For me, the question that I have for the people on here is, St. Thomas is doing a lot to try to move up in the rankings and become the firm second best lawschool in the state by constructing a new building, hiring good profs, and getting their name out there. What is WM or Hamline doing to compete?
This is an excellent question. I mean really, it gets to the heart of the whole non-U of M law school debate. I can't speak for Hamline, but I'll address your comments from a "William Mitchell" vantage point.
First, I respectfully disagree that having a newer building will help put St. Thomas on a higher plane. For anyone that's ever seen the U of M Law School (I went to undergrad at the U), it's not a sexy building. Maybe it's an interesting building, but certainly not an attractive one. It's like postmodern Soviet-bloc architecture. It's moot anyway because a school's quality has nothing to do with its appearance. Also, please remember that at one time, all law schools had new buildings. I would hope that St. Thomas refrains from continually constructing new facilities, or else it'll look like the Winchester House in California and your tuition will be sky-high.
Second, how do we define a "good prof"? Is it someone who graduated with honors from a T-14 law school? Is it someone with lots of experience in practice? Is it someone who's a prolific writer? The concept of a "good prof" is very open to interpretation. William Mitchell has had some tremendous faculty for a number of years now and they've recently hired equally accomplished ones. Message me if you want details, simply because it would take up too much room to discuss it here.
Finally, we reach the question of marketing. Here, I think we can readily agree that St. Thomas is working hard to raise its profile. Even as a William Mitchell grad, I'll concede that the school doesn't do nearly as well marketing itself as it does teaching law students. There's so much history there that I, along with other alums, feel is left untouched. There are so many interesting, successful people who've graduated from William Mitchell, yet the only people we ever talk about are Warren Burger (no intro necessary) and Rosalie Wahl (first woman on MN Supreme Court). Why is that? I haven't the slightest idea. I bug the Alumni Relations Office about it constantly, just to keep them on their toes. If William Mitchell did more to (1) own its history and (2) promote it, most in the legal community (at large, not just Minnesota) would realize that its regional prestige places it alongside the U of M, UW, and Iowa. (Although Drake doesn't get a lot of love, considering how many federal judges it puts on the bench. Here's some love for the Drake law students out there.)
Here's the final analysis: right now, St. Thomas has more money to burn than William Mitchell. William Mitchell, however, has more prestige than St. Thomas (it's older and has a much longer list of notable grads).
You can't buy prestige, but you can always raise more money.
Thanks for reading.