Indiana Tech to open law school

Indiana Institute of Technology hopes to join the ranks of the nation’s 200 ABA-approved law schools, with a new school of its own, it announced May 16.

Based out of Fort Wayne, Ind. with satellite campuses around the state, the eighty-one year-old-university will add a juris doctor degree to its current course offerings. Indiana Tech spokeswoman Janet Schutte said the decision was considered for about a year, and a formal feasibility study had been underway since February of this year.

“We looked at things like whether or not there was a demand for law school education, enough to make it worthwhile for students and feasible for us,” she said. “Whether there was a market for students with a law degree, and whether it fit our school’s strengths.”

The study convinced the school that there is demand for a new law school from students. More than half of Indiana residents attending law school do so out of state. Also, there is a need for legal services in the state. The study showed Indiana is underserved based on the number of lawyers compared to the economic activity and population of the state.

“There are potential students who desire a law school education who cannot get that education in this area, and there are people in our state who need legal services who don’t have access to them,” President Dr. Arthur Snyder said. “Indiana Tech can help close those gaps.”

There are currently four other ABA-approved law schools in Indiana — Indiana University-Bloomington, Indiana University-Indianapolis, Notre Dame Law School, and Valparaiso University School of Law.

Schutte said there are still many details to work out, including where the new law school will be located. The university is considering whether to construct a new building on the existing Indiana Tech campus or perhaps use a building in downtown Fort Wayne. Many major decisions will be made once the university hires a dean to lead the project.

Indiana Tech aims to welcome its first class of 100 students in the fall of 2013, Schutte said, with a total target enrollment of between 200 to 300 students in the years to come. The school has not released its estimates of how much the law school project will cost.

Several other law schools have either recently opened or plan to in the next few years, including Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law in Knoxville, Tenn.

Concordia University in Boise, Idaho and Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tenn. are opening this fall. The Judge Paul Pressler School of Law in Shreveport, La., will open as early as 2012. However, the University of Delaware recently halted plans for its potential law school, and University of North Texas Dallas College of Law delayed its opening from the originally projected 2013 start date.

 

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