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Messages - MSP1

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: St. Thomas vs Hamline
« on: April 20, 2009, 07:02:29 PM »
Take my word for it: your future employers won't consider how much school debt you carry a dealbreaker (it's actually quite irrelevant).  Do the research, OLinMN, and make the decision for yourself on which school will give you the best prospects.  Good luck.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: St. Thomas vs Hamline
« on: April 20, 2009, 11:52:30 AM »
If intellectual property law is what the OP want to do, then I recommend that the OP does his/her damndest to see if William Mitchell will give him/her any money.  It's completely logical to attend a school with a great program in the area you'd like to practice. 

If Mitchell won't budge, then I wouldn't blame you for choosing UST.  I simply don't think it'll necessarily help your career prospects in your preferred areas of practice.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: St. Thomas vs Hamline
« on: April 19, 2009, 07:03:53 PM »
It's good to see that this new thread is bringing some old friends back together. 

Despite what NMUZ says, I won't demand that you go to William Mitchell at sticker when your other options are UST or Hamline for free (and I'm an alumnus, not a current student).  Having been a practicing lawyer in the real world for a couple years, I understand that getting a full scholarship is a significant inducement.  However, based upon your preference for practice area, I think William Mitchell deserves consideration.  Everything I said earlier about the school's IP program is true--the Intellectual Property Institute is a serious initiative designed to attract the best and brightest.  They established an IP clinic last year and will have an IP LL.M. by the time you graduate.  I just don't think the subject is as much on the radar of the other two schools. 


Choosing the Right Law School / Re: St. Thomas vs Hamline
« on: April 19, 2009, 05:39:34 PM »
So Hamline and St. Thomas both gave you full scholarships, but you got nothing from William Mitchell?   ???  What happened there?

Two things:

1.  Tell William Mitchell about your offer from UST.  See if they're willing to offer something.
2.  William Mitchell does great work in IP.

The U.S. Patent & Tradmemark Office chose William Mitchell--based upon the strength of its IP curriculum--as one of six schools to participate in its pilot program allowing law students to practice before the agency.

You'd be working primarily with Ken Port and Jay Erstling.  Port is a two-time Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Tokyo University, a consultant to the Jordanian government on unfair competition and trade secret legislation, and a winner of the Ladas Memorial Award (given in recognition of the best scholarly article on IP in the world).  Erstling is a former advisor to the Director General of the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization and the former Director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, both in Geneva. 

There's a lot more, but it'd be easier for you to just read about it yourself.  Check it out on William Mitchell's website:

Hope that helps.

Someone who goes to WUSTL can correct me on this, but my guess is that you need to be considerably higher in class rank than the median to get a BigLaw job in a top market.  If I had to guess, you'd have a "good shot" if you were 25% and above.  Maybe 20%.  On the other hand, if you consider a job that comes with a $75K - $100K salary decent enough, then you'd might be ok in the median. 

As far as debt repayment goes, just do what you can do at the moment and try not to worry about being able to pay everything back in ten years (very few people can).  That means consolidating from year to year during law school and possibly using untouched funds (if there are any) towards the interest accruing on your principal.  The interest is what kills, especially for private loans without fixed rates.

While I was at Mitchell, I knew three students who "transferred up"--two went to UMN and another went to W&M.  Unfortunately, I have no idea whether it was ultimately more beneficial to their careers or whether it helped them obtain more national exposure.  All I know is that it's possible.  According to data compiled by, Mitchell graduates are heavily concentrated in MN and WI, followed by CA and FL.  Anecdotally, I know there are also a fair number practicing in Washington, D.C.  I'd recommend checking out the data that the site has for WUSTL as well.             

It's ironic that you want to focus on Native American law, as William Mitchell has made a big deal of hiring two full-time NA law specialists beginning 2009-10.  One has pretty impressive credentials (Order of the Coif, Michigan) and the other has already been a visiting prof at the school for the past academic year.  (Regardless, as unfamiliar as I am with WUSTL, I'm certain that their professors are equally well-credentialed and probably more experienced.)

More information would help here: do you actually want to work in BigLaw?  If so, going to William Mitchell would limit you to those NLJ 250 firms based in Minneapolis, barring some pre-existing personal connection outside the state.  From what I've heard, WUSTL can place students not only in Minneapolis, but also Chicago, St. Louis, Madison, etc. 

