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October 2 — In One Door...

The one that led from Los Angeles.

The first stop went as planned. Thomas joined me for a trip to Hermosa Beach, where my niece Andi added the third and final rose to my tattoo. It's not quite healed yet, and the picture is cropped to leave the rest of me out, since I had to take it standing in front of a mirror. In case body parts are unrecognizable, the top rose is on the back of my hand, with leaves curling around a wrist bone.

MacArthur Park sign

The next stop went equally well — MacArthur's Park has gone from a celebration of the 1932 Olympics [statue of nude athlete omitted, for the benefit of more sensitive readers], to a clean and well-policed resting place.

rose tattoo
Lake in MacArthur Park

We Wikied while we were there, and learned that Douglas MacArthur said, "I Shall Return!" everywhere from the Phillipines to Adelaide, Australia. He apparently did return to the Phillipines and proceeded to break some promises, which were settled in court in 2009, with the family of every Filipino who served in the U.S. military getting reparations.

The third and official reason for the trip, the Law Forum, was horrible, and we gained a ton of great data!

A contradiction? well, maybe. The room was so overcrowded and hot that no one could believe that attendance was down 15% — the room was just a disaster.

This is not a complaint about Law Services. LSAC goes to enormous lengths to make these Forums as pleasant and efficient as possible. But some things are just not possible.

But to show what a great hotel they picked, one employee, Steve Eberhard, recognized me from two years ago! I'm not sure whether that says more about Mr. Eberhard or my outrageous Forum shirt, but I was flattered nonetheless.

Only about 20% of the schools had the head honchos there, but this might actually have been a good number, since another 10% seem to be hiring new honchos. And we learned a bunch of important information (mostly by reading between the lines).

  • Attendance has been down at all Law Forums.
  • June LSAT takers were down nearly 20%.
  • Last year's applicants were down about 10%.
  • Schools are expecting a bad year.

I'm predicting that the top 15 schools (previously the top 10) will have their median LSAT score decline one point, and the rest of the top 50 will decline 2 LSAT points. Outside the top 50, schools are going to have to choose whether to take a 3 point hit or to drop their median GPA to hold the LSAT at a 2 point decline. A third alternative is to decrease class size, as one school mentioned they might do, but that gets expensive fast. At $50,000 a year, 20 students = a million bucks!

  • To reduce LSAT declines as much as possible, some schools mentioned that they'll accept the June LSAT next year, at least as a second score.
  • Many schools said they'd try to offset lower LSAT scores with higher GPAs, but late in the cycle -- like April and May.

That's a lot to learn in 6 overcrowded hours with four clients. [Their group photo is already on the Law Forum page.]

... and Out the Other Door.

The one leading to the east coast.

On Sunday, October 9, I'll fly into Philly. That leaves me two days for family and friends, as well as to meet local clients.

Drexel's Philadelphia Law Fair, on Wednesday, October 12, will have 104 law schools present, by my count. You can see a complete list here. Unlike previous Philly Fairs, this one will be at the Drexel University Armory (25 N. 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104). I've never been there, but the address is self-explanatory. The fair is from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Lunch (mandatory for any of my Philly clients) will be from 12:30 until 1:30 at the Comcast Building. The show is NOT to be missed. You've never seen it? Take a look! The wall has over a hundred programs on random shuffle, so you never know what you'll see.

The next morning, relatively bright and early, we head for New York.

The New York Forum is the only one that's still two days long — Friday, October 14th, from noon until 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, the 15th, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

I had promised my employee Erika a trip to New York, but she can't get off class on Friday, and flying from Seattle to New York for a day is downright ridiculous. I also told the prelaw advisors' e-list that I'd TRY to have school-by-school data on changes in applicant pool for them when I return from New York. Clients have to come before general data, so my honorary nephew Gary (he whose avatar animates my navigation map) is planning to come up from Georgetown to help. That at least means I don't have to plan a visit to DC.

After the Forum, I'll head upstate for a day or two. I have two clients at UConn and a sister in Schenectady, so I'm not heading home until Wednesday, October 19.

Look for restaurants, maps, etc. a week from today.

And in Between? What could be in between
two Forums two weeks apart?

Frank Motley, Dean of Admissions at IU Bloomington, sent me a link to a N.Y. Times article forwarded by his niece. The article was about qualities that separate success from failure. I was going to add a note here, but it expanded out of all proportion for a recent news update, and has been included in the section on rejections: why people fail and how to fix the problems.

This may seem like the wrong time of year to deal with rejections, but just as I was taught in law school that a good drafter of wills and contracts obviates the need for litigation, so I believe that reading about how to "fix" failures now may prevent you from having to fix them next May.

Look for east coast dinners, meeting plans, and maps next Sunday. I'll put them up last thing before I fly.

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