William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
MSP1
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William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:30 pm

I'm a recent grad of William Mitchell, working in a mid-size law firm in the Twin Cities. I can answer just about anything--questions on the curriculum, facilities, and job placement.

I'll check this daily, so long as the interest is there. Thanks.

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ThunderDan
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby ThunderDan » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:38 pm

Is the library legitimate?

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:45 pm

I think so. But then again, I don't know if there are standardized criteria for legitimacy.

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ThunderDan
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby ThunderDan » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:49 pm

Is it large, comfortable, and modern?
Also, check your personal messages...

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:09 pm

The library is big, large enough to hold over 500,000 volumes. It's got several computer labs, private study desks, "break-out" rooms, conference rooms, etc. I spent a lot of time there second year writing my long research paper, and it was comfortable. I know that students from Hamline often use it to study instead of using their own library.

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ThunderDan
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby ThunderDan » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:15 pm

I'm glad to hear that. I don't understand why law schools don't show more pictures of their library.

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pzooz
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby pzooz » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:57 am

Thanks for creating this discussion topic. I graduated from st. thomas in 2006. i cant wait to head back to st. paul for law school. nothing beats a summer in st. paul, am i right?

wondering what your impression of the student body was? Were you proud to be one of them? Are they engaged in their studies? do they seem to care about what they're learning? Is there any drama? is there an identifiable political lean for the student body? You don't have to answer all of those, but if you have time, be my guest.

thanks.

dickfitzwell
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby dickfitzwell » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:05 am

Between WM, Ham Sandwich U, and ST. Thomas isn't it hard to compete with the UMN grads???

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:00 am

I'll answer pzooz first:

I am proud to be an alum of William Mitchell. The school has a unique history and it's been around nearly as long as the U of M (1900 as compared to 1888). I feel that sometimes WM is a little too modest in talking about its graduates. Everybody knows Warren Burger, but not a lot of people know about John Sanborn or Myles Mace or Luther Youngdahl. The school's wikipedia page has a nice (verifiable!) listing of notable alums and their accomplishments, if you're inclined to check it out.
In regards to engagement, I'd say that 50% of the students work extremely hard, 30% work moderately hard, and the other 10% are simply coasting toward their J.D. Whether that's a wise decision is another story. I like to think that I fell into the 50% category, but in all honesty, I might have been closer to the 30%. I had extracurriculars that were sometimes more interesting than regular classwork.

As to whether the students care about what they're learning, I'd say absolutely. WM has a reputation for putting out attorneys ready to practice immediately, and that's because we're indoctrinated from the very beginning that as a new lawyer, you'll look like an idiot if you have no idea how to function. There's a good balance between the philosophical aspect of the law and the practical, nuts-and-bolts side.

Drama is going to be at every law school, but WM's wasn't too bad. I tried to avoid it for the most part, although sometimes it was tough because it's the size of a high school. Any drama I heard about was mostly student-based, and not faculty-based. So, if you're into drama, you could find it; if you're not, you can ignore it.

I'd venture that the student body is pretty split politically. WM has an active Federalist Society, as well as an active liberal group, the WM Democrats. Both get along fairly well with each other, and sometimes do joint programs. In class, you would eventually hear someone get up on their conservative soapbox and vice versa.

Hope that answers your question.

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:08 am

Now, to dickfitzwell.

Is it tough to find jobs in the Twin Cities with four law schools? Yes. Competition is stiff. However, if you were to look at SA placement at BIGLaw or MIDLaw firms in Minneapolis-St. Paul, you'd probably find that the number of U of M students, WM students, and UST students are about equal. Hamline is the one that lags.

Some firms have more WM people. Oppenheimer Wolf & Donnelly is a WM factory; they take somewhere around four to six WM SAs every year. Anecdotally, I can tell you that the hiring partners there love WM kids because they don't have to have everything explained to them about how to work in a law firm.

U of M has the best national reputation of the four law schools, but you'll find that locally they all (with the exception of Hamline) place pretty equally.

JurisDoctor33
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby JurisDoctor33 » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:18 pm

dickfitzwell wrote:Between WM, Ham Sandwich U, and ST. Thomas isn't it hard to compete with the UMN grads???


