The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

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Tanicius
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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby Tanicius » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:32 pm

ScrabbleChamp wrote:
MinnesotaBigLaw11 wrote:Taking questions again this week.


I've been told UST, though a newer law school, has a very strong alumni base that helps in hiring. Have you heard this, or is this just crap?


How is it possible to have that kind of alumni network if it's so new? I'd be very skeptical of that kind of claim.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby carterinthehall » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:33 pm

I'm in a situation where I got a full ride to Indiana Bloomington #27 in the nation with a 120K scholarship (basically full ride) and UST with full ride. I absolutely want to work in Minneapolis after school, which would better suit me? I'm not specifically looking for biglaw, I just want to know I can have a decent job in the TC area. I'm reluctant in that when looking at midlaw and gov. positions in MN I don't know if going to a school like IUB or a local school would suit me better. So is there any instance that IUB would be a better choice over UST if I want to work in the TC's?

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:46 pm

Tanicius wrote:
ScrabbleChamp wrote:
MinnesotaBigLaw11 wrote:Taking questions again this week.


I've been told UST, though a newer law school, has a very strong alumni base that helps in hiring. Have you heard this, or is this just crap?


How is it possible to have that kind of alumni network if it's so new? I'd be very skeptical of that kind of claim.


I've actually been told this by a few people, one of whom researched the topic as an MBA at Michigan. I'm not sure if it has more to do with the "St. Thomas" name, as a general rule, than it does as the "St. Thomas" name as a law school. Just like MSU Law is infitely more recognizable due to the affiliation with MSU than it was as Detroit College of Law.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby minnbills » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:04 pm

1. Do you think firm hiring will pick up significantly over the next few years?

2. Did you take the bar in minnesota? If so, any general impressions?

3. I've heard that MN firms tend to hire fewer people than their peers in Chi or NY, but that it's easier to make partner. Any truth to this?

4. Any idea why WM is fairing less well lately? Supposedly Mitchell has the most extensive alumni network in the state, so I was surprised when you mentioned that your firm doesn't take Mitchell graduates. I know a few Mitchell grads who work in Biglaw, one of whom is a partner in litigation at a biglaw firm in M/SP, though he graduated in the 70's. Most of the attorneys I talk to seem to think it's fairly competetive with the U. Should I be disillusioned?

Sorry to bombard you with the questions, Thanks for your help!

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:11 pm

Indiana v. UST
The general rule is to go to the school in the region or market where you want to practice. Given that money is fairly equal in this situation, a higher ranked school would look better on your resume. You won't find a lot of Indiana alums in the cities and you won't find a lot of Minneapolis firms traveling to Indiana to interview law students. This is the disadvantage you'll have at Indiana. I personally would visit both schools and choose the school based on where I feel comfortable, which school is someplace I wouldn't mind attending for three years, which city would I rather live in for three years, and which school do I see myself placing the best in my relative class. These are all factors only you can answer.

Do you think firm hiring will pick up significantly over the next few years?
Firm hiring has already picked up. The big Minneapolis firms are back to larger class sizes this summer. Associates are busy and demand is up for new attorneys.

Did you take the bar in minnesota? If so, any general impressions?I took the bar in Minnesota. It is one of the easiest states to take. Don't worry about it. Definitely take the Bar-Bri course and study hard, but you don't need to worry about it until after law school graduation.

I've heard that MN firms tend to hire fewer people than their peers in Chi or NY, but that it's easier to make partner. Any truth to this?
This is partially true and partially false. Minnesota firms hire less people than the firms in New York and Chicago. However, they are built on different models. The coastal firm (New York, Boston, San Fran, D.C., etc.) generally handles very high end legal work, usually "bet the company" type deals where you need the best of the best. Typically, these are your vault 50 or so firms. They are very large, with a pyramid structure in hierarchy. They have a few partners at the top, a few more in the class of non-equity partners, more in the class of senior associates, more in the class of mid-associates, and a significant class of junior associates. With this structure, the hierarchy looks like a pyramid. Most of the juniors and midlevel associates will self-select out of the firm (typically moving home to places like Minneapolis, where they grew up, etc.). Another group will be let-go. Slowly the size of the class depletes, but the class size fits the firm model.

