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Duke Law School Acceptance Rate

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a law student standing near a building while reading.

Duke Law School Acceptance Rate

What Are the Requirements For Duke Law School?

The school is known for low Duke law school acceptance rates through the years and as one of the top law schools in the country. Duke University School of Law is also renowned for emphasizing leadership, ethics, academic research, professional development, and initiatives that benefit both the legal profession and the community.

A select group of students from various backgrounds who share a history of academic distinction and exceptional performance in professional undertakings and public engagement represents the Duke law school acceptance rate. Students from all around the nation and the world enroll at Duke Law, and as graduates, they work in a variety of government and public service positions both domestically and abroad.

Duke Law’s collaborative environment, where growth is encouraged not only through a rigorous scholarship but also through cooperation and support, is one of the reasons students pick it. The small school size allows for exceptionally close connections between students, instructors, and staff. They are warmly welcomed into a community that emphasizes educating and growing the full person in a setting that values many viewpoints, backgrounds, and orientations.

Desk of a law students filled with different objects.

Once your application has been received, you will receive an email to let you know. Information on how to check the progress of your file online will be included in the email. Final decisions will be made based on the information available when incomplete files are evaluated later in the cycle.

So, what are the requirements for Duke Law School? Let’s examine the checklist for applications below.

  • JD application through LSAC
  • $80 non-refundable application processing fee
  • Short answer essays*
  • Optional essay*
  • Resume*
  • Personal statement*
  • Two letters of recommendation*
  • Academic transcripts submitted through LSAC CAS Report
  • LSAT and/or GRE scores
  • LSAC CAS report (s)
  • Character and fitness information*
  • Letter from a previous law school (if applicable)
  • InitialView interview or TOEFL (International applicants only, if applicable)*

*More information below

Resume, Personal Statement, Essays, Recommendation Letters, and Character and Fitness

All writing samples, including your resume, personal statement, short answer essays, and optional essay, must be original. This indicates that you are the author of the ideas and expressions, as well as the final output and all drafts. Asking for proofreading help or general input from family members, friends, pre-law advisors, and other people is not prohibited. Also, there is no minimum or maximum number of pages required.

Young woman standing next to a shelf full of books.

Resume: The submission of an updated resume is necessary. Include all relevant information, including the dates for all the items listed, your major employment history, educational background, college and community involvement, honors and awards you have received, and any prior affiliation with Duke.

Personal Statement: The statement is your chance to introduce yourself to the admissions committee and should include two things: (1) any noteworthy personal experiences you believe you have had that go beyond what may be shown on your academic transcripts and your resume, and (2) your long-term goals for both your personal and professional life. You must complete Optional Essay 1 if your personal statement does not specifically discuss your interest in going to law school and practicing law.

Short Answer Essays (Required): Duke Law’s admissions approach is rooted in the belief that a diverse law school class, comprising students with a wide range of skills, personal attributes, and life experiences, enhances the Law School’s mission, enriches the learning experience, and fosters active engagement.

Students must select one or two essay topics from the list provided by Duke School of Law below and provide their response(s) in a single attachment, clearly indicating the essay(s) they are addressing. Each essay should be approximately 250-500 words in length.

  • What does the rule of law mean to you, and what special background or experience do you have that may help you contribute to its advancement or that underscores its importance to you personally?
  • The promise of equal justice is fundamental to our legal system. Why is equal justice important to you personally, and what personal experiences or knowledge do you have that may help you become an effective advocate for equal justice under law?
  • Exposure to a diversity of perspectives and experiences can enhance one’s ability to deliver effective professional services. Please describe any opportunities you have had to serve clients or your community, either through work or on a volunteer basis, and how your own exposure to different perspectives and experiences helped you.
  • Lawyers are members of a learned profession, and are often called to serve the public in a variety of ways. Please describe your interest in public service and any experience that you have had to prepare you for a life of service in the public interest.
  • Please describe your interest in learning the law in an open, rigorous, and collaborative environment. Why is a commitment to the free expression of ideas so important in the learning process?
  • What does ethical leadership mean to you? Please provide examples of how you have prepared yourself to become an ethical leader.

Optional Essay: If you wish, you may submit an essay offering additional information about your reasons for applying to law school in general and Duke specifically. Duke Law is interested in understanding the motivations behind your interest in a legal career and how you believe Duke can support that interest. Please limit this optional essay to 1-2 pages, double-spaced.

