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. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  2. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

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  4. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  5. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.