William Mitchell College of Law

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William Mitchell College of Law

Postby TLS_user » Sat Oct 08, 2005 12:58 pm

Law School Programs >> Minnesota Law Schools

William Mitchell College of Law is located in St. Paul, MN.

Please "post a reply" and add any comments you have about the William Mitchell College of Law. Many generations of prospective law students will benefit by the information you share.

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Great School for returning students

Postby sergio » Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:32 pm

I am applying to the University of Minnesota and William Mitchell College of Law. I went to Mitchell's Open House and I was very surprised by the openness and the warmth of their staff. Also, it is the best school for returning students -like me- as ranked by the Princeton Review. For almost 100 years they've been the Twin Cities center of legal education for older students. They have a high-esteem in Twin Cities' firms and all of the Metro Area law schools (Hamline, Mitchell, St. Thomas and Minnesota) are in a consortium where you can take classes in all four schools if you want. Say, Alternative Dispute Resolution at Hamline or Human Rights at the U of M. Those course won't count for your GPA though of the school you're attending. I really liked William Mitchell College of Law: great school in IP and Criminal Justice. US Chief Justice Warren Burger graduated from William Mitchell College of Law and Rosalie Wahl -also a graduate- was the first woman ever to serve in the Minnesota Supreme Court. Of course, the U of Minnesota is a great school -ranked in the top 20- but for returning students like me, with a flexibility of part-time study, William Mitchell College of Law will be your best bet.

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Postby at1234 » Mon Dec 25, 2006 10:11 pm

I just completed my first semester at William Mitchell College of Law and am glad that I picked this school. I am mainly interested in intellectual property and did a lot of searching around for schools that had a strong IP presence and found WM to be stronger than most schools in this respect. There are a over a dozen IP-specific courses to choose from, from trademarks, copyrights, and patents. Most law schools don't even come close to this. In fact, some of the schools in the Top 10 of Intellectual Property rankings in US News don't even have this many, which makes me wonder about these rankings.

I am a firm believer that a school's location determines the opportunities that are available to its graduates. WM's location is a huge advantage because it is located only a couple of miles from the State Capitol and Supreme Court and is in the Twin Cities, a hot metro area which offers a lot of job opportunities as far as IP is concerned. Many WM grads are partners in the Twin Cities' top IP firms.

Furthermore, two WM grads presently sit on the Minnesota Supreme Court and the school has a very strong overall reputation in the region.

Also, the first year curriculum is spread out over the entire first year, so your spring semester is exactly the same as your fall semester, which I think is beneficial because the school emphasizes learning the material in manageable chunks rather than just forcing an unrealistic amount of material in a single semester.

The facilities are great, the people are friendly, and you can expect a lot from a WM legal education if you work hard.

I have no regrest about my choice whatsoever.

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Postby drivethru » Fri Dec 29, 2006 4:56 am


Thank you for all of the detailed info. I am a MN resident in the application process and just received a good offer from the school that I am going to have to seriously consider, so having your input really helps. Your taking the time to write it is much appreciated!

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Postby at1234 » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:15 pm


Sure. If you decide to attend William Mitchell, please let me know. I can tell you whatever I know about the professors and how to best study for their exams, what to expect, etc.

Good luck in selecting a law school!


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Postby RockLobster » Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:26 am

What is the environment like at WM? Are the students relaxed, or uptight?

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Postby at1234 » Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:56 pm

At WMCL, the students are generally not uptight. I would say that 20-25% of the students in any section are above age 30, and they are easier to work with in my opinion because of having greater maturity/life experience and a more collaborative approach to law school. Some of the fresh-out-of-college ones think they know it all when in fact they know very little.

However, there are always exceptions in both camps. You will find that people form social cliques very early on which is probably pretty standard throughout most law schools.

But people are pretty friendly.


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How are the 1L profs, and which are best or worst?

Postby taplinb » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:54 pm


I am a 43-year-old IT sysadmin who is ready for a career change. I got my first law school acceptance in January, and must probably decide this month which MN law school to attend.

I would like to know how the 1L profs are, which are best or worst, so as to compare sections. Any tips would be welcome, on this subject or anything pertinent to choosing a MN law school or section.


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Postby at1234 » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:38 pm


It all depends on the section you take. The professors are generally great at what they do with a few exceptions here and there. As far as IP is concerened, you cannot find a school that is much better in IP than WMCL.

The faculty for IP includes: Carl Moy, author of a treatise on patents. Ken Port for Trademarks, and Niels Schaumann for Trademark/Copyright. In the Fall of 2007, Jay Erstling will join the faculty and he was the former director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty and has held senior positions in the WIPO. Most law schools don't come close to having this kind of IP faculty, even some of the so-called "top" law schools.

For fulltime sections, you have 5 classes.

If I could make generalizations about the profs, I would say:

1) Don't take anything from Heidenreich since he is an extremely hard grader and flunked many people last semester for apparently no reason. He is really old and full of himself.

2) Knapp is very popular for anything. He is a very funny professor and an excellent teacher. He is extremely approachable and friendly.

3) Janus is also another great professor who speaks with clarity.

4) People are mixed about Roberts. I personally didn't care for her style of teaching. She gives these huge class notes that you're supposed to have read before class and then calls on people. Whenever you ask her a question in class, she invariably responds with "what do you think?" Some people think she is really not a friendly person who just tries to appear to be friendly in a lecture setting.

