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Dean's Desk: Indianapolis law school enters new era

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deans-desk-robertsI am sure that almost everyone reading this will have heard about the transformative gift to the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis that, along with matching money, will increase the school’s effective endowment by $31.5 million. As a result, the school has been renamed the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law for the benefactor of this magnificent philanthropic investment.

As I said at the Dec. 1, 2011, event announcing our new name, one’s good name is a person’s most valuable possession, and Bob McKinney’s name is one of the best. Bob has spent a lifetime in selfless and generous service to his country and his community as a naval officer, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, a name partner and practicing lawyer at Bose McKinney & Evans and as the chairman and CEO of First Indiana Bank. He is loved, admired and respected by all who know him and by legions of people whose lives he has enriched. Having his name on our law school is like gold in the bank. Everyone connected to the school should forever be especially proud to be associated with an institution bearing the name of Robert H. McKinney.

Bob’s great gift will do so much for the school that it is hard to explain it in a brief column. The money, of course, will go into the endowment as it is received and, first, will establish five endowed chairs in the areas of intellectual property, tax, environmental law, technology and law, and health law. This will enable the school to recruit five renowned senior-level faculty whose presence will greatly enhance both the quality of teaching and research as well as our national reputation. After these chairs are established, the remaining $17.5 million will go into an account that will generate scholarship dollars enabling the school to recruit increasing numbers of very top law school applicants and to hold down the spiraling cost of legal education (and thus the debt burden) for many of our graduates. Thus, the gift goes a long way to helping us achieve the first two goals of our 2009 Strategic Plan – enhancing and supporting the faculty and providing financial support for our students.

But the gift does far more than simply provide a financial boost. First, as noted above, it gives the school a name that is widely respected throughout Indiana. And in the process, it rebrands the school in a way that enhances its image across the nation and the world. Throughout higher education, universities, campuses and schools that have a hyphen followed by a city in their names are often assumed by the unfamiliar as being branch or regional in nature, but not first rate. While that is not always accurate or fair, it is a reality that saddles many fine institutions with a tarnished image. By dropping “– Indianapolis” from our name, and by becoming one of only 15 law schools in the United States named after a major benefactor who believed the school worthy of bearing his name and of such an enormous investment, the school has been rebranded with a golden identity that will increase its reputation and rankings significantly.

Furthermore, this gift will provide critical impetus for greatly increasing support from others upon whom the school depends. Bob McKinney’s gift, while wonderful, will not by itself take the school to where it can and should be, namely among the nation’s most elite public law schools. Bob recognized this himself and has challenged the alumni and others to step up.

The fact is that our school has historically received relatively little philanthropic support. A small percentage of our alumni has given back to the school. And what at most law schools would be thought of as nice but modest has here been regarded as a major gift. No more! Bob McKinney has set a new tone and new standard. Just in the weeks since his gift was announced, we have received several large gifts, are having serious conversations with many others about possible six- and seven-figure gifts and the number of annual fund gifts has started a meaningful uptick. So Bob’s gift will enable the school to leverage the excitement and pride it has generated and to increase the level of overall support, both financial and otherwise, to new heights and the school to new levels of excellence.

This is all truly fantastic news for the law school that provides the state of Indiana with half of its lawyers, about 40 percent of its judges and a large percentage of its business, non-profit, government and political leadership. There is little doubt that the quality of the graduates of our law school, and the quality of the education they receive here, will directly correlate with the quality of leadership and, in turn, the quality of life for all Hoosiers. Bob McKinney has created a momentum that will truly make Indiana a better place for everyone.•
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Gary R. Roberts
has been dean of the Robert H. McKinney School of Law since 2007. The opinions expressed are the author’s.

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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