University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
dusk2k2
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby dusk2k2 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:20 pm

My personal opinion is, if you aren't well up there in the top quartile (think 3.7+), you are going to have trouble getting Dorsey, Faegre, or Robins. Especially for Dorsey and Faegre, the top 10% + LR kids monopolize those firms. Some of them legitimately want to stay in Minnesota, so they are naturally attracted to the best firms. Others want to go out of state (NY, DC, Chicago) but can't do so.

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daniel3.14
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby daniel3.14 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:40 pm

shoeshine wrote:I just read your treatise above.

You sound fun. I think I just found the root of your legal writing problem. Are you always that bombastic?


No. Read more closely.

The problem was that they told me to write X. When I wrote X, word-for-word, they told me to change it to Y. When I changed it to Y, word-for-word, they got pissed off at me for not writing X. The fact that this happened on numerous occasions, and I highlighted each instance and showed the multiple drafts (with totally opposite instructions written in the margins) to the director of the Legal Writing program is why I got transferred to another section, and most likely why that adjunct was not rehired for this year.

The problem was that the adjunct was some random associate from a local firm, who had no qualifications to teach, and who was barely capable of writing a coherent English sentence. The fact that he was not re-hired for this year does not really change the fact that they're drawing from a pool of the local talentless.

Finally, "the problem" was not "my problem," since the course was P/F, and I passed. The problem lies with stupid adjuncts and student instructors. And if anyone were inclined to argue that they're not stupid, then what would explain all the complaints about inconsistent grading, mixed messages, and capricious "corrections," and why the high churn rate? I suppose if I could film them and post it on youtube, I'd gladly do it so that you could see that, too, for yourself. Alas, school policies, impracticality, and lack of interest on my part prevent it, and you'll have to trust me when I describe the weakness of the adjuncts available to UMN. (Mind you, I propose this as a general rule, not an exhaustive one. Surely, there will be exceptions)

shoeshine wrote:I realize UMN might not be an awesome school, but you sound like the type of person I am really glad didn't come to my school. Bad mouthing your school anonymously about completely trivial matters is extremely BETA.


First of all, you're wrong about the anonymity. I'm pretty comfortable telling my classmates, my profs, and the admin that I think the school is festering pile of garbage. Indeed, I'm pretty happy to speak honestly about my experiences at the school to anyone who cares to inquire.

Secondly, I'm not "bad mouthing" the school, per se. I think I've also been pretty forthright about its strengths (the profs are good, it's got a lock on regional dominance). That the negatives vastly outweigh the positives is not my fault. It's how the facts shake out.

Thirdly, I don't think that your characterization of my criticisms as being "trivial" is at all fair. The over-reliance on adjuncts, who are largely under-qualified and incompetent to teach, is a substantive defect in the education you're getting at the school. The arbitrary decision to add a "Practice and Professionalism" course to the 1L curriculum (without any coherently stated objectives or evaluative procedure), only to change the grading scale mid-semester was a major administrative failing. The laptop program and exam policy are a ridiculous and persistent detriment to the program. I took the time to upload that youtube video of the school-issued laptop booting up. Did you take the time to sit through all of it? Would you be willing to sit through that every time you wanted to use your computer? Are you telling me that a five-minute-long bootup for an exorbitantly priced machine is reasonable? Am I casting in a bad light something that someone else might regard as desirable? These are far from trivialities. Nor is a building with ridiculously outdated electronics, a spider infestation, frayed wiring, exposed piping, and what look to be bullet holes in the ceiling, a "trivial" matter in my book. When inner city high schools have better infrastructure than a putatively "top" law school, then something serious is amiss.

