Law School Discussion

UMich v. Duke

UMich v. Duke
« on: May 14, 2006, 06:37:40 PM »
I've been accepted to Michigan's Summer Start 2007 and Duke's Fall 2007 -  anybody have advice on which one they prefer?  I'm considering a JD-MBA, but both schools have pretty strong Business Schools.  And ultimately I'll practice in the South, but will likely be in a big market elsewhere before moving back to my hometown.

Thansk for any advice.


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Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 12:52:20 PM »
Michigan is the better school and normally it would be an easy choice. However, if you are sure you want to work in the south Duke may be a better choice because of it's outstanding reputation and alumni network in the region. Ultimately both schools will enable you to do what you want, and you can't go wrong. I think it should probably come down to where you want to spend the next 3 years.
Only the shallow know themselves - Oscar Wilde


Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2006, 02:34:51 PM »
I would personally still go with UMich even if you want to practice in the south.  Getting a job at a large southern firm won't be hard at all with a UMich degree. Fuqua and Ross are about pushes, but at UMich you'll get a better legal education.   


Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2006, 02:49:13 PM »
I would personally still go with UMich even if you want to practice in the south.  Getting a job at a large southern firm won't be hard at all with a UMich degree. Fuqua and Ross are about pushes, but at UMich you'll get a better legal education.   

I will disagree a bit with saying that at Michigan you will get a "better" education. They are both world-class, AMAZING law schools and you can get a top-notch legal education at both. That said, I would chose Michigan if I were you (I think I've told you this before). Though I do love Duke's small class size, the ease of getting involved, and everything else about the program, the history, reputation, and the beautiful law quad would sway me north.

Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2006, 03:07:19 PM »
As a resident Duke troll, I will say that I had to choose between both schools (with equal money) and I chose Duke.  I agree with the two above posters that say it is hard to go wrong with either.  Do you like football or basketball?  Warm or cold?  Chicago or DC?  Specific programs you are interested in?  Did you defer admission at both places already?  Or did they both offer you admission for the next year?  That is fairly unusual.
Duke 2009

Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2006, 04:57:14 PM »
It's really a matter of personal preference all the way. 

I got into both Duke and Michigan with equal money and have chosen Duke. 


-Small class size
-After some time "out in the real world" after undergrad., I want to maintain a more independent lifestyle instead of going back to a more "collegiate" atmosphere.  That said, I look forward to the camraderie of a small class size where I'll know everybody.
-I don't like cold weather.  Have never experienced temperatures below 25 degrees in my entire life.
-The Triangle area is a great place to live.  Absolutely low cost of living, lots of open space, mecca for high-tech research, windswept beaches and mountains <5 hours by car. 
-Strong interest in IP law.  Duke's program is killer in this, and the opportunites available both from an interdisciplinary standpoint and with the private sector in the RTP are numerous. 
-Visit Duke Chapel, bike through Duke Forest, or stroll around Sarah P. Duke Gardens during the height of spring, which arrives in late March, and then visit Michigan in early May when the trees are still bare, and the decision becomes very easy for someone bred in lower latitudes. 

Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2006, 05:36:34 PM »
The right answer is you can't go wrong either way.  Both are great schools and I do think it's silly to suggest one is clearly offering a superior education compared to the other.

Despite the similarities in the quality of education you will get at both schools, culturally they could not be more different.  I strongly encourage you to visit both before you visit. 

In addition to the obvious geographic differences others have already mentioned, I think the two schools attract a different student body, and not everyone would be happy for three years at either Duke or Michigan. 


Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2006, 05:49:20 PM »
I'd just like to add that I think it is a matter of personal preference as well. I think some people put too much emphasis on the rep scores (4.5) v (4.3) -- the only factor that keeps Mich one point out of 100 ahead of Duke in the rankings; twenty years ago, Mich was the better school, but I don't think Mich has anything it can point to as an example of it's superiority (mainly student body or employment rates).

I thought about this for a long time, and consulted people at my school, a private school, and they said for firm jobs, the schools were a wash.

FWIW, also there are a fair number of students who have chosen Duke and Michigan, with 50+k dean's scholarships at both, and the cross-admit battle is split from what I can tell.

It became about where I wanted to study:

1. Duke: warmer climate, closer student body, much closer interactions with the faculty, more journals/

2. Mich: colder climate, double the student body, less close interactions, on average, with the faculty

That's what I've heard, and I think the 13-1 and 17-1 student/faculty ratios support this claim. 

Duke -- 43 full-time faculty, 92 faculty
Michigan -- 58 full-time faculty, 93 faculty

Finally, about the cultural part, I disagree, perhaps.  I was concerned as a fairly liberal individual that I wouldn't fit into Duke, but it's actually very well balanced from what I have heard, and after coming from a very liberal undergrad, I am excited to see a balance that more reflects our country.  From what I've heard, Mich is liberal, and Duke is balanced (and not in the Fox News sort of way).

Apparently, according to Dean Miller, the political environment at Duke is thriving, and very respectful.

Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2006, 06:19:21 PM »
Do you like Big 10 Football or ACC Basketball???

I would choose Duke because you want to practice in the south but there is no wrong choice.

Re: UMich v. Duke
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2006, 06:29:43 PM »
One thing to consider is whether the summer start program is appealing to you or not.  there are advantages to it for sure, like graduating in 2 and a half years instead of three and having the campus essentially to yourself and your section for the summer.  The summer starters are very close with one another, but I understand that they can feel a little isolated from the fall starters since they're essentially on different tracks.  I also personally would not want to go straight from June to May in school without a break. 

Don't get me wrong, the summer starters at umich seem really happy overall with the program, and are glad they came here.  It's just not necessarily for everyone. 

That said, Ann Arbor is a great town, the football is fun, the basketball is getting better, and the law quad is beautiful.  We've also got some great new faculty coming to campus.  I don't know much about Duke Law, but I've been to visit the campus and it's beautiful too.  I think you would do well going to either school- hopefully you'll be able to visit first and see which feels like a better fit.
University of Michigan Law, Class of 2008