Valparaiso University School of Law
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|Valparaiso University Law School|
|Parent school||Valparaiso University|
|School type||Private University|
|Location||Valparaiso, Indiana, US
The Valparaiso University Law School is located on the campus of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, a community located less than an hour from Chicago. Founded in 1879, the school was accredited by the American Bar Association in 1929 and admitted to the Association of American Law Schools in 1930. The Dean is capital defense expert Andrea Lyon. The law school currently has 29 full-time faculty and approximately 30 additional faculty members who teach the 508 enrolled students.
In October 2016, Valparaiso School of Law was censured by the ABA for admitting applicants who did not appear capable of satisfactorily completing the school's program of legal education and being admitted to the bar. According to Valparaiso’s 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 42% of the class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage required employment ten months after graduation. 23% of graduates from the class of 2015 were unemployed ten months after graduation. In 2014, only 61% of graduates taking the Indiana bar exam and only 63% of graduates taking the Illinois bar exam passed on the first attempt.
The law school is located in Wesemann Hall, in an area of Valparaiso University’s 320-acre (1.3 km2) campus known as “Old Campus” which is next to, and part of, the historic district of downtown Valparaiso. Wesemann Hall is adjacent to Heritage Hall, which was recently reconstructed and houses the Lawyering Skills Center and Law Clinic.
The school was originally named the Northern Indiana Law School and began operation on November 11, 1879. Tuition was set at $10 per term and the first term began with nine enrolled students. The school was one of the first in the nation to admit both men and women, and two women were among the original cohort. DeMotte became the school’s first dean and was one of the original three faculty members. During his appointment he developed the core curriculum that remains in use at Valparaiso today.
Despite difficult economic times and amidst a depression, the Northern Indiana Law School remained and experienced growth during its second decade. At the turn of the century, 21 years after its founding, the school had an enrollment of 170 students and was reportedly the largest law school in Indiana.
In 1905, the law school became part of Valparaiso University and was thus officially renamed the Valparaiso University School of Law/Valparaiso University Law School. Following consultation and inspection with the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools, the law school expanded its curriculum and received its ABA accreditation in 1929 and was admitted into AALS in 1930. It is the thirty-eighth oldest ABA accredited law school in the United States.
Admissions and academics
The law school offers a traditional three-year full-time program, an accelerated two-and-a-half year program, and a five-year, part-time program toward the Juris Doctor degree, a Master of Laws degree program, and the following dual degree programs: JD/MBA, JD/MALS, JD/MA (Psychology), JD/Clinical Mental Health Counseling, JD/MA in Chinese Studies, JD/MA in Liberal Studies, JD/MS International Commerce & Policy, and JD/MS Sports Administration, and the S.J.D, the School’s advanced research degree that is open to candidates who have completed an LL.M.
The School of Law offers eight live legal clinics: criminal clinic, civil clinic, juvenile clinic, domestic violence clinic, mediation clinic, sports law clinic, tax clinic, and wrongful conviction clinic. The School also offers more than 85 discrete externship opportunities. In 2005, the School of Law started the nation's first sports law clinic giving free advice to amateur status athletes during the olympics.
According to Valparaiso’s official 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 42% of the class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage required employment. 23% of graduates were unemployed 10 months after graduation. Three graduates were working in non-professional positions after graduation. Valparaiso’s Law School Transparency under-employment score is 37.4%, indicating the percentage of the class of 2015 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
Struggling graduates of Valparaiso Law School were featured in a New York Times article in June 2016. One Valparaiso Law School graduate worked in the clothing department of a retail store. Another graduate discussed his grim job prospects.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Valparaiso for the 2014-2015 academic year is $53,862. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $196,217. Valparaiso engages in the controversial practice of offering new students conditional scholarships. These scholarships are contingent on the student maintaining a specific grade point average, rather than remaining in good academic standing. Valparaiso imposes a grading curve with a median GPA of 2.7 on first year students. As a result of the curve, 18 Valparaiso students had their scholarships withdrawn or reduced during the 2014-2015 academic year.
Valparaiso Law students can participate in more than 40 student organizations. According to Valparaiso's 2015 Standard 509 Report, 17 students transferred to higher ranking schools the previous academic year.
