Amy Johnson is the former NAPALSA co-Regional Director for the Central North region.
I am a 3L student at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN. William Mitchell is just one of the four major law schools in the surrounding area. The other law schools in this region are Hamline Law School, The University of Minnesota Law School, and St. Thomas Law School. The University of Minnesota and William Mitchell are both ranked in the Top 100 Law Schools in the Country. Each year there is a growing number of admissions to the schools. This year St. Thomas admitted 161 students, William Mitchell admitted 357 students, Hamline admitted 227 students, and the University of Minnesota admitted 826 students. This growing number of law students seems daunting and may present a problem for those looking for a job and for those already practicing.
Throughout my law school career I have heard all about the negative things that are associated with going to school in an area that has 4 major law schools. Things like there are not enough jobs available to accommodate all of these students and there are too many unemployed lawyers as it is in the area which has created somewhat of a worry for those graduating or those just about to graduate.
To the contrary I have actually found the opposite of this problem. Even though there is competition between the four schools to be the best in the region and competition for jobs, there is also seems to be a strong relationship and sense of connectedness. All of the law schools participate in quad school events and networking opportunities with one another which create long lasting relationships and possible future colleges. Another perk to living in this region with these four schools is that any student from any of the four law schools can take up to a certain number of credits from any of the surrounding law schools if that course is not offered at their school. I have found this beneficial because it gives me and others a wider range of course that I can choose to take.
Lastly, a benefit of being a part of this large legal community is that there seems to be a large number of Asian American attorneys, judges, and law students. Being a part of this community has opened up doors for me to be a Regional Director for NAPALSA, attend many legal networking events and conferences, attain internships, and do things that I couldn't normally do in a smaller legal community. So far I have had more positive experiences from being a part of a larger legal community and I hope that it will continue on for me when I begin to look for a job!