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Author Topic: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!  (Read 2085 times)

uesi

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Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« on: February 25, 2007, 11:54:09 PM »
Anybody have any thoughts on what would be a good decision for me to make?

Just a little background...Texas has always been my top choice, but after a generous Duke scholarship my tuition debt load for attending either school is basically the same. I am in-state, and would love to study and practice in Texas after graduation. However, my parents and many other adults advise that job opportunities would be greater coming out of Duke, a school of higher USNEWS ranking. Plus, I have heard that 1L summer jobs are relatively hard for Texas students to obtain.

So basically, what is worth more? Duke's ranking and being more "national"? Or Texas with 3 years of potential networking and the social network that I already have here?

P.S. If it makes any difference, I had hoped to buy a condo if staying in Austin to build up a little equity instead of throwing away money on rent each month. I don't plan on staying in NC, so that really isn't an option at Duke.

Judge Haller

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 12:29:35 AM »
Umm...Duke? Like your parents said, it's a lot more portable. Firms in Dallas and Houston certainly wouldn't look down on a Duke law degree...probably like to have one on their roster. As far as the condo, you can always buy one later...you rent now, so there's nothing lost, and you would be "stuck" in Austin if that's one of your primary reasons for attending UT.
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SilentSwirl

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007, 12:32:39 AM »
You are sure you want to practice in Texas and you are in at UT, and there isn't something specific (a clinic or program) at Duke that is drawing you there. Why would you go anywhere but UT?!  My opinion, of course.

Are your parents and these other adults lawyers? Otherwise I think they are being taken in by a few notches on the USNews rankings and a 'layman's prestige' thing. As in, Duke sounds more exotic to a Texan than UT, where every body and their brother goes for undergrad. In other words, I think they are underestimating the strength of the UT program. I also don't understand who told you that you would have a hard time getting summer employment going to UT??

Even though a degree from either of these schools will allow you to be competitive nationally, you simply cannot beat living in the area where you want to practice.  You will have three years to get integrated into the legal community through volunteering, clinics, etc -- which is ultimately the way you want to get a job, NOT by mass mailers!

UT has my vote. I'm curious what other people's takes are.

uesi

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2007, 12:52:04 AM »
Unfortunately, I think it is the rankings and name that draws everyone's attention to Duke. Texas is just Texas while Duke has that east coast ivy league feel to it. As for job placement, I thought it was pretty common since firms already know that most Texas students want to practice in Texas for them to try hiring out of state for 1L summers to try and expand their sphere of influence and have students saying good things about them during 2L OCIs.

jimfoolery

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 12:56:48 AM »
Texas is just Texas while Duke has that east cost ivy league feel to it.

Good to see you approaching this with such levelheadedness.  You've obviously done your homework.
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ImpactPlayer

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2007, 02:42:11 AM »
If it's going to cost around the same, definitely go with Duke.

You would have a much easier time getting a 1L summer job in Texas by going to Duke.  Law firms will love seeing that Duke name, rather than the Texas name they always see.  Think about it this way:  if you go to Texas, you will be competing with the other 450-something Texas 1Ls trying to get a summer job.  If you go to Duke and try to get a summer job in Texas, you'll be competing with 5-10 Duke students tops? 

Furthermore, many value a Duke law degree because of its rareness, so to speak.  They don't put out that many students per year, so its an attractive degree. 

Go with Duke!

SilentSwirl

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007, 02:45:59 AM »
If it's going to cost around the same, definitely go with Duke.

You would have a much easier time getting a 1L summer job in Texas by going to Duke.  Law firms will love seeing that Duke name, rather than the Texas name they always see.  Think about it this way:  if you go to Texas, you will be competing with the other 450-something Texas 1Ls trying to get a summer job.  If you go to Duke and try to get a summer job in Texas, you'll be competing with 5-10 Duke students tops? 
Furthermore, many value a Duke law degree because of its rareness, so to speak.  They don't put out that many students per year, so its an attractive degree. 

Go with Duke!

Uh, I guess this would be true if the only point for competition for a job were the school you attend.

Tejan

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2007, 02:56:00 AM »
Flip a coin.  You can't lose.
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Funky Cold Hrdina

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2007, 03:18:21 AM »
I suggest you start here.
http://www.nalpdirectory.com/index.asp

Keep in mind that Texas has a much larger class than Duke, and it's probable that most of the students will be competing for 'in area' firms.

Also, I think the importance of networking is largely overestimated straight out of law school, and it's the connections that you make during your summer jobs that are initially much more important.

Id say, go to Duke.

annita

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Re: Duke or Texas?!? HELP PLEASE!
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2007, 08:04:48 AM »
I have family in Austin, I love it there, and I know a lot of people who left Texas for college and/or law school who end up coming back. In fact, just about every friend from Texas I have who went to a T14 law school went back to Texas for a summer job, or clerkship, or permanent firm job. You shouldn't have a problem getting a job in Texas with a Duke degree. That said, I've come to realize that there is a group of people who just really really really love Austin, and love UT, and are never quite as happy when they live anywhere else. If you're one of those people, maybe you should stay in Austin. UT isn't closing any doors.

But Duke may open more. And if cost isn't an issue, my instinct would be: go to Duke.