1. Does anyone get merit-based aid and need-based aid?
Yes, I have heard of it, but I think it's much more common just to only get merit-aid.
2. For undergrad I started out at a huge school and then transferred to a tiny school. I loved the tiny school and I’m intimidated by Michigan’s size. Does the law school community feel large or small? Is almost everyone involved, or do a lot of people coast through invisibly? I know that Michigan has 1L sections (or perhaps they call it something else); does this help you to feel like you’re at a smaller school?
I went to what I considered a small undergrad school (most of my classes were about 20 people) and my undergrad class was 900 people. Yes so we have four 1L sections, EFGH, IJKL, MNOP, and the summer starters ABCD, each about 90 or so people. You are also in one of those individual letters and that's the group you do legal writing in. Being in legal practice with only 20 other people does make class feel more personal, but then again even with the larger substantive classes you can always talk to the professor or what have you. So with this all this said, I think the community feels small, but the classes are larger than what I was initially used to.
3. Is Ann Arbor completely dominated by the “undergraduate scene”?
Not at all. If you go towards Main Street, you have your more classier stuff. Ann Arbor is honestly awesome. I do not know of a single person who does not like it. You can find whatever makes you happy here. Although right now it is pretty chilly due to the snow.
4. Does Ann Arbor feel like you are in a city or a small college town?
A good question. I think on Saturdays when there's a football game, it definitely feels like a college town. On Thanksgiving I stayed in Ann Arbor, and the place was isolated (literally no restaurants were open past 5 pm) and so that also made it feel like the school dominates the town. But it has a lot of city-like things. I think it's somewhere in between, but I would lead more college-town (but not a small one).
5. How is life in Ann Arbor with a family? I have a two-year-old and have heard that Ann Arbor is a “good place for a family?” Specifically, why is that so? Is there a sort of “family club” or “married students club” and is it very active? Where do families live?
I can't personally answer this, besides saying that I would think it is a very family friendly place. Most (maybe all) professors live in Ann Arbor itself. I don't have any friends who have children in law school, but I am sure Ann Arbor and the Law School is more than accommodating.
6. What’s the student body like? Do the law students lean toward any sort of cliché? (e.g. UVA = fratty)
Can't really say. I think everyone is really intelligent, friendly, and for the most part extremely personable. I can't think of one catch-all label.
7. Does the admitted students weekend give visitors a realistic picture of what going to law school at Michigan is like? Any tips on what to do or see?
I am only a 1L so I can only speak of 1 semester of law school, but yes I think so. I visited several ASW's and Michigan's by far sealed the deal for me, and I think the two mock classes I sat in on were pretty realistic.
8. How’s competitiveness? Does anyone do substantive prep over the summer? Are those in the top-10% brilliant, intellectual gods, or are they just smart, hard workers?
I think almost everyone is really intelligent, and just interesting academically. People come from a range of backgrounds and it makes for good classroom dynamic. I think everyone works super hard as well, but not to stop them from going out 2 or 5 times a week. So I think people are competitive in the sense that they want to do well but not necessarily in the way that they're gonna do stuff to hurt you. In fact, everyone is super helpful, even in the stress of finals time. I heard really bad stories about law school in this light, and I have not experienced it at all. As to substantive prep, I have no idea what if any people did or how it translated.
9. How’s the lay prestige?
Not sure what you mean by this. I mean my opinion is just as good as yours. I don't think Michigan Law has a lot of "lay prestige" or at least with respect to other comparable or even less comparable schools. But lay prestige is at least in part guided by locale and it's not important at all with respect to legal hiring. You may not be able to brag to your non-law school friends, if that's what you mean.
10. Does anyone get paying jobs their 1L summer?
Yes certainly. Most people get judicial internships (or that's my feeling I have no idea what the statistics are) but there are certainly some who will have paid jobs. And if you do public interest, you can apply for a student fellowship which is around 3-4k for the summer.
die Zauberflote wrote:11. How accessible are the professors? Is it easy to build relationships with them as a 1L?
12. Do you ever regret choosing Michigan? What do you like least about it?
11. Yes see above. Super accessible. Yes, you can if you have time. I wish I had taken more advantage of this last semester, but it's definitely something I am going to try to do more of this semester.
12. Nope, not at all. I love Michigan, but sometimes I do wonder about my decision to go to law school. What do I like least about it? Hm, I wish I didn't have to contend with this winter and I am not a big fan of the dining hall (which I have to go to because I live in the Lawyer's Club) but other than that, i really like the law school and the community.
hope that helped