Finally, as to the impropriety of giving one's own school an overall negative review, I think more people ought to be forthright about that. Looking back to when I was a 0L, I wish someone had been straight with me about how crumby UMN is. It would've made a world of difference to me. On the balance between blindly recommending my own school out of tribalistic school pride, versus an honest assessment that would've been useful to me back when I was deciding which law school to attend, I think you should rather rethink your notion of which choice qualifies as "beta."

dusk2k2 wrote:Dang man, how can someone get a 3.9 GPA and not get an offer in Minnesota? I'm a 2L at the U too (my grades are below that 3.9 guy by a bit, but I've got 2 offers at the big firms in Minnesota).


Yar. He was particularly unlucky. It's possible that he lacks interview skills. But even if that were the case... yeesh! I think it's illustrative of how bad things have gotten for job-seekers coming out of UMN Law, even if it's not representative of the "average."

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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby minnbills » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:27 pm

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YourCaptain
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby YourCaptain » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:59 pm

minnbills wrote:Thanks for the quick response. Haven't the top 5-10% made it to chicago historically?

What impression do you have of people who aren't getting biglaw (or whatever we're calling the MN equivalent) as far as placement is concerned? Are people turning to the corporations (I know there are a ton in MPS) for compliance/in-house work, etc. etc.

I know that's just a roundabout rephrasing of what I asked earlier but I'm just trying to get an impression of the landscape is like for UMN students right now. Being in state I will probably end up here and there doesn't seem to be a lot of info on what the current hiring climate is like, other than that people aren't getting jobs with big firms.


the school has no name recognition, and its alum base outside of MN is non-existant. WUSTL, despite all the hate I throw its way, is known among SD/ND/KS etc, and it has alums in Chi/NY.

You keep asking about "medium/small" firms - do you have any clue how difficult these are to get? What's worse about these is that they're a blackbox - heavily dependent on both grades and fit, whereas if you're in Fordham/GW you just kill it, get a 3.7, enjoy V25/50 in NY.

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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby minnbills » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:15 pm

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YourCaptain
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby YourCaptain » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:20 pm

minnbills wrote:
YourCaptain wrote:the school has no name recognition, and its alum base outside of MN is non-existant. WUSTL, despite all the hate I throw its way, is known among SD/ND/KS etc, and it has alums in Chi/NY.

You keep asking about "medium/small" firms - do you have any clue how difficult these are to get? What's worse about these is that they're a blackbox - heavily dependent on both grades and fit, whereas if you're in Fordham/GW you just kill it, get a 3.7, enjoy V25/50 in NY.


Nobody's denying that it's a regional school. What I'm trying to understand is what UMN grads are doing since they're not going to places like NYC and Chi.


the top 10-15% are going to MN/Wisc and the other 85-90% are unemployed...?

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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby minnbills » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:35 pm

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the_real_mckoy
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby the_real_mckoy » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:17 am

Even though ~90% of the class is employed at graduation?


That number is not accurate. I would estimate that about 20% of the class of 2011 found full-time legal work. The other 80% of the student body is scraping by with temp work or working in non-legal employment. (Seriously, Uptown coffee shops and restaurants are littered with recent UMN Law grads.) The Minnesota legal market simply cannot absorb the 800 or students who graduate from the four local law schools each year. And understand that many of the jobs at the top local firms are scooped up by T14 students who want to return home. Contract attorney rates in the Twin Cities are ~$25 (and seem to have stabilized, but that's down from $40 a few years ago and could drop again). That's the reality.

This blog post describes the situation in the Twin Cities pretty accurately for most recent graduates. (Minnesota Lawyer is a respected publication, too. It is not a scam blog.)

http://minnlawyer.com/jdr/2010/08/31/wh ... oc-review/

In short, if you're confident that you can finish in the top 10% of the class at UMN, you will probably have some options. If not, you should seriously consider other options besides law, or at least try to find paralegal work to see if working as a lawyer is something you absolutely must do. For most people, law is a career, not a passion, so be vigilant and explore other options.
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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby minnbills » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:25 am

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Helmholtz
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:26 am

damn.....

