drylo » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:52 pm

canuck996 wrote:I guess I fail to see the logic that anyone would be a fool to choose Vandy over Duke.


TCR

Moonman
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby Moonman » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:31 pm

Given that all these schools seem to offer fairly similar opportunities, you should go with the school you want to personally attend the most. I know it's sort of cliche, but that's what I'm doing, and that's what seems to be the consensus around here.

txag_09
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby txag_09 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:44 pm

ac1317 wrote:You'd be a fool to take UT or Vandy over Duke and UVA without significant $$$.


Disagree 100%. I am considering UT over UVA and UChicago right now. Sounds like UT would be the best option for you. Austin will definitely have the best job prospects for your spouse, this school is cheaper than all the others (another consideration when talking money), and - despite the size and in-state cap - UT is plenty prestigious. I honestly don't think you would be sacrificing that much by going to UT. Those grads who seek clerkships and out-of-state employment typically get it.

The numbers seem depressed (and not even that much so) because of self-selection. I know it is a broke line, but many UT grads want to go out and make money right when they get it, which explains why they overwhelmingly stay in state (cheap COL means your $160k at Baker Botts in Houston goes further than your $160k at DLA Piper in Chicago) and why only a handful of 3L's take on clerkships (and by a handful I mean about 50-70 per year, which in absolute terms is still decent).

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mllerustad
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Re: UT v. Vandy v. Duke v. UVa

Postby mllerustad » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:55 pm

UVA is very good for clerkships--much better than any of the other schools. If your wife is planning to go into a certain field, consider that when choosing where to go (e.g. biotech --> Duke), but the thing to remember with small cities is that while they might have fewer jobs, they also have fewer people (read: competition). Charlottesville has a healthy economy--that's what matters, not the city size.

Given the prestige level of your future job goals, and that Duke seems to have gotten off on the wrong foot with you, I'd go with UVA.




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