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1
Wayne State / Re: Anyone here go to Wayne or planning on going?
« on: July 06, 2011, 01:27:25 AM »
I know this thread is old, but sad to say nothing has changed.  The customer service at Wayne is still every bit as bad as the posters up-thread have said.  It's not b/c the folks in Fin Aid and Admissions are evil, but those offices are badly understaffed compared to normal law schools.  If you decide to go to Wayne, get used to it.  Same story at Career Services. When u r a 2 or 3L and need help with your job search, just do it yourself.  If you understand going in that it's all on you, you'll b better off.

2
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: April 07, 2011, 10:59:31 PM »
Hi FJ:

1. Federal and state employers generally did not do on-campus interviews at Wayne when I was there.  Notable exceptions were the MI Court of Appeals, and Wayne Oakland and Macomb Co prosecutors.  People who got jobs at state and federal agencies typically did so by applying on-line, or taking internships that the agencies advertised thru want ads.  Plum jobs (like US Attorney positions) generally go to graduates of name brand law schools, but there are lots of jobs still available to T3 and T4 grads who can demonstrate good skills, including people with good but not great grades with good recommendations.  I know a number of people who have gotten administrative law jobs in various agencies (writing draft opinions for ALJs, say).  The money isn't eye-popping, but the hours and benefits are good.

2.  People mean different things by "biglaw."  Some use the term pretty narrowly (the Vault 100, say).  I'm using the term pretty loosely to include firms of 100ish or more lawyers in big cities, even outside of NY/LA/Chi/DC.  To my way of thinking as someone from a T3/T4, those are big firms--the biggest that students from a school like mine have any hope of getting into.  Firms like Dykema, Miller Canfield, Honigman, Clark Hill, etc will send people to do on-campus interviews at good regional schools (WSU and MSU, eg.)  These firms pay well--starting salary is $110-$120K, but they don't pay like Wall Street or DC firms, where starting salaries were $160K+ a few years ago.  Your friends at Jones Day would have done better at Cravath.

3.  Wayne students are not in the hunt for jobs at the major NY firms, and I think that is largely true of any T3 and T4.  University of Detroit, a T4, had a very innovative program started by a Dean who was a Harvard Law grad.  He divided the 3d year class into law firms, persuaded partners at very prestigious  NY law firms to come to the school as 'senior partners,' and had the students handle mock cases from beginning to end like real lawyers.  You can read about it here:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117988156447211549-search.html.  As a result, he was able to place some students from his T4 school at top-of-the-line firms in NYC.  This program is really the old 'exception that proves the rule.'  Other than this program, even the best students from T3s and T4s can forget about prime Wall Street jobs.

Glad to hear that you want to start your own firm.  I recommend that you begin talking to other solos as early as you can--before or during your first year even.  Find out what courses you should be taking, and what skills you have to acquire.  Most young solos do not know enough about motion practice, (too many Civ Pro courses are taught out of the Federal rules, but few young solos will practice in Fed court), don't know how to secure appointed work (criminal, family law or probate), how much money they need to start a practice, what technology they need, what kind of library/on-line research materials they will need, and what courses they should take to prepare them for the kinds of cases that solos typically get.  They don't appreciate the importance of good retainer agreements (or where to get one), what software they'll need to keep track of their expenses--the list goes on and on.  Also--most solos start in 'space-sharing' arrangements, but few young lawyers know about these arrangements, how to secure them, of what terms to expect/demand. 

The best advice I could give you is to find some solo attorneys and ask for as much advice as they will give you.  Most will give you plenty.  If you don't know who to contact, call the state bar.  There will be a special section of the bar dedicated to solos/small practices.  That section of the bar will have a chair, vice chair and other officers who are prominent and successful.  Call one who lives near you.  Tell him/her: "I'm a dumb law student who has always dreamed of having my own practice.  Please let me buy you lunch someplace cheap, and let me ask all of my dumb questions, and please tell me all the things you wish someone had told you when you were at this stage."  Lawyers are busy, so you may endure a few cancellations, but a lot of lawyers will be willing to help you.  But don't wait til second semester 3d year.  DO it now, while you can still put the advice to good use.

Good luck!!

3
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: April 07, 2011, 04:07:55 PM »
Interesting question, and a good answer will take a little parsing.

