Duke 2L Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Girogex
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:41 pm

Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby Girogex » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:51 pm

Hi All,
Rising 2L here in the midst of biglaw summer associate bliss. I'm here to take any questions about Duke, Durham, 1L, etc., that you have. Best of luck this year!

MadwomanintheAttic
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby MadwomanintheAttic » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:26 pm

Thanks for doing this. I have a few questions, well just two actually.

1) Why Duke?

2) Do you enjoy living in Durham?

A.Taarabt7
Posts: 221
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby A.Taarabt7 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:41 pm

Did you follow or implement any of the guides here written by 1Ls when you started law school?

Girogex
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:41 pm

Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby Girogex » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:55 pm

MadwomanintheAttic wrote:Thanks for doing this. I have a few questions, well just two actually.

1) Why Duke?

2) Do you enjoy living in Durham?




1) First, I'm from the South and liked the idea of being within a day's drive of family. Second, they were very competitive with their scholarship package. Third, the cost of living in Durham was far less than most of the other comparable schools where I was accepted. People don't realize how much debt is created from living expenses. I was weighing Duke against the two T14s in Chicago, and my housing budget here is literally 1/3 of the budget in Chicago.
2) I like it very much. I chose to live about 4 miles from campus because I found that the farther away from campus you go, the more apartment you get for less money. I live on the American Tobacco Trail, which is an 18-mile cycling/walking trail that runs through Durham. I biked to and from school in the warm months last year, and drove the rest of the time. There are plenty of good restaurants (Nana Taco, Dame's Chicken and Waffles, and Q Shack are cant-miss places) and a ton of craft beer places and bars. There are coffee shops on every corner in the downtown area, which are great places to study when you get sick of the library (which you will--fast). Overall, I've found it to be a very nice place to live. There are some crappy neighborhoods and such (i.e. all around East Campus), but if you stay in the right ones, you will be safe and can find plenty to do.

Girogex
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:41 pm

Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby Girogex » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:58 pm

A.Taarabt7 wrote:Did you follow or implement any of the guides here written by 1Ls when you started law school?



I read a lot of posts by current Duke students to get an idea of what to expect before starting and to get the scoop on my professors. But to be honest, I don't think I read any of the guides before I started. Probably would've saved me some headaches though.

gapyearparahelp
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby gapyearparahelp » Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:49 am

1. On the Duke website, it says that the total tuition + COL + insurances/other fees is approximately 80k. Do you think the average person pays this large a number (discounting scholarships obviously)? To me, it seemed that the COL estimation was pretty high.

2. How possible is it to get a 1L or 2L SA job in a southern city (think ATL, Houston etc.) without ties? TLS makes this sound impossible, so I was wondering if that has been the experience of your non-southern classmates. Not sure if you would know this at this point as an incoming 2L, but I am curious.

3. How is the "quality of life" at Duke? Obviously work at a T14 is going to be stressful at times, so I was wondering how bad (or good/fun?) your 1L year was along with some of your classmates. Also, I was wondering what a high quality of life meant in general with respect to law schools - obviously the social life is going to differ tremendously from undergrad in many respects.

Thank you for taking the time to do this - greatly appreciated!

MadwomanintheAttic
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby MadwomanintheAttic » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:47 am

gapyearparahelp wrote: 2. How possible is it to get a 1L or 2L SA job in a southern city (think ATL, Houston etc.) without ties? TLS makes this sound impossible, so I was wondering if that has been the experience of your non-southern classmates. Not sure if you would know this at this point as an incoming 2L, but I am curious.


+1 Also curious about this and how it relates to working in the Triangle. Can you stay in the Triangle without significant ties?


How did you adjust to law school? Did you do any prep prior to 1L? I know Duke has LEAD, but are there any other programs for incoming 1Ls to get acclimated (ie. Mentors, small groups, etc)?

Girogex
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby Girogex » Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:56 pm

gapyearparahelp wrote:1. On the Duke website, it says that the total tuition + COL + insurances/other fees is approximately 80k. Do you think the average person pays this large a number (discounting scholarships obviously)? To me, it seemed that the COL estimation was pretty high.

2. How possible is it to get a 1L or 2L SA job in a southern city (think ATL, Houston etc.) without ties? TLS makes this sound impossible, so I was wondering if that has been the experience of your non-southern classmates. Not sure if you would know this at this point as an incoming 2L, but I am curious.

3. How is the "quality of life" at Duke? Obviously work at a T14 is going to be stressful at times, so I was wondering how bad (or good/fun?) your 1L year was along with some of your classmates. Also, I was wondering what a high quality of life meant in general with respect to law schools - obviously the social life is going to differ tremendously from undergrad in many respects.

