If you’re wondering what it takes to get into Duke Law School, then you’ve come to the right place! Duke Law School is one of the most prestigious and notoriously difficult schools to get accepted into, which means that if you’re looking to find your way into their program for the next enrollment period, you will have to be strategic with your application materials. In this article, we will go over some of the program highlights, admissions statistics, tuition, selection factors, and more in a breakdown of everything from the admissions process to enrollment. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about this school to help you get familiar with the program and learn how to prepare for a law school interview.
Disclaimer: Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa.
The Dean of Duke Law School says the following regarding the school’s mission and values: “At Duke Law School, we like to follow a set of values that we believe set us apart from other law schools, values that we have come to call ‘The Duke Way.’ The Duke Way is a combination of intellectual engagement at the highest level, extraordinary collaboration and collegiality, and a commitment to serving the common good. We take scholarship, service, professionalism, and teaching seriously, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously.”
Duke Law School has many available programs and pathways for a broad range of students who want to pursue different career options. Let’s take a closer look at what they offer:
The Academic Curriculum
Because Duke Law is dedicated to focusing on issues that they predict will be more prevalent in the near future, the curriculum is built around educating students in business and finance law, international and comparative law, constitutional and public law, environmental law, and others. During the first year of classes, students take six semester- long courses in various subjects, such as civil procedure, criminal law, constitutional law, contracts, and legal analysis and research and writing. Some examples of electives include property, business associations, international law, and administrative law. These courses are designed to give students a strong foundation in basic problems of civil procedure, administration of criminal justice, government authority, and more.
The upper-level curriculum is more focused than the first-year curriculum and looks to build on the foundational knowledge that students have acquired. Consider talking to a law school advisor if you want to make sure the courses you want to take will satisfy your graduation requirements for the semester, but some examples include social justice lawyering, the business and economics of law firms, family law, federal income taxation, financial accounting, intellectual property, and labor law.
Outside of the standard curriculum, students are also offered a variety of supplemental resources that can enhance their learning experience during each semester. One of these options is ad hoc seminars, which are led and organized by students to discuss legal topics that aren’t part of regular course requirements. Ad hoc seminars can sometimes count as one or two credits. Students also have the option of participating in capstone projects in which they will develop a proposal for a topic in law that isn’t covered in regular classes. All topics must be pre-approved by a faculty member. The final work may take the form of a scholarly article, a seminar-type paper, a model bill, a brief, or another form proposed by the student.
Another important aspect of the curriculum aside from courses is clinical and experiential learning. This component is designed to give students more of a hands-on experience in dealing with legal issues in a variety of domains. Clinics and labs cover topics in complex civil litigation, health justice, international human rights, and first amendment. Students can also take externships, where they will gain experience outside the classroom in a supervised government or non-profit setting.
For a recent class profile, there were a total of 6,250 applicants, 225 of which were enrolled in the program, making the enrollment rate 3.6%. This is slightly lower compared to an earlier year, when 282 students were enrolled. The median GPA for this class profile was 3.85, making Duke Law one of the most competitive law schools in the US.
Duke Law School Enrollment Rate:
In terms of demographics, the program is also one of the most diverse. More than half of the class, at 54%, was comprised of women. The average age of the class was 24, and the proportion of students of color was 44%. In previous student profiles, classes were comprised of students from 37 different states and territories and from six other countries. The demographic data prove Duke’s commitment to promoting and advocating a diverse classroom, one of the reasons it is a top choice for so many students.
Proportion of Students of Color:
Students enrolled in the JD program also had a median LSAT score of 170, one of the highest among JD programs. Recent class profiles also showed some of the strongest academic backgrounds, with 10% of their enrolled students holding graduate degrees. Most students also reported having post-college experience, showing that the admissions committee at Duke Law is primarily interested in candidates with not only a strong LSAT score and GPA, but relevant experience as well. If you’re thinking of schools to apply to but worried about how to get into law school with a low GPA, you might want to focus on some that are less competitive than Duke Law.
Tuition and Scholarships
Tuition and school funding are two important factors to consider when you’re applying to law schools. Duke Law School, like most other schools, offers funding opportunities and scholarships to certain outstanding students. There are also various mandatory expenses that you will have to account for when you’re constructing a budget. Law school budgets are subject to change depending on a variety of factors, such as the program you’re applying to and the location, so it’s important to research expenses prior to applying if you want to create the most accurate representation of possible yearly and monthly expenses. Check out a recent law school budget for Duke:
One funding option for students is the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). As per the parameters of the program, students who earn $65,000 or less are eligible to have all loans covered by this assistance program. Students with an annual income between $65,000 and $90,000 are also eligible for the LRAP program with negotiable variations in debt forgiveness. Students may also be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, which can provide additional loan coverage past a 10-year period.
Duke Law offers a scholarship called the Robert Davies Scholarship. Every student who applies to the program will qualify for consideration, but on average, only one or two students will be named Davies scholars. The other scholarship program, known as the Mordecai, is offered to incoming students in the JD program. All students who apply will be considered for this full tuition coverage scholarship, but only about four to eight students will be named Mordecai scholars. Students are offered scholarships based on exemplary qualities, scaled on clusters of traits, including the ability to engage intellectually, to embody integrity, to lead with intention, to build relationships, to serve the community, and to live with purpose. The best way for you to demonstrate your aptness to be named a scholar for one of these programs is to demonstrate these qualities in your personal statement or in your answer to the why do you want to study law interview question.
