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Methodology affects law-school rankings

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An annual report ranking graduate schools puts two law schools in Indiana at a tie for 23rd, while one dropped nearly 20 spots to 87 and was ranked at 21 in the first-ever ranking of part-time programs. A fourth was ranked as a Tier 4 school, where schools are listed alphabetically.

U.S. News & World Report's annual report of graduate schools used data from fall 2008 and early 2009 and is officially available today. The overall scores used for rankings are based on a weighted average of 12 measures, including median LSAT scores, acceptance rates, employment rates for graduates, bar passage rate, and student-faculty ratio. Law schools must be accredited and fully approved by the American Bar Association and draw the majority of its students from the U.S. in order to be listed.

The University of Notre Dame Law School and Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington were tied at 23rd.

Last year, Notre Dame was ranked at 22, up from 28 in the rankings released in 2007. In rankings released in both 2008 and 2007, Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington was ranked at 36. This is the first year the Bloomington law school ranked in the top 25.

Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis ranked at 87, down from 68 in the rankings released in 2008, but similar to 85 in rankings released in 2007.

Gary R. Roberts, dean of the IU School of Law - Indianapolis, blamed a change in the methodology for the school's difference of almost 20 spots from last year.

"In fact, by any objective measure our law school is the same, if not stronger, than it was last year," Roberts said in a statement.

Unlike previous years, this year's ranking system included "class admissions data for both full-time and part-time entering students for the median LSAT scores, median undergraduate grade-point averages, and the acceptance rate in calculating the school's overall ranking," according to the publication's Web site.

Previous law school rankings only included the above data for full-time entering students. Since 1990, part-time J.D. students' data had been included for all other statistical variables.

The Indianapolis law school also ranked eighth in a top 10 list for best legal writing programs, and 10th in a top 10 list for teaching health-care law. It was the only one in Indiana to rank in these or other top 10 lists that included clinical training, dispute resolution, environmental law, intellectual property law, international law, tax law, and trial advocacy.

Also, in this year's first ever rankings of 87 part-time law school programs at ABA accredited law schools, Indianapolis' only law school ranked at 21, tied with Catholic University of America (Columbus) in Washington, D.C., and DePaul University in Chicago, which was also one of six law schools that tied the Indianapolis law school in the overall rankings.

Valparaiso University School of Law has consistently been ranked as a Tier 4 school; the school's part-time program ranked at 52, tied with seven other schools.

Nationwide, some law schools have denounced the magazine's ranking system, saying it puts too much emphasis on LSAT scores and GPAs, adding that prospective students should look beyond these rankings to determine which school is their best match. Other studies and law school rankings do exist; at this time the U.S. News and World Report rankings are the most well-known.

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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. 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.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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