UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Which would you choose?

UMN
26
57%
William Mitchell ($$)
1
2%
St. Thomas ($$$$)
19
41%
 
Total votes: 46

alumniguy
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby alumniguy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:23 am

youngbuck wrote:Here's what I would like to know. Let's say that I get a biglaw job in MN. Then after 2, 3, or 4 years I want to move (to the west coast, east coast, DC, whatever). Does it matter what school I went to, or only how I did as an associate at the law firm. If the law school I went to matters, then it seems to me that there is a tremendous difference between a school like UMN and St Thomas when leaving the midwest.


My limited experience suggests that experience trumps law school (although firms will likely pay attention to both). Lateral hiring is COMPLETELY different than entry level hiring in so far as their is a much greater emphasis on your skills/abilities than on your pedigree. You're pedigree will only get you a foot in the door (and likely, if you're coming from a biglaw shop that will also be sufficient to get you in the door - although moving up the prestige food chain would likely be much more difficult unless you have great pedigree and/or stellar grades). Landing a lateral job will require that you have the right skill set for the firm and you actually know what you are doing. Although, having MN vs. St. Thomas on your resume would be a big benefit as well. But, after 2, 3, or 4 years out, if you aren't in biglaw in MN, then it will be extremely difficult to land biglaw in another market (or ever for that matter).

I would imagine that moving from a secondary market (i.e., the Minneapolis market) to a major east/west coast market is going to be very difficult. You're going to have to convince them why you decided you want to move there. It is much easier moving to a smaller market because typically you get great experience working biglaw in major markets. That and you can sell it as you want to move back home or settle down for good, want a better work/life balance, etc.

You're right that if you WANT to move away from the midwest, then MN is a much better choice. It is far more national than St. Thomas (a local school producing graduates for the local market). I would still argue that MN is regional, but you're going to have a MUCH easier time moving to the coasts with a MN degree vs. a St. Thomas degree.

desrea777
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby desrea777 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:58 pm

Thank you everyone for the excellent feedback and information. I did leave out a few details that I should have included...

Debt load after 3 years:
St. Thomas: $35k (living expenses for years 2 and 3, year 1 living expenses covered by GI Bill stipend)
UMN: $90k (Tuition + living expenses for years 2 and 3, year 1 tuition and living expenses covered by GI Bill & stipend)

I'd like to be a public defender, so my starting salary out of either school will be less than 45k if what I've researched is correct. That may make the prestige of the school slightly less important as well? It looks like both schools have nearly identical starting median salaries for public sector careers. That said, I'd still like to have my options open for private work should I decide to do that.

I plan to remain in MN for at least the first few years out of school, but could very well move after that.

Again, thanks for the inputs - I made my deposit at St. Thomas, but still haven't heard from UMN so we'll see, it's going to be a tough decision.

desrea777
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby desrea777 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:03 pm

minnbills wrote:It pains me to say it (I'm a WM fan) but I have yet to hear an attorney or adcomm or whoever with strong knowledge of the market deny that UST is now a peer of WM. There is another thread in the "discuss your lawschool" section where a mnbiglaw attorney talked at length about the market here. I would go find that for extra info.

That said, I know that UST is really conservative. Both undergrad and the LS. If you'll have a problem with that, you might want to think twice- though it would have to be a big problem to warrant the extra debt. But it's food for thought.

I also hear that there's not much of a biglaw market here. While the job prospects at UMN are easily the best, $100+ extra in debt seems hard to swallow given that only a small number of UMN people get those jobs anyways.



I was, and am somewhat still, concerned about the "conservative" aspect of UST. That said, talking to some current students has helped, as their student body seems relatively diverse in many aspects. Do you think the conservative side of things affects everyday student life? Is it mostly the professors or the student body? Does it affect how things are debated or discussed to a large extent? I know their undergrad experience tends to be pretty conservative, I guess I thought a lot of that would taper off at the post-grad level. Thanks!

