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Messages - WSUAlum1

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21
I have to disagree w/ louiebstef.  T3 covers a lot of ground--from 100 to 142 or so.  That's a huge range.  Would you tell a prospective law student that there's no difference between a school ranked 20 by US News, and one ranked 62?

In many parts of the country, 0Ls are choosing between 2 or 3 different T3s.  I'm pretty disappointed (tho not surprised) at the quality of information given to 0Ls by admissions depts.  The admission staffs at T3s in a competitive market will tell potential students that 1) their school has a better reputation among local practicing lawyers than the other local T3s, and 2) they are just about to break into T2.  (How do I know?  B/c I'm a former lawyer who teaches undergrads, and that's what all of them tell me).  Students have no way to judge the reliability of these competing and contradictory claims.   Given that schools are already fudging their employment numbers (and they are!), and that students are making $100K+ investments to go to law school, I think they deserve to see some objective measure of differences between T3s (even if that measure is imperfect).

I'd agree that there is little difference between a school ranked 105 and one ranked 109, but students are smart enough to know that, which makes it harmless to publish the rankings of closely-ranked schools.  But there is a real difference in reputation and job prospects between schools ranked 107 and 130 in the same market.  Students deserve to know if the gap is that large.

22
Acceptances / Re: Better job opps in Midwest - U of Toledo or MSU?
« on: May 31, 2010, 09:36:41 AM »
Probably MSU.  About 1/2 of its students come from out of state, and likely return to their home states, which creates a pipeline of alums.  Also, if you check lawschoolnumbers.com, you'll see that MSU gets a lot more firms from NY/CA/DC to interview there. That's not a perfect measure of 'out of state respect,' but it's not bad, either. Still, Toledo is a good school, very student-centered, and is gaining respect among larger Detroit firms.  Sadly, those firms aren't hiring much these days.

Hope this helps some.

23
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Ohio State Moritz Law School
« on: April 27, 2009, 07:46:19 AM »
I think you mean: "Who's going?"

Your legal writing teacher is going to have a ball w/ you.

24
You do NOT want to live in Detroit in a house that costs $10K.  There are good neighborhoods in Det, but they are pretty pricey, and have few rentals.  The exception would be areas w/ large homes that have 'carriage houses'--separate buildings on the grounds of a large house, originally built for carriages/horses/staff.  Many of those carriage houses have been converted to apartments, and they can be cheap.  There are few of 'em, though, and you'll have to work to find them

Better alternative is to rent 1/2 of a house w/ a friend.  Parts of Ferndale can be reasonable, and you'd be able to walk to several nice (& not too expensive) bars/restaurants.  Cheaper alternative is Hamtramck.  Great bar culture, lots of tumbledown duplexes, and cheap.  If I were a 20-something looking to go to law school in Det, that's where I'd start looking.

Write me off post if you want more info

25
I'm a Michigander, so don't know re TJ, but bet UDM & Cooley, you have to go to UDM.  I won't dis Cooley as much as others on this board--there are good grads from every school--but Cooley's 'claim to fame' (so to speak) is that anyone w/ a college degree can get in.  If you go there, people will assume you could not get in anyplace else.  OTOH--UDM is a respected school, it has a terrific Dean, and its reputation will only get better over time.   

26
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Holding at 2 Schools? Legit?
« on: May 18, 2008, 04:27:54 PM »
Nothing immoral about more than 1 seat deposit, IMHO.  But here's some info that might be of interest.  B4 June 15th, law school admissions people can find out real time how many of their admittees have seat deposits at other schools.  LSAC will tell them (eg): of the 275 who have given you deposits, 120 have deposits elsewhere, too.  On June 15 or so, LSAC releases names and schools.  So: after 6/15, each admissions director knows the names of every 'seat depositor' who has deposits elsewhere, and where those deposits are.  At that point, you'll likely start to get calls asking for what you're thinking, how you are leaning etc. 

One poster above notes that some people hold multiple places til the end, and that is true.  But understand that many 0Ls need to move to a new city, find a place to live, figure out transportation, etc.  If you don't release your slot til the last minute, dorms might be full, and the wait list person who gets a call may have to live off campus.  Would you like to be figuring out which neighborhoods are safe to live in, have good bus routes to the school, etc in a city you don't know 3 weeks before classes start?  I can't give you a magic day when holding multiple deposits becomes mean/immoral, but I think you can see that the golden rule comes into play here.  Suppose there was a school that is a little better than the best one you are in now.  Surely there's a point where, if you got the call from that school, you'd say: I'd prefer to go there, but it's not worth the hassle.  Sure wish I'd've heard a week ago.  Plenty of people are in that position, and you (or the child of the people you spoke to) should show some consideration.

