Joe, you certainly have made things interesting around here. I'd like to answer your most recent post to me.
I never said all adjuncts are crappy.
That's true; you didn't expressly state that all adjunct professors at every school are terrible. I simply inferred from your comments that you thought all of William Mitchell's adjuncts were terrible (and I don't necessarily think it was an unfair inference).
Sure, there are excellent faculty at William Mitchell.
Thank you. I think the school has some excellent faculty members as well.
However, adjunct faculty are unable to put in the hours that full-time professors do.
This is also generally true, although I never felt like any adjuncts I had were difficult to get a hold of if I needed them. (More on this later.)
On top of that, there are many other adjunct faculty at William Mitchell who do not have these stellar credentials.
If by the absence of "stellar credentials" you mean that they attended William Mitchell, then yes, anyone could see that a fair number of adjuncts listed on the website are alumni. However, that fact alone doesn't mean that they’re unsuccessful, unintelligent, or unqualified. You already picked out two, Kathleen Peters and Martin Lueck. Here are some other examples, which I've grouped together by employer for easier reading:
* Greg Allen, 3M
* James Baker, 3M
* Jason Asmus, Briggs & Morgan
* Matthew Boos, Fredrikson & Byron
* Lynn Jokela, Fredrikson & Byron
* Ed Matthews, Fredrikson & Byron
* Courtney Candalino, Novartis
* Patricia Cangemi, U.S. Attorney's Office
* Mike Dees, U.S. Attorney's Office
* Erika Mozangue, U.S. Attorney's Office
* Walter Duffy, Faegre & Benson
* Will Stute, Faegre & Benson
* Katherine Golden, M.A. Mortenson (formerly w/ Faegre & Benson)
* Daniel Enebo, Cargill
* Tim Eschweiler, Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly
* Ray Faricy, Lindquist & Vennum
* April Hamlin, Lindquist & Vennum
* Pat Gallagher, Fulbright & Jaworski
* Marjorie Griffing, Ecolab
* Hon. Jill Halbrooks, MN CoA
* Hon. Gordon Shumaker, MN CoA
* David Herr, Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand
* Ken Jorgensen, Dorsey & Whitney
* Kristen Larson, US Bancorp
* Catherine McEnroe, Leonard, Street & Deinard
* Becky Thorson, Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi
* Steve Silton, Hinshaw & Culbertson
And I could go on. Regardless, I get the impression that you think a law graduate must
work in BigLaw or some other equivalent organization to be considered successful, and that is a highly debatable proposition.
My writing section had 15 students, my professor is full-time faculty and only taught two writing sections per semester. We needed a full-time professor to teach LAWR, because that was a class where students were constantly utilizing the professors office hours. I don't see how a part-time person could adequately teach this class. You stated that some of the adjuncts teach writing and that is very frightening.
Not just some of the adjuncts, but a majority of the adjuncts are used for Legal Writing and Trial Advocacy. Perhaps it's frightening to you because it's different from your own law school experience. I can appreciate that. However, I think Mitchell's writing program is actually quite rigorous and turns out successful students. My Legal Writing prof was a junior partner at one of the NLJ 250 firms in Minneapolis and I learned more from him in three hours a week than anyone else who had the opportunity to influence my draftsmanship. And I can't speak for other Mitchell students/alums, but he was always available to our class for questions, 24 hours a day. The guy was a machine.
Besides, I know from discussions with UMN students that they use a similar procedure (large group with prof, small group with adjunct). The concept isn't that radical. What's really frightening is that their
Legal Writing course is pass/fail. Pass/fail? For legal writing, one of the most critical skills you can have as a lawyer? That seems absolutely crazy to me, especially given the fact that UMN is considered a fine law school.
Look, William Mitchell has competent people teaching there, but William Mitchell does not have a T1 or T2 faculty. Please take the time to look at the faculty bios for T1 and T2 schools. Almost all of the faculty at most T1 and T2 schools have the credentials of William Mitchell's best professors.
Right away, we can dispense with any more talk of first tier law schools. I really don't understand why you keep bringing them up, as I've never argued that William Mitchell has a first tier anything (faculty, USNWR ranking, etc). Honestly, examine this thread with a fine tooth comb and I'm certain you'll come up empty in that regard. I don't even think Mitchell has a high second tier faculty, or deserves a high second tier USNWR ranking. It's not Florida, it's not Brooklyn, it's not Miami, it's not even New Mexico. I identified a very particular set within the second tier where I think William Mitchell belongs, namely, those law schools ranked 85-100.
If you don't believe me, let's compare full-time faculties, since you suggest most of their professors are equal to Mitchell's best (and that's assuming that your sole criterion for quality is where a professor earned his or her law degree). Here's how William Mitchell breaks down. I'll list the law schools with more than one alumnus/a represented first (from highest to lowest in USNWR rank), with the number in parentheses, and then the remainder, in no particular order, all of which have only one alumnus/a.
William Mitchell (4)
Temple, Fordham, WUSTL, Boston U, Chicago-Kent, Cornell, Brooklyn, DePaul, GULC, OSU-Moritz, Indiana (Bloomington), Indiana (Indianapolis), Stanford, George Washington, Drake, Chicago, Duke
Now let's compare that to the absolute bottom of the range I mentioned earlier, the three schools tied for 100th: Gonzaga, Maine, and Hofstra.
