can't make it. will some of you be so kind as to talk about your experiences/impressions?
I'll share my experience and impressions.
The school - facilities are top-notch. The classrooms I saw were all wired for power at each seat, and there's wifi throughout the law school. The commons area is fantastic - it's basically a large lounge with different seating options - comfy leather sofas and armchairs, small lunch tables with chairs, flatscreen monitors with satellite/cable tv access, etc. Star Commons is a striking space because the ceiling is 4 floors above you - they cut out that whole section of the building to make a huge-feeling commons area. Next to the commons is a cafe with a separate seating area, and outside behind the building is a courtyard with plenty of metal tables and chairs. Parking is the only negative I noticed. While there appears to be ample parking space on campus, almost none of it is very close to the law school. I'd plan on a 5-8 minute walk to the law school building each morning. Not a bad walk though, since the whole campus is gorgeous.
The faculty - We had two mock classes during ASD - contracts and criminal law. Both were very entertaining classes. The professors had markedly different syles (one was very funny and energetic and he used socratic method, the other very laid back and taught in a more didactic manner). I enjoyed both classes equally since each one stimulated my interest in the reading we were given prior to class. Overall, all of the faculty were approachable and easy to converse with. I attended a session on clinics and also one on PI/Pro Bono programs at Duke Law. From both of these sessions I got the sense that faculty members tend to form very close knits bonds with their students. The criminal law professor who taught mock class #2 shared a pretty funny story during the clinics session. Apparently he and a student were up in Richmond and the student was delivering an oral argument in court (the teacher shared that they as teachers are there as "backup" in case anything every happens to the student, although in reality the teachers are rarely prepared to actually to do so of course). So anyways, the student apparently suffers from low blood sugar, but only ate 1/4 of a bagel for breakfast, despite the teacher's insistence otherwise. He's up arguing in front of the judge, and just seizes up and falls over flat on the floor. The teacher and judge rush over to his aid, and he comes to, immediately continuing his argument while flat on his back. Anyway, apparently the kid was totally fine and went on to deliver an argument that, in sum, completely impressed everyone in court. It was pretty funny how the teacher described it because he said when he's asking the student if he's OK to continue he says 'so I'm thinking to myself, you bet you're feeling ready to continue kid, because if you don't I have no idea what's going to happen' lol.
My fellow admitted students - a good, diverse group of people. Most were very down to earth and easy to converse with. I met a local who attends UNC for undergrad, and I was fortunate to speak with him about the Raleigh-Durham area. He shared a lot of insight about the economic growth there, the reputation of Duke law, inter-school relationships, town-school relationships, social and sporting events, etc. I got the sense from him that RDU is generally an outdoorsy lifestyle kind of place, and it is comprised of a VERY high proportion of college educated residents, many with graduate degrees. It apparently has one of the top three (if not the highest) concentrations of M.D.s in the country. On top of that, Duke law is highly regarded in the community. I noticed that there were a LOT of admitted students from the I-95 corridor and the southeast (I include Texas when I say 'southeast'). In general, the admitted students would not hold up to the -insert negative superlative- law school stereotype of Duke. There were only two people who seemed unsavory. One was a really overweight guy in a blazer wearing a bowtie, the other also happened to be wearing a blazer and he was from *** undergrad - came off like a total toolshed. Other than that, people were great.
The programs - Duke Law offers clinics that cover a wide variety of practices areas - IP, Environment, Military, Criminal, and other types of law. Their pro-bono and public interest programs sound pretty well-developed. They do a "Southern Justice" roadtrip every spring break. I think last year the program director said they went to Atlanta to review alleged crimes that happened in prison, and subsequently advocated on behalf of prisoners whose cases had merit. But there are many other programs in place, like working at the local credit union to prepare taxes on behalf of local citizens who are unable to do so on their own. You can typically start participating in clinics during 2nd semester of your second year at Duke law, per NC third-year practice rules. Your level of time commitment to pro bono stuff is totally up to you - you can contribute as little as 1 hour per week if you choose.
I realize I'm writing a book here, so feel free to post up specific questions or pm me and I'll do my best to respond. Since I didn't mention it thusfar, I'll close by saying that the entire program came off as being very well planned and executed. Everything went smoothly; all of the participants from Duke were happy to be there and truly helpful. I was very impressed, and decided to put down a seat deposit before the day ended. Go Duke