Law School Discussion

Duke or Virginia???

du-can

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Re: Duke or Virginia???
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2008, 02:35:26 PM »


UVa: Beer and softball.
Duke: Greg Paulus.



I don't see what you're getting at here.  Paulus is, at best, the 5th best player for Duke.  He may not even be the best point guard on the team.

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Re: Duke or Virginia???
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2008, 04:25:11 PM »
Which school is better if you want to live in either Texas or Chicago (and why)?

According to Brian Leiter, this would be an easy choice...

From JD Jungle Magazine: "Using Leiter's method, Duke, which Leiter says is regarded by legal scholars as "clearly overrated," falls from a tie for tenth place on the U.S. News list to fifteenth, trading places with Leiter's own University of Texas."

UVA's alumni network and prestige in the legal community completely overshadow Duke's.  But if you're only concern in impressing grandma, then maybe you should consider Duke.

The only thing you're forgetting is that "grandma" may not be your grandma, but instead a business man or higher profile client that your firm wants business from...I've been told that the client's perceptions actually matter quite a bit.

Now, I'm not saying I necessarily disagree with your conclusion (I'm still not sure which school I think is better, hence the post), but I do disagree with your suggestion that layman pretige is of little value.

That's quite a stretch. I seriously doubt that a potential client scrutinizes a law firm's lawyer profile page and assesses whether the undergraduate component of the lawyers' law school is prestigious. If there are clients that do that, I wouldn't want to work for a law firm with such a TTT client book anyway!  Furthermore, the in-house counsel of each client are the ones who choose which outside to counsel to hire, and in-house counsel are LAWYERS, who are well aware of the fact that Duke, while up and coming, is in a different league than UVA. Based on your logic, one would actually consider choosing Duke over NYU, which is just plain silly.

So yes -- I totally dismiss lay prestige, and so should anyone choosing between UVA or Duke.  By the way, I'm not even sure I concede that Duke has greater lay prestige than UVA.  It's not like Harvard and Yale for God's sake!  Most pure laymen associate Duke primarily with basketball and the rape scandal nowadays anyway!

Actually, clients do care. I've talked to top lawyers and one partner and they told me it matters ...clients get in trouble and they think they have a better chance of getting out of it if their lawyers are from a top schools (or more appropriately their firm as a whole only takes lawyers from top schools)...but I'm not saying that I know how this plays out between Duke and Virginia.

ININ

Re: Duke or Virginia???
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2008, 04:27:33 PM »
Disclaimer: UVA 1L

Most of the people on here seem right to me.  UVA is generally a better school and laymen prestige will almost certainly count for very little.  The clients you will be working for will assume that the firm you are working for screens people.  The firm will also hold the prestige for the client, rarely (from what I've heard) do the clients check where the attorney went to school.  Finally, if you are doing biglaw, as most of UVA and Duke student do, much of what you will be doing is corporate work, not impressing laymen.

Really though both schools are fine choices.  I agree with the notion that they are in different leagues, but you won't be hurting if you attend Duke instead.

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Re: Duke or Virginia???
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2008, 04:34:04 PM »
Disclaimer: UVA 1L

Most of the people on here seem right to me.  UVA is generally a better school and laymen prestige will almost certainly count for very little.  The clients you will be working for will assume that the firm you are working for screens people.  The firm will also hold the prestige for the client, rarely (from what I've heard) do the clients check where the attorney went to school.  Finally, if you are doing biglaw, as most of UVA and Duke student do, much of what you will be doing is corporate work, not impressing laymen.

Really though both schools are fine choices.  I agree with the notion that they are in different leagues, but you won't be hurting if you attend Duke instead.

This makes sense...(althought it is a little different than what I've been told)...but you're definitely in a position to know more than me....so ya, thanx.


Re: Duke or Virginia???
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2008, 06:01:57 PM »

I nodded along up until you said "different leagues." At the level these two schools are at, saying they are in different leagues is more bias talking than actual analysis.
[/quote]

This is what I meant by "leagues".  Here's is a pretty (in)famous post from the world of law school ranking boards, which I pretty much buy off on.  And having biglaw family members, it seems to accurately reflect the pecking order of things, regardless of slight changes made to official rankings from time to time.  The numbers in parentheses are the sum of the lawyer and professor rep scores from USWR...

GROUP 1- avg score 9.7
1.) Yale (9.8 )
2.) Harvard (9.7)
3.) Stanford (9.6)

This is the T3 everyone discusses. They are just in a class of their own. It is pretty hard to turn down a T3 school if admitted. I know New Yorker who turned down Stanford for NYU. I personally would need very compelling reasons to turn down a group 1 school for anything else, but I could see exceptional reasons for doing so (like a big scholarship).

GROUP 2- avg score 9.3
4.) Columbia (9.3)
5.) Chicago (9.3)

This is a pair of schools loaded with a lot of very competitive over-achievers who are upset they didn't make the group 1 cut. These schools have low quality of life (see vault.com for confirmation). It took me less than 2 hours at the Columbia admitted students day to realize I would be withdrawing. It should be noted, however, that these schools are undeniably more prestigious than anything in the next grouping.

