How bad is Michigan State law school?

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chalhou1
Posts: 125
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:14 pm

How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby chalhou1 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:08 pm

I would really like to stay in state and my chances of getting into Michigan are slim. Is MSU really as bad as the rankings say?

midwestls
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:46 am

Re: How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby midwestls » Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:17 pm

MSU is generally on an upward trend. It wouldn't surprise me to see it break into the top 100 in the next 2-5 years.

If you intend to practice firm law in Michigan, MSU generally does better there than its rank indicates. From a recruiting standpoint, Detroit firms tend to look at the area schools as 1. Michigan; 2. Notre Dame; 3. Wayne State; 4. MSU; 5. Toledo; 6. U of D.

Western Michigan firms (i.e. Grand Rapids) tend to rank 1. Michigan; 2. Notre Dame; 3. MSU; 4. Cooley.

If you're a Michigan resident who can't get into UM, and who wants to stay in the area, you'll probably come down to an evaluation involving MSU, Wayne and Toledo. Toledo will be your best shot at a full scholarship, but due to its geography has the weakest ties to Michigan. If the Wayne money is even close to MSU's, you're best off choosing Wayne. If your choice is paying full tuition at Wayne or MSU vs. a half ride or better at Toledo, you should probably give Toledo some consideration.

If you don't want to do firm law, go for the biggest scholarship, period. Toledo has a great prosecutor's program and places very well in Michigan in that area.

If you can get into Notre Dame, that's the compromise choice between UM and MSU - very strong Michigan ties.

NoJob
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby NoJob » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:26 pm

chalhou1 wrote:I would really like to stay in state and my chances of getting into Michigan are slim. Is MSU really as bad as the rankings say?


Seriously, if I had to choose between MSU, Toledo, Wayne, or Cooley for my JD, I would not go to law school. Please reconsider.

However, since you won't, I would stay away from Cooley. As a Michigan lawyer, the most incompetent lawyers I have met are from there. They miss deadlines; ignore procedure; and cant write. It annoys me like no other. That is not to say that all Cooley grads suck, but I feel you have a greater chance of being a subpar lawyer if you went there.

Between MSU or Wayne, I would go with Wayne. Detroit is not that bad. Unless I am mistaken, they have the best Bar rate in MI.

As an FYI, the MI Bar is a joke. Dont waste your money on BarBri. Just get the old exams. The essay questions repeat themselves. They only change the names of the parties involved.

Finally, what should be the ultimate factor for you is cost. Assuming it all goes to hell for you, which school will be the one that gives you the smallest debt load? Pick that school. Remember you cant discharge that in bankruptcy barring exceptional circumstances.

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1394
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:14 am

Short answer: NO. MSU is under-ranked.

Long answer: No, but with more details.

MSU is my alma mater. Having recently graduated, and having worked in the Detroit legal market as a Summer Associate (and soon as a full-time associate), I have an informed opinion of the state schools, based on impressions I get from practicing attorneys and interactions with students.

Wayne is on the decline, IMO. Wayne's Law Review is poorly ranked, while MSU's Law Review is rising in the Law Journal rankings. MSU is at 62. UofM is at 13. Wayne is 173. UofD is 177. Toledo is 142. (http://lawlib.wlu.edu/lj/index.aspx - Select "General" check box to limit search to flagship journals, and click 2009 "Comb" to get the 2009 rankings). What that means is that authors of Law Review articles and Court Opinions cite MSU Law Review articles far more frequently than Wayne or UofD. This suggests that the quality of scholarship put out by the MSU Law Review is higher.

Why might that be? IMO, its because Wayne is far less selective about who gets on Law Review. Wayne's Law Review has a "good faith" write on - i.e., if you have the minimum GPA, and just try the write on, you are on. MSU actually requires you to be a good writer to make law review (unless you grade on by being in top 5%). If you aren't in the top 5%, you might get rejected.

