Retired Indiana chief justice assures ND law students ‘it will turn out well’

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Notre Dame law students received words of comfort and encouragement about their decision to become lawyers from an Indiana jurist who is leading a massive study of the cost and content of legal education.

Retired Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard delivered the Clynes Chair Lecture in the McCartan Courtroom Sept. 25 on the picturesque campus of the University of Notre Dame. Along with Dean Nell Jessup Newton, students and faculty attended the event.

In August 2012, Shepard was appointed chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. His speech at Notre Dame was his first public address about law schools since the task force issued its draft report on Sept. 20.   

“I want you know, I suspect if I were a law student at this time, I might harbor some question about whether I made the right choice and what my future might be like,” Shepard told the students. “I want you to know it is my conviction that society will continue to value capable lawyers; that we do well for ourselves and our families and for society in general. … You should regard yourselves as very fortunate at having the chance to make this decision. It will turn out well.”

The retired chief justice focused the bulk of his remarks on the findings of the task force.

He gave special emphasis to the rising cost of law school, noting to fully understand the causes and provide solutions, another committee will have to be convened specifically to study the financial issues.

Also, while he defended the current model of legal education as serving the country well, he proposed there might be a way to change the accreditation standards so that they empower law schools to innovate.

He also called for law schools to offer more information for consumers as a way to counteract the undue influence of U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings.

After a student asked about the debate regarding the short-term and long-term outlook for lawyers, Shepard reiterated his belief that the law students made the right choice.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that there are valuable employment opportunities for most people who want to become a lawyer,” he said. “If you find yourself getting across a series of hurdles that law school and the bar exam present, you will more often than the critics say have the chance to be a lawyer somewhere doing something.”




  • All is not well
    Lest my "all things gay" comment below is misinterpreted, here is the late Chuck Colson, a prophet to our age, noting in 2008 that dark night for the faithful which our sea change in cultural mores was bringing on. Christians, traditionalists, conservatives, constitutionalist make no mistake. There are those in the upper eschelon of governance who want you out of any power if you refuse to accept their progressivist disdain for the morality that built our social order. I have met these folks, up close and personal. I assure you that if they get their way many more will join me in career death and economic dissolution.
  • My heritage, my mentor
    And so, as can clearly be witnessed in this thread and in the referenced link below, it was demanded of me that I renounce my Lord, my Dad and my Christian heritage to become an Indiana attorney. I refused. The Indiana Supreme Court green lighted, their gender and race commission does not care of religious tests that are unconstitutional. And now the former Chief Justice assures the Catholic faithful that all is well. As the persecution now breaking across multiple professions reveals, all is far from well. Obamacare and political correctness doctrines and all things gay are rendering it very unwell, in fact.
  • Ind. injustice
    Any justice system that does not acknowledge a higher power than that of man himself is not worthy of being blessed by God and therefore in time will fail to serve man as a system of justice..
    • To be fair ...
      Actually my interrogator likely did not even know about the Social Kingship doctrine .... and to be fair the denial demanded of me was an offense against all revealed religion, but most importantly the very same order as a prior government decreed in Acts 5: "28 Saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you should not teach in this name; and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. 29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men." I had no choice, based upon my Christian faith, but to answer as Peter did. For more details see the official transcript of my interrogation at the link below, App 75 -77. As Ogden's case, the "illegal immigrant" 30 day punishment, my case and many others reveal, political correctness threatens justice in the Hoosier state. Pray for relief, and put your prayers in action as you can.
    • Maybe OK
      Notre Dame grads, all should be A-OK unless you are asked to deny the Catholic doctrine of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ, as I was, by agents of the Indiana judiciary. Most of you will not be, but if you have any pro-life activism on your application I very much recommend that you take a canon lawyer with you to any meetings with the IBLE. I certainly should have. Details here:

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    1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

    2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

    3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

    4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

    5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.