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Filling the classroom

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On recent cold, snowy morning, Peter Alexander was preparing for a trip to South Bend to make his pitch to potential students as to why his law school – which is not built, not opened and not accredited – is better than the established law schools.

The dean of Indiana Tech Law School was headed to the University of Notre Dame where he planned to meet privately with pre-law students one-on-one. He would show them a PowerPoint presentation, answer questions and tell the prospects how Indiana Tech’s approach will be different from convention.

What those students heard may not be that much different from what established law schools are telling them.

indtech-exterior-15col.jpg Construction of the building which will house the new Indiana Tech Law School is two months ahead of schedule and under budget. The school is scheduled to open in August.(Photo submitted)

Alexander is touting his curriculum as providing more real-world experience along with the traditional theory. Law clinics, classroom lectures by practicing attorneys and judges to explain how centuries-old legal precedent applies to the 21st century, and assigning a mentor to every law student are part of Indiana Tech’s integrated curriculum.

Even while law schools are looking to add more practical training for its students, critics are unimpressed with Alexander’s ideas. Peter Campos, law professor at the University of Colorado Law School, blogged that Indiana Tech was a “legal diploma mill in a hyper-saturated market” and dismissed Alexander’s assertions the school will be distinguished by its emphasis on ethics and professionalism.

The Indiana Tech dean said his school is instituting the recommendations made in the 1992 “Legal Education and Professional Development: An Educational Continuum,” known as the MacCrate Report. Law schools created task forces after this report was published to determine how they could provide the education the report called for but, Alexander said, those schools have spent the past decades “naval gazing.”

As for Campos’ sharp comments, Alexander said the Colorado law professor feels threatened because at Indiana Tech “we don’t do the same cookie-cutter legal education like he’s doing.”

Construction on the new Indiana Tech Law School building on the Fort Wayne campus is currently two months ahead of schedule and under budget. In early December, the school announced it had received a collection of law books for its library from an anonymous donor.

To date, it has hired 10 faculty including the most recent addition of Judith Klaswick Fitzgerald, judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Alexander said the school is looking to add one more faculty member.

Indiana Tech is still planning to open in August 2013 and an early indication of the school’s success will be its ability to attract students. The school has set the goal of 100 for the inaugural class and, although only 10 students have been admitted, Alexander remains optimistic the first class will reach the ambitious benchmark.

Students will not only have to buy Alexander’s pitch but also be willing to pay $29,500 for tuition with another $830 in fees.

Preparing for his trip to Notre Dame, Alexander was not worried.

“I really do believe our students will get a better value for their dollar,” he said.•
 

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  1. 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)

  2. "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.

  3. 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.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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