5) Hogg teaches contracts and deliberately speaks in very nebulous terms and seems to obfuscate everything purposefully. In private, he speaks much more plainly and is a very kind man. He seems intimidating at first, but actually he is not. He is very good at convincing you that your own point of view is wrong when actually you are right. He just tells you after he's "fooled" you. :) He is very much about the process of reasoning rather than any right/wrong answer, unlike Roberts who seems much more rigid in her positions.

6) Moy teaches civil procedure. He talks EXTREMELY fast and does not engage in any "hide the ball" games that some professors do. He is friendly and is extremely bright. He doesn't call on people at all and for his class, you don't need to read any of the cases assigned. All you have to do is read the Hornbook and just pay really careful attention in his class, preferably writing EVERYTHING down everythign you possibly can because his exam is based on what he says. Also, he is interested in the policy aspect of the law and his exam consists of approximately 50 multiple choice questions and an essay that proposes a rule change to one of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and to write about whether you agree with the change or not and why.

7) WRAP (Legal writing) is the most complained about class because it is a lot of work and the curve is very strictly enforced. There is lots of hiding the ball in this class since they don't really teach you how to write well, and only after you've been graded do you get marginally useful comments about what you did wrong. Its not popular at all, but required for all students.

8) Krishnan is a decent property professor who is friendly. He provides good supplemental material that explains some of the more confusing aspects of the course.

There are many more. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me privately.

Hope this helps.

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Postby PeterJay » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:24 pm

I'm seriously considering WM due to their reputation in the Twin Cities and the fact that I don't have the LSAT to get into UMN. My question is: How highly regarded is their corporate law program? I'd go into IP but I don't have a science degree and its a little late in the day to go and get one.

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Advice about Section One profs, MJF, or briefing?

Postby taplinb » Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:25 am

Thanks to all, especially at1234, for advice so far.

I have been assigned to Section One of the WMCL class of 2010, with Richard Murphy for Civ Pro, Phebe Haugen for Contracts, Marcia Gelpa for Property, Michael Steenson for Torts, and Deborah Schmedemann plus an adjunct for WRAP. I am also curious about Jane Evans, WMCL Staff Attorney for the Minnesota Justice Foundation. MJF seems to be a pretty established and respectable place to get summer experience.

Any advice about these people or about MJF would be welcome. I have heard that Haugen has been around for a few decades and is well-liked, though her close coordination with Heidenreich concerns me. Someone recalls that they share materials and styles. I have heard good things about Steenson from a State of MN attorney (my sister-in-law).

I also welcome constructive criticism of my first attempt at case briefing, available at http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dcfgt4rt_33g4xjr6. I know that the CAPTION needs adjustment, but the rest of it? I plan to brief in Google Docs so I can quickly bounce back and forth between a Mac and Windows, and to use a website of my own for notes and such.


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Postby WMCL07GRAD » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:12 pm

I took Murphy for both Civ. Pro and Admin. Law. He was one of my favorite prof.s at Mitchell. He is challenging in class and is rather Socratic, but you will learn from him. Steenson is very sharp and a good prof. as well. I had him for Con. Law. As far as Schmedeman you will have very little contact with her. It is your small group prof. that you will get to know well. Nearly all are practicing attorneys. No matter which professor you have if you do the work you will do fine, including the dreaded Heidenreich. As a side note, I did take Heidenreich for PR. Not only was my grade in line with others that I received, but I found him to be quite enjoyable. Based upon my experience contracts seems to be the class that intimidates students the most, no matter which prof, you have, so do the work and you will do well.

In response to PeterJay, corporate program is solid. If you do well you will not have a problem getting a job doing corporate work at any of the big firms in town. But the job market is very tight right now so if you want to do complex work at a big firm, plan to work hard and get top grades.

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Postby taplinb » Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:08 pm

Thank you, folks, for the advice. Twelve days in and I'm excited and buried. I've briefed over twenty assigned cases (poorly). In light of this I may not make the time to visit this site for a long while. Good luck to you and all of those who care about the world and their fellows.


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William Mitchell College of Law SEP Summer program

Postby Jamie-E » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:03 pm

Hello. I am starting as a 1L this fall and am considering taking the Summer Enrichment Program. I am hoping to get some feedback as to whether this class is beneficial or not and worth the money. It is pretty spendy and want to make sure it is worthwhile.

Thank you!

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Re: William Mitchell College of Law

Postby Gunz353 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:20 am

Yeah, I too would like to know more info about the Summer enrichment. WHat exactly takes place? How much does it cost?

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Re: William Mitchell College of Law

Postby univremonster » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:49 pm

I would definitely recommend the SEP. It gives you a leg up on everybody else in the first few weeks - trust me, you'll need it. By midterms or the end of the first semester, everyone will be on an even playing field, but SEP gives you some peace of mind by allowing you to jump in and start learning rather than having to figure out how to brief (or even effectively read) a case.

Also, I had Haugen for this class, traditionally one of the harshest graders and less approachable professors. Due to the small class size I know her quite well and have been able to get more out of my subsequent classes (Contracts) with her, because she is always willing to talk to "good" students, which is sometimes the same as students she knows the first name of. Also, it's graded on a curve, so if there was ever a time to take a course from a hard professor, this is it!

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Re: William Mitchell College of Law

Postby Ikki » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:47 am

Wow, this is an old thread.

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Re: William Mitchell College of Law

Postby reepS » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:30 am

it seems like it was written by the admissions or advertising department of the school. or a robot.

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