Duke University Law School

by John A. Byrne on

Duke Law School library

Duke Law School library

Duke University Law School

210 Science Dr.
Durham, NC 27708
Admissions: (919) 613-7006

Application Deadline: March 1, 2014
Email: admissions@law.duke.edu
Website: http://law.duke.edu
Apply: http://law.duke.edu/admis/degreeprograms/jd/#howtoapply

Annual Tuition: $52,620

Class of 2016 Stats:

Acceptance Rate*: 19.1%
Total Applicants*: 5,014
Accepted*: NA
Enrolled*: 210

Women: 44%
Students of Color: 29%
Average Age: 24
Total Full-Time Enrollment*: 776

Median LSAT: 169
LSAT Scores (25th-75th percentile)*: 165-170
Median GPA: 3.77
GPA Scores (25th-75th percentile)*: 3.59-3.84

Employed at Graduation*: 72.9%
Employed Nine Months Later*: 87.4%%
Bar Passage*: 95.4%% 

Rankings:

TipppingTheScales (2013): 6
U.S. News (2013): 11
AboveTheLaw (2013): 6

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DUKE LAW SCHOOL STUDENTS SAY…

Academics & Programs: Though Duke University is nationally recognized for its stellar academic programs, students say it is the intimate atmosphere and emphasis on teaching that distinguishes their law school from other top-ranked institutions. Duke’s “ridiculously engaging” professors are “dedicated to both excellent scholarship and excellent teaching.” As at any prestigious school, the faculty’s “academic reputation is made from publishing”; however, “the professors here want to be professors, [they are] not [here to] just write.” That dedication is amply demonstrated in the faculty’s incredible accessibility to their students.

After class is out, “Professors all maintain an open door policy, and they actually mean it. You can just walk in and talk to them about class, other subjects you’re interested in, careers, or where to find the best microbrew in Durham.” A current student fondly remembers, “My 1L Con Law professor came to our softball game and had us over to his house for a picnic, and a variety of upper-level professors enjoy bowling with us every week.” Enrolling just over 200 first-year students annually, Duke’s modest size practically ensures a personal relationship with the faculty: “With even the largest 1L classes topping out around 75, it’s easy for professors to know you by name, and it’s never hard to spend one-on-one time with professors if you want to.”

Despite it’s all-around excellence, Duke is surprisingly down-to-earth. A current student details, “What really won me over about Duke was the school philosophy, as voiced by Dean Levi: ‘We take scholarship, service, professionalism, and teaching seriously; but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.’” To that end, the Duke culture “promotes a balanced life, instead of letting schoolwork consume you.” For example, the school’s “responsive administration” encourages students to pursue their personal passions, not just their required coursework. A 2L recounts, “Regarding the administration, they are very open to new ideas and flexible in their approach to the curriculum. One of my friends started a program to aid in Haiti’s reconstruction and the school has provided both financial and academic resources.” On that note, while “Duke expects initiative from students,” students have all of the “tools and opportunities” to reach their goals. Across departments, administrators and staff “are warm, friendly, and always available to help.” When it comes to schedule planning, “The academic advising department is fantastic and always available.”

Proud of their unique community, “People really rally around Duke, including alumni, and the enthusiasm for the school is infectious.” In this context, it is easy for students to make “both personal and professional connections with alumni around the country.” When it comes to jobs and internships, “Duke isn’t the biggest law school, so it’s not going to have the sheer number of alums that Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, and others have. However, it is the kind of place that inspires loyalty.” With that loyalty as an asset, Duke boasts “strong placement in numerous legal markets all over the country,” without a strong focus in any one region. Students point out the school’s “terrific connections with federal judges” and a “fantastic network in New York,” yet feel that students are still placed in other markets across the United States. A current student affirms that, “Regardless of what you want to do (big law, government, non-profit, etc.) or where you want to work, you will find Duke grads who are willing to help you break into that particular field.”

Campus Life/Facilities: As one would expect from a high-ranking school, facilities are excellent at Duke. Within the School of Law, “All the classroom are stuffed to the gills with technology,” and “The common area is wide open, with huge windows and comfy chairs.”

For a top-tier law school, Duke’s atmosphere is decidedly low-key and “collegial.” Most students enjoy the social life, noting that Duke is “a small enough school that you can be friends with everyone.” Within the law school, “Everyone works hard, but the school is not a scary or stressful place because we also have many opportunities for extracurriculars and fun activities.” Students say that, “Between a softball league, wellattended bar reviews, and other DBA-planned parties, there’s a lot to do for fun outside of school.” According to students, “If you don’t have a robust social life at Duke, it’s because you’ve chosen not to.”

On top of that, having “access to $10 Duke basketball tickets” is a major perk for Blue Devil fans; across the campus, “The camaraderie around March cannot be beat.”

Off campus, “Durham is a fun city in the middle of a revitalization,” which features “a brand new performing arts center with lots of great concerts and shows coming through (Adele, Wicked), tons of new little independent restaurants, bakeries, breweries, food trucks(!), etc.” When struggling to live on a law student’s limited budget, “It’s worth mentioning that cost of living in Durham is obscenely low.” Not to mention, “The weather is SO NICE in Durham—year round.” When students need a bit more action (or want to attend a legal conference), the school is “only a few hours away from D.C.”

* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.

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