On the other hand, if you don't care about working in a big firm, and would rather do something akin to legal aid-type services, then perhaps choosing the cheaper option is better for you.     

First and most important question: what do you want to do with your law degree?

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 28, 2009, 10:56:57 AM »
I guess I can't believe Bosox is a practicing lawyer because he gives such facile advice.  Take it from another practicing lawyer: the U.S. News Rankings are neither an infallible method of measuring law school quality nor an absolute predictor of employment success.  By this guy's logic, you've absolutely screwed yourself by choosing Albany Law (Tier 3) over Buffalo-SUNY (tied for 100). 

Anyway, NMUZ has already made the decision to go to UST.  Some of us are simply responding to his legitimate questions about other law schools in the Twin Cities.  If you don't like the thread, don't post here.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 26, 2009, 01:51:40 PM »
From NMUZ:

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.   

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 26, 2009, 01:25:04 PM »
1) We have heard a lot of back and forth concerning whether UST will definitively be the 2nd best law school in the State in 10/20/30 years.  I think there is a very good possibility that UST will pass up both Hamline and WM by a substantial amount eventually.  However, assuming that I care about getting a job upon graduation in 2012, will UST have made a big enough move by then to make a difference? 

2) If your answer to question one was "no," can you think of any GOOD reason (not prettier facilities or better TC location) that I'd want to pay about 21k more over three years to go to UST over WM?  Or 38k for UST over Hamline?

3) Does anybody think that hiring a new dean (Donald Lewis) and Hamline's recent rise in the rankings, means they are moving up in stature? 

4) People have obviously shown that WM grads take up a majority of the position in the large TC firms.  However, does anybody think that, with new hiring managers replacing those that started when Hamline was the "new" law school, that we'll see firms looking more to the rankings rather than just taking it for granted that Mitchell is better?  The same goes for alumni... on paper WM has 15k versus Hamline's 5k and UST's 600, but how many of those WM alumni in Minnesota are older... meaning going to be replaced/retire soon.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the schools report anybody that is still alive, not just those still practicing... so how many are over 65 and already retired. 

5)  Right now, w/out living expenses, my options are Hamline at 0k, WM at 17K, and UST at 38k, over three years.  Does anybody want to fight for Hamline with those numbers?  If so, please explain.  If you think WM or UST, no need to reply to this question. 

I wanted to wait to answer until others chimed in.  With the caveat that I'm a little bit of a William Mitchell partisan, here's what I think.

1.  No.  We often forget the very big picture, which is that William Mitchell and St. Thomas are basically identical number-wise.  Same median LSAT, although Mitchell has a higher median GPA.  That isn't going to change much by 2012.  St. Thomas can hire more professors, but so can Mitchell.  I know Mitchell has two new profs coming next fall.  If a neutral third-party compared the two, there wouldn't be many objective differences.  St. Thomas students won't be magically shutting William Mitchell students out of jobs (and probably vice versa; if someone really wants to hire a St. Thomas alum, that's their prerogative).

2.  No. There's no good reason to spend more to go to St. Thomas than to spend less to go to William Mitchell.  In fact, I can safely say that you'd be making a big mistake if you did.  (And I'd also say it's debatable whether or not downtown Minneapolis is a better location than Summit/Grand Avenues in St. Paul.)

3.  No.  I've met Dean Lewis and he's a terrific person, intelligent and well-respected.  Still, I overheard his conversation with others after the new rankings came out putting Hamline in the third tier, and even he was shocked by the bump.  He couldn't explain it and neither could anyone else.  The CW in the Twin Cities legal community is that it was a fluke. 

4.  Other posters have pointed out that hiring partners in the Twin Cities don't take the U.S. News rankings as gospel.  In fact, it's why so many were left scratching their heads when Mitchell moved to the fourth tier and Hamline to the third in 2008.  It didn't make sense and many assumed it was just some kind of mistake.  As for Mitchell, it puts out basically the same number of graduates each year, around 300 or so.  It's been doing that for quite some time.  It also places about the same number of students in BigLaw, MidLaw, and so on each year.  This leads me to believe that even though some Mitchell graduates are indeed old and considering retirement, there are thousands more out there that aren't.  For example, the managing partners at Robins Kaplan and Fulbright & Jaworski in Minneapolis are William Mitchell grads, having graduated some twenty-odd years ago, and they're still going strong.

5.  I won't fight for Hamline with the numbers, but a free legal education ain't bad at all.  You may want to consider it.         

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