Valparaiso University School of Law

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Valparaiso University Law School
Parent school Valparaiso University
Established 1879
School type Private
Location Valparaiso, Indiana, US
41°27′41″N 87°03′11″W / 41.4614°N 87.0531°W / 41.4614; -87.0531Coordinates: 41°27′41″N 87°03′11″W / 41.4614°N 87.0531°W / 41.4614; -87.0531
Enrollment 508[1]
Faculty 29 full time[1]
USNWR ranking not ranked[2]
Bar pass rate 61-63%
Website www.valpo.edu/law/
ABA profile profile

The Valparaiso University Law School is located on the campus of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana,[3] a community located about an hour's drive 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.[4] In November 2017 the school suspended admissions, and is exploring shutting down and allowing current students to transfer to other law schools to complete their legal educations.[5][6]

In October 2016, the ABA censured Valparaiso School of Law for admitting applicants who did not appear capable of satisfactorily completing the school's program of legal education and being admitted to the bar.[7] 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.[8] 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.

Valparaiso School of Law is not ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Schools.[9]

Campus[edit]

The city of Valparaiso, Indiana is located 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Chicago, and 10 miles (16 km) south of Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It is about 90 miles (140 km) north of Purdue University, which in May 2017 bought the for-profit online Kaplan University and Concord law school.[10]

The Valparaiso law school is primarily located in Wesemann Hall, in an area known as “Old Campus”. Valparaiso University’s 320-acre (1.3 km2) campus is part of the downtown Valparaiso historic district. The Lawyering Skills Center and Law Clinic are next door, in the recently renovated Heritage Hall.[11]

History[edit]

Originally named the Northern Indiana Law School, Valparaiso Law School began operations with nine students (including two women) on November 11, 1879. Tuition was set at $10 per term; it was one of the first in the nation to admit both men and women. 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.[12]

Northern Indiana Law School, Valparaiso University, circa 1910 (Photograph courtesy of the S. Shook Collection)

Despite difficult economic times and amidst a depression, the Northern Indiana Law School remained and experienced growth during its second decade.[13] 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.[14] 1925 graduate Frances Tilton Weaver became the youngest woman to be admitted to practice before both the Indiana Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court; she practiced law in Chicago until moving back with her husband to Valparaiso to practice law with her father, Ira Tilton, who in nearly six decades in Valparaiso had served as a schoolteacher, city attorney and judge, as well as head of the local Democratic Party.[15]

In 2013, long term law school dean Jay Conison resigned to accept a position at the relatively new Charlotte School of Law, which was placed on probation by the ABA in 2016 and subsequently closed. His replacement was the former associate dean of DePaul Law School, Andrea Lyon, who in 1979 had been the first woman lead counsel in a death penalty case. [16] While the law school's practical skills training received a high ranking from the National Jurist Magazine, and the Prelaw Magazine cited its innovation, the school faced financial issues and censure from the ABA in October 2016, as discussed below. In March 2017 the University hired Ogilvy Public Relations to handle the law school's termination or downsizing, and in November announced that no students would be admitted for the year beginning in 2018. On March 21, 2018, the law school announced Dean Lyon's resignation effective June 1, and that she would continue to teach as a professor.[17]

Admissions and academics[edit]

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:[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] The School also offers more than 85 discrete externship[21] 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.[22]

Post-graduation employment[edit]

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] 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.[24]

Struggling graduates of Valparaiso Law School were featured in a New York Times article in June 2016.[25] One Valparaiso Law School graduate worked in the clothing department of a retail store, and another graduate discussed his grim job prospects.

