Reaching a milestone

May 24, 2010
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IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger wrote this post.

The final 2010 Indiana law school graduation took place Saturday at Valparaiso University School of Law in northwest Indiana.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

* Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis: 312 JD degrees given out May 8;

* Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington: 197 JD degrees given out May 8;

* Notre Dame Law School: 172 JD degrees given out May 16;

* Valparaiso University School of Law: 162 JD degrees given out May 22.

The above numbers include students who will likely be eligible to receive their degrees later this summer, and were therefore eligible to participate in graduation.

These numbers don’t include those who received an LL.M. or other legal degrees.

These numbers also don’t reflect how many of these students will actually take the bar, or plan to stay in Indiana to practice law. But if even half of the more than 800 law school graduates stay in Indiana to practice, are there enough jobs for them?

Informal conversations with career planning advisors at Indiana law schools in recent months tend to share the thread that it’s too early to tell who will or won’t have jobs, and that students have had to work harder to reach out to potential employers in the past few years than those who graduated even a few years ago.

Indiana law schools also have discussed with students the various job opportunities outside of the big-firm path that so many may have planned on as they entered law school three years ago – or four years ago for the part-time students at Indy Law.

Then again, informal conversations with legal employers who aren’t large law firms have all revealed an uptick in resumes and applications – and not only from those who just graduated.

In fact, one source I spoke with last summer for a story about alternative legal careers just recently told me in an unrelated conversation that after the article came out, he received a number of calls from attorneys who wanted to know more about how he got his job – and how they could get similar jobs.

But one has to wonder - how many of the newly minted Juris Doctors will decide to take on a non-legal job or move back home at least to keep up with student loans? Or will there be stories in 10 years or so of solo attorneys and entrepreneurs who, had they gotten that large firm job after 2010 graduation, wouldn’t have been as successful or enjoyed their work as much?

or the attorneys reading this – seasoned and those who’ve graduated in the somewhat recent past – is there any advice you want to share with the graduates of Indiana’s law schools as they officially enter the legal community? Or, if you are among those who just graduated, let us know your plans. If you don’t want to post them here, feel free to e-mail me: rberfanger@ibj.com.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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