Saturday, March 19, 2005

Would I Do It Over Again?

Well, for me, at least, Duke was a package deal-- I came not only for the Law School, but for the Divinity School as well, and in some ways, it's difficult for me to think through the question solely in terms of my law school experience.

Still, if there's one "regret" that I could name, it would be this: that I didn't do my degrees sequentially, with Divinity School first and Law School subsequent. There have been benefits to being able to step outside the law school culture at times (i.e., the often-toxic cloud that descends come OCI period). Still, there have been weeks and months when I've felt frustrated that I couldn't immerse myself in one discipline or the other.

With regard to the Duke Law experience in particular, I think my own jury is still out. If Duke Divinity was not in the picture, I honestly don't think I would have come to Duke; the atmosphere among the undergrads is overwhelmingly pre-professional (I see this as an RA now-- I've never met so many students who all want to be doctors or lawyers), and similarly, the Law School atmosphere often feels overwhelmingly corporate. I have to say that if I'd gotten into Yale (sad!), I would have taken on loan upon loan to be a part of a community that I suspect is a bit more engaged in issues of legal theory and interdisciplinary discourse.

Still, I've been happy with my Duke experience. I love the people (you guys among them! :)), and I've had great experiences with the faculty here. I'm still thinking of applying for clerkships next year, and I've heard that Duke's (good) reputation still doesn't carry the kind of weight of the Harvard/Yale/C0lumbia degree, but I don't know if that would have been a determinative issue for me three years ago.