Valparaiso School of Law was censured by the ABA in October 2016, for violating ABA Standards 501(a) and 501(b). Those standards require that “a law school shall maintain sound admission policy and practices” and “shall not admit an applicant who does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.” In the past, law schools published fraudulent graduate employment data in order to attract students. After several law schools were sued and the media began covering the fraudulent employment statistics, the ABA required law schools to publish accurate graduate employment data. The accurate employment statistics showed that many graduates were unemployed or were not working in legal jobs. This led to a precipitous decline in applications to law schools. In response, law schools lowered admissions standards so that they could maintain enrollment. Since 2010, Valparaiso drastically reduced admissions standards to maintain the size of the school's student body. In 2010, the entering class had a median LSAT score of 150 and a median GPA of 3.31. By 2015, Valparaiso’s entering class had a median LSAT score of 145 and a median GPA of 2.93. Valparaiso's bar passage rates plummeted as a result. In 2013, 77% of graduates taking the Indiana bar exam and 71% of graduates taking the Illinois bar exam passed on the first attempt. But in 2014, only 61% graduates taking the Indiana bar exam and only 63% of graduates taking the Illinois bar exam passed on the first attempt.
Since its inception in 1969, the Valparaiso University School of Law Clinical Program  has offered a form of legal representation to the public.
- Faisal Kutty an internationally recognized legal scholar focusing on law and religion, Islamic law, national security and human rights.
Graduates of the School of Law include:
- Robert D. Rucker, who currently is a justice on the Indiana Supreme Court.
- Craig Morford, former acting United States Deputy Attorney General and former federal prosecutor.
- Steve Buyer, U.S. Congressman from Indiana’s 4th district.
- Green Hackworth – first American appointed to the International Court of Justice.
- Richard G. Hatcher, the first African-American mayor of Gary, Indiana and one of the first black mayors elected in a major Northern industrial city, is a 1959 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law.
- Eugene E. Parker, the African-American sports agent for Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith and several notable sports stars. Parker owns one of the most successful sports management companies in sports.
- George William Norris, former U.S. Senator from Nebraska.
- Frances Tilton Weaver, a 1925 graduate, became the first woman attorney in Porter County, Indiana, and the youngest woman to be admitted to practice before the Indiana Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court.
- Raymond Nimmer, class of 1968 - Dean and Leonard Childs Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center and co-director of the Houston Intellectual Property and Information Law Institute.
- Valparaiso University Law School (December 2013). "Valparaiso University - 2013 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-20.
- Scheiber, Noam (June 19, 2016). "An Expensive Law Degree, and No Place to Use It". New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2016.
- Valparaiso University School of Law homepage
- "Valparaiso University Appoints Dean to Law School". 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
- "Valparaiso ABA censure" (PDF).
- "Valparaiso ABA required disclosures" (PDF).
- Valparaiso University School of Law - Heritage Hall Rededication Ceremony
- Swygert, Michael Irven. "And, We Must Make Them Noble." Pp. 36-48. Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press: 2004.
- Baepler, Richard. Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning: A History of Valparaiso University. Pp. 163-165. St. Louis, MO, Concordia Publishing House: 2001.
- Swygert, Michael Irven. "And, We Must Make Them Noble." Pp. 121-128. Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press: 2004.
- http://www.valpo.edu/law/academics/dual_degrees.php dual degree programs
- http://www.valpo.edu/law/academics/degree_programs.php Valparaiso University School of Law Admissions page
- http://www.valpo.edu/law/clinic/index.php Valparaiso University School of Law Free Law Clinic
- http://www.valpo.edu/law/externships/index.php Valparaiso University School of Law Externship page
- http://www.valpo.edu/news/news.php?releaseId=2134 Sports Law Clinic
- "ABA Employment Report" (PDF).
- "Valparaiso University Profile".
- "An Expensive Law Degree and No Place To Use It".
- "Tuition and Fees".
- "Valparaiso University Profile".
- "Valparaiso Curve" (PDF).
- "ABA required disclosures" (PDF).
- Valparaiso University Law School Student Organizations page
- "2015 Standard 509 Report" (PDF).
- "ABA Censure" (PDF).
- "Valparaiso Class Profile".
- "ABA Required Disclosures" (PDF).
- Valparaiso University School of Law Clinical Law Program page
- Indiana Supreme Court homepage
- "Alumni Profiles". Hope College. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- "BUYER, Stephen Earle". Biographical Directory of the US Congress. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- "Richard Hatcher Biography". The HistoryMakers. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- University of Houston Law Center