Boston U (2)
Connecticut, UCLA, Yale, Chicago, UMN, Tulane, Montana, South Dakota, Kentucky, Tulsa, Texas, GULC, DePaul, North Dakota, Alabama, American U, Rutgers-Camden
NYU, Michigan, New Mexico, Western New Engladn, Chicago, Illinois, Drake, Chicago-Kent, Boston U, Stetson, Case Western, UNC, Boalt, George Washington, Notre Dame
Emory, Penn, UNC, Cornell, UVA, Louisville, Boston U, Georgia, Illinois, California Western, George Washington, American U
What conclusions can we draw from these statistics? Well first, if I was a Hofstra grad, and we were using your rubric for determining faculty quality, I'd be wicked pissed
that my school is ranked so low. Do you see how many profs they have from T14 schools?
Putting that aside, I'd notice that the faculty composition at William Mitchell is pretty similar to Maine and Gonzaga in terms of the number of "qualified" professors. In fact, you could make an argument that Mitchell has more "qualified" professors than the other two.
And just because Hofstra seems to be an outlier (probably due to its location and who it needs to compete against), let's go straight to the middle of the 85-100 set and see if the numbers still hold:
Catholic U (Columbus)
George Washington (2)
Catholic U (11)
UMN, Indiana (Bloomington), Boston U, Boalt, Stanford, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, NYU, Michigan, Fordham, Lewis & Clark, UC Hastings
It seems apparent that Columbus goes a little deeper from some of the T14 schools, but Mitchell's not too far away. Also take note of the fact that (God forbid) Columbus employs eleven of its own graduates on the faculty, more than any other law school, and the fact that they're also in a hyper-competitive geographical area.
I don't want to crunch the numbers for the entire 85-100 set, but if you did, I think you'd see that Mitchell's faculty is comparable.
The scariest stat for William Mitchell is I that only 40% of students have jobs upon graduation. This, in and of itself, is a good reason for a school to be TTT. Again, does William Mitchell even have OCI?
Yes, William Mitchell has OCI. If my memory serves me correctly, these are some of the organizations that participate:
Dorsey & Whitney
Faegre & Benson
Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi
Briggs and Morgan
Leonard, Street & Deinard
Lindquist & Vennum
Fredrikson & Byron
Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly
Winthrop & Weinstine
Gray Plant Mooty
Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand
Bowman & Brooke
Merchant & Gould
Messerli & Kramer
Minnesota Att'y General
U.S. Attorney's Office
This isn't complete; it's just the places I can think of off the top of my head. And while some of the private ones aren't NLJ 250 firms, their first-year salaries are still around $120K, the Minneapolis-St. Paul equivalent to $160K in NYC, DC, Chicago, etc. If the number of Mitchell grads working in NLJ 250 law firms appears low (ergo, only a small small minority can get well-paying jobs), it's only because some of these places don't have enough attorneys to make the list.
I understand your vigor in defending your school, but be honest with yourself and others. You are portraying William Mitchell in an inaccurate light, and it is unfair to 0Ls. Be honest with 0Ls and the ones planning on going to William Mitchell will still go there; their numbers don't make them solid T1 or T2 candidates in many instances. At least if you are honest with 0Ls, they will not be resentful when they graduate unemployed.
Joe, I believe I have been honest thus far in discussing the merits of William Mitchell. The school does some things well and others not so well. There's definitely room for improvement. Just to show you that I'm sincere, I'll recap the instances in this thread where I've been less than kind:
[Job prospects] depend 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.
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.
If you want to work in BigLaw outside Minnesota for your first job, your chances are much better at the U of M.
I readily concede that a J.D. from William Mitchell doesn't have anything close to the portability of the same degree from a T14 law school (but then again, I've never argued that in this thread). I also readily concede that even a summa graduate from Mitchell can't get their first job in Big Law in a traditionally big market.
I'll tell you straight off the bat that in 2008, Mitchell instituted a new curve for 1L courses. Now, the median is expected to be at a 2.72 GPA. (Personally, I don't think the school is doing itself any favors by being so ruthless with grading, but I'm not in charge.) So if you need a 2.7 to keep your scholarship, than you have to stay in the top-half of your class. Be prepared to work hard for that. Being a spectacular Political Science/History undergrad student doesn't have a direct correlation to success as a law student. Moreover, I discovered at school that some people have a natural aptitude for the law and others need to really work at it. Those that have the natural aptitude and the masochistic work ethic are most likely going to be the ones at the top. Now I'm not trying to scare you off--I just want to be candid about the law school experience.
I hate to rip on my own school, but there's no point in being dishonest about it--Mitchell needs way more money for scholarships. I mean, the endowment is paltry compared to some of the other schools I've read about. With that being the case, you should feel very lucky to have almost a full scholarship.
And if that's not honest enough for you, Joe, here's some absolutely brutal honesty: those in the bottom half at Mitchell will have a tough time finding good jobs (maybe even a job, period, for several months). However, all hope is not lost. Those people simply have to network like hell with every lawyer they meet. They have to join every club, reach for every rung, and do everything in their power to make the connections that will help them in their future career.
And maybe once people start recognizing that Mitchell is truly an all-around solid law school, that won't have to be the case.