Let's think about the kinds of jobs that many/most students at a T3/T4 imagine (or hope) they'll get when they go to law school.  Jobs in a law firm, located in a downtown area, w/ their own office, sharing a secretary, making $100K or more.  Firms that offer jobs like that use the OCIs at law schools that interest them, they schedule interview days where they send a partner and associate from their hiring committee, they interview the folks they like after looking at transcripts/writing samples, and they hire the most promising 2Ls for a summer, and then make job offers to the ones who suit them.  Maybe they go thru the same process for 3Ls to fill out their new hire classes.  It is pretty unusual for a law student to send a resume to Dykema or Miller Canfield or Honigman and get a job w/o going through that process.  (Laterals are different)

But--at a school like Wayne, no more that 10% or so of the class will get jobs that way (and that's when I was there, before the economy crashed--probably fewer now).  Most students will get jobs by clerking at small law firms (1-10 lawyers), or government agencies (prosecutors offices, eg).  These opportunities often come through Career Services, but not the formal OCI process where students dress up for in-house interviews.  Career Services offices typically have a wall (and a page of their websites) of "help wanted" ads for small firms looking for clerks.  Students not in the top 10% or so do a resume drop on those firms and agencies and get clerking jobs as 2 and 3Ls.  Students will work 15-20 hours a week during the school year, and more in the summer.  If you do well, you may get hired full time when you graduate, or at least you'll have a real lawyer who will hand out your resumes and recommend you to his/her colleagues.  So--a fair number of students get jobs 'through' career services, if you include the want ads, or word of mouth referrals from people who used the want ads.  But very few get jobs through the formal OCI process, at least at T3s and T4s.

Another common way to get jobs is through your friends/classmates, who are working someplace and are told that the lawyer/firm needs help.  Your friends might set you up before a firm even places an ad.

But at T3s and T4s, many students end up doing what they never would have imagined--after a long failure to get a law firm job, they hang up a shingle and go to work.  The unfortunate thing is that most T3 and 4 schools will never acknowledge that lots of students take this tack, b/c they don't want to admit that many students will pay $80-100K in tuition and not 'live the dream.'  So--schools don't prepare students for the possibility.  Students are not practice ready, they aren't  told which classes to take to start on their own, they haven't been given information that would help them set up a firm.  They don't know about 'space sharing' arrangements or how to negotiate them or what to look for.  Most Career Services offices give very little help to this (growing) chunk of students.

Does this answer your question??


4
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: April 07, 2011, 12:51:43 AM »
Hi FJ:

You're right.  The most recent U Toledo #s are

16 employers at OCI

and only 1 from NY/DC/CA

(see lawschoolnumbers.com)

Ouch!  Very low numbers for a school that was flirting with T2 just a couple of years ago.

I still stand by what I said upthread--Detroit employers are impressed w/ the top of the UT class.  But the school as a whole has fallen fast.


5
BTW--Here’s a comparison between Wayne and MSU re: your Career Services options.
Here are the firms who will come to campus looking to interview.  The #s below are from
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/

MSU:
53 firms
12 from NY, DC and CA

Wayne:
39 firms
4 from NY, DC and CA

6
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: April 04, 2011, 08:38:40 PM »
BTW--Here’s a comparison between Wayne and MSU re: your Career Services options.
Here are the firms who will come to campus looking to interview.  The #s below are from
http://lawschoolnumbers.com/

MSU:
53 firms
12 from NY, DC and CA

Wayne:
39 firms
4 from NY, DC and CA

7
I can't believe you wrote back!  My last bit of advice was so off the mark, I hope you take everything else I say w/ the appropriate grain of salt.  FWIW, here I go.  Let's start w/ background.

Here are the 2010 numbers (a year old) for Wayne Law's entering class: http://www.law.wayne.edu/admissions/jd/2010incomingclassprofile.php.  At the bottom of the page, you can see a link for the 2009 #s.  What you'll see is a lot of 'slippage' between the two years.  Applications were down over 10% from '09 to '10, but Wayne accepted more students in '10 than '09.  So--'selectivity' fell from 37% in 2009 to 43% in '10.  You'll also see that while LSAT scores stayed the same by quartile, GPA fell in each quartile.  (Compare to their major competitor MSU, and you'll see Wayne's predicament: http://www.law.msu.edu/admissions/standards-profile.html)

Note that all of this bad news predates the latest US News rankings, where WSU is mid T3 (#121), while MSU is now T2 (#95) and moving up quickly.  (http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings).  These rankings came out just as students are starting to make their choices for next year.  I expect Wayne is a little under the gun.

What this means for you:  In spite of the above, I don't expect Wayne to improve its 75% offer.  You are above W's median for LSAT, but below for GPA (barring a real catastrophe in this year's class).  You are in the same position re: MSUs numbers, tho farther below the GPA median, so I'd expect MSU to offer you something, tho more like 25% or so.  That's where the hard choices start.

PLEASE double check this, but I think Wayne has a very high GPA requirement to hold a merit scholarship.  I think the requirement is 3.25.  Understand that law schools in general like it when students fail to retain their scholarships--they get your numbers as a 1L for US News purposes, and then they can take your money and give it to someone else next year for the same purpose.  Schools typically like 50% of students not to retain.  I don't mean to be snotty, but most of the people who will get merit scholarships in Wayne's 1L class had higher UGPAs than you did.  If you pick Wayne, you need to be ready for the possibility that your scholarship will disappear after the 1st year.  Or--you need to be ready for the possibility that you will have to eat, sleep and poop law morning noon and night to keep your scholarship.

