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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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