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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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