As a Minnesotan myself, I feel particularly well-suited to add my two cents on the matter. I applied to William MiTTTchell and St. TTThomas (but not fourth-tier Hambone) when I was a wayward 0L, although I thankfully wised up and made it into the presTTTigious UniversiTTTY of MinnesoTTTa, home to the 30%-employed Class of 2010. St. Thomas actually had the decency to offer me some big bucks, but it wasn’t enough to entice me. Mitchell had the audacity to expect me to pay sticker price to attend their spittoon of law. (The U came through with a scholarship after all. Not like it made any difference in the end.)
Nando over at Third Tier Reality has already done a great expose of the two dung heaps of law that our poor 0L is considering, so I won’t go into the details of how much they will pillage your finances and/or soul.
Minneapolis-St. Paul is a funny legal market. With four law schools in this mid-size city, 1,000 new J.D.s are defecated out into this oversaturated field every year. Minnesota as a state has one of the highest lawyer per capita ratios in the Union, despite it being pretty small population-wise. When I was considering law school, the general consensus was “get into the U of M or else your life will become a living hell.” Well, having gone to the U of M, and my life being even worse than I ever imagined, I don’t know how helpful this advice was. I can’t imagine how much worse things are coming out of the local TTTs.
In a market when T-14 graduates are getting screwed left and right, why would anyone seriously consider one of these dumps? I have to chalk it up to inability to follow the news, and/or "it won't happen to me" syndrome. In better times, Mitchell grads would have had a reasonable shot at eking out an existence in shitlaw or solo practice, but plenty of them still slipped through the woodwork. Hamline did even worse…it’s most prestigious grad is arguably a former local TV news anchor. In this market, students from the “best” school in town, which is generally agreed to be head-and-neck above its peers, aren’t finding jobs. How can any lawyer or law student in good conscience recommend a third-tier-toilet to a clueless 0L, who is looking for help?
The advice given to this 0L essentially devolved into a war between TTT cheerleaders who cite the “great practical experience” these toilets offer, versus disillusioned lawyers and graduates of these schools who are urging this 0L to reconsider.
“Mitchell is known for its practical skills courses and clinics.”
“Mitchell has more alumni, which can be good for networking.”
“Hamline was a very good experience for me. I also had a lot of professors who were practicing or had recently practiced and were able to make legal issues come alive.”
“Making the choice between Mitchell and Hamline is simple: Mitchell is the better choice. I know many big-firm lawyers (and people in the government, and people at non-profits, etc.) who went to Mitchell and loved it. Mitchell is a fine school with solid legal education. And their career services people work very hard indeed.”
A nugget of honesty:
“But please reconsider. Mitchell and Hamline are both terrible choices for the vast majority of students. Almost everybody after graduation finds that their job choices are very limited, their career trajectories are flat, and they can’t get the kind of experience they want. . The very best people in any school will do fine. Chances are, I’m sorry to say, that you will not be in the top of the class.”
The best place for this wayward 0L to look is at actual recent grads of the schools:
“I’m a 2009 Hamline grad. I graduated with honors. I’m still unemployed. There’s a data point for you.
PS — it’s not too late to go to medical school.”
“Do not go to law school. The legal market is terrible, and it is going to keep getting worse: law classes are getting larger and larger. Top 1/4 students from UMN Law are having trouble finding jobs. You will be eaten alive unless those schools are offering you full-ride scholarships.”
“The legal market is terrible right now, no real news flash there. But if you are going to choose a MN school either go to the U and make sure to place in the top 25%, or go to Mitchell on a scholarship and place in the top 10%. If you can’t do that, don’t go to law school in the Twin Cities. And I’m not just saying that with regards to placing at a large firm, I’m saying that about having a chance at getting a legal job period when you graduate.
Hamline should never be an option.”
Which side will come away with the victory? Will the law school shills claim another bloody scalp from a hapless 0L? Will this woefully uninformed prospective student find her way to the scambloggers and others dedicated to exposing the law school scam? Classes are two months away, and the oilcan deans are busy making sure every seat will be filled with a warm body. Godspeed, "Jackie" the 0L, and may you see the light and run far, far away from law school.