Competition can definitely be stiff, but the dynamics of a William Mitchell degree, can be very beneficial in the MSP market if you understand the importance of networking. Keep in mind that Mitchell currently has nearly 15K alumni, and the largest amount of actively practicing attorneys in the state. This is very beneficial in that these alums are very loyal. Are they going to seek you out and offer you a job point blank...NO. But they will prefer you over your counterparts from the other schools hands down if you give them a reason to. Furthermore, if you are interested in working in the judiciary, it is important to note that there are more Mitchell grads currently sitting on the bench, than from any other school. Who do you think these grads hire for clerkships? Don't believe me...four Mitchell students have recently been hired to serve as SC clerks...(interesting number seeing as how there are four grads on the SC)...that is impressive! Have an interest in the attorney generals office...Lori Swanson (attorney general) is a Mitchell grad. Who do you think they prefer to hire? Want to work downtown? Despite what you might hear in other forums, or from other sources, the "downtown" firms usually hire Mitchell grads at at least a 2-1 ratio compared to UST and Hamline. Will there be exceptions...of course. But the fact of the matter is that UST has only had graduates in the market since 2004...none of these students are partners yet, and consequently, none of these students get to decide who is hired yet. That leaves Mitchell, U of MN, and other Tier1 grads with the hiring decisions, and you better believe that the Mitchell partners will look out for current Mitchell students. One example, as MSP1 already posted is Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer currently has over 100 attorneys, of these 2 are from Hamline, 1 from UST, and over 25 from Mitchell. This is only one example, but there are several other firms with comparable ratios. In the MSP market, U of M grads will always have the upper hand so to speak. But do not despair, if you finish in the top of your class at Hamline, Mitchell or UST, you will be able to land the same jobs as U of M students. The only difference between the schools, is that a U of M degree will travel much farther than any of the other schools. And local firms will generally look to the top 25% at the U as desirable, whereas at UST, Hamline, and Mitchell, top 10% is the magic number for working downtown.

What is important also to remember, is that most students do not want to work downtown. They have no interest in corporate securities, M & A, etc... Even the students that land these jobs, often have no idea what they entail, or an interest in that field, they often take these positions simply to pay off their loans. However, areas such as PI, criminal defense, insurance defense, family law, can also provide very very viable fields for paying off student loans. PI for example, entitles you to 33-40% of your clients recovery...doesn't take that much to get this type of practice off the ground.

Long story short, Mitchell is a very unique school, with an amazing history. If you put in the work at Mitchell, I am confident that your options and opportunities will be very plentiful. Don't listen to the tier 3 v. tier 4 bullshit. That is all it is ... bullshit. Mitchell has better number for their 2011 graduating class than both UST and Hamline. Regardless, while US News may care whether you were able to put 5 piano students in the proper order for their recital on saturday, employers will not give a shit about your LSAT or UGPA. They only care about class rank!!! For what it is worth, I bet anyone on here that Mitchell moves back to Tier 3 this year, however I guarantee you that if they do, employers will not blink an eye, they simply don't care!!
Last edited by JurisDoctor33 on Sat May 09, 2009 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:04 pm

I'd like to address JD33's point about William Mitchell's U.S. News Ranking. The whole Tier 4 thing is pure ridiculousness. Someone's employed the methodology without the reputation scores (40% of the raw overall score) and WM ends up being a high Tier 3. I'll find that link and post it later.

But even further, WM is really reluctant to "game" the rankings like other schools do. By this, I mean that they're not going to create jobs for unemployed graduates in the law school library so they can report 100% employment rates nine months after graduation (although WM's performance on this criterion is pretty good, normally in the 90th percentile and up).

They also appear to have a high student to faculty ratio (24:1 is the number people keep throwing out there) because there are only forty-nine FT profs and something like 300 adjunct faculty. U.S. News stops counting adjunct faculty toward the student:faculty ratio after a certain number, way below 300. With just over a thousand students, it gives the appearance that the school is overrun and no one ever gets any personal attention. That couldn't be further from the truth. I never had any problems doing walk-ins with profs and they were always easily accessible.

