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Indiana Tech breaks ground on law school

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On May 18, leaders from Indiana Tech gathered in Fort Wayne to celebrate the groundbreaking for the college’s new law school. The event comes one year after Indiana Tech announced plans for the school.

Peter Alexander, the law school’s dean, has been pounding the pavement and promoting the benefits of the law school. He said he’s met all of the judges in Allen County and many in the surrounding counties.

“We have some skeptics, but overall, we’re winning them over,” he said.

Identifying a need

When Indiana Tech first announced plans for the school, it said it was fulfilling a need, as many Indiana residents apply to out-of-state law schools and because the state’s existing law schools are not close to Fort Wayne.
 

tech-dean-talk-15col.jpg Indiana Tech Law School Dean Peter C. Alexander talks with Allen Superior Judge Wendy Davis following groundbreaking. Indiana Tech President Arthur E. Snyder is at right. (IL Photo/Steve Linsenmayer)

“There’s always room for another good law school,” Alexander said. “I don’t think people should think about it as adding another law school, because I think in

five years, 10 years, we’ll see the number of law schools declining, because those schools will disappear if they don’t change their model.”

Alexander said too many law schools try to be “Harvard-like,” by cutting admissions from the bottom up and by “adding all kinds of requirements, but not in a thoughtful, systemized way, that makes it hard for students to know what to expect.” He predicts that schools clinging to strict admission requirements will have trouble attracting students and will therefore lose money.

Frank Motley, dean of admissions for Indiana University Maurer School of Law, said IU Maurer plans to cut back on admissions this fall, simply because it had much larger incoming classes the past two years than what it normally accommodates, and those increases put a strain on resources. Motley said the incoming class is usually around 200 to 210 students, but for the 2011-12 school year, the school accepted 242 students. The year before, it accepted 251 students.
 

tech-dig-15col.jpg Above, Indiana Tech Law School groundbreaking May 18. (left to right) Judge William C. Lee, Northern District of Indiana; Robert Wagner, chairman, Indiana Tech board of trustees; Arthur E. Snyder, president, Indiana Tech; Indiana Tech Law School Dean Peter C. Alexander; Indiana Sen. David Long, R- Fort Wayne. (IL Photo/Steve Linsenmayer)

This fall, IU Maurer will return to having about 200 students in the incoming class, and Motley said they’ve seen a 15 percent decline in the applicant pool.

“I think half the people that apply to law schools are not accepted,” Motley said. “There was always the sense that somebody was going to walk in and fill that gap. (Indiana Tech) will have an applicant pool – we have more applicants here than we’re able to accept among Indiana’s four schools … but like anything, it’s a question of quality.”

Offerings

The Indiana Tech Law School plans to accept 100 students for the fall 2013 term, and Alexander said he expects about 360 students total by the time the school has students enrolled in 1L, 2L and 3L courses.

“We have had over 850 inquiries, the interest is high and we have not even started to advertise in the northeast Indiana region,” Alexander said.

He said students have been asking about the school’s concentrations, which allow upper-level students to focus on one of four areas of law: advocacy and dispute resolution, intellectual property and technology law, transactional law or global law, and leadership.

Alexander said the school has had between 30 and 40 questions about transfers.

“I think some students who have chosen other schools see what we’re offering,” he said. Initially, Indiana Tech Law School will be unable to accommodate transfer students.
 

Anderson Anderson

The school will offer practical clinics in estate planning, mediation and immigration. In the mediation clinic, students will help mediate disputes between Indiana Tech students. In the estate-planning clinic, students will write wills, healthcare directives and other documents for employees of Indiana Tech. And in the immigration clinic, students may have some interaction with the community in representing clients, under the guidance of a supervising attorney.

Jessica Anderson, assistant dean for admissions, will be overseeing recruitment for the school. She thinks the law clinics will appeal to students because they’ll get a lot of hands-on legal experience. But she also thinks the school’s location and facilities will be a big draw.

“I think Fort Wayne’s a really accessible city, so that’s a big thing for students who are coming from out of town. We are looking to recruit nationally,” Anderson said. “Another plus to Fort Wayne is that it’s inexpensive and that will help (students) keep costs down.”

tech-sign-15col.jpg Prior to groundbreaking ceremonies, two attendees examine an artist’s rendering of the building that will house the new law school at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne. (IL Photo/Steve Linsenmayer)

Annual full-time tuition, not including room and board, will be $29,500. Anderson said the school does plan to offer scholarships, but the amount and number is yet to be determined.

Alexander said the school cannot afford to offer the option of part-time enrollment, because the American Bar Association would require evening students to have access to the same resources as daytime students. That would drive up the school’s cost of administration, he said.

“As long as I’m the dean, we’ll probably just have a daytime program,” he said.

Faculty

Anderson said that the school – which will be housed in one 70,000-square-foot building – is designed in a way that encourages interaction between faculty and students. Throughout the building, seating areas with cushy furniture will provide a comfortable setting for informal chats.

The school has hired four faculty members so far – two from Florida A&M University College of Law, one from Northern Illinois University College of Law and one from West Virginia University College of Law.

“We have a very diverse faculty so far, which is pretty unusual in most schools,” Anderson said.

Alexander said that he’s spoken to many people who are interested in serving as an adjunct professor. And for every required course, a judge or lawyer will lead the class for a two- or three-hour session, asking students to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. He said students may be asked to draft an order or write a memo pertaining to a case.

Goals

One of the school’s primary goals is achieving ABA accreditation, but it must be in operation for one year before applying for provisional accreditation.

Alexander envisions a good working relationship with the legal community in and around Fort Wayne, and he predicts it will become a leader for legal education in the next decade.

He said that some law schools have been around so long that they can’t or won’t change how they do business, because of personal attitudes. But he’s excited about what Indiana Tech Law School may be able to do.

“We have no history, we have no faculty who say we’ve never done it that way, so we can open up on day one with all these best practices,” he said.•

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  • This school is preying on the young and likely will never get jobs for their students
    Paul Campos tears these people a major new a-hole in his latest post. Why do we need another law school is right!?!?
  • Scam
    When will they stop building law schools and acting with integrity! RUN AWAY from this crap shoot! Don't line their pockets with absurd tuition payments!

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    1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

    2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

    3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

    4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

    5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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