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geoduck
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby geoduck » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:03 pm

desrea777 wrote:Thank you everyone for the excellent feedback and information. I did leave out a few details that I should have included...

Debt load after 3 years:
St. Thomas: $35k (living expenses for years 2 and 3, year 1 living expenses covered by GI Bill stipend)
UMN: $90k (Tuition + living expenses for years 2 and 3, year 1 tuition and living expenses covered by GI Bill & stipend)

I'd like to be a public defender, so my starting salary out of either school will be less than 45k if what I've researched is correct. That may make the prestige of the school slightly less important as well? It looks like both schools have nearly identical starting median salaries for public sector careers. That said, I'd still like to have my options open for private work should I decide to do that.

I plan to remain in MN for at least the first few years out of school, but could very well move after that.

Again, thanks for the inputs - I made my deposit at St. Thomas, but still haven't heard from UMN so we'll see, it's going to be a tough decision.


Under 6 figures either way... and you desire to work in the public sector (IBR+loan forgiveness) and you aren't sure you want to stick to MN for the long run? If you get in, UMN all the way.

desrea777
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby desrea777 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:06 pm

ptrpostma wrote:OP look at the thread from MinnesotaBigLaw11 below

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=146346&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

While waiting for the U of MN to get back to you, I would chose UST or WM, and I myself have done so as well. While UST is a younger school, only ten years old, it does have the alumni base from its undergraduate university. Tommies in Minnesota seem to stay together and help each other out. Becasuse of this alumni network UST has also been able to build an endowment that is larger than either the U of MN or WM in the past few years. This endowment is enabling UST to continue to buy off professors from other higher ranked schools and enrich its own program, as well as enticing in students who have higher GPAs and LSAT scores. Both I am sure will continue to do so in the coming years. Additionaly UST's mentorship program forces students to start networking from the first semester. It also helps that UST is connected to major Minneapolis law firms through the skyway network in downtown Minneapolis especially when it is -10 degrees out in the winter.


Yeah I think UST's endowment is going to be a huge asset for them to move up the rankings - I know William Mitchell has struggled getting $$$$ in recent years. You have a good point about the UST community being extensive once you factor in undergrads and non-law post grads. Thanks for the forum link, I'm looking at it now..

alumniguy
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby alumniguy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:07 pm

desrea777 wrote:Thank you everyone for the excellent feedback and information. I did leave out a few details that I should have included...

Debt load after 3 years:
St. Thomas: $35k (living expenses for years 2 and 3, year 1 living expenses covered by GI Bill stipend)
UMN: $90k (Tuition + living expenses for years 2 and 3, year 1 tuition and living expenses covered by GI Bill & stipend)

I'd like to be a public defender, so my starting salary out of either school will be less than 45k if what I've researched is correct. That may make the prestige of the school slightly less important as well? It looks like both schools have nearly identical starting median salaries for public sector careers. That said, I'd still like to have my options open for private work should I decide to do that.

I plan to remain in MN for at least the first few years out of school, but could very well move after that.

Again, thanks for the inputs - I made my deposit at St. Thomas, but still haven't heard from UMN so we'll see, it's going to be a tough decision.


This is all key information. The biggest factor is that you want to be a public defender. To me, that would push St. Thomas to front of the line. Although, 55k more for MN is NOT a lot either. However, both of these schools will probably get you to a public defender job.

I would caution you on the focus of the medians. Schools can (and likely) do a lot of things to manipulate this number (e.g., stop harassing those students that the school is pretty confidant doesn't have a well paid job so that those students don't show up in the salary statistic). If you looked at the 2009 transparency numbers, MN actually has significantly higher private salary numbers than St. Thomas.

Congrats on making your deposit and good luck with MN.

desrea777
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby desrea777 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:10 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:OP, are your WM and St. Thomas scholarships contingent on your GPA? Or is it only a matter of maintaining good standing? I don't think you can assess your question without knowing the expected value of your scholarships and estimating your total cost of attendance at each over three years.

