I visited the school.
The pictures on the Ave Maria website are accurate, however, the building feels more solid in person. The facility is legitimate, and from what I have heard and seen of Tom Monoghan he is very serious about what he does, and he does it well.
The people at Ave Maria are friendly and helpful. Everyone I met had a smile or a nice attitude. The building was also well staffed for the summer.
The support of three people closely connected to the Supreme Court seems to indicate that the school has the kind of support necessary to develop a reputation. The dean, Dean Dobranski, is well spoken. He seems to garner quite abit of respect from others.
The school board have under advisement the possibility of moving to Florida at some point, but have officially decided to stay in Ann Arbor for the current school year at least until the subject comes under further advisement.
The schools approach to Catholic education, a tradition with a strong showing in US law schools, is a novel one. Rather than preach Catholic morals and then teach law, they aspire to integrate Catholicism into the law and the law school experience. It feels like a more modern and trendy approach to the tradition.
Some points that may make or break the school:
-How they interact and coordinate with UM down the line
-How students respond to Catholicism truly integrated into law
-How many good students they continue to attract
I am optimistic about the school. From the time I first found out about the school it has just made a more and more solid reputation with me. They talk the talk and walk the walk. Have faith brother.