27
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Wayne State v. Michigan State
« on: May 16, 2008, 04:31:21 PM »
Hi BFB:

Thanks for the reply.  Not to get too "back in my day . . . " but this is why LSD is such a great resource.  10-15 year ago, information was very limited about law schools, and what you could find was all pretty biased.  Stuff on this board is biased, too--I know I have mine--but at least people can collect a lot more data points.

I think we largely agree about OCI.  Only about 10% or so will get to do the dress-up interviews.  For the rest, if you've been in the world for a while and have interviewed for jobs, etc, you can handle the search on your own.  But I also know from folks in a couple of OCIs that the 'straight out of undergrad' types often need a lot of hand holding (not that anyone would admit to it).

As for reputation: for years Wayne had the reputation it had in large part b/c it got better students.  There was a large gap between the qualifications of wayne's students and  the other MI regionals.  That gap was very evident in bar passage rates (wayne would routinely best the UM students who stayed in MI).  The gap has almost disappeared bet wayne & MSU, (which was why I mentioned the 'common admits') and those of us who work here and use law clerks have noticed.  It's not that the wayne kids have gotten worse, but the others have gotten better.  Time was, people would hire a wayne student, almost regardless of grades.  not any more.

Working in a local firm, prosecutor's office etc is pretty much a must for students, as I mentioned in my earlier post.  Without that sort of practical experience, and a recommendation from someone who practices, you'll be way behind.  You'll find quickly that, consciously or un, you will be competing with the other clerks.  Being well prepared for the experience goes a long way.  It is true that at any school you'll often be unable to get into the skills course you want. But another one will often do for acquiring the skills you need (even if you might have preferred a clinic focused on one area of law vs another).  But if you can't get into any at all, you'll be at a disadvantage.  I'd advise anyone looking at a regional school to find out what resources are committed to skills training.  Also worth checking to see if schools have caps on how many you can take.  You won't want to take a huge number of course (still have to 'cover' the bar stuff), but some faculties have a stronger prejudice against them than others.

I agree w/ your emphasis on money and debt.  People should absolutely shop their deals around.  Some students are aggressive about it, but too many are not.  you are right, BFB--there are too many law schools in MI, but the good news is that the schools compete aggressively for students w/ lasts/gpas above their means.  Prospects should tell all their serious schools what they are getting in loans and grants from everyone else. (No bull, in case they ask for the letter).  You'll often find that the more favorable "advertised price" isn't the lowest price for you.  Happy hunting.

It's Ok to be "personal," BFB.  I'm the tip of the iceberg of disappointed members of the extended wayne community, and we're pretty unapologetic about it.  You are right that w/r/t other schools, I know only 2d hand.  There are satisfied and dissatisfied students at every school, and maybe I'm running into a particularly chipper bunch from MSU/UDM.

Brings me to my last point, which circles around to the first.  Prospects need to get as much information as they can, and 'sanctioned' tours by the law schools are often little better than the 3D equivalent of the brochures.  Most schools have some summer classes.  Drop by the schools, tell the students you meet that you are deciding between law schools, and you will get a lot of good information.  Most students will give you the good and bad.

OK--there's this too.  This is one of the better articles I've read about the topics we've been discussing, BFB.  If it sheds any light for anyone else, so much the better.  (Check out the chart at the end about schools giving out lots of scholarships.  You'll see MSU, and also U of Toledo)

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1207904889498

Time to bill a few hours. 

28
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Wayne State v. Michigan State
« on: May 16, 2008, 12:25:46 PM »
Hi BFB:

Thanks for getting in.  I agree w/ a lot of what you say.

First, it's true that only about the top 10% of students will get jobs through OCI.  Check out the OCI websites, and see what qualifications the firms demand b4 they'll even talk to you.  OCI can help in other ways--giving you advice on resumes, cover letters, some have interviewing workshops, and they have info on which firms practice what.  But in the end, 90% of students will direct their own job searches.  In this regard, customer service does matter.  If you have to wait 3 weeks to meet someone to discuss any of the above issues, you'll be pretty frustrated

Most T3 and T4 students get permanent jobs by serving an apprenticeship.  They clerk for local firms during the school year, those firms like their work, and they get hired on.  Even if the firm has no room, you have at least impressed some local lawyers, who will act as your advocate/reference, and maybe even pass your resume around.  Believe me, that sort of reference is worth way more than the pro forma letter you'll get from a prof who gave you an A.

