I am a 2L at William Mitchell, and I thought I'd share some, hopefully, unbiased opinions from my personal observations.
I, like many on this thread, intend to practice in Minnesota which is why I applied here initially. I did around last year's 25% for LSAT because of some family issues but had an undergrad GPA from a Top 40 school that was higher than top 75%. I also had some decent softs despite coming straight from undergrad. Finally, in my opinion, I know I had a rock-solid PS and LORs. I ended up getting a 90% scholarship. I am currently ranked around Top 10%, and have a summer associate position lined up. I considered transferring up after 1L but decided against it after talking with some MN lawyers who said 1) they do hire from WM just as much as UMN, and 2) in this economy, I should lower my financial risk.
In general, WM offers VERY FEW 100% scholarships, and will never award above 100% per the Student Policy handbook. There are a lot of students who get 40%, 50%, 75%, and 90% it seems; there are, of course, even more who get 0-25% scholarships probably.
EDIT - I think WM also places more emphasis on undergrad GPA and experience/softs than UMN, which focuses very heavily on LSAT scores.
Maintaining a scholarship is easy. Some will have different requirements. I think that the higher your scholarship, the more strict your requirement. For example, mine requires me to maintain like a 2.75 or something. Others that I know have only a Top 50% class rank requirement, which translates to a bit less than 2.75 GPA. In any event, both requirements are not too hard to meet, so long as you find out how law school works (for now, all I can say is use the tips given on TLS about exam taking and studying, that's what I relied on).
WM is definitely in second-place behind the UMN in terms of hiring. I can assure you that, after going through OCI, very few big firms hire from UST and none from Hamline, unless you are like ranked #1 at each school. I would estimate that top 20% of UMN get a big law position, whereas top 10-15% at WM get a big law position. When you factor in that generally the top of WM's class has nice scholarships, I would say that WM is a better deal in this economy.
For public interest, the school that offers the most money between UMN, WM, and UST is probably the safest bet.
There is a great mix of students at WM. You have a decent population of older students who work at the large corporations in the Twin Cities. But the largest group are younger students, around 23-25 years old.
Going forward, I think WM is starting to place more emphasis on the rankings to continue the upward trend. No doubt it has a far way to go, but at least it is in the right direction. Same can be said about UST, which I think may crack Top 100 schools in the next 5 years. I do not, however, think that UST will surpass WM just because of WM's history and alumni. By the way, rankings are probably only important for big law and corporate positions.
All MN schools with the exception of UMN are regional schools, so I would reconsider going to any if you plan on leaving MN right after graduation.
I do not regret my decision. Even with the option of transferring, I decided to stay at WM (thus, I basically decided to go to WM twice).
Hope this helps.
Last edited by dougroberts
on Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.