Indiana Institute of Technology Law School has announced it will be shutting its doors in 2017. We regret the announcement but Fort Wayne Observed warned in February 2011 that there would be little demand for the lawyers that would be produced and that the establishment of a new law school in Indiana made little sense.
Similarly, Fort Wayne Observed made the same observations in response to the news that the University of Saint Francis was exploring the possibility of establishing a law school. Those were two columns published on September 19, 2007 and January 5, 2007.
All of these were republications essentially of the same points Fort Wayne Observed made on December 12, 2005 when we responded to word that Indiana State University was looking at creating a new law school.
FWOb was not alone in its questioning of the soundness of establishing a new law school. There were many more writers around the nation who wrote much more bluntly about the topic.
However, we do regret the present announcement in that it will affect numerous students and past attendees as well many well-intentioned and talented faculty and administrators.
But the fundamentals never really changed since 2005. While Fort Wayne Observed was prescient, we take no satisfaction in the failed experiment here.
Here is the text of the FWOb post from February 25, 2011:
The World is Not Crying Out to Mint More Lawyers
Now comes word that Fort Wayne's Indiana Tech is considering establishment of a law school.
So, it is time to publish what I republished in 2007 when St. Francis was considering establishment of a law school. And that was a reprint of an Indiana Parley post I wrote in December 2005 when Indiana State University was thinking of creating a law school.
The News-Sentinel is reporting that the University of Saint Francis is seriously looking at the possibility of opening a law school.
On December 12, 2005, I wrote a post on Indiana Parley about the proposal being considered by Indiana State University to open a law school at Terre Haute. As you read what I wrote then, please know that my opinion is somewhat softened by the fact that a Saint Francis law school would be at a private university and would, of course, be in my hometown.
I also have a great deal of respect for the administration of Sister Elise at Saint Francis.
Still, the idea of a another lawyer generator is not something for which the world is crying out.
Indiana Parley December 12, 2005:
The Indianapolis Star is reporting today that Indiana State University of Terre Haute is thinking about adding a law school to its array of top-flight professional and graduate programs.The Sycamores beat Indiana University at basketball. That's given them all sorts of ideas.
There already exist two public university law programs in Indiana. The Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington and the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis are both fine schools. In recent years, the Indianapolis School has improved its standing by moving toward becoming a center for the study of international law.
Additionally, Valparaiso University and the University of Notre Dame both operate long-established and well-regarded law schools.
Why would Indiana State University want to establish a law school?
Indiana Parley would suggest the reason is that, compared to establishing other professional programs, creating a law school is cheap.
Relatively cheap, mind you. A school needs to establish a library and it needs to hire staff. Other than that, you need to have lecture space. You don't need to equip laboratories; you don't need to equip students. The per student cost of educating a lawyer is pretty darn inexpensive compared to training a physician, a dentist or a veterinarian.
It's well established that there will be a demand by students to matriculate at such a school. Yet it's also well established that there isn't a huge market demand for American lawyers that isn't already being supplied by the nation's existing law schools.
That is, there isn't a real market signal to produce more lawyers. Certainly there is no crying need for more lawyers to be milled at a publicly supported university.
Posted by Mitch Harper at 3:06 PM - December 12, 2005.
More: December 2005 post on Marcia Oddi's Indiana Law Blog about ISU law school proposal landing with the "biggest thud" of 2005.