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Chinn: Examining the IndyBar Review

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iba-chinn-scottIf you are a person who finds things to like about winter—the pristine beauty of snow, skiing, ice fishing—bully for you. For the rest of us, we gut through it, hoping that it will build character and cause a deeper appreciation of spring. Now think about preparing for and taking the Indiana Bar’s winter examination on February 28-29! Brutal.

For 12 years, the IndyBar has been adding warmth and inspiration to bar exam study through its IndyBar Review Course. In 2001, Professor Larry Jegen of the Robert H. McKinney School of Law sold his bar review course to the IndyBar for $1. Today, more than 200 students per year take the IndyBar Review Course, which is offered in preparation for both the winter and summer bar exams.

The IndyBar Review is a point of pride for the IndyBar. We are the only bar in the country to sponsor a bar review course. We get asked about it a lot by our peers at bar meetings. Some are considering following the IndyBar’s lead and are considering developing courses in their states. We have encouraged them to consider it—and at the same time cautioned about the scope of the undertaking. The IndyBar Review has 27 faculty members who lecture or instruct on 22 substantive subjects as well as 6 studying and exam-taking workshops covering the Multistate Bar Exam, the Multistate Performance Test, and the Indiana Essay Exam.

The cost of the IndyBar Review course is a little less than the competition, but that represents value, not less service. There are several reasons why. First, you can’t argue with results. The passage rate for exam takers that complete the IndyBar Review Course is higher than the average of all persons who sit for the exam. Second, all the lecturers are local practitioners who are experienced, established and well known in their fields of lecture. And the IndyBar’s staff and Steering Committee pay close attention to quality control through surveys and feedback as well as engaging in constant vetting of best practices to improve the course. Third, because the lecturers are local and aren’t traveling the country on the “bar review lecture circuit”, they are available to answer students’ post-lecture questions quickly. Finally, especially for students who intend to stay and practice law in Indiana after the bar exam, it is a real opportunity to get to know some of the leadings lawyers in our community and to be part of this additional bar-sponsored network before they are even sworn in.

I have taught the IndyBar Review lecture on Indiana Constitutional Law for five years now. I concede it is sometimes daunting to prepare for a 3 ½ hour lecture on the subject (especially in February). But when it is over, it is a great feeling to have connected with scores of students as they prepare to take the exam. The basic premises of our sponsorship of the course, after all, is that the IndyBar has a stake in the success of these bar applicants with respect to the exam and their budding careers, and we want to do something for them that earns their support for the IndyBar over the long term.

So, if you are a lawyer that has any sway over what bar review course a student takes, please consider sending them our way. We will take good care of them.•

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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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