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minnbills
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby minnbills » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:29 am

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daniel3.14
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby daniel3.14 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:30 am

Hi again Minnbills,

Well, make up your mind. You acknowledge that the law school was constructed in a time of "obviously poor aesthetic taste." You compare it to East Germany circa 1955, and you agree that the general scheme is: brick, no windows, and exposed air ducts. I would correct you on the "terrazzo floors," however. The classrooms and library have decades-old carpeting, with myriad stains and wear. And I would also point out that you neglect to mention the electrical wiring hanging from the ceilings, the aging and decrepit computers/projectors, the prison-atmosphere of the restrooms, and the frequent wi-fi outages. Nevertheless, you do seem to paint a fairly unpleasant picture, which is substantially consistent with the description I gave. Puzzlingly, you also declare that it's "fine" and that you've "never really been bothered by it." I'd submit to you that my reporting is entirely accurate, and you simply believe that you wouldn't mind going to school in a dungeon (I think you'll find that you would).

minnbills wrote:Some of the newer buildings on campus are awesome, while northrup mall (being older) is also really cool.


As a law student you'll spend exactly zero-hours in those cooler buildings. This isn't really relevant.

Frankly, I don't see why this is even a cause for debate. Do you want me to take pictures?

minnbills wrote:It seems to me that you've had an exceptionally poor experience at UMN (duh) but at the same time nearly everyone I've talked to, especially alumni, speak highly about the school and have not raised any of the concerns you have.


Are these alumni, with whom the school has suggested you speak? I'd like to know who's spoken highly about the school, who isn't in some way benefiting from making such endorsement. Why don't you hang out in the law school courtyard one of these days and eavesdrop on the smokers. I'll wager you ten to one odds that anything they say about the school is every bit as harsh as what I've written here, if not more so.

minnbills wrote:I can't help but wonder if your experience with the dean was brought on by what is obviously a pretentious and abrasive demeanor. I certainly wasn't there, and I'm not trying to flame or be a douchebag, but it seems plausible that if you went in to her office and spoke to her with a similar demeanor exhibited in that video, that she would have reacted poorly. Again, I don't know, but that was my first reaction.


You know, calling someone "obviously pretentious and abrasive" does not really square with "not trying to flame or be a douchebag." And no, I am perfectly capable of supplication and obsequiousness, which ability I fully employed in my interactions with the Dean of Students. Admittedly, I'm at a point now where I would no longer show any such respect or deference. However, I was suitably humble in my demeanor for most of my 1L year, and my "abrasive demeanor," if you find it such, is an effect and not a cause of my experiences at UMN.

minnbills wrote:The only thing you've said that really worries me is your experience with the laptop program, but at the same time tech-oriented people in the UMN 2011 thread seemed to speak very highly of it so I'm scratching my head a bit.


Seriously? That's the only thing that worries you? I think you just don't want to acknowledge a lot of the stuff I've written. I mean, you seem to be eliding over a lot of really significant facts in your attempt to repeat what I've written.

And what's the mystery with the laptop? It takes five minutes to boot up Windows, it costs an arm and a leg, and there's no possibility of opting out. It's a piece of crap. I give you video evidence and you're telling me that tech-oriented people liked it? I think that just proves that they're not very tech-savvy after all.

minnbills wrote:that you're also quite bitter about not going to a school like Uchi, which you mentioned earlier.


I'm not bitter about not going to U Chi. I didn't even apply there. I mention it because my brother goes there, and it's a point of reference that I know well from the connection. I'm jealous, after the fact, but only because of how crappy UMN is. This is very different from coming to UMN having wanted to go to U Chi. I came to UMN perfectly happy to be attending a top 20 law school on the cheap, and I was looking forward to what I thought would be a challenging but rewarding experience. If I had wanted to go to U Chi, I would have applied there. If I had thought UMN would be a piece of crap, I wouldn't have come.

minnbills wrote:The result is that you're taking what is ultimately a pedestrian critique applicable to many law schools and using itto attack UMN.


