Valparaiso University plans to shut down law school

Valparaiso Law School, founded in 1879, will be ceasing operations after a search for alternatives to remain open ended in disappointment.

In an announcement Tuesday, Valparaiso University stated it had decided to end its legal education program. The plan calls for the law school to continue to teach-out the current law students in a timely manner and then cease operations.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision and is the result of several years of careful discernment,” said Frederick G. Kraegel, chair of the university’s board of directors. “We have explored a number of strategic alternatives. Despite these efforts, we have not been able to achieve a more positive outcome.”

The university said it will work closely with accreditors – the Indiana Higher Education Commission and the American Bar Association – to continue with its plan to teach the remaining law students. Currently about 100 second- and third-year students are enrolled at the law school. 

In November 2017, Valparaiso University suspended admission of first-year law students in the fall of 2018. It then began looking either for a partner to run the legal education program with or another university interested in taking over the operations.

Most recently, Middle Tennessee State University had entered into an agreement with Valparaiso to transfer the law school, faculty and law library to the campus in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. However, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission rejected the plan and both universities walked away.

According to Valparaiso, when the plans fell through with MTSU, the decision was made to complete the teach-out of current law students and shut the law school down. 

This story will be updated.

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