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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. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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