The other problem with the Tier 4 ranking--and it's an admittedly subjectone one--is that it just doesn't accurately reflect WM's reputation. Here's one example: in the thirty-year period from 1980 to 2010, there will have been six CJs of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Three of them graduated from WM, two from the U of M, and one from YLS. If we looked at any other state high court, would you find another "Tier 4" school with similar numbers? I tend to doubt it. Would you find another "Tier 4" law school with grads placed in the same position as a T-25 and a T-2 law school? Possibly, but it seems like a long-shot. If someone wants to dig up the actual numbers, be my guest, but I think my point is a valid one: WM doesn't get as much respect as it deserves.

I bring all these things up because I believe that WM is a Top 100 law school, somewhere in the 85-100 range. Under the current ranking regime, it's just a matter of the school taking additional steps to reflect that reality.

End3r
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby End3r » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:41 pm

^TITCR

Also, http://www.vault.com/lawschool/underrated/

This was from '07, but I found it interesting. Scroll down to the Midwest and then read the comments which sum up what is being said here pretty nicely (also note the category is not "ranked" but alphabetized).

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:32 pm

And for the true BIGLaw worshippers out there, these people are proof that it's not totally out of reach for WM grads:

Thomas Sjoblom
--LinkRemoved--

David Ransom
http://www.mwe.com/index.cfm/fuseaction ... f0f73c.cfm

Patricia Gannon
--LinkRemoved--

HE/HI MBS
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby HE/HI MBS » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:22 pm

Besides being in the top 10-25% of your class at Mitchell, what are some other things that would set a graduate apart when looking for employement -- such as Law Review and/or other types of involvement? Also, how much does previous work experience help when you are looking for a job? I'll be starting at Mitchell in the fall, and am leaving a Big Four accounting firm after two years. I have my CPA license, but am hoping that Mitchell would give me a step up and not down or horizontal in my career. Your thoughts on the prospects?

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:55 pm

Congratulations on starting law school at WM.

In general, Law Review will always get you noticed. The only exception I can think of would be if you're in the bottom half of the class, but still somehow managed to get in through the writing competition (highly unlikely, but not impossible, I suppose). Moot court is fine too, but it doesn't do much for OCI since students can't actually do moot court stuff until well into fall semester of their second year.

Previous work experience matters, especially if it's good. If you're already a CPA, I'd consider that a big plus (assuming that you want to do transactional work).

Let me put it to you like this: if you're at WM and you're (1) a CPA; (2) within the top 20% of your class; and (3) on Law Review, then you'd have to be a real sociopath not to get BIGLaw SA offers.

HE/HI MBS
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby HE/HI MBS » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:40 am

Thanks for the response. It's further confirmation that Mitchell is a good choice. Have a good one.

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:31 am

Something else that sets William Mitchell apart from the other area law schools is its intellectual property program. The school has really good faculty in this area, one of whom is Jay Erstling, the former director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty and former advisor to the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Acquiring him was probably one of the reasons that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office chose WM for its special law school pilot program:

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/08-28.htm

I also know that WM's IP Institute regularly produces and submits amicus briefs for cases before the U.S. CoA for the Fed Circuit, which students actively participate in. It's a smart cred for someone doing IP work.

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pzooz
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby pzooz » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:04 pm

Hey MSP1,
Hoping you're still checking out this great post:

After graduating from WM, how do you feel about the fear t14 attendees are striking into the minds of potential t3 and t4 school attendees? Are the nightmares of a shitload of debt and no job prospects true when it comes to graduating from WM? Do you think the 90 some % employment rate after graduating from WM is true? Basically, I'm wondering what your prospects were like after graduating, and what your WM friends' prospects were like.

thanks ahead.

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:02 pm

I'll asume that when you call this a "great thread," you actually mean it. Although being a smart-ass myself, I'm no stranger to sarcasm. Regardless, I'll answer these questions because they're good ones for prospective law students to think about before taking the plunge.

After graduating from WM, how do you feel about the fear t14 attendees are striking into the minds of potential t3 and t4 school attendees? Are the nightmares of a shitload of debt and no job prospects true when it comes to graduating from WM?