Thank you for taking the time to do this - greatly appreciated!


1. I think it's probably a little less than that. I have had quite a large surplus both semesters on my COL refund. live with one roomate in a two bedroom apartment, and my total rent + utilities, etc. payout is around $600 per month. I believe the current housing budget in the COL figures is around $1,200ish. So, it basically boils down to your lifestyle in school, because the tuition, insurance, etc. are pretty much going to be what they are. If you live frugally, you can come in well under that, but if you live like you have a full-time job, you won't. Based on my own, fairly frugal lifestyle, I came in around 15K under that number this past year.

2. From the people that I know in my class, it hasn't been too hard for those with decent (Top 50%ish) grades. Now, that doesn't mean that you will get a Biglaw SA job in 1L, but there is a decent Midlaw market as well in the southern cities. And, if you get a 1L SA job in one of those markets with a smaller firm, then you have ties going into 2L and have already shown your desire to work in that market. I myself am from southern FL and never lived in the South (even though I said I was from the South earlier, most people probably don't count South FL as being in the South) before coming to Duke, and I was able to get a Biglaw SA position in NC. I will say, however, that Texas in particular was VERY hard for people with no ties to crack. Other than Texas, people had decent placement in ATL, Birmingham, Nashville, Charlotte, and Raleigh. The key that I found was that you have to come up with a coherent narrative as to why you want to go there. Also, you have to seek out the employers, because the OCI attendance for the 1L class is very sparse from those markets. And as for 2L, the key is landing something in 1L to build ties if you don't have them in a given market. If you do that, I think your chances are excellent.

3. Simply put: 1L sucks. The quality of life as compared to undergrad or life in the working world is going to be drastically reduced. The work is very intense--especially at Duke (although I have no basis upon which to compare it to other T14 schools, other than talking with friends in a few of those). At the same time, I made some really good friendships in the first year. Typically, most of your social life will revolve around who you study with and who you hit it off with in class. In the fall, we had a bowling league that I joined that was split up between small sections, which was a great relief. There is always bar review, if you're into that scene. And one thing that really does separate Duke from some other schools is the sports scene. Being across the street from Cameron is nice, and Campout is a must if you like sports (it's also a great way to meet tons of non-law grad students). Even though I was busy, I still had time to exercise every day, and I usually took Saturday and Sunday afternoons off to relax and do whatever--even though I did do work in the mornings.The most important thing that I found was that I enjoyed the people in my class. The vast majority were friendly, funny, and collaborative. Even though we tacitly knew we were competing with each other, I also felt a "we're in this together" vibe throughout the year. That really helped a lot. If it would have been as sharp-elbowed as some other schools I've heard about, it would have been truly miserable.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to why you came to law school and what you want out of it. I came to law school because I was interested in the subject matter and spent 4+ years planning for it. If you come to law school because you think it's a path to tons of money or a way to keep out of the working world for 3 years, you're going to hate your life.
Last edited by Girogex on Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Girogex
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby Girogex » Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:07 pm

MadwomanintheAttic wrote:
gapyearparahelp wrote: 2. How possible is it to get a 1L or 2L SA job in a southern city (think ATL, Houston etc.) without ties? TLS makes this sound impossible, so I was wondering if that has been the experience of your non-southern classmates. Not sure if you would know this at this point as an incoming 2L, but I am curious.


+1 Also curious about this and how it relates to working in the Triangle. Can you stay in the Triangle without significant ties?


How did you adjust to law school? Did you do any prep prior to 1L? I know Duke has LEAD, but are there any other programs for incoming 1Ls to get acclimated (ie. Mentors, small groups, etc)?


1. See my answer above for general info. As to the Triangle specifically, the market is small and competitive but it is doable. I myself had no ties to the Triangle, and I got a firm job this summer right in the middle of the Triangle. A good friend of mine is from out west and saw NC for the first time on the first day of orientation. He also got a job with a small firm here and is planning on pursuing a 2L Biglaw internship in the Fall. The advantage with the Triangle is that the 1L OCI in the spring is VERY well-attended by firms here. This will give you a chance to get in front of the employers and tell them why you want to be here. The key with the Triangle is grades: I would guess you need to be well within the Top 35% of the class with no ties to land a firm job here. I base that strictly on the fact that there are only a few mid-to-large firm openings here. If you fall short of that, you can always RA or do a clinic (work for the school), or work for LANC or a smaller firm in your first summer, which builds ties and gives you credibility going into the 2L OCI season. Bottom line: if you want to work here, I think you will be able to find something if you lay the groundwork in your first year.

