Filling the classroom

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.•


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. 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

  4. 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?)

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