What is a "pedestrian" critique? Either you mean this literally, in which case it's opposed to a "motorized" critique, or else you mean it figuratively, in which case it's opposed to an "exciting" or "inspired" critique.

And the criticism most assuredly is not applicable to other schools. What other T1 school has a building comparable to this level of disrepair? I don't claim to have visited all of them, but I certainly haven't heard of any. Certainly none in the top 30. I haven't even seen a law school in the second tier that has a school this crappy. And it's not just aesthetics. The computers, projectors, microphones and speakers, library printers, and wifi are buggy as all heck. These are functional problem. You seem pretty eager to dismiss the crumbling infrastructure as a mere "aesthetic" triviality, but we're not just talking about a lack of potted plants around the lobby here.

Moreover, there's no other law school that even has a laptop program, much less such a ridiculous one. And I haven't heard of any other law school changing the grading scheme for a required course mid-semester. Frankly, I'm not even sure that's kosher by the ABA. And the change was the result of incredibly widespread student outrage. People were threatening walk-outs. I can't see how this comports with your claim that everyone you've spoken with has had nothing bad to say. I did not imagine up the fact that the entire 1L class was consumed with rage over this. And incidentally, I was not really part of that mob. I was one of the cooler heads, who said, "Let come what may."

To the contrary, you can't just lump these very school-specific criticisms in with "criticism about law schools generally."

minnbills wrote:You say that you're not bad mouthing the school, but if I remember correctly you refer to it in your youtube video as a "festering pile of shit" or something similar. Those two statemens don't exactly jive.


I don't mean to be a nitpick, but it's "jibe." "Jive" is a dance. And I don't think I used the word, "shit," but it's certainly possible that I've used the words, "festering pile." Of course, I do think that it is, and I'll tell you how that jibes with the other thing. If you go to a bad restaurant, and someone asks you how it was, you might well say, "The food was awful, the decor was hideous, and the waitstaff was rude." Assuming these are all true assertions, then you're not bad-mouthing it. If you recite particular facts and details to back up your impressions, then so much the more is it an assessment and so much less is it a hatchet job. As I understand bad-mouthing, it's something akin to slander or at least insult -- the idea is that the "bad-mouther" goes out with the intent to impeach. I'm just reporting my honest reactions, and I think I'm backing it up with a lot of pretty detailed facts, which I imagine would be helpful to people considering UMN.

As I said to the other poster, I wish someone had told me this stuff before I applied to UMN. It would've saved me a lot of agony. If you want to come here for law school, then be my guest. Despite my being reasonably confident that a majority of UMN Law students are dissatisfied with the school, it's certainly the case that there's a small number that really enjoy the experience. No big surprise they're the ones giving tours to prospective students. And you might turn out to be one of them. And if that's the case, so much the more power to you. I think it'd be peachy if you came here and loved it. Really, I do. I just don't think that the odds favor that result.

But as I say -- if you don't "believe" me, then come on over and join us! Misery loves company, and we're pretty miserable. You don't need to call me "narrow-minded," "misleading," "bitter," abrasive," or "pretentious," nor do you need to claim that my criticisms are "pedestrian" (whatever that means), nor claim that I haven't backed up my conclusions with facts, nor try to mitigate the impact of my criticisms by casting me as an outlier, or claiming that my criticisms apply equally to a large swath of law schools. Firstly of all, because your assertions are simply not true. I have cited many facts, which make UMN Law a uniquely bad law school, and which is likely to make it a uniquely unpleasant experience for most people. Secondly, because if you think I'm mistaken, then you should just matriculate.