The incentive to be an exceptional applicant at Duke Law is strong when you consider that all applicants will be evaluated based on the above-mentioned characteristics. When you’re crafting your application materials, which include a personal statement, law school letter of recommendation, resume, LSAT scores, and GPA, it’s important to gear your written documents toward these traits to raise your chances not only of getting accepted, but of being named a scholar by either of these programs.
How to Apply to Duke Law School
The Application Process
Applicants are invited to complete the application process via the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). You can follow the instructions offered on Duke Law’s website to fill out the application form on LSAC. Here are the steps you must take to apply:
- Start filling out the application form via LSAC
- Pay the $80 application fee
- Submit a resume
- Submit a personal statement
- Submit optional essays
- Submit the two required letters of recommendation
- Submit academic transcripts from all prior to attended institutions
- Submit LSAC CAS report
- Submit LSAT and/or GRE scores
- Submit letter from previous law school if transferring
- Submit InitialView interview or TOEFL if you’re an international applicant
Students have the option of adjusting their preferences for the decision cycle. The early decision program is ideal for students who’ve made Duke Law their first choice and who don’t require consideration of other potential schools and programs regarding scholarships and financial aid. If you decide to go with the early decision program, you can still apply to other schools, but you may not have more than one early decision application at a single time. If you’re accepted into Duke Law School, as per the binding agreement, you must withdraw your other applications immediately and pay a $500 tuition deposit.
It’s important to note that there are two early decision rounds and that dates are subject to change based on the year and decision cycle, so make sure you check the dates for the decision cycle in which you prefer to be evaluated. You should also always make sure to submit your application far in advance of the deadline for each cycle, as it can take time to complete your file, and LSAC must process your transcripts and recommendation letters before they can generate the CAS report.
On its website, Duke Law mentions that they consider candidates based on a myriad of characteristics gleaned from the candidate’s application materials. This involves a thorough evaluation of the candidate’s transcripts, including the courses and their difficulty, patterns in GPA, graduate work if applicable, and individual exam scores. According to Duke’s statement about how they evaluate applications, they are primarily looking for candidates who exhibit strong engagement and leadership qualities. Most successful applicants will show evidence of a strong commitment to one or more fields of interest. With that said, you should determine what your interests are and start building a track record of meaningful relationships and experiences in your extracurriculars or other avenues of experience, which you will present in your resume and written materials. Be prepared to talk about some of these experiences in your optional essay, your diversity statement, or your answers to other law school essay prompts.
Let’s look at the application requirements in more detail:
Most applicants won’t be invited to an interview as part of the screening process. However, in some cases, admissions might issue a request for an interview with specific applicants if they think they would benefit from having additional information provided in this format. If you do receive an offer for an on-campus interview, it is optional, but as the committee makes these requests only in special circumstances, you should take advantage of it. Attending the interview will help you stand out by allowing you to introduce yourself and illuminate any potential gray areas in your application. It also enables you to convince the committee that you’re a strong candidate in a way that most candidates can’t. To prepare for the interview, you can review common law school interview questions and answers and practice with someone who can give you credible feedback. The most effective format for preparing for the interview is to utilize a law school mock interview.
Applying to law school? Learn what the application process looks like in this video.
Acceptance and Waitlist
If you applied to the early decision program in round one, you will receive a response by December 31st, and by January 31st if you applied for the early decisions in round two. All offers of admission will be submitted by March 1st, and decisions are finalized by the end of April. Some students are waitlisted after their applications are reviewed, which essentially means that an admissions committee has decided to put your application on hold for the time being. Typically, Duke Law is able to send offers of admission to people on their waitlist in early May.
The waitlist will be maintained throughout the summer and depending on other admissions final decisions and applicant commitment changes, other waitlisted students will receive offers of admission. The waitlist for Duke Law isn’t ranked, which means that if they can admit additional students on the waitlist, all applicants will be reviewed in proportion to the class size. If you get waitlisted, one way for you to enhance the likelihood of receiving an offer when your application is reviewed again is to make sure your application materials reflect your interest in Duke Law specifically. Law schools are looking for students who are enthusiastic about joining their program, and if your materials lack this component, you should update your profile and make the appropriate modifications.
Duke Law School Website
E-mail address: [email protected]
Mailing address: 210 Science Drive
Duke Box 90393
Durham NC 27708-0393
1. Is Duke Law School a competitive school for applicants?
The Duke Law JD program is one of the most competitive, with a median GPA of 3.85 and average LSAT scores of 170.
2. When does the admissions cycle open for Duke Law School?
The early admissions round one deadline is December 31st, and the early admissions round two deadline is January 31st. Regular applicants should apply by February 15th.
3. How do I apply for the JD program at Duke Law School?
All applicants are required to submit their application materials through LSAC.
4. Does Duke Law School invite select applicants for interviews?
Duke Law only invites applicants for an on-campus interview in specific circumstances when they wish to gain more information from the candidate. These interviews are optional.
5. What is the acceptance rate for Duke Law School?
In a recent profile, there were 6,250 applicants, 225 of which matriculated, resulting in an enrollment rate of 3.6%.
6. What does Duke Law School look for in their applicants?
The most important characteristics that Duke Law is looking for in applicants include leadership, engagement, and a strong interest in one or more fields.
7. What does it mean if I get waitlisted?
Waitlisted applicants can still receive an offer of admission depending on the size of the class, typically starting in early May. Waitlisted applicants will continue to receive offers throughout the summer depending on the number of openings, which are unpredictable and subject to change during each decision cycle.
8. Who can I choose as a referee in my letters of recommendation?
Duke Law School strongly encourages applicants to submit letters from an academic instructor and a supervisor who can speak to their interpersonal and leadership skills. Avoid using family or friends for this document. You can submit a minimum of two and a maximum of four.
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