2. I did absolutely no prep, short of the case briefing exercise over the summer for incoming 1Ls. Tbh, I don't think it hurt me much. I know a lot of people read things like Getting to Maybe, etc., which certainly couldn't hurt. Ultimately though, it all comes down to how you study and how you learn. Pretty much everyone...prepared or unprepared...was totally clueless for the first week or so. It gets easier though, when you figure out your rhythm. LEAD is cool because your LEAD Fellows will have some small group lunches and events throughout the first few weeks. Besides that, the pickings are slim. A few of your professors will probably offer to have small group lunches with people in the first few weeks (mine did), and I highly recommend you do that if they do. They will have the best insights on how to succeed. It was my experience that the first few weeks were all about meeting classmates and learning how to grasp the material.

darla2013
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby darla2013 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:41 am

Thanks for offering your advice!

1. Best coffee shops for studying in Durham?

2. Can you describe the 1L OCI process in more detail? How many firms from NY/DC (if any), how many kids are competing, what sort of/how many PI employers show up?

3. How clique-y is the 1L class? I've heard law school is like high school in the social respect, but I'm really hoping it's like undergrad where everyone can hold hands and be friends haha

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CaptainLeela
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby CaptainLeela » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:42 am

Hi Darla, Rising 3L at Duke. The PI offerings at OCI are pretty limited. Some of the Federal agencies will come, as will JAG offices, and some North Carolina agencies. We have later sections as the fall moves on where there are more PI employers (North Carolina DA offices, public defenders, boutique interests, etc) that come, but for the most part your job search will very much occur outside of OCI or one centralized event. Duke is extremely supportive in that search, even if they aren't a "traditional" PI school. Feel free to PM me if you would like to chat about that in more detail.

Regarding cliques, I would say Duke is pretty friendly. Just in terms of time and energy, people fall into friend groups, just like in any large social setting, but not in a nasty way. I've had a pleasant social experience and would say everyone is friendly and collegial.

darla2013
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby darla2013 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:25 pm

Hey Leela, thanks for the response. I'll also PM you, but just in case others were wondering about OCI...I was thinking more about spring OCI for 1Ls and wondering to what extent it exists (can't find much about it on TLS). How many employers typically show up? Are only the kids with the best grades from fall semester competitive for slots/are they competing with 2Ls? If PI employers show up, what's the spread like and how many people are competing? I guess I'm just not sure how we go about getting law-related jobs next summer outside of having connections beforehand or ending first semester with great grades.

FluffMonster
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby FluffMonster » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:37 pm

darla2013 wrote:Hey Leela, thanks for the response. I'll also PM you, but just in case others were wondering about OCI...I was thinking more about spring OCI for 1Ls and wondering to what extent it exists (can't find much about it on TLS). How many employers typically show up? Are only the kids with the best grades from fall semester competitive for slots/are they competing with 2Ls? If PI employers show up, what's the spread like and how many people are competing? I guess I'm just not sure how we go about getting law-related jobs next summer outside of having connections beforehand or ending first semester with great grades.

1L OCI is kind of a flame in that only diverse, IP, Texas peeps (with decent grades), or the top 5-10% get firm jobs (firms are typically the only ones that show up for that). If you don't fall within those categories, then you're probably going to strike out and shouldn't waste your time.

However, everyone who wants a law related job will get one. Free labor is free labor. With that being said, most people have to hustle a bit by emailing PI places, calling judges, etc. to get jobs in their preferred markets. Otherwise, getting a job at the school as a research assistant to a professor, etc. is pretty common.

darla2013
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby darla2013 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:50 am

Ah, I see. I figured spring OCI wasn't a big draw for employers...gotta get ready to hustle, then!

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SplitMyPants
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby SplitMyPants » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:10 am

Gonna link this other thread here, both for future people coming across this one, and in case someone doesn't get an answer in here (there's more people sub'd to the other one.)

It's also a good read for all you c/o 2018 folks.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=185002&start=400

meat tornado
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby meat tornado » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:24 pm

Current rising 2L here: Substantive 0L prep won't help you much, but try to improve your typing speed/accuracy. I thought this advice seemed overly paranoid when I heard it before law school, but I really wish I followed it. You're going to miss out on exam points if you can't type quickly enough to adequately explore every issue.

kalcifer
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby kalcifer » Mon Jul 06, 2015 4:49 am

darla2013 wrote:Thanks for offering your advice!

1. Best coffee shops for studying in Durham?

2. Can you describe the 1L OCI process in more detail? How many firms from NY/DC (if any), how many kids are competing, what sort of/how many PI employers show up?