Recommendation Letters: LSAC allows for the submission of up to four letters, either generic or tailored to specific schools. It is advised against submitting letters from friends, family friends, or relatives. If you have not been out of school for an extended period, at least one of the letters should be from an academic instructor who is familiar with your performance and potential.

The second letter should come from someone who can speak to your professional achievements, interpersonal skills, leadership, and involvement, such as a supervisor or advisor from a job, internship, or student organization. You may also submit additional letters from either of these sources.

If you have been out of school for a significant amount of time and an academic reference is not available, you may replace it with a letter from an employer.

Character and Fitness: Duke Law mandates that you disclose any disciplinary charges, arrests, criminal charges, or criminal convictions you have faced, with the exception of those that have been expunged from your record. If you are unsure about whether to disclose something, it is better to err on the side of full disclosure, as failing to provide complete and accurate information can have serious repercussions.

You are required to report any conduct that would necessitate a “Yes” response to any of the questions in this section while your application is pending. If you are accepted, this obligation continues until your first day of classes at Duke Law School.

If you respond “Yes” to any questions in the Character and Fitness section, you must provide an explanation. This should include details, the status of any disciplinary action or judicial sanctions, and the final resolution of the matters in question.

Furthermore, if you answer “Yes” to the question regarding school-related conduct (Section 13, question 2), you must arrange for the dean, registrar, department supervisor, judicial officer, or academic officer with access to official records at your institution to send a letter directly to the Office of Admissions with comprehensive information about the incident. The institution must still send a letter if there is no record of any disciplinary action.

International Applicants – Initial Interview or TOEFL

You will be asked to complete an InitialView interview or have the Educational Testing Service provide your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) results to LSAC if English is not your native tongue or the language of instruction at your undergraduate institution (ETS). This condition must also be met by international applicants with graduate degrees from the United States. International applicants are strongly encouraged to take part in the interview.

View of a woman standing next to a building.

InitialView: To schedule your interview, get in touch with InitialView at initialview.com. The school thinks it’s important to be able to see an unscripted interview where applicants can talk about their particular histories and objectives because many overseas students come from educational systems that are distinct from those in the U.S. The interview will be conducted by InitialView, who will also record the session and let the office know when it’s ready.

TOEFL: Request that ETS send your TOEFL results to LSAC using institution code 8395. The LSAC CAS report will include the score.

How Many Years Is A Duke Law Degree?

How many years is a Duke law degree? The most popular degree awarded by law schools is the Juris Doctor, or JD for short. A JD typically takes three years of full-time study at any law school that has been accredited by the American Bar Association.

To graduate from the JD program, students must complete 87 legal credits. The conventional core topics of civil process, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts are where first-year students start their legal education.

Duke has developed a comprehensive upper-class curriculum from the ground up, combining traditional coursework with a wide range of practical skills courses and clinics, as well as possibilities for small-group faculty-student study sessions.

Two women talking while sitting near a table.

Students are also given access to a selection of extracurricular materials that might improve their learning during each semester in addition to the core curriculum. Ad hoc seminars are one of these choices, which are arranged and led by students to talk about legal subjects that aren’t covered in standard course requirements. Ad-hoc lectures occasionally qualify for one or two credits.

Additionally, students have the choice to take part in capstone projects where they create a proposal for a legal subject that isn’t covered in normal sessions. Each topic needs to receive prior faculty approval. The final project could be in the shape of a research paper, a seminar-style paper, a model bill, a brief, or any format that the student suggests.

In addition to classes, clinical and experiential learning is a crucial component of the curriculum. This part of the curriculum aims to give students more practical experience in dealing with legal difficulties in many fields. Complex civil litigation, health justice, international human rights, and the first amendment are all themes covered in clinics and labs. Externships are another option available to students, where they can obtain work experience in a regulated public or nonprofit setting.

While the core curriculum is strong overall, Duke has focused particularly on the fields of business and finance law, international and comparative law, constitutional and public law, as well as fields related to science and technology such as intellectual property, the environment, telecommunications, biotech, and health where there is expected to be a growing demand for lawyers in the coming decades.

How Much Does It Cost To Go To Law School At Duke?

Gaining a Duke Law degree is a wise investment since it opens a variety of employment choices, increases earning potential, fosters leadership potential, and provides access to a large and vibrant alumni network.  However, the school is also aware that many candidates are unable to pay for their own legal education.

Because of this, Duke Law invests a lot of money in scholarship funding to help students who have both extraordinary merit and financial need. These grants make a variety of legal careers available while also helping to defray the expense of your legal school.

