(2) LSAC is jacking up the cost of applying to law school (h/t TaxProf). In the wacky world of monopolist pricing the following quote from the LSAC's President regarding why a sharp decline in the demand for his organization's services means its time to raise the prices for them sharply makes a certain amount of twisted sense:
"This mode of doing business probably was sustainable in an environment of record-level candidate volumes," Bernstine wrote. "Today, with successive double-digit volume declines and significant operating deficits, it's sustainable no longer."People (for now) have to take the LSAT if they're going to apply to law school, and the marginal cost of doing so probably has almost no effect on the volume of applicants -- the cost of applying to law school accounts for about one of every one thousand dollars in direct and opportunity costs that the average matriculant will spend attending law school -- so LSAC, far more than even law schools themselves, can still raise prices with relative impunity.
(3) I've been contacted by several people who attended Cornell's admitted students' weekend recently regarding statements made by the career services dean about how many 2011 Cornell grads got jobs with big firms. The dean stated that 55% of the class did, when stats posted by the school itself on its web site indicate 38.8% of the class got jobs with firms of more than 100 attorneys. When some members of the audience raised questions about this discrepancy the administrator at first replied that the 55% figure referred to jobs at graduation rather than at nine months (which makes no sense unless you assume a third of Cornell grads who went into big law in the fall of 2011 had gotten fired by February), and before he "ran out of the room," claiming he was out of time.
It seems likely that what happened here is that the career services dean mistakenly quoted class of 2010 numbers regarding how many Cornell grads got jobs with NLJ250 firms when referring to the class of 2011 -- it stretches credulity that he would intentionally mis-characterize information that the school itself had already posted on its website. But this is yet another cautionary tale about the level of basic competence that often seems lacking among law school administrative personnel in general and CSO people in particular.
We all make mistakes, but as I've said in related contexts, what does this person get paid a (likely well into six figures salary) for except to know things like this? Cornell went from placing more than three quarters of its class in big law in 2010 (when 58% of the class got NLJ250 jobs, and no less than 76% of the class took jobs with firms of more than 100 attorneys) to putting less than two of every five of its most recent class into such positions. That is obviously a fact that would be of considerable significance to many if not most of the people visiting the school for the ASW event, yet the person whose institutional role is precisely to answer questions regarding such things wasn't able to do so accurately. As I've also said in related contexts, law schools have pretty much forfeited the right to be given the benefit of the doubt in these situations, so minimal competence is a must if they want to avoid the appearance of serious impropriety.