Friday, May 20, 2011

The Indiana Tech School of Law: Would the For Profit School Be Accredited by the American Bar Association?; Again, When is the Indiana State Bar Association Going to Weigh In?

A friend of mine, more knowledgeable than me about the subject, expressed doubts that an Indiana Tech Law School would be accredited by the American Bar Association. Without ABA accreditation, graduates of the Indiana Tech School of Law couldn't sit for the Indiana Bar exam.

I found this in an article from he Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette from February:
The American Bar Association has a rigorous accreditation process, McNamara said, and if a law school can successfully attain that, it would be worthwhile to the community.

The American Bar Association does not accredit many for-profit law schools, and no correspondence or online law schools are accredited. To get through that process, he said, requires a school to be up to the task of educating men and women to practice law.
Indiana Tech is a for-profit school, unlike the other state's universities which have law schools: Indiana University (campus in Bloomington and Indianapolis), Notre Dame and Valparaiso.  Indiana Tech focuses on business and engineering but now wants to get into the more profitable business of educating future unemployed and underemployed lawyers.  The school says its tuition will be $28,500 per student.

Indiana Tech says that its first class will be in 2013.  The school won't be accredited by then and may never get accreditation since the ABA doesn't like to accredit for-profit schools.

This is all about a for profit school taking advantage of naive young men and women who think a legal education is going to be the ticket to a high-paying job.  It is time that the Indiana State Bar Association get off its rear and take a stand on the need for this fifth law school in light of the saturation of attorneys in the job market.


Nicolas Martin said...

Cartels are very strict about membership. While the bar association cartel has driven up the price of legal representation, the dental cartel has done much the same, with comparably destructive results:

Boom Times for Dentists, but Not for Teeth

Previously unreleased figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2003 and 2004, the most recent years with data available, 27 percent of children and 29 percent of adults had cavities going untreated. The level of untreated decay was the highest since the late 1980s and significantly higher than that found in a survey from 1999 to 2002...

Since 1990, the number of dentists in the United States has been roughly flat, about 150,000 to 160,000, while the population has risen about 22 percent. In addition, more dentists are working part time.

Partly as a result, dental fees have risen much faster than inflation. In real dollars, the cost of the average dental procedure rose 25 percent from 1996 to 2004. The average American adult patient now spends roughly $600 annually on dental care, with insurance picking up about half the tab...

Dentists’ incomes have grown faster than that of the typical American and the incomes of medical doctors. Formerly poor relations to physicians, American dentists in general practice made an average salary of $185,000 in 2004, the most recent data available. That figure is similar to what non-specialist doctors make, but dentists work far fewer hours. Dental surgeons and orthodontists average more than $300,000 annually...

But despite the allure of rising salaries, the shortage of dentists will almost certainly worsen, because the nation has fewer dental schools and fewer dentists in training than a generation ago. After peaking at 5,750 in 1982, the number of dental school graduates fell to 4,440 in 2003, as several big dental schools closed their doors. The average dentist is now 49 years old, according to the American Dental Association, and for at least the next decade retiring dentists will probably outnumber new ones.

Even if more students wanted to enter the profession, states are not moving aggressively to expand dental schools or open new ones....

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicolas Martin said...

Why Law School Costs So Much

Abstract: Does law school have to cost as much as it does? Because of collusion between state legislatures and the American Bar Association, law school costs much more than it needs to. If we allowed a free market in legal education, the cost of preparing for a legal career would fall dramatically.

Law schools, scholarship, and lawyer licensing

George Leef has explained that it’s all about ABA accreditation, which forces law schools to be non-profit, staffed with full time scholar-instructors, run for three years, with an extensive library, etc, none of which clearly produces better lawyers. Leef characterizes this as the result of “collusion between state legislatures and the American Bar Association. . . If we allowed a free market in legal education, the cost of preparing for a legal career would fall dramatically."

Indy man said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Nicolas Martin here.
For the ISBA to advocate limiting the number of lawyers would be analogous to a gasoline trade association wanting to limit the number of gasoline stations because gasoline stations were not making enough money.
Free enterprise should rule.

It is the purpose of the Bar Exam to determine who is competent to practice law. It should not be up to the ABA or the ISBA to determine whether someone has sufficient education.
Some states do not require ABA accredited educations.

Cato said...

Indy man, a free market even demands the removal of the protectionist bar exam.

If the bar exam makes a better lawyer, then let the market be the proof of this.