Even then there frankly isn't that much great information available. But there's some stuff you can use. On a related note, what do you want to do with your degree, both immediately after graduation and beyond?


My St. Thomas scholarship is contingent upon GPA, but you only have to maintain a 2.0, so hopefully that won't be a problem. I'm planning on being a public defender if I can find a job, and as for debt loads, I'd be looking at, worst case scenarios, 35k at UST and 90k at UMN.

alumniguy
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby alumniguy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:13 pm

geoduck wrote:Under 6 figures either way... and you desire to work in the public sector (IBR+loan forgiveness) and you aren't sure you want to stick to MN for the long run? If you get in, UMN all the way.


Are you serious? You're suggesting that some take out an $55k in loans just to got a more prestigious institution? No way. Not everyone is as prestige focused as most on this board. In what world would ANYONE pay $90K vs. $35k if they wanted a job that only pays $45k? It doesn't make financial sense at all.

Also, I was under the impression that the benefits of IBR+loan forgiveness requires 10 years of public interest work? (I am not on expert on this though.) OP says s/he may want to move to the private side after a few years. So if OP decides to move to private practice after year 5 and makes 75K, then IBR is gone.

This board is obsessed with prestige.

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geoduck
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby geoduck » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:28 pm

alumniguy wrote:
geoduck wrote:Under 6 figures either way... and you desire to work in the public sector (IBR+loan forgiveness) and you aren't sure you want to stick to MN for the long run? If you get in, UMN all the way.


Are you serious? You're suggesting that some take out an $55k in loans just to got a more prestigious institution? No way. Not everyone is as prestige focused as most on this board. In what world would ANYONE pay $90K vs. $35k if they wanted a job that only pays $45k? It doesn't make financial sense at all.

Also, I was under the impression that the benefits of IBR+loan forgiveness requires 10 years of public interest work? (I am not on expert on this though.) OP says s/he may want to move to the private side after a few years. So if OP decides to move to private practice after year 5 and makes 75K, then IBR is gone.

This board is obsessed with prestige.


IBR does not require public interest, but the 10 year loan forgiveness requires it. If OP were to move to the private side and make 75K, he could afford to switch to standard payment OR keep paying IBR at a higher rate for 30 years until it is forgiven. The public interest work also does not need to be consecutive. So if he was IBR while doing public interest, switched to private, and switched back to public interest, whenever that PI time hit 10 years his loans would be forgiven. And if he wants to move outside of town, that UMN degree is going to be far more valuable.

Furthermore, yes. I am suggesting he take $55k more out in loans to go to a more prestigious university with a far bigger alumni network spanning the entire country. You had a point when the number was a fictional $100k more, but $55k is a very safe bet. If it does pay out to him getting a better private job, it'll more than pay itself off. If he ends up with the same public job he would have gotten if he went to St. Thomas, the government will forgive it all the same.

alumniguy
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby alumniguy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:41 pm

geoduck wrote:IBR does not require public interest, but the 10 year loan forgiveness requires it. If OP were to move to the private side and make 75K, he could afford to switch to standard payment OR keep paying IBR at a higher rate for 30 years until it is forgiven. The public interest work also does not need to be consecutive. So if he was IBR while doing public interest, switched to private, and switched back to public interest, whenever that PI time hit 10 years his loans would be forgiven. And if he wants to move outside of town, that UMN degree is going to be far more valuable.

Furthermore, yes. I am suggesting he take $55k more out in loans to go to a more prestigious university with a far bigger alumni network spanning the entire country. You had a point when the number was a fictional $100k more, but $55k is a very safe bet. If it does pay out to him getting a better private job, it'll more than pay itself off. If he ends up with the same public job he would have gotten if he went to St. Thomas, the government will forgive it all the same.


I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I stand by the argument that for someone looking at a public defender position (a position that does not have a ton of competition comparatively speaking) with a max salary of 45k, it makes no sense to pay anything more than you need to pay to get the job. You're reliance on alumni networks are unjust. I don't see alumni networks providing any significant boost to future employment, certainly not enough to warrant 55k. The whole "alumni network" angle on this site is pretty fascinating and completely unwarranted.