With this business model, it is difficult to become partner, but you will gain more experience and can move to a middle market firm afterwards, as you've now garnered marketable experience.

In Minneapolis, most firms do routine type work for big clients, or high-end work for small companies. Dorsey/Faegre/Robins, etc. will always have work, but they'll never get the biggest litigation or the biggest deal. Instead, these firms operate on a lower-cost model where their competitive advantage with the coastal firms is to offer similar services at a cheaper cost. With this business model, the firm doesn't want or need the excess in junior level associates billing for hours. Instead, these firms must operate more efficiently for their more cost-sensitive clients.

Becoming partner is easier than at the big coastal firms, but you have the disadvantage of the east coast attorneys lateralling in and taking partnership spots. This puts you at a disadvantage when someone laterals in with a big coastal firm name on their resume and well known trials/litigation under their belt (not to mention clerkships, connections, etc.).

Any idea why WM is fairing less well lately? Supposedly Mitchell has the most extensive alumni network in the state, so I was surprised when you mentioned that your firm doesn't take Mitchell graduates. I know a few Mitchell grads who work in Biglaw, one of whom is a partner in litigation at a biglaw firm in M/SP, though he graduated in the 70's. Most of the attorneys I talk to seem to think it's fairly competetive with the U. Should I be disillusioned?

I am not sure why you would think WM is comparative to the U. It is a good school, but no attorney, especially a BigLaw attorney, thinks of it as comparable to the U.

I have always respected WM, as I think any attorney should. A few things hurt WM. It is not well known outside of Minneapolis. It does not have a university affiliation, which hurts its alumni network and its connections around the cities. UST has eaten into WM's placement statistics, leading to less WM grads becoming junior associates and later becoming midlevel hiring associates. This has lead to less WM grads hiring, leading to less WM students getting hired. It is a bit of a freakonomics argument.

When there were only really two schools in Minneapolis, things were good for WM. Things have changed now that there are four schools, two of which are well known and well respected local universities. It is hard for WM to compete against the large number of UST and Minnesota grads.

I think location also hurts both WM and Hamline, though not significantly. Local lawyers in Minneapolis often attend Minnesota and UST for seminars and presentations. This usually leads to local networking. MW and Hamline grads are often left out.

However, I have often said that if you receive a full-ride to WM, you should certainly attend. You will get a good education and, if you work hard at it, you can make good connections. I just think that an in-state tuition at the U or a full ride at UST may be better options. It all depends on what you are looking for. And as I said above, visiting the schools and seeing where you feel the most comfortable is the most important thing.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby BarnabeSpooge » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:36 pm

Wow, thanks a lot for taking questions. I'm learning more in this thread than the "collective wisdom" of most of our law students could ever give me.

A few more questions:

1. What, if anything, would you recommend a 1L do to make himself or herself stand out from the crowd, before applying for SA positions? I understand that it is incredibly competitive - what factors (other than grades) come into play?

2. About diversity hiring: I understand that a good number of firms typically look to attract a relatively diverse class. Yet, when I look at most firm web pages, I see almost no Native American attorneys on staff. Do you think this is due to a lack of qualified Native applicants, or are Natives a lower priority in diversity hiring? I understand that you can't speak for the entire profession, but whatever your experience has illustrated would be phenomenally helpful.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby Prairie » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:05 pm

Tanicius wrote:How is it possible to have that kind of alumni network if it's so new? I'd be very skeptical of that kind of claim.


I know a handful of attorneys in MSP who have made just this claim. UST is a good brand in MSP and, although they don't have as strong of a law school alum base as UM and WM, they have alums from the undergrad and business/grad programs (something that WM does not have). Of course, networking with lawyers is more important for law students. But, a UST undergrad alum who went to a different law school still has that connection with UST and might be willing to hire a UST law grad.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby ThomasMN » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:35 pm

One of the things going for UST's top 10-15% is also the fact that UST is not only buying professors, they are also buying students. You can get a full-ride from UST, they give them out like candy, but you can only get 3/4 tuition from William and Mitchell. This leads to a lot of the kids with higher numbers looking for a big scholarship to go to UST Law.

