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Indiana Tech Law School settling into new digs, waiting for classes to begin

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With the students arriving in less than a month, Indiana Tech Law School is opening the doors of its new building and giving academics, lawyers and community members a peek inside.

This week, the school is hosting three open houses to show off the facility to other Indiana Tech faculty, members of the bench and bar, and donors. On Tuesday, the first group of visitors had an opportunity to wander around the three-story structure.

At the center of the activity was Indiana Tech Law School Dean Peter Alexander.

“We’ve got everything in place,” he said. “We just need to start the school year.”

Since Indiana Tech announced it was launching a new law school, the fifth in Indiana, the school has been criticized and openly questioned about why it wanted to produce more lawyers into a market that is considered saturated.

Locally, Alexander said the school is getting much more support after some early skepticism among attorneys. Nationally, he said he has seen the harsh spotlight shift somewhat to the University of North Texas, which is in the process of opening a new law school.

“Lots of people, as they learn more about us, realize that we are truly trying to be different so it’s not just another law school,” Alexander said. “It’s a school that’s trying to blend theory and practice in a different way, to prepare students in a new way. I think people are beginning to hear the message.”

Classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 26 with orientation starting Aug. 21. The inaugural class is expected to have 30 students, below the school’s original goal of 100, but Alexander attributed the numbers to the nationwide dip in law school enrollment.  

A key to the school’s success will be getting accredited. Both a permanent building and a permanent law library are critical to securing approval from the American Bar Association. Looking around the new building, Alexander is confident Indiana Tech will be accredited.

The law school is located on Indiana Tech’s main campus in Fort Wayne.

Its atrium flows into a courtroom which has been situated into a round space. On the back wall hangs a silver seal of Indiana Tech. Underneath is the bench with room for five judges and two witness stands.

The student seats in the gallery are positioned in a semi-circle with the jury box filling the first two rows. On the second level, additional seating circles the courtroom.

The second and third floors of the law school contain the classrooms, outfitted with video and computer equipment, and faculty offices.  Spanning all three levels is the law library. The first and second levels house the materials while the third level includes a study room, situated above the courtroom. Circular with big windows, the space is filled with tables and private offices where the students can work in groups.

Alexander said the social spaces and soft-seating areas that fill the building are designed to foster a collaborative environment.

“We want teaching and learning to go on everywhere in the building, not just in a classroom or in an office,” he said. “I think it’s really important for the students to feel so comfortable with us that they aren’t afraid to ask anything even if they think it is the craziest question they ever heard.”

The school will also boast a curated art collection. Beginning July 27, the paintings, historical photographs and courtroom sketches will be hung around the building.

Alexander said having the art was not part of the original plans. However, the law school has been receiving gifts of art focusing on law themes, patriotism, courts and justice that has grown into a collection of “very significant and very expensive pieces.”

With a grant, the law school has hired a curator and, according to Alexander, will be only the second law school in the country with a curated art collection.

The school has the capacity to hold 350 students, making each class about 110 to 115 students. It includes 28 faculty offices, although Alexander expects the school will not exceed 21 full-time faculty. The additional space is intended for visiting professors and others.

“We want to make sure the building is always comfortable and the wide-opening feeling you feel when no one is in the building is the same as when we’re at capacity,” Alexander said.
 

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  • No more
    there are too many law schools---the aba needs to stop letting these low rent law schools open and let a bunch of new graduates flood the market without jobs. they need to shut down about 40% of the law schools that are open now.
  • Too Generous
    Bob, you're being too generous. 50% full-time employment rate for new grads? Sure if you count the fast food jobs they have. Seriously where is the Indiana State Bar Association on this issue. Those folks just want all the new dues from new attorneys. They're not interested in standing up for what's good for the legal profession.
  • Run
    The 30 that are enrolled should look around and see they're getting into a mess. Better to drop out, save the money, and seek employment in a field without 2 people for every 1 job.
  • Too many
    There are four law schools already in Indiana and more than 20 within 200 miles of Fort Wayne. The four Indiana law schools have full-time employment rates hovering around 50%. The employment market cannot absorb 100 students from this school.
  • James
    They need to shut this law school down now before they ruin any more lives by accepting more students. This won't end well for any of them.

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  1. Is this a social parallel to the Mosby prosecutions in Baltimore? Progressive ideology ever seeks Pilgrims to burn at the stake. (I should know.)

  2. The Conour embarrassment is an example of why it would be a good idea to NOT name public buildings or to erect monuments to "worthy" people until AFTER they have been dead three years, at least. And we also need to stop naming federal buildings and roads after a worthless politician whose only achievement was getting elected multiple times (like a certain Congressman after whom we renamed the largest post office in the state). Also, why have we renamed BOTH the Center Township government center AND the new bus terminal/bum hangout after Julia Carson?

  3. Other than a complete lack of any verifiable and valid historical citations to back your wild context-free accusations, you also forget to allege "ate Native American children, ate slave children, ate their own children, and often did it all while using salad forks rather than dinner forks." (gasp)

  4. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  5. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

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