The prestige of MN MAY warrant choosing it over St. Thomas, but for OP, it doesn't.

Had OP wanted private sector, I would suggest MN is likely better alternative. However, the stated desire to be a public defender doesn't warrant that extra 55k in debt.

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geoduck
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby geoduck » Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:49 pm

alumniguy wrote:
geoduck wrote:IBR does not require public interest, but the 10 year loan forgiveness requires it. If OP were to move to the private side and make 75K, he could afford to switch to standard payment OR keep paying IBR at a higher rate for 30 years until it is forgiven. The public interest work also does not need to be consecutive. So if he was IBR while doing public interest, switched to private, and switched back to public interest, whenever that PI time hit 10 years his loans would be forgiven. And if he wants to move outside of town, that UMN degree is going to be far more valuable.

Furthermore, yes. I am suggesting he take $55k more out in loans to go to a more prestigious university with a far bigger alumni network spanning the entire country. You had a point when the number was a fictional $100k more, but $55k is a very safe bet. If it does pay out to him getting a better private job, it'll more than pay itself off. If he ends up with the same public job he would have gotten if he went to St. Thomas, the government will forgive it all the same.


I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I stand by the argument that for someone looking at a public defender position (a position that does not have a ton of competition comparatively speaking) with a max salary of 45k, it makes no sense to pay anything more than you need to pay to get the job. You're reliance on alumni networks are unjust. I don't see alumni networks providing any significant boost to future employment, certainly not enough to warrant 55k. The whole "alumni network" angle on this site is pretty fascinating and completely unwarranted.

The prestige of MN MAY warrant choosing it over St. Thomas, but for OP, it doesn't.

Had OP wanted private sector, I would suggest MN is likely better alternative. However, the stated desire to be a public defender doesn't warrant that extra 55k in debt.


Except that, if he stays as a public defender, his actual debt paid is no different between the two because of government programs. UMN gives him a better choice between public and private and better opportunities should he skip to private. Just to restate, if he completes school and still decides to work in the public interest, he won't pay a dime different between UMN and St. Thomas. If that doesn't matter to you, then yes, we shall agree to disagree.

alumniguy
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby alumniguy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:14 pm

geoduck wrote:Except that, if he stays as a public defender, his actual debt paid is no different between the two because of government programs. UMN gives him a better choice between public and private and better opportunities should he skip to private. Just to restate, if he completes school and still decides to work in the public interest, he won't pay a dime different between UMN and St. Thomas. If that doesn't matter to you, then yes, we shall agree to disagree.


You clearly have never had significant loans hanging over your head, am I right? $100k is a ton of debt to live with for the 25 years it takes for the debt to be forgiven through IBR. I ran the calculation and at 90k at 7.9% interest rate and a salary of 40k, OP would be required to pay 300 a month (which is weird b/c that means s/he will still have paid 90k in payments over 25 years).

Mentally, having that much debt for 25 years is a lot to stomach. It will also affect OPs ability to get other types of financing in the future (e.g., home mortgage loan).

Again, going to the best school is NOT ALWAYS the best option. Here is a perfect example where OP should stray from the pack and attend a school on a full tuition scholarship.

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geoduck
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby geoduck » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:40 pm

alumniguy wrote:
geoduck wrote:Except that, if he stays as a public defender, his actual debt paid is no different between the two because of government programs. UMN gives him a better choice between public and private and better opportunities should he skip to private. Just to restate, if he completes school and still decides to work in the public interest, he won't pay a dime different between UMN and St. Thomas. If that doesn't matter to you, then yes, we shall agree to disagree.


You clearly have never had significant loans hanging over your head, am I right? $100k is a ton of debt to live with for the 25 years it takes for the debt to be forgiven through IBR. I ran the calculation and at 90k at 7.9% interest rate and a salary of 40k, OP would be required to pay 300 a month (which is weird b/c that means s/he will still have paid 90k in payments over 25 years).