Also, being a Tommie undergrad I can attest to the fact that UST has a pretty big alumni base as a whole in the Twin Cities and does a good job of keeping good ties with them all. I think we put an insane number of business students into Target, 3M, and the other big firms in Minnesota. That being said, I would go to Minnesota over UST Law.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:56 pm

Taking questions again this week.

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ScrabbleChamp
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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:05 pm

MinnesotaBigLaw11 wrote:Taking questions again this week.


I'm on the WL @ UMN and have been accepted to UST with scholarship that will allow me to attend debt free. If I am looking to secure a well paying, gainful employment with Big or Mid-law, where do I need to finish at UST to be competitive with UMN grads? That is, is top 10% equal to top 40%?

Also, I have a full-time job and can afford to wait a year prior to attending, and I have no doubt I can improve my LSAT (I scored 174 8 years ago when I was in UG and a 159 last year. I didn't study as much as I should have, as I thought it would all come back to me) and make myself much more competitive for UMN next cycle. Would you advise against waiting a year to go to UMN over UST, or take UST and the money this year?

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:46 pm

From UST, you'll want to be in the top 10-20% to get a biglaw job. Preferably the University of St. Thomas Law Reivew or a secondary journal (JLPP, etc.). From Minnesota, you'll want to be in the top 30% to get a biglaw job, preferably on Law Review or one of the secondary journals. Litigation departments will look highly on moot court participation as well.

The decision to defer for a year is a personal decision and has to take into account all of the facts and circumstances. You can also take the test again in June and if you score high enough, you could take the year off. If you don't, you can go to UST. Just an idea that gives you some options.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby FuturMinn » Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:43 am

In regards to UST, how does the fact that the law school is a catholic institution affect the type of education that a student receives? How much is discussion about religion infused in the classroom? Does that mean the education at UST will not mirror the education at other law schools? Will the princinples that you need to learn in torts, civ pro, properties, etc. be taught? Any thoughts on this?

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby minnbills » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:01 pm

FuturMinn wrote:In regards to UST, how does the fact that the law school is a catholic institution affect the type of education that a student receives? How much is discussion about religion infused in the classroom? Does that mean the education at UST will not mirror the education at other law schools? Will the princinples that you need to learn in torts, civ pro, properties, etc. be taught? Any thoughts on this?


I don't know about the law school, but it definitely factors in for undergrad.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby Oranges55 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:04 am

(1) Do you have any idea about how UST grads do in the field of international law? I was looking on there website and I only found one alumni that worked out of the country and none that really had an international focus aside from immigration law.

(2) Do you know anything about the prospects of UST grads being hired by government agencies in the Twin Cities?

Thanks!

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby nimou » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:45 am

I am a 2L at a T14 school, in the top ten percent and with a senior board position on law review. I have significant ties to MN (grew up here, my family lives here, and I worked here during my 1L summer). For some reason, absolutely no MN firms were interested in me for interviews though. The only firm that came to my school's OCI was Robins, however, I did quite a bit of outreach to other firms here in the Twin Cities and expected to hear something from them. I don't think it has anything to do with my interpersonal skills or a bad resume - I'm going to be working for a V10 firm in NYC and got offers from V5 NYC firms.

So, my question to you is: what can I do to make myself more attractive to MN firms in the future? I really want to move back here as soon as possible, both to be closer to family and just for quality of life reasons.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:30 pm

I am not sure about religion and UST. I did not go to UST, but I don't really think of it as being a "catholic" law school, though I know the undergraduate and the institution as a whole is catholic. It is probably similar to Georgetown, Notre Dame or BC in that the school offers religious activities, but it is up to the student to participate or not.

All of the large law firms in Minneapolis practice what would be considered to be international law. Litigators are often working on international matters and deal lawyers are doing deals in Europe, South America and Canada. It is rare that someone practices ONLY international law, as that really doesn't mean anything. However, if you are doing an M&A deal with one of the entities being an English buyer with an american target company, your deal would probably be considered international.

As far as placement internationally from one of the Minnesota schools, I am not sure about those stats and cannot attest to them.


