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Messages - MSP1

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11
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Albany or WNEC?
« on: March 20, 2009, 09:00:54 PM »
McKinley.  Although according to his museum's website, he didn't graduate. 

12
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Albany or WNEC?
« on: March 20, 2009, 02:39:36 PM »
Albany, for several reasons.

1. Capital city.
2. Impressive alumni (Two SCOTUS justices, one POTUS).
3. High NY bar-passage rate (88%).

Good luck.

13
Where should I go next fall? / Re: WUSTL or University of Minnesota
« on: March 20, 2009, 01:41:21 PM »
The U of M is a great school.  So is WUSTL.  Ironically, I've heard the same derogatory comments about both that neither one places as well nationally as their rankings would indicate. 

If you run the table at Minnesota and make connections, you can get an NLJ 250 job in Chicago.  While not totally analogous, a good friend of mine aced his first year at Minnesota and ended up transferring to Harvard.  He's graduating Order of the Coif this spring. 

14
Where should I go next fall? / Re: T4 transfer to T2/T1
« on: March 20, 2009, 01:36:44 PM »
Just looking at your list of hopefuls and considering the difficulty of transferring up, I'd be thrilled with San Diego or ASU and absolutely ecstatic with Hasting or Davis.  Being realistic is important, and I think you are.  Good luck.

15
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 20, 2009, 12:13:46 PM »
Hey, I'll admit it, I set you up on that one pretty well.  You could logically argue that if the USNWR assessments were true, then St. Thomas is producing first, second, and third-year uber-attorneys. 

Nonetheless, here's some food for thought: a state publication, Minnesota Laywer, puts out an annual list of "Up and Coming Attorneys," those people identified as some of the best and brightest in the state that have been admitted to practice less than ten years.  Twenty-five were chosen in 2009, eight of whom went to William Mitchell and one of whom went to Hamline.  Zero were from St. Thomas, although a St. Thomas fellow/adjunct faculty person was selected.

http://minnlawyerblog.com/2009/03/11/minnesota-lawyer-announces-its-2009-up-and-coming-attorneys/

I'd respectfully submit that a Minnesota publication would know more about the quality of Minnesota lawyers than random lawyers and judges from far-flung parts of the country.  Plus, a few posters have already noted just how wacky those USNWR rankings can be... 

Also, if you look at when the lawyers  on this list who graduated from William Mitchell:  As far as I can tell, only 1 graduated after St. Thomas' first graduating class.  That means that the other 7 listed have had more time in the field than any UST grads.  Would you agree with this statement  MSP1?

Some of the William Mitchell graduates have had more time in the industry, but it's something of a hollow argument.  Nominations are open to any attorney practicing for less than ten years.  Therefore, any St. Thomas graduate from 2005 to 2009 was eligible to be nominated.  Caveat: it doesn't mean that those people aren't good attorneys; it simply means they weren't nominated for this award.

An interesting point--the law school with the next largest group of Minnesota "Up and Comers" is UW-Madison. 

16
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 20, 2009, 12:06:41 PM »
From reading this thread, it is clear to me that William Mitchell alums/students feel the need to argue out their superiority, while their school has been around for 100 years, compared to UST's 10 or whatever.  What surprises me is that after 100 years of teaching law, they stuck in the 4th tier (while brand new UST law has surpassed them in rankings)

The University of St. Thomas, itself, is very well respected in the Twin Cities.  That school has a ton of resources to invest in developing their law program.  So, while the statistics certainly fall in favor of WM today, what about 10 years from now?  I predict that UST will have left WM and Hamline in the dust...

These are interesting points to consider.  My earlier posts were a little tongue-in-cheek, but I'll try to answer this one more seriously. 

Regarding whether I personally "feel the need" to argue about William Mitchell's "superiority," I would say that yes, I am interested in presenting to others on this forum the school's admirable characteristics.  It has many of them.  (As do St. Thomas and Hamline, for that matter.  I've worked with students and attorneys from both schools and had generally good experiences.)  I try not to sound too partisan, but in my short time on this and other boards, I've sometimes noticed that St. Thomas cheerleading goes hand-in-hand with William Mitchell bashing.  Turnabout is fair play.  However, I think everyone would agree that the lawyerly thing to do would be to temper rhetoric with facts, which is precisely what I want for this forum.  The point-counterpoint is great, but conclusory statements alone don't help OLs much.       

To your second point--you rightly noted that William Mitchell (in one form or another) has been around for nearly 110 years, while St. Thomas reopened its law school in 1999 and graduated its first new class in 2005 (somebody correct me if I'm wrong).  As everyone also knows, William Mitchell lies in the fourth tier while St. Thomas is in the third.  With those two facts in mind, it's not unreasonable to think, "Hey, WTF with Mitchell?" and conversely, "St. Thomas--impressive."  But for that thought to be true, we have to assume that the U.S. News rankings are an objective and completely accurate representation of a law school's quality.  As they said when we all were studying for the LSAT, "That's a big leap in logic."