Indeed, it seems you're mostly there, since you seem to feel the need to attack me personally, I guess you're showing some anticipatory school pride. Your other posts seem to be consistent with not wanting to believe UMN is as bad as a lot of people are telling you it is:

minnbills wrote:What's strange is that, from what I've read elsewhere, OCI this year has been fairly good for top 1/4 students coming from T25s.

minnbills wrote:Daniel, I appreciate you coming onto TLS to give your point of view but I think you're being unduly harsh. I've spent three years on the west bank and been inside the law school and I have to say I find your description misleading, narrow-minded and ultimately your charactarization of the school unwarranted.

minnbills wrote:Nobody's denying that it's a regional school. What I'm trying to understand is what UMN grads are doing since they're not going to places like NYC and Chi.

minnbills wrote:Even though ~90% of the class is employed at graduation?

minnbills wrote:That seems extreme. 80% of the class is unable to find work in law? At the flagship law school in MN?


Look, if you want to believe UMN Law is a decent school, then go right ahead. If you think you already know, or you're just looking to confirm what you believe, then that's fine too. Just don't accuse me of bias or playing dirty pool because you don't like how what I'm saying jibes with your apparent future plans. If your mind is already made up about UMN being a good school, and you're just looking for numbers on post-graduation employment, what can I say, except: enjoy the 1L lectures. I'm getting nothing out of this, except the vague satisfaction of imagining that I might be steering someone away from the agony that I've had to suffer.
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Helmholtz
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:34 am

daniel3.14 wrote:
As a law student you'll spend exactly zero-hours in those cooler buildings. This isn't really relevant.

Frankly, I don't see why this is even a cause for debate. Do you want me to take pictures?


I would like pictures.

the_real_mckoy
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby the_real_mckoy » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:38 am

That seems extreme. 80% of the class is unable to find work in law? At the flagship law school in MN?


I believe about 20% of the class of 2011 secured full-time legal work. Many graduates can find jobs as contract attorneys. That's legal work, but those jobs are temporary, pay about $23-$26 an hour and don't provide benefits. That's the market.
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daniel3.14
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby daniel3.14 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:41 am

Helmholtz wrote:
daniel3.14 wrote:
As a law student you'll spend exactly zero-hours in those cooler buildings. This isn't really relevant.

Frankly, I don't see why this is even a cause for debate. Do you want me to take pictures?


I would like pictures.


Will do.

dusk2k2
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby dusk2k2 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:49 am

Wow, people are really getting pissed in this thread. Look, the guy is right about the building. It's terrible. It's pretty equivalent to the public high school I went to(actually, the bathrooms are probably lower quality than the high school I went to). It is a shame that the school has such poor facilities. Personally, I never studied in the school. I would either study on the East Bank in a nice building, or I'd go to St Thomas Law School downtown (now they have REALLY NICE facilities). If quality of the building and learning environment is important to you (and this is something that can matter), then you should absolutely take it into account.

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daniel3.14
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby daniel3.14 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:53 am

dusk2k2 wrote:Wow, people are really getting pissed in this thread. Look, the guy is right about the building. It's terrible. It's pretty equivalent to the public high school I went to(actually, the bathrooms are probably lower quality than the high school I went to). It is a shame that the school has such poor facilities. Personally, I never studied in the school. I would either study on the East Bank in a nice building, or I'd go to St Thomas Law School downtown (now they have REALLY NICE facilities). If quality of the building and learning environment is important to you (and this is something that can matter), then you should absolutely take it into account.


Right. And the infrastructure (wifi, computers, etc).

And then there's the laptop and exam policy.

And the P&P fiasco.

And the adjuncts.

This is not a small list of problems, and the problems ain't trivial.

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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby dusk2k2 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:02 am

the_real_mckoy wrote:
That seems extreme. 80% of the class is unable to find work in law? At the flagship law school in MN?


I believe about 20% of the class of 2011 secured full-time legal work. Many graduates can find jobs as contract attorneys. That's legal work, but those jobs are temporary, pay about $23-$26 an hour and don't provide benefits. That's the market.


This guy is right about the employment prospects. Look, a fair warning to everyone coming in looking for biglaw. If you are not at the tippy top of the class (think 3.7+), you are NOT going to get a biglaw job unless you manage to snag a 1L diversity slot in your first summer. I've explained why in an earlier thread, but basically two things are going on that make it so a lot of qualified students will not get biglaw.

