Last November, Case Western Reserve University School of Law Dean Lawrence Mitchell took to the New York Times to defend the value of a legal education. Instead of addressing the actual problems with legal education, Mitchell blamed the media for “irrationally” dissuading prospective law students from going to law school. His article touched off a raft of law deans and professors who seem more interested in defending the status quo than addressing structural issues.
It hasn’t worked. Law school applications continue to plummet. It would appear that mind tricks don’t work on prospective law students, only money (and legitimate employment options).
Specifically, it hasn’t worked for Case Western Reserve Law. Mitchell’s protestations generated a lot of press, but I wonder if Case has enjoyed its time as standard bearer for the “nothing is f**ked here, dude” approach to legal education. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Case Western enrollment is down to 104 students this fall. That’s down from 190 in 2011 and 165 just last year. Maybe instead of bitching in the Times, Mitchell should have addressed the problems in his own house.
It looks like he’s doing it now. Case Western is in the press again this week, this time for instituting massive changes to its law school curriculum. Many of the proposed changes sound pretty interesting. But I’ll note that one thing that is not changing is the tuition — that’s going to remain just as high as ever…