I've attended undergrad at Madison for four years and lived here for 5. It is a great city with a lot of culture, which is surprising given it's size and relatively little ethnic diversity. There are a billion places to eat and drink (I think it was rated as a mid-size city with the most restaurants per capita in the country). It IS full of college grads. A ton of people I know have no intention of leaving even though they've graduated. It's one of those towns that is full of those kinds of people. Old hippie activists walking about downtown passing out leaflets, a couple of communist coffee shops. Very cold, which is why I want to leave. Oh...it's also VERY liberal downtown. The suburbs not so much, but the campus definitely is. I often see people handing out leaflets advocating the boycott of Taco Bell because of the tomatoes they buy from poorly paid farmers in Mexico. But not everyone's crazy. It has a big city feel for being only about 200,000 people, 300,000 if you count the 5-10 suburbs all around it.
I know this lacked focus, but I hope it helps. All-in-all I love the city, but 5 years is enough for me.
Oh yeah, great local music. Ranked 5th best music scene in the country by Rolling Stone.
So, would it be safe to say that a 24/25-year-old few-years-out-of-undergrad law student could move there not knowing many people in the area and not struggle too much to meet people of similar backgrounds?
Also, does anyone know what % of students at Madison LS come from outside the Midwest, and what % go outside the Midwest to work after graduation? I read that about 48% stay in Wisconsin; do most of the other half go to Chicago or Minneapolis?
I would have to agree that Madison is extremely accepting of all types of people, even though it isn't really all that diverse. I would think that you would have absolutely no problem meeting new people. I want to say that a good percentage of the LS students come from within Wisconsin (less than 50%, but more than 30% maybe? You'll have to visit their web page for these stats.) Like any school, they try to increase their diversity stats, so the law school, at least from what I can tell, isn't as white-bread as the undergrad was for me.
I do know some attorneys that went to the UW and ended up in Chicago and Minneapolis. But if you are thinking of attending school here, one of the serious benefits is not having to take the WI bar. If that isn't a big deal for you, then it's probably not worth staying for that reason alone, but it's still a helluva nice perk. I think the school is pretty well known nationally, so should you choose to go elsewhere, I don't think it should be an issue. But, I'm warning you, once you get to Madison, you may not want to leave. I could definitely see myself moving back here years down the road after school is done and I've got some years of work experience under my belt to settle down and raise a family.