Law School Discussion


« on: May 10, 2006, 07:57:00 AM »
Hey all!

Before you blast me, yes I realize they are both tier 4 schools :)

I posted this topic on the pre-law side awhile back, but am looking for feedback from current students as I try and make a final decision.  I would love to hear any input you all may have on these two schools or on the characteristics of each that I have listed below and the importance they should play in my decision.

Low-down on me: late 20s, married, 10 month old, engineering background, looking to stay in Minneapolis area after graduation, not interested in big-law. 

First up...William Mitchell

-  HUGE alumni base (10k+...4k+ listed in
-  Warren Burger as an alumni
-  Wonderful clinical programs
-  "Practical" approach to school (i.e. their rep is that they teach you how to actually practice law rather than theory)
-  Flexible scheduling (PT, FT and PT day after the first year)
-  Great career services team
-  Recently got a large endowment
-  Very reputable legal writing program
-  Summer in Excellence Program for incoming 1Ls
-  Large selection of classes
-  Strong employment and bar passage rates
-  Went to their Admitted Students Day and didn't see many "happy" people
-  Large school and sections --> high student to faculty ratio
-  Older facilities
-  Most professors are adjunct (this could be a pro or con, but I listed it as a con since the professors are rarely on campus)

Next, University of St. Thomas

-  Now ABA approved
-  Lots of excitement around their program
-  Large local alumni base OTHER THAN from the law school
-  Caring professors and administration
-  Students all seem very happy
-  Mid-terms given to balance grades
-  Strong employment and bar passage rates
-  Awesome, brand-new facilities
-  Three core classes during first semester instead of four (pro or con?)

-  Just got ABA approval
-  Lower selection of classes
-  Small number of law alumni
-  Unestablished

Any thoughts from the panel???  Thank you in advance...

« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2006, 09:44:34 AM »
I am considering Mitchell too.  I don't think the majority of Mitchell's faculty is adjunct.  They have around 35 full time profs.  Yes, they do use adjuncts for certain upper level classes, but the quality of these people is quite high.   I am not sure I would classify their facilities as older, their recent renovation makes them quite nice I thought.  Certainly it is not as brand shiny new as St. Thomas, but when I think of old and dingy facilities, I think Hamline, not William Mitchell.  I am curious to here more about the fact there are not many happy students there.  I didn't necessarily get that vibe, though it did seem fairly driven and stressed out in a standard law school way.  I am sure compared to St. Thomas it is more stressful since there are more full tuition payinf students, it has a higher private sector bent, and does not have the coddling mid term system that STU has.  St. Thomas's stock is certainly on the rise, but it hasn't yet proven itself.  I think it first needs to overtake Hamline before it can try to overtake William Mitchell.  How well is St Thomas law school integrated with their other programs?  Those connections will be crucial in the lack of an alumni base. 

« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2006, 10:17:53 AM »
Thank you for your reply fener.  Your feedback was great.

Keep in mind that my pros and cons were in comparing the schools (i.e. WM’s facilities are much “older, etc.)  On the faculty question…their Website listed 36 Full Time faculty and over 200 (I stopped counting at 200) adjunct and affiliated faculty which had me concerned since I hadn’t seen such high numbers at other institutions, but like I said is also a pro since they have strong ties to the legal community.

I am very glad to hear that you didn’t get the “unhappy students” vibe!  That is great news, as it is a large concern for me.  Did you go to one of the Admitted Students Days?  That was where I was when I (and another fellow LSD’er) got that feeling – BIG time.  I am truly glad to hear that you did not feel that way.  Anyone else on this subject?

Also to fener, great question on the connection between the law school and St. Thomas’s other programs.  They do have a strong connection with the other graduate schools – including business – but I’ll have to look in to it more. 

Fener – what are your other “pros” for WM?  Thanks again-

« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2006, 12:47:32 AM »
Sorry, I just saw the bottom of your post where you asked for additional pros.  I would say you hit on the major ones.  I would probably add that William Mitchell's use of adjuncts is probably a pro for a lot of upper levels.  I have heard the quality of people they bring in is very high, and it goes along well with their practical skills approach.  Additionally this provides some good networking in that your profs for certain classes are established members of the Twin Cities legal community.  One other con is that they only have one law journal, which surprises me really.  Also keep in mind when you say that St. Thomas has good employment rates, the question is where are they employed?  I know they claim a slightly higher bar passage rating than Mitchell right now, but the school still needs to prove itself.  Saint Thomas seems to be attracting similar firms to OCI's to an extent, but  more are likely to hire Mitchell grads.  Even the Saint Thomas career service office website seems to be more public service oriented, and this might be in part due to that is what is easiest for STU grads to get.  Perhaps the heaps of money they have will help them go tier 3 like all the speculators are saying, but this will be some time from now.  I really think if Mitchell curbs enrollment a bit they should bounce back to tier 3 where they have historically been. WM seems to be the safer bet, even if Saint Thomas is the shinier building.