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Inbox - 7/30/14

July 30, 2014
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Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

I am still scratching my head about the June 18-July 1 cover story by Marilyn Odendahl, “Employability begins long before graduation day.” While I enjoyed the article and appreciated the information on the statistics of the four ABA-approved Indiana law schools and their student success rates in finding jobs requiring a J.D. and bar passage, I still wonder about the intention, or perhaps more accurately, the takeaway message, of the article. I think one message that could reasonably be taken from the article is that law school is still a pretty awful investment in 2014, particularly if one’s goal is to become a practicing lawyer. I don’t recall ever meeting a student in law school whose desire was to go to law school for any reason other than to be a practicing lawyer, either in an established firm (the majority of my classmates) or on their own (minority of classmates, for sure). I’m sure there probably were some with goals other than being lawyers, but they were few and far between.

With that in mind, Notre Dame, the law school in the article with the highest 2013 placement of graduates in positions requiring a J.D. and bar passage, has nearly 30 percent of its 2013 graduating class sitting without a job – at least without a job requiring a J.D. and bar passage. The situation is even worse for the other three schools. IU-Maurer, over the years reported in the article, 2011-2013, has approximately 40 percent of its students not placed as practicing lawyers. Only (about) 50 percent of IU-McKinney students are gainfully employed in jobs requiring a J.D. and bar passage. Only (about) 40 percent of Valparaiso students are similarly employed. I would also be interested in what the average starting salaries are of those who were successfully employed in positions as licensed attorneys versus those who took other non-license-required positions. The ABA probably has that data; I just haven’t looked it up.

What I have looked up is the tuition for 2014-15 at each of the four Indiana law schools in the article. Valparaiso will charge about $40,000, IU-McKinney about $45,000, IU-Maurer about $50,000, and Notre Dame about $50,000, give or take a few thousand in fees and not including living expenses, books, etc. Also, I only looked at out-of-state tuition for McKinney and Maurer for comparison to the two private schools. Spending $120,000 to $150,000 in just tuition over three years is a huge investment with no guarantee of becoming a gainfully employed attorney. I am hoping that the renewed focus of law schools on getting students actual practice experience while in law school will improve these employment statistics substantially.

Rich Mitchell, Ph.D., J.D.

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  1. by the time anybody gets to such files they will probably have been totally vacuumed anyways. they're pros at this at universities. anything to protect their incomes. Still, a laudable attempt. Let's go for throat though: how about the idea of unionizing football college football players so they can get a fair shake for their work? then if one of the players is a pain in the neck cut them loose instead of protecting them. if that kills the big programs, great, what do they have to do with learning anyways? nada. just another way for universities to rake in the billions even as they skate from paying taxes with their bogus "nonprofit" status.

  2. Um the affidavit from the lawyer is admissible, competent evidence of reasonableness itself. And anybody who had done law work in small claims court would not have blinked at that modest fee. Where do judges come up with this stuff? Somebody is showing a lack of experience and it wasn't the lawyers

  3. My children were taken away a year ago due to drugs, and u struggled to get things on track, and now that I have been passing drug screens for almost 6 months now and not missing visits they have already filed to take my rights away. I need help.....I can't loose my babies. Plz feel free to call if u can help. Sarah at 765-865-7589

  4. Females now rule over every appellate court in Indiana, and from the federal southern district, as well as at the head of many judicial agencies. Give me a break, ladies! Can we men organize guy-only clubs to tell our sob stories about being too sexy for our shirts and not being picked for appellate court openings? Nope, that would be sexist! Ah modernity, such a ball of confusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmRsWdK0PRI

  5. LOL thanks Jennifer, thanks to me for reading, but not reading closely enough! I thought about it after posting and realized such is just what was reported. My bad. NOW ... how about reporting who the attorneys were raking in the Purdue alum dollars?

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