1) A lot of tippy top students are from Minnesota and actually want to stay here. You've got people with grades in the 3.8's and 3.9's taking the limited biglaw jobs in the city. These are people who's numbers "should" put them in a V25 in NY or DC, but instead they want to go to a smaller Minnesota firm.

2) You've got good students, like myself, who wanted to try to go elsewhere, but can't because the school doesn't have enough pull anywhere outside of Minnesota. If I had my numbers from a school like GW or Fordham, I would be V25 secure probably. However, I've had extremely limited success getting a position outside of the state, which means I'm likely to accept the offers I have here. This means that the slot that probably could have gone to someone with a 3.7 or whatever is now going to me, and that leaves that 3.7 guy empty handed since he won't be able to go out of state either.

So a word of warning, if you are coming here and want biglaw, you better aim to get at least a 3.7 (and probably better to be closer to 3.8 ) if you want to have a chance at biglaw.

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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby minnbills » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:44 am

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daniel3.14
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby daniel3.14 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:03 am

minnbills wrote:Do you have any evidence for this?


Dude, what gives? We're giving you our best guesses and reactions based on actually being law students here, and you're asking for evidence? I mean, it sounds to me like you're pretty confident that you know better than us what UMN Law is like. Why even ask us then? You're clearly fishing for answers, and you're not accepting them when they come out different than you'd like.

Look, you're an undergrad at UMN, right? Well, if you want to grab a coffee, chat, and take a quick walk around the law building, then I'd be willing to do that. I don't have a ton of free time, what with 2L year being 2L year, journal obligations, research assistant work, and clinic. But I could probably find a small chunk of time to do that. I don't know what you mean when you say you've been inside the law building, but why don't you come sit in on a class?

I'm just not going to get into a debate with you about who knows more about what it's like to be a UMN Law student. I mean, if you've already made up your mind that this is the perfect place for you based on your research, then that's great. I hope it works out for you. But don't waste my time and yours pretending that you're really unsure about whether you'd come if accepted, if you've basically already decided.

And cut out the name-calling. It's bad form. At least when it's directed at people who are just trying to help. :?

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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby YourCaptain » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:25 am

minnbills wrote:
the_real_mckoy wrote:
That seems extreme. 80% of the class is unable to find work in law? At the flagship law school in MN?


I believe about 20% of the class of 2011 secured [b]full-time legal work.[/b] Many graduates can find jobs as contract attorneys. That's legal work, but those jobs are temporary, pay about $23-$26 an hour and don't provide benefits. That's the market.


Do you have any evidence for this?


Stop trolling for god's sake. The school is not placing well, drive this into your thick skull. Even though you're a 0L you're passive aggressively defending this place.

In all reality it's quite possible that the administration is inept, the buildings are rundown, and the job-search is nonexistent. My friends at the school corroborated the employment figure, at the least.

It's a small market - ties will be important and it can't handle 800 grads. There were what, 300 SA positions in CHICAGO this year? How many would you say there are in MN? Take that number, then subtract from it the number of kids at T14s and ND (yes, quite a contingent there) who grew up in MN and are going back, and then subtract from it the number of kids in the top 5% at their respective T4 MN schools, and that's how many spots you have for MN students. As in....very few.

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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby Redzo » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:46 pm

OP, I don't know why people are hassling you in this thread but personally I feel terrible on your behalf. I'm at a school in the middle of Tier 2 and it's a very high quality program, great faculty, great facility, etc., couldn't be happier, so I think this is a real indictment of the value of rankings. (Not that it should be news to anybody here.)

There are other people in this thread considering UMN and you're trying to tell them what it's like, and they're arguing with you. That would strike me as funny if it weren't sad.

Also, for what it's worth, I've really enjoyed reading all of your posts in this thread and I think your writing is vividly descriptive and entertaining, although I feel a lot of sympathy for your situation.
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:51 pm

Very interesting thread. OP: Thanks for sharing your experience & perspective.

