IN Supreme Court releases proposal to allow graduates of non-ABA-accredited schools to take Indiana bar; court seeking comment

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The Indiana Supreme Court is seeking public comment on a proposed rule change that would allow graduates of non-American Bar Association-accredited law schools to sit for the Indiana bar exam.

Under the proposed amendment to Admission and Discipline Rule 13, a graduate of a non-ABA-accredited law school could sit for the Indiana bar in two instances:

  • If the applicant graduated from a non-ABA-accredited law school in the United States, was eligible to sit for the bar in another state, and the Board of Law Examiners finds the applicant is qualified to take the Indiana bar by education or experience.
  • If the applicant completed legal education outside the U.S., obtained a graduate degree in American law from an ABA-approved school, and the BLE finds the applicant is qualified to take the Indiana bar by education or experience.

That language is laid out in a proposed new version of Section 4 of the rule.

The proposal comes after efforts from Purdue Global Law School — formerly known as Concord Law School — an online-only law school that wants its graduates to be able to sit for the Indiana bar. Right now, Purdue Global Law graduates can only take the bar in California, where the school is based.

Purdue Global Law and other advocates say allowing graduates of non-ABA-accredited schools to take the Indiana bar would help ease the state’s lawyer shortage. But organizations including the Indiana State Bar Association and Indianapolis Bar Association have opposed the measure.

The proposed Section 4 also lays out the materials that a person seeking waiver of the rule’s educational requirements would have to provide to the BLE, including a narrative of the person’s legal education and work history, among other materials.

Any board decision on a waiver request would be subject to final approval by the Indiana Supreme Court.

Finally, other proposed amendments would delete outdated provisions of the rule and make stylistic changes.

Comments on the proposed amendments are due by noon on Dec. 15. Comments can be submitted online or via U.S. Mail to Proposed Rule Changes, Indiana Office of Court Services, 251 N. Illinois St., Suite 800, Indianapolis, 46204.

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