Our current circumstances are both unique and terrifying. The legal industry's been hit really hard by the recession and that adds to law students' worries about finding a job after graduation. All that notwithstanding, I'd say the answer to this question is that it depends.

It depends on how you came into William Mitchell and how you left it. By that I mean whether you got any scholly $ to begin with and whether you had good marks during your three/four years. I know of one Mitchell graduate with six-figure debt and no job prospects. He graduated very near the bottom of the class. I know another Mitchell graduate who had a full scholarship going in, kept it, and currently pulls down $120K per year. She graduated near the top of the class. Those are the two opposite ends of the spectrum.

As for the middle, I'd say that people graduating in the 50th percentile from William Mitchell--if they've been involved with extra-curriculars and have taken advantage of networking opportunities--will most likely land decent first jobs. Nothing spectacular, but you won't be destitute. Don't quote me on it, but I think the most recent number for William Mitchell's median salary is somewhere between $65 and $70K. That's not too bad when you factor in COLA, as well as the fact that your first job is not your last.

If T14 students want to prognosticate about how all Tier 3 and 4 students are going to be beggars, they can. It's their prerogative. My experience at William Mitchell is that that's simply not the case.

Do you think the 90 some % employment rate after graduating from WM is true?

I think William Mitchell's employment numbers are fairly accurate; they're more accurate than other law schools that report 100% employment (unless you're in the HYS holy trinity, in which case I could see it happening). Keep in mind, however, that not all of those newly-employed graduates have traditional legal jobs. I know some people who went into business, or banking, or public relations, etc.

Basically, I'm wondering what your prospects were like after graduating, and what your WM friends' prospects were like.

My prospects were just fine, actually, although I'll admit that my experience was atypical, in the sense that the firm I currently work for approached me about the job and not the other way around. I had only worked in the public sector (state government) beforehand and this is my first experience in the private sector. As for others, a lot of my law review friends work in BigLaw or are going through judicial clerkships right now. Other non-law review friends are also working in BigLaw, or medium-sized firms or smaller firms; still others are working at county and city attorneys' offices, etc. I can honestly say that none of the people I was close to during law school are unemployed and everyone seems to be doing just fine.

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pzooz
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby pzooz » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:40 pm

thanks for being so thorough. very informative. i'll keep bothering you as other questions arrise.
-p

End3r
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby End3r » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:05 am

Great posts MSP1. I completely echo your sentiments/comments on this board in general regarding Mitchell.

FWIW--I know a few 1L's at Mitchell. Even in this economy, they are finding jobs. One is a clerk at one of the mid-size firms in the cities (about 25 attorneys) w/ long-term prospects even w/ mediocre grades. The other has been employed the entire year at a small firm and has job interviews lined up to clerk in-house at a Fortune 500 company and another at a State agency.

I just wanted to throw some anecdotal evidence out there to demonstrate not all is "gloom and doom" especially, as MSP1 had mentioned, you take a pretty nice scholly to aid in debt reduction upon graduation.

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A'nold
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby A'nold » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:19 am

WHAT?! Midlaw from a low ranked school? We all know that midlaw does not exist, even for a TTTop 20 school.......only t14 grads ever have a chance at these coveted positions, and that's only after 35 years in biglaw working 80 hour weeks and a SCOTUS clerkship. Stop spreading your flames guy.

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:46 am

A'nold wrote:WHAT?! Midlaw from a low ranked school? We all know that midlaw does not exist, even for a TTTop 20 school.......only t14 grads ever have a chance at these coveted positions, and that's only after 35 years in biglaw working 80 hour weeks and a SCOTUS clerkship. Stop spreading your flames guy.


I like you. You're funny. That can be a rarity once you're into the grinding law school routine.

MSP1
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Re: William Mitchell Graduate, taking questions.

Postby MSP1 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:52 am

Just because I want to keep blowing the minds of XOXO devotees and T14 elitists, these are some other William Mitchell grads who have inexplicably found work with NLJ 250 law firms:

Alan Kildow, DLA Piper
--LinkRemoved--

Ronn Kreps, Fulbright & Jaworski
--LinkRemoved--




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