3. How clique-y is the 1L class? I've heard law school is like high school in the social respect, but I'm really hoping it's like undergrad where everyone can hold hands and be friends haha


1) Um... I honesty don't know of anyone in law school who studies in coffee shops. Mad Hatter maybe? But it's way too dark there. Most people study at home or in the library.

2) I don't remember there being a 1L OCI process. People just apply to jobs (and obtain them relatively easily). If you are asking about the 2L OCI, then that's a different story.

3) I think it is "clique-y" in the sense that you hang out a lot with your own section. I was afraid it would suck too when I was just starting out, but my section was pretty much the best. Honestly, my undergrad (any maybe even high school) was more cut throat than my 1L year. Really the only egregious thing I found was someone taking a dictionary on reserve and not returning it on time during our appellate brief writing period. We solved that by someone finding the dictionary, scanning the pages containing the definitions we need, and emailing to anyone who needed it. And Duke has graded legal writing class mind you. I do think the rising 2Ls were not as congenial as we were (I am a rising 3L) but we went out for drinks together after each final exam. So there is that.

kalcifer
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby kalcifer » Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:03 am

gapyearparahelp wrote:1. On the Duke website, it says that the total tuition + COL + insurances/other fees is approximately 80k. Do you think the average person pays this large a number (discounting scholarships obviously)? To me, it seemed that the COL estimation was pretty high.

2. How possible is it to get a 1L or 2L SA job in a southern city (think ATL, Houston etc.) without ties? TLS makes this sound impossible, so I was wondering if that has been the experience of your non-southern classmates. Not sure if you would know this at this point as an incoming 2L, but I am curious.

3. How is the "quality of life" at Duke? Obviously work at a T14 is going to be stressful at times, so I was wondering how bad (or good/fun?) your 1L year was along with some of your classmates. Also, I was wondering what a high quality of life meant in general with respect to law schools - obviously the social life is going to differ tremendously from undergrad in many respects.

Thank you for taking the time to do this - greatly appreciated!


1) That's just the cost of attending law school in America. Not a Duke specific problem. In fact, I believe the simple fact you can rent a decent place for $700 in Durham + reasonably cheap food prices + much cheaper gas price compared to NY or CA makes it more affordable.

2) Getting a job in a southern city without ties is just very difficult as you probably already know. But it is my understanding that Duke gives you the best possible chance at getting a job in the south out of the entire T14. I know at least a few who got jobs in TX without any significant ties. With a decent grade, I think there is a reasonably good chance. Just make sure you have a "close friend" in the city you want to end up.

3) I can't speak for other schools, but Duke was good to me for the first 2 years. I expect the 3rd year of Duke law to be the best of my life. (I know this is Sad) That being said, it will largely depend on you. If you can't live without a big city close by then Durham just isn't for you. It's a "city" in the sense that the Vatican City is a country. It has good foodie places if you know where to find them, and has Chapel Hill within 15 minutes. Also has a night club (kind of). But with the city population at 250k, it's just not the same as NY or Boston. But then again, would you really want to spend your 1L year in NYC?

bluedot
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby bluedot » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:34 am

Girogex wrote:There are some crappy neighborhoods and such (i.e. all around East Campus), but if you stay in the right ones, you will be safe and can find plenty to do.


I am an incoming 1L, and I am divided between finding a place near Lofts at Lakeview or on ninth street (Solis Ninth Street apartment is the one I'm looking at.) Is area around East Campus or 9th Street really that bad to live? It seems like 9th street has many shops and restaurants, but I would not want end up having to walk/bike/drive there at night if it is unsafe.

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lolRCscrewyou
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby lolRCscrewyou » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:03 am

How are the exams usually? I realize they may differ from prof to prof, but did you find most of them were multiple choice, short answer, essay, or a good mix? In class or take home? Open note open computer, pen note (no computer, or closed book? Thanks!!!

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SplitMyPants
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Re: Duke 2L Taking Questions

Postby SplitMyPants » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:49 am

lolRCscrewyou wrote:How are the exams usually? I realize they may differ from prof to prof, but did you find most of them were multiple choice, short answer, essay, or a good mix? In class or take home? Open note open computer, pen note (no computer, or closed book? Thanks!!!


It's a good mix with the exception that there are no paper-only exams in which you can't use a computer to type, from what I know. Even within the essay-only groups you get a mix of standard, run-of-the-mill issue spotter essays and other, more involved / policy-invoking issue spotter essays.

The biggest difference with duke vs others is that it seems the norm for essay in-class exams in 4 hours where as at other schools it's seems to be 3 hours.




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