For this reason, practical training in law school does matter.  Smaller firms want you to do real work, not some made up memo assignment that's just a test.  They want someone who can write complaints and answers, and esp SD responses, or SD motions.  A knowledge of local motion practice and local court rules goes a long way to making yourself useful to a local firm.  If your civ pro class was taught entirely out of the fed rules and a case book, your learning curve will be awfully steep.  If you've taken a clinic or 2, and some pre-trial ad that focused on state and local rules, you will be a much more useful apprentice, and will improve you odds in the way I discussed above.  When a school is not staffed w/ enough people to provide a clinical/pre-trial experience, that's a problem.

Good point about scholarships.  They have gpa requirements which students too often ignore.  If you had a 3.7 in UG, and get a scholarship conditional on a 3.25, you'll likely think it'll be a breeze.  Well, everyone else on the same scholarship also had a 3.7 UG gpa, and about half of you will fail to keep your scholarships.  (the scholarships are there to get you in to boost a schools USNews #s.  Once you enroll, it does not matter to the school if you fail to retain.  That's just more $ in the scholarship pool to attract next year's crop of rankings-boosters)  Get hard #s on the % of students who keep their scholarships, but for most schools 1/2 is the 'sweet spot'--enough to encourage the incomings that they will keep theirs, w/ enough fail-to-retains to hire next year's class

Rankings w/in a US News category (esp T 3 & 4) are not hugely significant in themselves, but trajectory is.  You need to consider what your degree will be worth when you graduate in 3 years, and when you want to make your first job move 5 or so after that.  A T3 that is near the top and climbing, and a T3 near the bottom and falling are 2 very different animals.  Many med sized out of state firms will only interview T2 and higher (you're right, in my experience--out of state larger firms won't talk to a T3/4 student no matter what.  They have their own regional schools that they know and trust).  Reputations don't move much in a year or 2, but over 5-8 years they can move a lot.  MSU is a case in point--as the old DCL, it was regarded as clearly inferior to WSU.  That just is not true any more.  Used to be 80+% of 'common admits' went to WSU.  May not be even 50% now.

You are so right about the relationship between scholarly output/reputation, and teaching ability for profs.  The best scholars are often the one w/ the least time to devote to teaching.  Other profs get tenure, give up on the publishing rat race and dedicate themselves to teaching.

I also agree about Toledo.  I know some profs, and have talked to a few students there.  If you can get in state tuition, it is a bargain.




29
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Suffolk vs Wayne State
« on: May 15, 2008, 09:24:41 PM »
Oh:

grading curve for 1L is something like:

20% A and A- max, 40-45% Bs, 30-35% Cs, rest Ds and Fs. 1L median is just below a 3.0.  3.5 is usually top 10%.  Things ease up in 2 and 3L, like everywhere.

30
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Suffolk vs Wayne State
« on: May 15, 2008, 09:18:40 PM »
I've posted about Wayne quite a bit.  It is really struggling.  Check out this discussion for the major issues:

http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php/topic,104032.30.html

You could also hit my link for recent posts.  They'll tell you a lot about where Wayne was, and is now.  It's not a happy picture

In general: Wayne used to be a borderline T2 school.  It is now deep into T3 (tied for 125th in last USN rankings).  When Wayne was the unquestioned #2 in MI, it attracted good students from the region, and had good employment prospects.  Now things have 'tipped,' and MSU will likely be in T2 in a couple of years, and I fear for where the school is going.  They just hired a 2d choice Dean after choice one turned them down.  He's from Willamette (tied for last in T3).  I don't expect any miracles.

On your other issues: housing, etc will be cheaper in Detroit, but we've been in a recession for at least 3 years, and local employment prospects are very grim.  Unless you finish quite high in your class, you'll really have to hustle.  As for student life and fun, Wayne is a commuter school, and you will not find the walking distance social life that you'd find in schools w/ large #s of students on campus (not that you'd want to walk much after dark anyway).  But if you have some street smarts and a car, you can live in some moderately priced suburbs about 15-20 mins away.  There are good bars and great music in Detroit, and once you get a feel for the place, it is much better than advertised.  If you are a sports fan, we've got the '4 majors' and I'll bet the tickets are way cheaper than Boston.

Frankly--I'd be more worried about where the school is headed than I would about living here.

You can write me off-post.  I'd be happy to tell you more.

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