Nimou:
Working at a top New York law firm will make you very desirable for local Minnesota firms around your third or fourth year. Stay employed and keep working hard and you'll be able to lateral into one of the top firms down the road. Your law school is not going to be very important after you have a few years of experience in New York under your belt. You'll have to be prepared to take a significant pay cutt though, as Minnesota firms don't pay midlevel or senior level associates nearly as much as the coastal firms.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby ScrabbleChamp » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:52 pm

MinnesotaBigLaw11 wrote:I am not sure about religion and UST. I did not go to UST, but I don't really think of it as being a "catholic" law school, though I know the undergraduate and the institution as a whole is catholic. It is probably similar to Georgetown, Notre Dame or BC in that the school offers religious activities, but it is up to the student to participate or not.

All of the large law firms in Minneapolis practice what would be considered to be international law. Litigators are often working on international matters and deal lawyers are doing deals in Europe, South America and Canada. It is rare that someone practices ONLY international law, as that really doesn't mean anything. However, if you are doing an M&A deal with one of the entities being an English buyer with an american target company, your deal would probably be considered international.

As far as placement internationally from one of the Minnesota schools, I am not sure about those stats and cannot attest to them.


Nimou:
Working at a top New York law firm will make you very desirable for local Minnesota firms around your third or fourth year. Stay employed and keep working hard and you'll be able to lateral into one of the top firms down the road. Your law school is not going to be very important after you have a few years of experience in New York under your belt. You'll have to be prepared to take a significant pay cutt though, as Minnesota firms don't pay midlevel or senior level associates nearly as much as the coastal firms.


With regards to the predicament Nimou finds him/herself in, from reading your other posts, it seems this usually isn't the case (i.e. you recommended someone attend a T10 over of UMN if they want to practice in MN), so is something changing in the Twin Cities that is making it harder for those attending schools outside the state to find gainful employment?

Edited to change T14 to T10.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:52 am

It is interesting that a top ten law student didn't get much attention from Minnesota firms, but it may have been due to the economy at the time. As things pick up, the firms will be recruiting out-of-state more heavily again.

I should note that there is a large difference between a top law school graduate lateralling from a New York/Boston/DC firm into a Minnesota firm as a third/fourth year and a top law school student trying to get a summer associate position. The lateral from New York/Boston/DC will almost always have an easier time than the student trying to gain a summer associate position. Of course, you have to keep firm hiring needs in mind.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby nimou » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:12 pm

I definitely don't disagree with MinnesotaBigLaw11's advice to go to a top ten school if you get into one, even if it didn't work out perfectly in my case. I simply want to get back to MN as soon as possible. The bottom line is that I have a great job that will pay off my student loans and enhance my resume, even if it's not in the location I ultimately want to be in. In this regard, I'm extremely lucky compared to some of my classmates in the current economy and I can't complain. Career services thinks that perhaps because I went to an out-of-state undergrad and then a coastal law school alot of firms just didn't believe that I wanted to come back to MN, especially since alot of students at my school typically go to NYC. This may not be the case for most applicants.

But definitely, if you have the opportunity to go to a T14 school, you should go! Firms dip deeper into the class ranking at those schools and even if you think you're overqualified to go to the U, WM, or UST, it's impossible to predict whether you will land in the top 10% or get onto a journal.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby 4774HORSTMG » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:17 pm

Again, thanks for answering questions!

I am a graduating senior at Marquette University trying to decide whether to attend Marquette, WM, UST, or Hamline Law. I am graduating with a significant amount of debt from undergrad, and I'm from St. Paul, so living at home for a period of time is quite appealing. I have received 50% tuition scholarships to WM and UST, and 75% from Hamline. MU gave me practically nothing, and was off of my list until WM's recent US News ranking gave me a scare a few days ago. Although I'm from Minnesota, I enjoy the Milwaukee and Chicago region as well. I'm just concerned about accumulating more debt when WM or UST would be less expensive and seem to be comparable schools.

From what you've written thus far, it sounds like firms may have a bias towards UST despite WM's rankings. Given that I've been accepted into both schools with the same tuition break, would you generally point me towards UST over WM? Also, I hadn't really considered attending Hamline, but it sounds like they are also competitive with WM in the Twin Cities market. Should I take more time considering Hamline alongside the other schools listed?

