Law School Discussion

Avoid Wayne State

Avoid Wayne State
« on: April 24, 2008, 09:57:57 PM »

Unfortunately, the problems at Wayne go far beyond Dean Wu.  (I hope his replacement is good, but I know he's a 2d choice--their 1st choice turned them down)  Six faculty members left this year or are leaving at the end (including two of the school's best teachers)--they will be lucky to replace 2 of those 6, because good young profs don't want to go there.  There are only 1 1/2 clinical profs for the whole school.  The school fell into the 4th tier last year.  It has returned to T3, but it is now well behind MSU, and is unlikely to catch up. Much as I hate to say it, Wayne is now the #3 school in MI.  The real problem here is that Wayne's program is far out of date.  Law firms want to hire lawyers who are ready to practice "out of the box."  They don't want to spend years training lawyers who come from schools that stress theory to the exclusion of practice.  MSU has gotten with that program (and UDM has done so with a vengeance!  Go to their website and read the story the Wall Street Journal did on them).  Wayne's legal writing program is 10 years old, and there are not enough clinical/pretrial ad courses for everyone, or even for most students.  Its profs have heavy publishing obligations.  They are very bright (and some of them are quick to let you know it), but their obscure law review articles don't help you practice law.

Over many years, Wayne was the unquestioned #2 school in MI.  Also--its tuition used to be 1/2 of the other schools.  It was a great bargain, and it has many proud and successful alums, which will help you in future job searches.  But it is now #3 in US News, and won't catch MSU.  The dynamics are against the school. 

Last point: if you tell MSU and UDM that you are serious about WSU, they'll usually give you $ to make up the tuition difference.  Then make your choice on the merits.
Truly last point, as many posters have noted: the customer service at UDM/MSU is much better.  Wayne's people in admissions, etc are fine, but they are grossly understaffed and have been for years.  I doubt it will change


Wayne State's new dean is coming from my law school.  He is a pompous, arrogant man.  I would avoid going anywhere where is he located.,104032.30.html

As for faculty running for the exits at wayne, they are, and anyone w/ ties to the school knows it.  There are plenty of open slots @ wayne, and the school can't fill them.  People are leaving faster than they can be replaced, and many who are leaving are v good (Litman, Moran, Bambauer and Davidoff, just to name a few.  Family law prof won't be far behind, of course.  If Hall and Peters are still there in 3 years, I'll buy you lunch anywhere you like).  It's true that wayne tries to get coverage by hiring 'people w/ a look' when they can't fill the slots w/ perm folks, but that just highlights the problem--they can't find people to come for good.  When the 'lookers' leave, that's still a slot they couldn't fill from a year or 2 b4, and have to try (probably in vain) to re-fill again.

I keep in close touch w/ several current students and faculty members.  (I hear the word 'demoralized' a lot.) Everyone is glad that we're TTT again, but we're a lot farther down the list than we were before the fall, and everyone knows it.  MSU is ahead of us, and that won't change.  UDM is getting great press b/c it is committed to teaching students how to practice law (nuts and bolts), and serving the community at the same time.  Check out their website, or just read the  News/Free Press.  Wayne has a v tiny clinical program, LW is only 2 semesters and ungraded (its 3 and graded at many schools), and there aren't enough pretrial ad courses to come close to making up the difference.  Wayne is offering a solid version of legal ed 2000, but it's now 2008.  It's time to get w/ the program (teaching practical skills), and wayne hasn't budged.  It has a great rep, much deserved in its day, but if you read the posts here and on other sites, you'll see that people are starting to see that the rep does not match the (current) reality

I spoke to a 3L last week who said this (paraphrase): When I came here, I thought I was coming to a school that was T3, about to go to T2 (that's what admissions told me).  I figured I could apply outside of Det from a T2.  It cost $10-12K less than the other schools in the state.  I had a 170 LSAT, and I turned down $ from MSU to come here.  Wayne jacked up the tuition as soon as I got here, we fell to T4, and even now we are behind MSU.  MSU has a better rep, more schools come to their OCI, both in and out of state.

WSU2--I'm glad you're still drinking the kool-aid.  But a lot of current students and recent alums are PISSED OFF. The school better recognize that

(If they weren't so pissed off, you might have scraped together the $ for that glittering new building by now.  If the shovels go in the ground by '09, you'll be lucky.)