I knew a girl who got onto Wayne's law review, and lets just say I was not intellectually impressed. I mean, Wayne State doesn't even require you to serve two years on the law review! And their Law Review also accepts 3Ls! I've never heard of that. As a future professional in the Detroit market, I know its easy to get on the Wayne Law review, thus, I'm less impressed with the accomplishment. (OTOH - its easier to make Law Review at Wayne).

MSU had the highest MI bar passage rate for the Summer 2009 bar. Second highest for the Feb 2010 bar (which is a different beast due to retakers and such).

As an aside, since you say you want to stay in Michigan. Michigan law firms WANT Michigan ties before they will hire you. Why? Because they KNOW nobody moves to the Detroit area unless they have a preexisting reason to be here. So play that up in interviews. I know of several other MSU Law Review members who were not from here, only came here for school, and OCI was not kind to them. I suspect its because they knew these people were leaving the state post law school.

I truly believe that MSU is under-ranked. The ONLY advantage I perceive with Wayne State is cost - its a state school, while MSU Law is a private school. MSU does offer scholarships based on merit, however. I did not initially have one, but kicking ass as a 1L (THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU NEED TO DO IN LAW SCHOOL) lead to a full ride.

One drawback of Wayne vs. MSU - nobody outside of Michigan has ever heard of Wayne State. EVERYONE knows MSU is a solid Big Ten school.

Do you like to party? Because MSU does - and its not in Detroit, which is itself a plus as far as social life goes. Plus, MSU undergrads love to party, and chicks love law students. So do dudes, I suppose.

MSU Law lead to a six figure job for me. Yes, I'm very very lucky, and yes, I know other students who have not been as lucky, but it can happen.
Last edited by NotMyRealName09 on Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

midwestls
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:46 am

Re: How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby midwestls » Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:54 am

I agree with everything you say about MSU, but you're much too hard on Wayne (and just to be clear, I didn't go to either for undergrad or law school, didn't even apply).

Wayne is very, very well regarded in the Detroit market. Detroit firms are filled with Wayne lawyers, much more so than MSU grads. This is a major factor, because they certainly don't appear to feel Wayne is on the decline and they recruit there heavily. Yes, MSU is on the rise, but it's got a way to go before it's placing grads in Detroit the way Wayne still does.

In the end, they're very similarly ranked schools. As I said above, financial aid/scholarship money should be a major factor if you're choosing between MSU / Wayne / Toledo.

Aqualibrium
Posts: 2011
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:57 am

Re: How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:12 pm

Nightrunner wrote:Just an FYI: Michigan State has a reputation for contingent scholarships, and has been accused of section-stacking. The degree to which these claims are true is not 100% clear, but read MSU financial aid offers carefully.

I also agree that it seems to be on the rise. It would not shock me to find it in the Penn St. ranking range in the next few years.


Practically every school has contingent scholarships, and practically every school has someone who thinks their section was stacked. I think the difference is that some schools have absurd requirements to keep the scholarship like "must be in the top 15%."
Last edited by Aqualibrium on Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

concurrent fork
Posts: 669
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:40 am

Re: How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby concurrent fork » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:18 am

There was a Mich State --> HLS transfer a year or two ago. It can't be that bad.

Aqualibrium
Posts: 2011
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:57 am

Re: How bad is Michigan State law school?

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:23 pm

Nightrunner wrote:
Aqualibrium wrote:
Nightrunner wrote:Just an FYI: Michigan State has a reputation for contingent scholarships, and has been accused of section-stacking. The degree to which these claims are true is not 100% clear, but read MSU financial aid offers carefully.

I also agree that it seems to be on the rise. It would not shock me to find it in the Penn St. ranking range in the next few years.


Practically every school has contingent scholarships, and practically every school has someone who thinks their section was stacked.


Yes, but not every school has dozens of people who believe their section was stacked. Nor has every school been accused of giving out scholarships to 1/2 the class that are contingent upon being top third.


Lots of schools give out scholarships to about half of their class with a requirement of anywhere from top 1/3 to top 1/2. If you're profile is accurate, the only reason you haven't seen this sort of thing personally is because you are a urm with an above 90th percentile lsat. Trust me, it is very common.




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