GROUP 3- avg score 9.02
6.) NYU (9.1)
7.) UVA (9.1)
7.) Boalt (9.0)
9.) UMich (9.1)
9.) UPenn (8.8 )

These schools are just awesome. I would be happy to go to any of these schools. I took some liberty of rearranging the schools out of their sorted index (and I will continue to do so) to elucidate what I believe my research has indicated to be closest to a true order, if such a true order can exist. Each school offers a unique plus over anti-social Columbia and Chicago, and depending on your personality, there is a school on this list for everyone. The jump from group 1 (the T3) to group 2 is significant. The jump from group 2 to group 3 is noticeable, but less than the group 1 to group 2 jump. Quantitatively, this method determines, on average, the first jump to be .4 and the second jump to be .28. This is a reasonable estimate for the magnitude of the jumps. I consider it completely acceptable, if not wise from a quality of life perspective, to turn down Columbia/Chicago for one of the group 3 schools. This is what Ken did in choosing Boalt over Columbia/Chicago, and it is what I did in choosing NYU over Columbia. If I were interested in teaching I see a very valid reason to choose the prestigious Columbia and Chicago over a group 3 school.

GROUP 4- avg score 8.375
11.) Duke (8.5)
12.) Georgetown (8.5)
13.) Cornell (8.3)
13.) Northwestern (8.2)

This group completes the top 14. No one should be embarrassed about attending this group of schools. However, the group 3 schools are significantly better. Quantitatively, the group 3 to group 4 jump is on average .645. The attentive reader will recall that the group 1 to group 2 jump was .4 and that the group 2 to group 3 jump was .28. This large quantitative difference between group 3 and group 4 should immediately indicate that a significant jump is going on here. It is generally not a wise decision to choose a group 4 school over a group 3 school unless there are compelling intangible factors to do so. I do not want to insult anyone's choice of these top law schools, but I feel that after attending a group 4 school you will have a great job, a sucessful career, but you will never have quite the same job options or level of respect as those coming out of the group 3 schools. Of course if you love a certain city or a certain program it would make sense to choose a group 4 school over a group 3 school, but in absence of such a force it would not make a lot of sense to choose a group 4 school over a group 3 school because a slight, but noticeable difference in prestige exists between these schools. I agree that such distinctions are unfortunate and unneccesary, but we do live in a world where attorneys are very hierarchial with respect to where you went to law school.


ININ

Re: Duke or Virginia???
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2008, 10:04:28 PM »

I nodded along up until you said "different leagues." At the level these two schools are at, saying they are in different leagues is more bias talking than actual analysis.

This is what I meant by "leagues".  Here's is a pretty (in)famous post from the world of law school ranking boards, which I pretty much buy off on.  And having biglaw family members, it seems to accurately reflect the pecking order of things, regardless of slight changes made to official rankings from time to time.  The numbers in parentheses are the sum of the lawyer and professor rep scores from USWR...

GROUP 1- avg score 9.7
1.) Yale (9.8 )
2.) Harvard (9.7)
3.) Stanford (9.6)

This is the T3 everyone discusses. They are just in a class of their own. It is pretty hard to turn down a T3 school if admitted. I know New Yorker who turned down Stanford for NYU. I personally would need very compelling reasons to turn down a group 1 school for anything else, but I could see exceptional reasons for doing so (like a big scholarship).

GROUP 2- avg score 9.3
4.) Columbia (9.3)
5.) Chicago (9.3)

This is a pair of schools loaded with a lot of very competitive over-achievers who are upset they didn't make the group 1 cut. These schools have low quality of life (see vault.com for confirmation). It took me less than 2 hours at the Columbia admitted students day to realize I would be withdrawing. It should be noted, however, that these schools are undeniably more prestigious than anything in the next grouping.

GROUP 3- avg score 9.02
6.) NYU (9.1)
7.) UVA (9.1)
7.) Boalt (9.0)
9.) UMich (9.1)
9.) UPenn (8.8 )

These schools are just awesome. I would be happy to go to any of these schools. I took some liberty of rearranging the schools out of their sorted index (and I will continue to do so) to elucidate what I believe my research has indicated to be closest to a true order, if such a true order can exist. Each school offers a unique plus over anti-social Columbia and Chicago, and depending on your personality, there is a school on this list for everyone. The jump from group 1 (the T3) to group 2 is significant. The jump from group 2 to group 3 is noticeable, but less than the group 1 to group 2 jump. Quantitatively, this method determines, on average, the first jump to be .4 and the second jump to be .28. This is a reasonable estimate for the magnitude of the jumps. I consider it completely acceptable, if not wise from a quality of life perspective, to turn down Columbia/Chicago for one of the group 3 schools. This is what Ken did in choosing Boalt over Columbia/Chicago, and it is what I did in choosing NYU over Columbia. If I were interested in teaching I see a very valid reason to choose the prestigious Columbia and Chicago over a group 3 school.

GROUP 4- avg score 8.375
11.) Duke (8.5)
12.) Georgetown (8.5)
13.) Cornell (8.3)
13.) Northwestern (8.2)

This group completes the top 14. No one should be embarrassed about attending this group of schools. However, the group 3 schools are significantly better. Quantitatively, the group 3 to group 4 jump is on average .645. The attentive reader will recall that the group 1 to group 2 jump was .4 and that the group 2 to group 3 jump was .28. This large quantitative difference between group 3 and group 4 should immediately indicate that a significant jump is going on here. It is generally not a wise decision to choose a group 4 school over a group 3 school unless there are compelling intangible factors to do so. I do not want to insult anyone's choice of these top law schools, but I feel that after attending a group 4 school you will have a great job, a sucessful career, but you will never have quite the same job options or level of respect as those coming out of the group 3 schools. Of course if you love a certain city or a certain program it would make sense to choose a group 4 school over a group 3 school, but in absence of such a force it would not make a lot of sense to choose a group 4 school over a group 3 school because a slight, but noticeable difference in prestige exists between these schools. I agree that such distinctions are unfortunate and unneccesary, but we do live in a world where attorneys are very hierarchial with respect to where you went to law school.


[/quote]

Those are the lines I was thinking as well.  It's not Harvard to GW jump (meaning while GW is solid, Harvard is near best), just a small movement.