Again: PLEASE double check this, but I think MSU's scholarships are contingent on a 3.0 GPA.  That is a much more 'makeable' figure--just above the median in a typical 1L class (maybe top 40-45%).   Depending on what assumptions you make about retaining or not retaining scholarships, the price difference between Wayne and MSU may be a lot or a little.  I'll leave those assumptions to you, but I'd advise you to be realistic.

Finally, think about how well your law degree might travel.  Everyone in SE Michigan knows about Wayne State, and in spite of all the 'slippage' noted above, Wayne retains a strong reputation among judges and lawyers in Detroit and adjacent counties.  But MSU has a strong reputation in other parts of the state, and beyond the state boundaries as well.   About 1/2 of MSU's students have been coming from out of state for a while, and they are creating a pipeline back to their home towns.  If you think you might want to leave this state, that pipeline might be valuable.  I'd contact the Career Services offices at both schools, and figure out how many out of state firms interview there.  Not a perfect guide to 'out of state respect,' but not a bad one either.


8
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: March 31, 2011, 12:43:44 AM »
Hi FJ:

That 3 to 5 number is pretty solid.  It's worth noting that Wayne's typical entering class is now around 200 students (down from 230-240, b/c the faculty wants to squeeze the class to raise GPA/LSATs for US News purposes), so 3-5 is only around 2%.  It's also worth noting that the top of Wayne's (and now MSUs) entering class was a UM undergrad w/ a 3.5 UGPA and a 165 LSAT and a good personal story who was wait-listed at UM, so those folks are largely indistinguishable from the last folks who made the cut at UM.  By and large, they are going to Wayne for free.  They have to give up a dead certain law review gig and lots of professorial attention (research assistant, glowing letter of rec from a locally well regarded prof) at Wayne in exchange for the privilege of paying $40,000 a year and being a second class citizen at UM.  But almost every Wayne student who gets the nod from UM will jump at the chance.




9
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: March 30, 2011, 02:26:10 PM »
Hi FJ:

Interesting point about graduates in a bust who get 'skipped over' when things improve.  I think there is something to that.  But I also suspect that lawyers are unlike your typical undergrad (and UGs are the focus of the study you cite, and most others I've seen).  Lawyers hang around the periphery of the profession, getting some work, making contacts, sharing space, getting a few appointments and (esp!!) learning motion practice.  The skills and connections they pick up on the periphery distinguish them in important ways from the newbies, who are clueless re all of the above.

I agree that when Dykema decides to hire again, it'll skip the '09 and '10 unemployeds and grab this year's articles' editor.  But big firms employ a tiny percentage of Wayne's class.  Most of Wayne's students will go to firms of 3-15, or government jobs, or in-house at small companies.  In those settings, the ability to practice from day one--to file pleadings and motions, take deps, etc--will count for a hell of a lot.  Wayne does not teach those skills, and has no interest in doing so.  When the market picks up, lawyers who know these things will have the edge in the types of jobs that Wayne students (and other T3-T4s) typically get. 

You may be right, and it may be that folks entering law school now will skip over the ones who graduated earlier and will have career paths that will justify their large debt loads.  But it's not a gamble I'd want to take.

To answer the question at the end of your post, almost all Wayne students are Michigan residents, so their transfer destination of choice is UM.  In a typical year, after the 1L grades come out, about 3-5 will transfer.  You need about a 3.7 to be confident of a transfer (that's top 5% or so) but  I've heard of kids with a 3.5 getting in (and that's more like top 10%).   People don't typically look at Ohio State or Notre Dame.

10
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: March 26, 2011, 01:49:28 PM »
Thanks for asking! 

I'm doing OK, thankfully, but there's a big difference between weathering an economic storm with a client base and a reputation, and stepping into the same economic storm w/ a fresh degree and no experience.  Right now, there's a two year backlog of people who graduated and could not find jobs.  Some have taken appointment work, or gone into document review, or taken bar and restaurant jobs. A few are tearing up the local comedy club circuit, either in standup or improv.  (And from what I can tell, the comics are learning skills that will probably come in very handy if things ever turn around).  But people thinking about going to law school today should understand that when they get out, they'll be standing in line behind the ones who have graduated before them.  I would be reluctant to spend $75-100K to go to a law school like Wayne that has a pretty good reputation in only one city--a city that has lost 25% of its population in the last decade, and may be the 'anchor' of one of the most economically depressed regions in the country.  I'm not a Detroit hater--there are lots of interesting opportunities in this region, and I'm here to stay.  But freshly-minted lawyers have a very hard way to go here.  My advice, FWIW: either get a degree that will travel, or do something else.

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