ChutzpahSaxa15 wrote:Recently accepted and I have a couple of Q's. Michigan is definitely one of my top choices at this point.
1) Other than the weather / normal stresses that would occur at any law school, are there things that many people DON'T like about Michigan? For instance, how helpful/timely is the administration?
2) How big are the 1L classes actually? I've seen different answers on different sites.
3) Is it easy for Michigan folks who want to go into PI/govt work in DC to get those jobs? Compared with a school like GULC, for example.
4) Is there an overall PI-vibe at the school? I've heard that in general more people at Mich are interested in PI than at other schools.
Congrats on accepting! Here are my thoughts. I also was a PI student, so feel free to PM me if you want more specific answers.
(1) The things I didn't like about Michigan largely had to do with Ann Arbor. It's possible, but significantly more difficult, to live in AA without a car. AA is not a big city, so there isn't as much to do (although, there is a lot more to do than you would expect of a city that size).
I didn't think that the administration was that effective. They pretend to care, and will respond quickly to complaints or issues, but then won't actually do anything. Don't really want to go into specifics, but you can PM if you want.
Also, they tout Michigan's LRAP program as this amazing way to avoid paying student loans while doing public interest, but once you graduate, the LRAP program attempts to nickel and dime you. They have so many ways of wiggling their way out of actually paying you. (For example, if you don't turn in all of the documents by the required due date, you can't get your money for the next year no matter what - they don't make exceptions - but then they also refuse to confirm that they received all of the documents. Last year, they "lost" a bunch of paperwork and those people got screwed. They calculate what they will pay you based on your current job salary, rather than your last year's taxes - which is how the federal government calculates your loan payment - which means there are certain instances in which MI will underpay you.) Basically, don't count on LRAP actually helping, because it may not.
(2) Your "larger" 1L classes are about 80-90 people. You'll have one class each semester that is half that size, and then your legal practice (legal writing/research) class will be 1/4 the size.
(3) Anecdotally, a large portion of my friends who went into PI ended up in DC. It's hard (but not impossible) to get an entry-level PI job straight out of law school, so for some reason, Michigan places a lot of people in DC-based clerkships (like "state" level clerkships at the DC trial court and Court of Appeals). People then leverage that experience to get PI jobs.
(4) My opinion is that Michigan has an incredibly strong PI community, second probably only to NYU. I mean, most people at Michigan are going into firm/corporate jobs, but a sizeable number of people do PI. We have lots of student groups devoted to PI - OPIS (Organization of Public Interest Students) has a mentoring program and hosts a large job fair geared towards 1Ls; the Criminal Law Society (historically, the group for wannabe prosecutors); and a public defender organization (whose name I don't know). My recollection is that there are a good number of professors who were former public defenders, so the PD community is especially strong.
Hope that helps!