To add to my growing list of questions, how much does the prestige of the law school you attend affect your ability to leave the region AFTER a few years of work? For example, if I attend WM and work for a larger firm in the Twin Cities region for a few years before looking to find work elsewhere in the country, will I still be at a disadvantage when competing with grads from top 50 schools? Or will it depend entirely on the nature of my work experience and resume?

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby goblue223 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:24 pm

Thank you so much for taking questions. This thread has been really helpful for me as I try to decide where to go next year.

Here is my question: I have finally narrowed down my choices to either University of Wisconsin or University of St. Thomas. I think that I ultimately want to work in Minnesota for a few years after school since this is where I grew up and where most of my friends and family is. I am wondering, however, if you think attending a top 30 school is more important than graduating with almost no debt. I received a full-tuition scholarship from St. Thomas, but am hesitate to take it since I really don't know what type of law I want to work in nor do I know if I will want to stay in Minnesota for the rest of my life. So, like many have asked, do you think work experience can overcome a degree from St. Thomas or do you think it is safer to take the debt and attend Wisconsin?

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby MinnesotaBigLaw11 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:21 am

Regarding knowing what you want to do with your degree, I think there are very few law students who know what they want to do as an attorney, and even fewer who actually end up doing what they thought they wanted to do in law school. The practice of law is evolutionary in the sense that your practice will likely always be changing. I know quite a few people who initially wanted to be litigators but ended up securities attorneys, and vice versa. There is nothing wrong with not knowing when you are a law student. The summer associate position will help you experience different types of law, but even then your practice will continue to change over your first five years. I wouldn't get hung up on not knowing what you want to do.

I also wouldn't recommend attending a Minnesota or Wisconsin school at full price if you are not sure you want to practice in the upper midwest after graduation. It is going to be very difficult for a law student or graduate of these schools to gain traction on the coasts. You will have more job flexibility if you keep your debt down in case you want to pick up and move to a coastal city but don't have the grades/experience required to work at a large California firm. You will have the option to go in-house or change your career, if that is something you want. Debt often forces people to practice law, even when they don't necessarily want to continue practicing.

I would certainly recommend Wisconsin over UST at similar cost. Good school, good reputation in the midwest and great lakes area, etc. If you do well at Wisconsin, you'll have a chance at the big Chicago and Minneapolis firms. That being said, I don't think it is worth over $100k in debt at graduation (few schools are worth this). If your tuition and board, including interest, sums up to over $100k in debt, I would look elsewhere.

Regarding WM, UST or Hamline, I would say go to the cheapest between WM and UST. Hamline is a good school, but I wouldn't attend unless I recieved a full scholarship and attending WM/UST would result in over 60k in total debt. If WM and UST are equal in cost, attend UST.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby Kaves » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:39 pm

MinnesotaBigLaw11 wrote:I would certainly recommend Wisconsin over UST at similar cost. Good school, good reputation in the midwest and great lakes area, etc. If you do well at Wisconsin, you'll have a chance at the big Chicago and Minneapolis firms. That being said, I don't think it is worth over $100k in debt at graduation (few schools are worth this). If your tuition and board, including interest, sums up to over $100k in debt, I would look elsewhere.


Keep in mind tuition at WI is either $18k or like $25k for MN residents? Even with a full tuition deal at UST the actual cost to attend WI over UST is only between $60,000-75,000 depending on where you are from. That in mind I have to think even the author of the thread would suggest WI over UST if the total cost was only $60,000 more. Seems like that cost for a T1 over a TTTT is most certainly worth it in the long run.

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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby TUP » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:47 pm

Even though they are in the same general tier of MVPBDNCG, do the Midwest t14s place better in MPLS? It seems like some firms only use OCI resources on the closer schools.

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Tanicius
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Re: The Minnesota Legal Market - UMN, WM, UST, HM, Iowa/Wisc

Postby Tanicius » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:11 pm

Are MPLS firms more or less cut off to me if I attend Berkeley? I would assume few if any MPLS firms actually interview on the West Coast.




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