I had never heard of AM until last week, when they sent me a fee waiver. I did a bit of research on the school and found some weak and strong points.
Of all the ABA law schools, Ave Maria has the highest acceptance rate at 62%. Second place? William Mitchell College of Law (MN) at 55%. These are just numbers, but it doesn't look good in the eyes of potential employers. On the other hand, like you mentioned, they do very well on the MI bar. They've also got tons of money laying around for some reason - according to USNews they give out more fin. aid than every law school except for Michigan State and Loyola. You asked for non-Mich. perception; from what I now know, I think it's a school on the rise. Good luck!