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LSAT Taker Numbers Fall 45 Percent Since 2008

Vivia Chen

November 1, 2013

Happy_People by RidofranziStock

Here's the latest in law school news and gossip:

1. Hell, yeah—you have a shot at Harvard Law School! Good news—make that great news—for those of you aspiring to get into a top school. For the fourth year in a row, the number of LSAT takers in October has dropped, reports The National Law Journal:

In October, 33,673 people took the LSAT, down from 37,780 last year. That’s just under half—45 percent—of the 60,746 who took the October LSAT in 2009, a historic high.

So are admissions deans at top law schools worried? Well, duh. University of Michigan Law School admissions dean Sarah Zearfoss (click here for Q&A with Zearfoss) told NLJ: "There had been a hope that with the 5 percent decline in June, perhaps we were leveling out. Now it is more than apparent that the 2014 pool will be significantly smaller yet again."

And will the pool be even smaller in 2015? Who knows? In the meantime, though, it seems like a pretty sweet moment to apply to law school. (Remember, we also told you that law school applications have dropped 18 percent so far this year, and that Columbia Law School's applications have plunged 28 percent since 2008.)

Not to sound harsh, but if you can't get yourself into a decent law school now, you probably never will.

2. The Hugh Hefner of legal academia? Remember that juicy law suit that was brought against Case Western Reserve Law School and its dean by Raymond Ku, a professor at the school? (Ku alleged that dean Lawrence Mitchell retaliated against him after he complained about how Mitchell sexually harassed women.)

Well, It's getting even more salacious. Ku just filed an amended complaint that references a letter from an administrative staff member who complained about Mitchell's conduct, then got laid-off. Now, the writer of that letter has stepped forward—he's Daniel Dubé, a lawyer who worked under Mitchell. The Plain Dealer reports:

Dubé also complained that Mitchell would talk about his sex life and inquire about Dubé's sex life. At one point, according to the complaint, after one of the numerous student and staff parties at the dean's home, Mitchell tried to engage Dubé and his date in a "threesome" and pointed out a guestroom with new Chinese silk sheets.

Hmm—the dean's home is the site of "numerous" parties and outfitted with "Chinese silk sheets." Who knew the Playboy mansion had a branch in Cleveland?

Case Western confirmed to the Plain Dealer that it received the amended complaint but that it needs "to review its contents thoroughly before making any comment." (We've also asked for a comment from Dean Mitchell.)

We can't wait for the next chapter. You just know it's going to get steamier.

3. The devil is in the details. Do you have employees you'd like to push out the door? Have you thought of giving them paltry raises imbued with Satanic symbolism?

TaxProf Blog reports that the AAUP Chapter (a faculty union) filed an unfair labor practice claim with the state of Ohio, charging that Cleveland-Marshall College of Law "retaliated against certain faculty in the award of merit raises in 2013 and 2014 because of their union activities." (The raises were in the amounts of $5,000, $3,000, $666, and $0.)

In particular, the complaint singled out the $666 raise. One of the AAUP organizers alleges:

[The $666 figure] is a universally understood symbol of the Antichrist or Devil—one of our culture's most violent religious images. Implicitly, but unmistakably and obviously intentionally, [the Dean] used his powers to set faculty salaries as an occasion to brand his perceived opponents as the Antichrist.

The university's response: "The $666 merit award was the result of mathematical division, not anti-union animus."

I don't usually read much into numbers, but the $666 amount is strange, considering that the other merit raises were all in nice, round numbers.

E-mail  Vivia Chen: vchen@alm.com     Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lawcareerist


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Thanks for your posts. This one made me laugh. The Case Western Dean story is epic!

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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