Kristine Varkony / Lantern reporter
The dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law spoke to Ohio State pre-law students Monday evening in Denney Hall on “Law School in an Age of Anxiety.”
About 35 undergraduate students listened to Dean Lawrence Mitchell for an hour as he spoke on why law school, particularly Case Western Reserve, is a good investment despite the negative image that has been cast on law schools over the past few years.
“Ohio State is a great school,” Mitchell said. “We are doing our best to visit as many great schools as we can.”
There are a handful of OSU graduates in Case’s freshman law class, said Kelli Curtis, Case’s assistant dean of admissions and OSU Moritz College of Law graduate.
Over the past three weeks the dean has visited UCLA, the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, the University of Colorado, the University of Denver, the University of Illinois, Indiana University and Purdue on his tour of universities in an attempt to repair the reputation of the law school damaged by mismanagement and lack of publicity, Mitchell said.
The first 20 minutes of his speech were dedicated to selling a law school education as a marketable tool in the job market.
He emphasized law school being an education in critical thinking and critical reading, not simply a degree or “a meal ticket.”
“All you need to do, to become a great anything, is to ask the right questions,” he said.
Brad Wolfe, a fourth-year in social work, has already applied to Case Western Reserve and is waiting to hear back from the law school.
“It was very informational, and it’s cool to see people you think are stereotypically stiff and in suits the whole time being loose and talking to you like a person,” Wolfe said. “It was interesting to hear – I didn’t realize how worldly they are, and I got a lot of information on specific things.”
Mitchell noted that law school applications are down across the board, and why that means it is an even better time for students to apply because getting into top laws schools is easier than in years past and more financial aid is available because less students are applying for it as well. Law applications were down about 20 percent from last year, according to the Law School Admissions Council.
“Don’t let noise dissuade you,” he said. “If you’re talented and work hard, you will be successful.”
The second part of his speech was dedicated to selling Case Western Reserve’s law school to the crowd by touching on its three areas of focus as a law school: international law, health law and intellectual property law.
Students asked Mitchell questions in the final 20 minutes of the session.
Questions ranged from Case-specific programs such as collaborations with sports teams and the entertainment industry, becoming a law clerk while in school and how to be marketable during the application process.
Mitchell talked one-on-one with students after his speech for another 15 minutes to answer specific questions.