Go to Penn. If it was higher up on your list at some point I would just go there. While I've never been much of a rankings nazi, I would always make an exception for a T14 school. Your opportunities at BIGLAW would be 10x greater coming out of Penn and you'll be able to work pretty much anywhere. As for money, you can always earn scholarships after your first year. As for the money Duke gave you, if there are conditions attached, you should always assume you'll lose it so there's no guarantee you'll have that 14K after the first year. The east coast may take a little getting used to for someone who is new in the area, but after a year you'll get used to it- keep in mind, it's only for 3 years after which you're free to go back to the mid-west. Besides, Philly (PA) isn't too bad compared to the other states on the east coast (NY, NJ) that really give a bad rep to the area. Good luck.
You think that Penn gives you 10x more options than DUKE? Now, if we'd said Vanderbilt or Emory, I might buy that, but like you said they're both t14, and Penn is clearly behind HYS/CCN.
For me, Penn being an Ivy League boosts it way over a school that some may feel is comparable. That's my opinion at least.
So you're not actually talking about it providing "10x greater" opportunities in biglaw, you're talking about giving you the personal satisfaction that comes with knowing it's prestigious because it's an Ivy. Got it.
And of course, you're aware that Stanford isn't an Ivy but its law school is better than Penn's, right? The same could be said for Chicago and NYU, for that matter.
To the OP: I tend to doubt that Penn is $42,000 better than Duke. You can get a biglaw job in Chicago from either school. Not that you can go wrong with either decision, mind you--and you have to decide for yourself if living in a major city is something you want to experience now, or if you'd rather wait until you work there.
ummm no that's not at all what i'm talking about. i've been on many law firm interviews to know that having an ivy league degree means something- if i had a nickel for everytime i heard the term "ivy league" used in my interviews i'd be freakin rich. i went to an ivy league undergrad and i have absolutely no personal satisfaction for having gone there. in fact, i hated my school. but my parents reminded me what benefits there were just from having gone there, and you know what, they were right cuz i witnessed it.
we're not talking about Stanford and Penn, we're talking about Penn and Duke and in this case, you want to go with the Ivy League. Stanford is a great school and it's not an Ivy League. It will undoubtedly trump many Ivy League schools making it an exception to the rule
and NOT the norm.