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.