Costs[edit]

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.[26] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $196,217.[27] 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.[28] As a result of the curve, 18 Valparaiso students had their scholarships withdrawn or reduced during the 2014-2015 academic year.[29]

Student life[edit]

Valparaiso Law students can participate in more than 40 student organizations.[30] According to Valparaiso's 2015 Standard 509 Report, 17 students transferred to higher ranking schools the previous academic year.[31]

ABA censure[edit]

Valparaiso School of Law was censured by the ABA in October 2016, for violating ABA Standards 501(a) and 501(b).[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] In November 2017, the ABA lifted the sanction of public censure on Valparaiso School of Law, stating that the school had demonstrated compliance with ABA Standards 501(a) and 501(b).[35]

Community relations[edit]

Since its inception in 1969, the Valparaiso University School of Law Clinical Program [36] has offered a form of legal representation to the public.

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Faisal Kutty lawyer, academic and writer focusing on law and religion, Islamic law, Islamic culture, practice and rights.

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Valparaiso University Law School (December 2013). "Valparaiso University - 2013 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  2. ^ "Best Law Schools Ranked in 2017". US News. Retrieved April 22, 2017. 
  3. ^ Scheiber, Noam (June 19, 2016). "An Expensive Law Degree, and No Place to Use It". New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Valparaiso University School of Law homepage". 
  5. ^ Zaretsky, Staci. "Valparaiso Law School Will Stop Accepting New Students, May Wind Down (Updated)". 
  6. ^ 219-548-4345, Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com,. "Valparaiso University law school closing admissions, potentially looking for new home". 
  7. ^ "Valparaiso ABA censure" (PDF). 
  8. ^ "Valparaiso ABA required disclosures" (PDF). 
  9. ^ "Graduate School Search - Law Programs". usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved October 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Purdue acquires online-only Concord Law School". 
  11. ^ "Valparaiso University School of Law - Heritage Hall Rededication Ceremony". 
  12. ^ Swygert, Michael Irven. "And, We Must Make Them Noble." Pp. 36-48. Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press: 2004.
  13. ^ Baepler, Richard. Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning: A History of Valparaiso University. Pp. 163-165. St. Louis, MO, Concordia Publishing House: 2001.
  14. ^ Swygert, Michael Irven. "And, We Must Make Them Noble." Pp. 121-128. Durham, NC, Carolina Academic Press: 2004.
  15. ^ "Porter County, Indiana, GenWeb - Biography for Avery B. and Frances (Tilton) Weaver". www.inportercounty.org. 
  16. ^ "Valparaiso University Appoints Dean to Law School". 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  17. ^ "Valpo dean's resignation latest of troubled law school's woes". 
  18. ^ "Degree & Dual Degree Programs". Archived from the original on June 27, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Degree Programs". Archived from the original on November 24, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Clinic and Skill-Based Learning - Valparaiso University Law School - Valparaiso University". www.valpo.edu. 
  21. ^ "Externships". Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ "University opens sports law clinic". October 3, 2005. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. 
  23. ^ "ABA Employment Report" (PDF). 
  24. ^ "Valparaiso University Profile". 
  25. ^ "An Expensive Law Degree and No Place To Use It". 
  26. ^ "Tuition and Fees". 
  27. ^ "Valparaiso University Profile". 
  28. ^ "Valparaiso Curve" (PDF). 
  29. ^ "ABA required disclosures" (PDF). 
  30. ^ "Student Organizations - Valparaiso University Law School - Valparaiso University". www.valpo.edu. 
  31. ^ "2015 Standard 509 Report" (PDF). 
  32. ^ "ABA Censure" (PDF). 
  33. ^ "Valparaiso Class Profile". 
  34. ^ "ABA Required Disclosures" (PDF). 
  35. ^ https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/PublicNoticeAnnouncements/2017_november_notice_of_removal_of_aanction_valparaiso_university.authcheckdam.pdf
  36. ^ "Clinic and Skill-Based Learning - Valparaiso University Law School - Valparaiso University". www.valpo.edu. 
  37. ^ "Richard Hatcher Biography". The HistoryMakers. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  38. ^ "Alumni Profiles". Hope College. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  39. ^ Center, The State of Texas and The University of Houston Law. "The University of Houston Law Center Faculty - Raymond Nimmer". www.law.uh.edu. 

External links[edit]