Young woman holding her books on a school campus.

We’ll discuss the answer to the query “How much does it cost to go to law school at Duke?” and a quick overview of available scholarships for students.

Law School Budget for 2023-2024 Academic Year – JD

Tuition $74,100
Medical Insurance $3,283*
Health Fee (mandatory) $946
Law Student Activity Fee $150
Graduate Student Activity Fee $38
Graduate Student Services Fee $24
Recreation Fee $360
Transcript Fee (one time only) $120 **
Loan Fees $1,701
Rent & Utilities $13,032
Food $4,086
Books & Supplies $1,406
Personal/Miscellaneous $4,122
Transportation $1,962
TOTAL $105,330

*Students who are enrolled in Duke University programs and who must pay the health charge are required to have sufficient health insurance. The benefits must be comparable to those provided by the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan in order to be considered adequate (SMIP).

**The transcript fee must be paid to Duke University just once.

New law students are eligible for three-year scholarships from Duke Law. All scholarships are awarded based on either merit alone, which is broadly defined to include both academic achievement and a variety of other personal experiences and accomplishments, or on a combination of both merit and financial need. If students maintain a strong GPA throughout their three years of law school, scholarship rewards are assured.

These scholarships are supported by the General Scholarship Fund as well as a large number of donor-funded, honorific-named scholarships, some of which are featured here. The Mordecai Scholarship program offers three to six merit-based, full-tuition scholarships each year. All accepted students are given consideration for the Mordecai Scholarship and named scholarships during the scholarship evaluation process. Thus, neither one requires a separate application.

What Is the Acceptance Rate For Duke Law School?

What is the acceptance rate for Duke Law School? The Duke law school acceptance rate is roughly 10% for this year’s admissions. Unsurprisingly, Duke Law School is among the most competitive legal institutions in the country. For the entering Class of 2026, the Office of Admissions received 6,205 applications; however, only 246 students enrolled.

The median undergraduate GPA for the Class of 2026 was 3.87, while the LSAT median score falls at 170. Your chances of admission are undoubtedly considerably greater if your stats fall within that range since 75% of the class had an LSAT score at or above 172 and a GPA at or above 3.95.

The Class of 2026 at Duke Law is made up of students from various corners of the country and the globe. With a range of 20 to 35 years old, the average age of admits was 24. The enrolled group was composed of 43.5% men and 56.1% women. Thirty-nine percent of the cohort’s students also self-identify as people of color.

The Duke law school acceptance rate pool of students comes from a variety of academic backgrounds. Students pursuing Juris Doctor degrees hold undergraduate degrees in fields such as science, teaching, education, entertainment, the arts, politics, public policy, government, business, technology, sports, and non-profit sector work.

Being accepted to Duke Law School is quite a feat; students can anticipate taking first-year classes with fewer than 30 other participants. Rarely will first-year classrooms have more than 90 pupils.

How Can You Increase Your Chances Of Getting Into Duke Law School?

A candidate’s academic background, including the rigor and breadth of the curriculum, overall grade patterns, any graduate-level work, and test scores, are all carefully examined as part of the application screening process. Prior to enrolling in Duke Law School, a candidate must graduate with a bachelor’s degree from an authorized university to be eligible for admission.

Now, students might wonder, “How can you increase your chances of getting into Duke Law School?” You must look into what attributes or factors Duke considers in applicants. Duke looks for candidates who exhibit participation and leadership. Most successful candidates admitted to the Duke law school acceptance rate exhibit a consistent and significant dedication to one or more of their desired disciplines. Although many applicants have some background in the legal field, this is not a necessity in and of itself.

In addition, a diverse student body that reflects a wide range of experiences and interests is advantageous to the Law School. When they are related to an applicant’s unique experiences, reasons for interest in Duke and law school, in general, are very important.  In order to achieve variety in interests, viewpoints, and backgrounds, special consideration is given when considering applications.

Applicants may be invited to an interview with a committee member if the admissions committee decides that more information would be useful in making a final decision. The admissions committee may choose to give these invitation-only, optional interviews. All applicants are invited to take a tour of the school and can schedule a meeting with an admissions representative for informational purposes only.

With Duke University being ranked No. 5 in Best Law Schools in the US according to US News & World Report 2023 rankings, the low Duke law school acceptance rate is not surprising at all. While this might make some students anxious, you should start preparing early and seek professional help if deemed necessary.

AdmissionSight has over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. Feel free to set up an appointment with AdmissionSight experts today to book your initial consultation.

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