40% of the U.S. News rankings, the lawyer/judge peer assessment, are inherently subjective.  If I understand the process correctly, a randomly-selected attorney in Ohio could be asked to rate the quality of the U of M, William Mitchell, St. Thomas, and Hamline on a scale of 1 to 5.  You can see how numbers might not reflect reality ("The U of M?  Well, Walter Mondale went there.  I know one or two other lawyers who went there, and they work in decent NLJ firms.  The U must have a pretty good law school.  I'd say they're a 3.75.")  The other 60% of the rankings, quite frankly, can be "gamed" to some extent by the school in question.  For example, law schools can report 100% employment nine months after graduation by hiring their jobless students at the library.   

Another thing to consider is that the U.S. News rankings have only been in existence since 1989.  Someone at the magazine sat down one day and came up with what he or she believed to be some appropriate measure of a law school's worth, when the vast majority of ABA-approved law schools had already been functioning for decades, and in some cases, for over a century.  The rankings ain't perfect; that's why the ABA doesn't endorse them.  (One could argue that schools coming into existence in the post-U.S. News rankings era have a vastly different set of priorities from the get-go.)

Nonetheless, it would be foolish for any OL, law student, alumnus/a, legal educator, etc. to claim that the rankings don't matter.  Clearly they do, imperfect as they are.  I would simply argue that considering William Mitchell, the quality of its faculty, and the quality of its graduates, U.S. News has it wrong.  If anything, it's a Tier "2" school, somewhere in the 85-100 range.  And IMHO the culprit, surprisingly enough, is the 40% "reputation" portion of the rankings.  Consider this: from 1980 to 2010, the Minnesota Supreme Court will have had six chief justices.  Three were from William Mitchell, two were from the U of M, and one was from YLS.  Let's go back further: from 1960 to 2010, the court will have had nine chief justices; still, the numbers don't change much.  Four were from William Mitchell, four were from the U of M, and then we have the one lone Yalie.  You can argue that political appointments like these are based partly upon luck, but an attorney wouldn't get the nod if his or her skills (and accordingly, his or her legal education) weren't up to snuff.  And if we looked at any other state high court, would you find another "Tier 4" school with similar numbers?  Would you find another "Tier 4" law school with graduates placed in the same position as a T-25 and a T-2 law school, consistently, over the course of many decades?  I guess anything is possible.  If someone wants to dig up the actual numbers, they certainly could, but I think my point is a valid one: William Mitchell doesn't get as much respect as it deserves. 

It's my opinion that the school simply needs to learn, as an institution, how to better market itself.  Under the current ranking regime, it's just a matter of taking additional steps to reflect what Minnesotans and Midwesterners already know: it's an excellent law school that has trained scores of successful graduates.

(Check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Mitchell_College_of_Law for a verifiable list.) 

If indeed St. Thomas plans to leave it in the dust in the next decade--and that's their goal--then that gives William Mitchell ten years to prove them wrong.  That's a discussion I look forward to seeing.       

17
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 15, 2009, 05:46:20 PM »
If you've already made up your mind, NMUZ, then I won't try to change it.  Just wanted to get all sides of the story out there.  Good luck to you. 

18
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 15, 2009, 05:44:01 PM »
Hey, I'll admit it, I set you up on that one pretty well.  You could logically argue that if the USNWR assessments were true, then St. Thomas is producing first, second, and third-year uber-attorneys. 

Nonetheless, here's some food for thought: a state publication, Minnesota Laywer, puts out an annual list of "Up and Coming Attorneys," those people identified as some of the best and brightest in the state that have been admitted to practice less than ten years.  Twenty-five were chosen in 2009, eight of whom went to William Mitchell and one of whom went to Hamline.  Zero were from St. Thomas, although a St. Thomas fellow/adjunct faculty person was selected.

http://minnlawyerblog.com/2009/03/11/minnesota-lawyer-announces-its-2009-up-and-coming-attorneys/

I'd respectfully submit that a Minnesota publication would know more about the quality of Minnesota lawyers than random lawyers and judges from far-flung parts of the country.  Plus, a few posters have already noted just how wacky those USNWR rankings can be... 

19
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 15, 2009, 05:23:29 PM »
And how to respond to cold, hard statistics?  Not sure.  I'd simply say that my list was based upon "conventional wisdom" and not what's in USNWR.  Someone (correctly) pointed out earlier that the Twin Cities legal market doesn't exactly follow what's in the rankings. 

I guess it's just odd (not to mention counterintuitive) to see St. Thomas on top--it's pretty much chronologically impossible for any of their graduates to be partners in any firm anywhere, or higher-level government attorneys, so I can't imagine they've been able to make much of an impression.  Maybe those random lawyers and judges doing the assessment were getting it confused with the St. Thomas in Miami.

And again, out of all the lawyers I've spoken with in the Twin Cities (and in Minnesota), I've never heard these two sentences pass any of their lips:

1.  "St. Thomas is definitely a better law school than William Mitchell."
2.  "Hamline is definitely a better law school than William Mitchell."   

20
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Hamline or St. Thomas (MN)?
« on: March 15, 2009, 04:24:48 PM »
Quote
lol, no.  Only william mitchell alum would think so.

Hey, I'm just repeating the CW.  Most people I ever spoke to regarding the Twin Cities law schools, including the U of M grads, affirmed it.  The only people that would disagree are probably the St. Thomas folks.


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