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Easterbrook applauds Indiana Tech Law School for trying new approach

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Indiana Technical Institute used the dedication ceremony for its new law school to reiterate its vision of legal education and push back against critics.

The Fort Wayne college officially opened its new law school in August, welcoming a class of 30 students. On Sept. 14, the institute held a special ceremony for the dedication of the new school and the investiture of the dean, Peter Alexander.

Indiana Tech faculty, students, alumni and members of the Fort Wayne community filled the gymnasium of the Schaefer Center for the hour-long event.

Joining the celebration were guest speakers 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, along with Katherine Broderick, dean of the David A. Clarke School of Law.

During his address, Alexander called his faculty, “courageous scholars,” and became emotional as he told the law students, “you don’t know how good you are or how great you’re going to be.”

He also had strong words for the critics who have questioned the wisdom of starting another law school and launched personal attacks.  

“You see, people may write things about us,” Alexander said. “They may blog about us. They might even insist that they know where we are coming from and what really we are about. I can’t do anything about that and neither can you. Their slings and arrows are crafted in the darkness of ignorance and they take aim in the green eye called envy. But I’m really not worried about those people. I have a higher calling.”

The audience was supportive, applauding several times and giving standing ovations.

Alexander continued that the Indiana Tech administration and faculty have cast their lot with him to make law school more relevant, more rewarding and more affordable.

“So when people tell you about the law school and speculate about what we are doing or when they surmise that we have launched this effort with an improper or impure motive, would you please just do me one favor?” Alexander asked the audience. “Just tell them that everyone at Indiana Tech Law School is giving their very best.”

The dedication exhibited all the pomp and circumstance of an academic celebration. Faculty members, attired in their academic robes, paraded into the gym. Each of the banners representing the three schools at Indiana Tech was carried up front to the podium where they were joined by the banner for the law school.   

Also attending the ceremony were representatives from law schools around the country including Harvard, Washington & Lee, University of Georgia, Wake Forest and Case Western Reserve University.
 
Representing Indiana law schools were Frank Motley, assistant dean of admissions at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and John Robinson, associate professor of law at Notre Dame Law School.

Easterbrook opened his remarks by acknowledging the two questions many had: Why open a new law school when there are so many already, and why was he lending his support to Indiana Tech?

The answer to both questions, he said, was that Indiana Tech presented competition, and competition that comes from trying new things and seeing what works is a core value of the University of Chicago, where he teaches part time.

“Some new entrants fail, some succeed gloriously,” he said. “We cannot know which is which without trying. Indiana Tech is trying. Three cheers for those why try new ways.”

Easterbrook also took swipes at the American Bar Association and traditional legal education for taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

He advocated that choosing the appropriate model for teaching future lawyers should be left to clients, or an evaluation service like the magazines Consumer Reports or U.S. News & World Report rather than the ABA.

“The one-size-fits-all approach has been the bane of legal education,” Easterbrook said. “We need many sizes for the many different career paths.”

He pondered transforming some legal education to reflect the medical school model where everybody is given the same basic education then they specialize in different fields. Students might then attend law school for one year or five years depending on what area they choose to focus.

Easterbrook recalled a legal education panel discussion during the 7th Circuit Bar and Judicial Conference held in March in Indianapolis. The panel members agreed that law schools were too expensive and not providing enough hands-on experience.

However, Easterbrook pointed out, offering legal clinics, which teach the practical how-to of legal work, costs schools more than classroom teaching.

He concluded by saying there are those who would say “Indiana Tech has set an impossible goal. But I say the only way to create new possibilities is to try. Doing the impossible just takes some extra effort. More power to you.”

   


 

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  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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