I might add: the customer service complaints that have appeared on these boards for a long time are still here.  All that extra tuition ($7K in the last 3 years?  Maybe $8) hasn't changed any of that.  People still can't get their calls returned, or get answers to Qs, on and on.

Final point: I had a lot of complaints above, and the only one you disputed was (what you claimed was) a slight miscount in the # of profs leaving.  That makes it pretty clear that even a 'slappy' would admit that what i'm saying is true.

Please reply again, and i'll tell you more.

Next post:

Thanks for the reply, and I agree w/ much of what you say, so i hope we can shake hands here.  Re the faculty: I agree there are a few more profs listed on the website than a few years ago.  That won't be true after everyone leaves in May.  But even if you were right: my beef (and not just mine) is that the law school jacked up tuition $5K per year, plus more for inflation, etc, a few years ago on the pretext that it would hire lots more faculty, which would raise fac/student ratios, and that this master plan would push us into T2.  But the school has not been able to fill all of these extra slots, b/c we hire folks w/ great credentials from the east coast who went to east coast law schools and have no connection to SE MI and leave as soon as they can.  The master plan did not work b/c we are now deep into T3 (behind MSU, as you seem to acknowledge by silence).  But--current students are still paying the higher tuition, and getting nothing for it.

The great thing about Wayne used to be that it was so cheap compared to the other MI law schools.  Literally 1/2 the tuition of MSU and less than 1/2 of UDM.  You could go to wayne, leave w/ low debt, and do the kind of work that made you want to go to law school in the 1st place: civil rights, crim defense, prosecutor's office, AG, whatever.  Small law.  Many wayne grads are solos soon after grad, and enjoy the freedom.  (Sorry Big Law lovers, but you'll hate your life soon enough)  It was a great opportunity school for people of modest means.  Now it costs almost as much as MSU/UDM, and if you tell those schools that you are considering WSU, they'll instantly give you $ to make up the difference (which ain't much), which means that basically there is no cost advantage at all. When a state school offers no cost savings over private schools, something is wrong.

I'm also worried about the long term.  Firms want students who are ready to practice law as soon as they graduate.  They aren't willing to write off hours while newbies serve an apprenticeship, carrying briefcases as in the old days.  The ABA (of course!) is pushing law schools in this direction, and most are following suit.  Look at UDM's website.  Their dean has brought partners from Wall Street firms to the school to simulate a law firm environment in year 3, and Wall Street firms are paying some UDM grads $160K to start b/c they know how to practice law.  Do you appreciate how ridiculous this is???  Wall Street firms are taking UDM grads over Ivy grads b/c they know what the hell they are doing, and can start billing on day 1. This would never happen at wayne--the profs would burn that dean at the stake if s/he suggested bringing practitioners vs. researchers into the school.

I'm not saying that wayne should remake itself to send grads to wall street.  But wayne should teach its grads to practice law from day 1, as other schools are doing. When you took civ pro, did you ever see pleadings?  When you took family law, did you learn what to ask a couple w/ no kids to draft divorce papers?  Did you see divorce papers?  If you took bankruptcy, could you file a simple one?  I expect you took corps--could you incorporate a business?  If the answers are no (and they are), and you are paying $22K a year for a 'legal education,' then what are you paying for??

Here's a hint: you are paying for your profs, who are often unavailable during their meager office hours, to write law review articles on subjects that interest them. 

I agree w/ you, WSU2, wayne's profs are studs.  If I had a Q re an obscure area of law, I'd call a WSU prof b4 MSU.  No question.  I suppose it's good for a segment of the practicing bar that WSU students are spending big $, and taking on big debt, to support WSU faculty who want to research the minutiae.

Great deal for them, (and us) but what about their students?

Sorry to repeat, but: reply again, and I'll tell you more.

Goodnight & goodluck

Re: Avoid Wayne State
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2008, 10:35:13 PM »
I wish I had heard all this b4 I applied.  I'm not having a bad time here.  I like my classmates, and I know I am learning a lot.  But I am worried about where the school is headed, and what my degree will be worth.

I always heard that Wayne State was basically a T2 school in MI that fell to T4 as a fluke.  We are now back to T3 (thank god!!!).  But I keep hearing that even in T3, we are behind MSU.  Anyone know if this is true??  That's not what I was told when I accepted.

I hear a lot of talk about transferring--to MSU/UM.  What #s you need to do this?  Is it even a good idea?