Thanks for writing up your thoughts on the ASW Mike, and all the rest. It's quite helpful for me since I am living in another country now and won't be able to visit before making a decision. Can I just ask, overall, what impressed you most about the school at the ASW? Were there a fair amount of out-of-staters there? Did people seem to feel that the school is on the rise, despite the US News ranking change? I read they made some pretty good hires last year and that their Biglaw placement numbers are increasing. Also, was the new Dean there, David Wippman? If so, did anyone get a feeling for the course U of MN is charting and what kind of future the Dean has envisioned? Thanks everyone.
I just realized I never responded to this. I'm really sorry I didn't before.
There were a few things that really impressed me. The absence of an overly competitive environment was the thing that most stood out. People did seem genuinely nice, but also pretty happy with their job prospects.
People did feel the school is on the rise- the rankings drop was mentioned by a few different people I spoke with. Some seemed to feel it would be temporary- others mentioned it more as a joke- basically with the attitude that the school was good and provided good opportunities whether ranked 15 or 30 it wouldn't be much different- it's a couple steps behind being a truly top tier national school but well ahead of most regional schools. There was definitely discussion of the faculty hires by Dean Charles and that the trend would continue.
Dean Wippman was not there, but Dean Charles spoke about the schools plans to increase biglaw placement outside of Minnesota. It seems steps there are pretty aggressive and will be continued with the new Dean.
The school as a whole (outside of just the law school) has made it a priority to take steps to improve in quality, reputation and ranking and it seems the law school has pretty specific things they are doing to accomplish this that will be expanded upon with the new dean. It seems like more than just hot air since firms at OCI have increased the last couple years and they have a goal to continue to increase the number of firms there, especially out of state firms.