Mentally, having that much debt for 25 years is a lot to stomach. It will also affect OPs ability to get other types of financing in the future (e.g., home mortgage loan).

Again, going to the best school is NOT ALWAYS the best option. Here is a perfect example where OP should stray from the pack and attend a school on a full tuition scholarship.


http://www.ibrinfo.org/what.vp.html

First, it would be 6.9% for the stafford (which would cover 41,000 of the debt) and 7.9% for the rest. Second, the total is $90k, not $100k. Third, if he kept making 40k per year in a public service or 501c organization job, he would only be making those payments for 10 years, not 25.

Fourth, because of the way the IBR calculations are done, it only has debt to forgive come 25 years (which is better than the 30 years it used to be when I graduated UG) if the initial debt is high enough and the income is low enough that the amount paid never catches up to the amount owed. So if OP made 149% of the poverty line, he would pay $0 a month until he made over 150%. If he made 151%, he would pay a total sum of 15% of that 1%, or a total of 0.09934% of his income.

I repeat, if he is making that money through public sector work OR through work at a 501(c) organization, all debt would be forgiven after 10 years of such work. If he is somehow making $40k in the private sector (not counting non-profit 501(c)) after graduating from UMN, then you are totally right that UST is the better choice. But in the public or non-profit sector, there is no difference at the end of the day. $300 a month? So roughly $36,000 no matter which school he goes to. The only difference comes if he goes into the private sector.

alumniguy
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Re: UMN vs. William Mitchell ($$) vs. St. Thomas ($$$$)

Postby alumniguy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:59 pm

geoduck wrote:[http://www.ibrinfo.org/what.vp.html

First, it would be 6.9% for the stafford (which would cover 41,000 of the debt) and 7.9% for the rest. Second, the total is $90k, not $100k. Third, if he kept making 40k per year in a public service or 501c organization job, he would only be making those payments for 10 years, not 25.

Fourth, because of the way the IBR calculations are done, it only has debt to forgive come 25 years (which is better than the 30 years it used to be when I graduated UG) if the initial debt is high enough and the income is low enough that the amount paid never catches up to the amount owed. So if OP made 149% of the poverty line, he would pay $0 a month until he made over 150%. If he made 151%, he would pay a total sum of 15% of that 1%, or a total of 0.09934% of his income.

I repeat, if he is making that money through public sector work OR through work at a 501(c) organization, all debt would be forgiven after 10 years of such work. If he is somehow making $40k in the private sector (not counting non-profit 501(c)) after graduating from UMN, then you are totally right that UST is the better choice. But in the public or non-profit sector, there is no difference at the end of the day. $300 a month? So roughly $36,000 no matter which school he goes to. The only difference comes if he goes into the private sector.



150% for a single person is $16,335 (in year 2011). Practically EVERY job will get him above this level - in fact, I am unaware of a single full time job requiring a JD that would pay that low of a salary. OP will need to pay 15% of any income above 16k. So that 0.09934% figure is misleading at best.

I'm not disputing the benefits of IBD/loan forgiveness, but to say that 35k in debt EQUALS 90k in debt with these programs is just not accurate. There are costs to relying on these programs and that cost is LACK of job mobility for 10 years post-graduation. Certainly OP should consider this, but at the end of the day I would STILL MUCH RATHER have $35k in debt attending a lower ranked school than $90k in debt to attend a higher ranked school.

Perhaps I am focusing too much on the realities of practicing law and the fact that many lawyers disappear from the law well within 10 years of graduating law school. I understand that there are no job requirements to these programs and that OP could opt out of law and still obtain the benefits of the programs.

But I am a worst case scenario thinker and I wouldn't want 90k of debt if I could get the same type of job for only 35k coming from a cheaper school. I certainly wouldn't want to be boxed into the requirements of the program for 10 years following graduation.




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