MNbound wrote:Hello MNBigLaw11, I have a few questions about a scenario I'm likely to face. I'm applying to all 4 MN law schools this cycle. I'm a UMN grad with a 165 and 3.6 and a year of work experince with Americorps.
This situation, based on previous years applicants is likely to put me into a situation where I will have to choose between WM at close to or full scholarship, St. Thomas at full scholarship, or UMN, if I even get in, with no scholarship. Given the current MN legal market, what would you choose?
I am also interested in the Labor and employment field, what are your thoughts on it in the MN legal market, and in general?
I think this is something you are going to have to consider very seriously. I would take my time and figure out the finances. If you can manage to graduate from Minnesota with under 100k in student loans (preferably less than 60k), then I would suggest going to Minnesota. It is a fantastic unviersity and law school and it will offer you better employment chances. However, if your debt at graduation is going to be high from Minensota, I would suggest taking the scholarship at St. Thomas.
Firms in Minnesota will go deeper into the class at Minnesota than at St. Thomas, but they won't go much deeper. Typically, you need to be in the top 10% of your class from St. Thomas, and the top 15-20% of your class from Minnesota in order to obtain a large firm summer associate position. These are very broad generalizations, but I just want to point out that you have to do well at either to obtain a good summer associate position.
I would recommend is thinking worst case scenario: would you rather be unemployed at graduation with a significant student loan obligation, or would you rather be unemployed at graduation with no student loan obligations? While it is difficult to imagine yourself going through a worst case scenario, sometimes it is the best way to be prepared. There are a significant number of unemployed law graduates with debt obligations that are having a tough time right now, and most of them would probably give you the same advice.
One other thing to note is that even if the worst case scenario does not occur, you may obtain legal work for a company rather than a law firm, at which point your salary will be in the 60k range. You'll want a lower monthly debt payment obligation in order to live comfortably after taxes (high in Minnesota) and your student loan payment.
Hopefully the market turns around in the next few years so you won't need to consider these things, but Minnesota is a fairly saturated market right now.