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daniel3.14
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby daniel3.14 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:42 pm

Redzo and CanadianWolf:

Thanks for the kind words. I don't really think anyone's gone after me too harshly.

There were just the two guys. The first apparently doesn't think it's good form for anyone to criticize their own school, which strikes me as a rather odd position. I mean, as I've said a dozen times, if someone had given me the honest dirt on UMN, I could've been saved from crappy job prospects and three years of misery. I don't really think that "school pride" has much of a place in a forum where honest/objective assessments are wanted.

The other guy... I don't know what his problem is. Seems like he's wildly pro-UMN for some reason. I actually think that's totally okay; the more perspectives the better -- except that he's not actually a law student here, he's a 0L who's looking to apply here. And he wasn't entirely up front about the fact that he came into the discussion with sort of an agenda (or at least that his mind was made up).

Anyway, I'm still willing to take questions, if anyone's got 'em. They don't have to be horror stories. There's more neutral topics, too. For example, there used to be a good coffee place right across the street, called "Heavenly Daze," but they closed up shop after the building owner raised the rent on them, and now the only available coffee in the immediate environs comes out of vending machines (okay... I admit that this somehow lapsed into being another horror story, but it's worth mentioning that I don't blame the school for this one). And I guess the school cafeteria has coffee, too -- although they keep banker's hours -- and it's not so tasty.

Oh, and I'm doing the criminal defense appeals clinic this semester, which has just started a couple weeks ago, and it looks like it's gonna be lots of fun. I just got my case today -- apparently my guy (i.e. the defendant) tried to light his paramour on fire! I should also say that the guy who's doing the clinic is an adjunct -- and I've bashed adjuncts pretty badly in the other courses -- but I very much like this guy. He seems like a very down-to-earth, smart fellow. Particularly helpful is that he's giving us a lot of work, but it's not work that's "busy work" designed to give us the illusion of education. It's pretty good stuff. So far, I'm really happy I signed up for this.

And actually, this does bring up something I don't think I gave enough attention to earlier. I'd like to refute the notion, which the 0L UMN apologist proposed, that all law schools outside the T14 are going to suffer from comparably incompetent adjuncts. There are some very definite policies that UMN has in place, which ensure a consistently bad crop of adjuncts (with some possible exceptions).

Firstly, taking a job as an adjunct at UMN leads nowhere. Unlike other schools, UMN does not use the adjunct position as a way of "testing out" potential candidates for faculty positions. Rather, they just treat them like low-level staff. The only people who'd want to take the position are doing it to pad their resumé, because you can bet they haven't been incentivized to actually do a good job. Another thing is just the pay. They pay these guys almost nothing. I heard the Legal Writing adjuncts get $4000 for the year. First of all, you've got to wonder what kind of a lawyer is willing to agree to that much of a commitment for that little money. It should come as no surprise that they end up not treating it like the large commitment they ought to. There's a lot of skimming and skipping out of classes and stuff.

So, when you give these guys no prestige, no opportunity for advancement, and no money, and you ask them to do what's actually a fairly labor-intensive, intellectually demanding job (if they do it properly), what sort of person is incentivized to take the job? And how much effort do you suppose the dumb-dumb who ends up taking the job will actually put into it?

And the problem is actually worse for Practice and Professionalism. The quality of the adjuncts is very much a function of the decisions that school administrators have made. And I think it would be a pretty big mistake to assume that all schools of comparable rank have adjuncts of comparable quality. There's also the geographic limitation of the talent pool to consider. A small legal market is just a smaller pool, from which to draw potential instructors.

Anyway, there's a few thoughts on that.

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johnnyutah
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Re: University of Minnesota 2L Taking Questions...

Postby johnnyutah » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:19 pm

johnnyutah wrote:Is it true that last year, someone released a live spiny lobster in the library?




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