Minnesota/Wisconsin Job Market

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dpb081
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Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:42 am

Minnesota/Wisconsin Job Market

Postby dpb081 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:20 am

Looking to stay in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area and I'm an older student with a family, so debt is a big consideration for me.

I'm considering major scholarships from all three of MSP's third tier schools, (St. Thomas, Hamline, William-Mitchell) and am waiting to hear back from the UofM, UW-Madison, and Iowa.

So a) is there a big difference between the three third tier schools when it comes to job prospects in the MSP area, do any of the three stand out, and b) how would you decide between T20's like the ones above and major scholarships to third tier schools?

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota/Wisconsin Job Market

Postby minnbills » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:56 pm

Of the three you mentioned WM is definitely the stand out. I think it's TT now by the way. WM proponents are usually quick to point out that there are more Mitchell graduates in the Minnesota judiciary than from any other school. That said, employment prospects are still really tough in MSP. From what I understand, there isn't much of a biglaw market here and grads from all schools are struggling. The genearal pecking order for MSP is: UMN, WM, and a tie between UST/Hamline.

UST is a really new school with a lot of financial backing. However, it's supposedly quite conservative. I spent my freshman year of undergrad there and did not enjoy the experience because of the biased curriculum. I couldn't say what the experience in law school is like there though. Some lawyers I've talked to (older, established ones) are upset with UST for crowding the market.

For what it's worth, I have an aunt who is a corporate executive (former legal dept.) at a major corporation here in the TC who told me they just hired a bunch of new Hamline grads, so you can definitely get jobs from anywhere. But getting a job at an actual firm is no small task.

From what I understand, most law grads in the TC don't get law jobs, with UMN being the major exception.

Hope that was helpful.

MinnesotaBigLaw11
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Re: Minnesota/Wisconsin Job Market

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:49 pm

I am a biglaw attorney in Minneapolis. Feel free to PM me if you like and I can tell you a little more about the Minnesota market.

Essentially, this is a pretty small legal market with only a few big firms and a number of large companies. You'll quickly find the local job market to be pretty competitive. What most law students at the local schools don't realize is that they are not just competing with each other, but also students from the big coastal schools who are looking to return to Minnesota.

So here is a quick rundown of schools in the area:

Minnesota - probably the top school in the area. The school is very attractive for local residents and people who can obtain reciprocity. The alumni network is good, but not something to rely on (few are). The school has great professors. While most people consider it overrated, it is a good school. Employment placement is not what it should be, however. Generally, you are going to need to be in the top 10-15% in order to get a biglaw job or a federal clerkship. This is fairly onerous compared to other similarly ranked schools in Los Angeles, Boston and New York, where firms go deeper into the class.

Iowa/Wisconsin - This is probably the next level of school. They are not local, but feed well into the Twin Cities market. They have good reputations and their graduates enjoy fairly good placement stats at big firms. Generally, these schools will require the same perecentage for top law firm placement, top 10-15%. I personally would never go to a school in such suburban or rural areas, but I hear the law schools have great environments and the cost is worth it if you are in state. Not sure I would take on much debt though for a degree from these schools, as your rate of return is going to be low.

UST/WM - This is the next level of school. WM is the older school with more alumni in the area, while UST is the up-and-comer with significant money behind it, a beautiful campus and a slightly better reputation these days. You really will have to be in the top 5% or top of your class from either school to get a biglaw job in the cities, so most grads go to midlaw (25-250 attorney firms). You should go to whichever gave you more money. Given equal money, I would probably go to UST given its stability and better job placement stats. That, and WM has a tendency to fall into the 4th teir every year or so. I was not suprised that it jumped out from the 4th tier, but it is probably overrated given my experience with the school, its alums and the fact that my firm has not hired a WM alum in a while.

Hamline - probably the bottom of the Minnesota schools, job placement is difficult out of Hamline. It doesnt have the history of WM, nor the reputation and money of UST. I don't think I would attend this school on even a full scholarship. Many go into government work or public interest work.

To give you an idea of how outside schools are also in competition, here is the summer associate class for my firm last summer in the Minneapolis office:
Minnesota - 6
Chicago - 3
Michigan -3
Wisconsin -3
Iowa -2
Northwestern -2
University of St. Thomas -2
Boston College -1
George Washington - 1
Last edited by MinnesotaBigLaw11 on Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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minnbills
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Re: Minnesota/Wisconsin Job Market

Postby minnbills » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:29 pm

Minnbiglaw, thanks for your detailed response.

Do you know anything about the hiring practices at some of the corporations in the area? For example, do they draw from schools in the same order?

MinnesotaBigLaw11
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Re: Minnesota/Wisconsin Job Market

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:05 pm

No problem. I actually don't know much about Minnesota corporations hiring practices out of law school. Usually, people go in-house from a large firm. The top firms who do the top work for the largest companies in the state usually end up referring associates around the fourth or fifth year to companies for placement. The companies get experienced attorneys with complex legal backgrounds, while the firms obtain a good connection with the legal team at the company. This is usually a win-win.

I know that some companies hire students out of law school, but to be honest, I don't know much about that market. I didn't go to one of the law schools previously discussed, which would have given me a little more knowledge about the subject.

dpb081
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Re: Minnesota/Wisconsin Job Market

Postby dpb081 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:03 pm

MinnBigLaw, Thanks, this is very helpful and exactly what I am looking for.




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