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Monday, December 12, 2005

Indiana STATE University Wants to Add Law School

This is not a good idea.

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 that 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 pretty well established that there will be a demand by students to be able to matriculate at such a school. Yet it's also pretty 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.

Comments:
From what I've heard, given my low contacts in high places, Indiana needs more law degrees the same way that Indiana needs more popcorn farms. We've got plenty. According to my unconfirmable scuttlebutt, many are the recipients of law degrees in this state who work at jobs for which a high school diploma is quite adequate qualification. The reason? Our state is already glutted with lawyers. There is not enough market to support them. The last thing we need to do is spend the Hoosier money on educating lawyers who will leave the state just to find work. We do that too much with our higher education, already.

Once again, Antoinettian dogma rules at the universities. They want to expand the highest levels and don't care about fundamental, foundational education for this state. A top-heavy edifice inevitably collapses.
 
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