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Students in Indiana who wish to practice law will need to earn a J.D. (Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence) degree, which includes two cumulative semester hours of legal ethics and responsibility, from an American Bar Association (ABA)-approved school. The J.D. degree program prepares students to sit for the state bar exam, which students are required to pass before they can legally practice law. In addition to the J.D., students can also receive specialized law training through master's and doctoral programs. Other law degree programs at the master's and doctoral levels are also available, including dual degree programs.
Students gain practical experience through real-world work while in school. There may also be study abroad or internship opportunities available. Students may need to complete research as well. Profiled below are the five ABA-approved law schools available in the state of Indiana.
Indiana University - Bloomington
Bloomington is the main campus of the Indiana University system. The university offers law degrees through its Maurer School of Law, which was founded in 1842. The J.D. program requires bachelor's holders to complete 88 credit hours with a GPA of at least 2.3. Students complete first-year courses in criminal law, property, constitutional law, torts, civil procedure, and legal research, along with a research project and clinical course. An area of focus is also available.
Maurer law students can participate in events, conferences, research, and classroom activities through one of the school's six legal centers in order to gain real world experience. The university's law centers focus on internationalization and globalization with specializations like the global legal profession, constitutional democracy, and cybersecurity research. Dual degree programs are offered that combine a J.D. with a master's degree in business, communications, and public health, just to name a few. The School of Law also offers graduate programs designed for international students, including the Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Comparative Law, Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.), and Doctor of Philosophy in Law and Democracy.
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis (IUPUI)
IUPUI, located in Indianapolis, was ranked 100th among law schools by the U.S. News and World Report in 2016. The institution combines programs from Indiana University and Purdue University, giving students a great range of programs to choose from in the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In addition to the 90-credit J.D. program, students can complete a 24-credit LL.M. with six tracks of study. McKinney also offers students a S.J.D., eight graduate certificates, and eight joint degree programs. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and Law School Admission Test scores.
Resources for law students can be found in the Ruth Lilly Law Library. Students can also gain experience participating in one of the law schools eight centers and programs that focus on legal issues like intellectual property law, Asian studies, and international human rights law.
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame, located in the city of Notre Dame, is a private Roman Catholic institution that was chartered in 1844. At the Notre Dame Law School, J.D. students are required to complete 90 credit hours of coursework with a GPA of at least 2.0. During their first year, J.D. students will study topics like contracts, legal writing, constitutional law, and civil procedure. During the second and third years of the program, students will focus on topics like legal ethics, jurisprudence, and upper-level writing.
The school also offers LL.M., J.S.D. in International Human Rights, and Master of Science in Patent Law programs, as well as dual degrees, such as a J.D./MBA or J.D./MA. The one-year patent law program includes a hands-on curriculum and allows students to draft a real patent. Additionally, Notre Dame law students have the opportunity to spend a year, a semester, or a six-week summer session studying in London through the law school's study abroad program.
Valparaiso University is a private Lutheran university that was founded in 1859 in the city of Valparaiso. J.D. students at Valparaiso Law School will focus on legal writing and research, ethics, and perspectives. Students have the opportunity to gain real world experience by working in the Valparaiso Law Clinic, providing legal services to needy residents. The LL.M. in American Law program includes 23-29 credits and is designed for foreign educated lawyers. Dual degrees are also available, such as a J.D./MBA or J.D./MA.
After completing important foundation courses, J.D. students will be able to begin focusing on their specific areas of interest. Valparaiso students have the opportunity to spend a summer semester studying abroad in England or Chile. Law students also have the opportunity to gain work experience through the school's externship program that offers close to 100 positions.
Indiana Institute of Technology
Indiana Institute of Technology is a private university in Fort Wayne founded in 1930. The Indiana Tech Law School opened in 2013 and is provisionally approved by the American Bar Association. J.D. students at Indiana Tech focus on developing knowledge and skills that will prepare them for all aspects of practicing law, including fundamental legal principles, legal research skills, persuasive writing skills and professional responsibility. Indiana Tech emphasizes experiential and cross-curricular learning, and requires more legal writing and academic support credits than any ABA-approved law school in the country.
First-year students in the 90-credit program complete foundational courses in subject such as contracts, criminal law, legal writing and legal analysis. More advanced topics include constitutional law, commercial law, criminal procedure and evidence. Students can gain experience through a part-time externship or semester-in-practice, while qualified third-year students can complete a full-time externship. All Indiana Tech law students most also perform at least 30 hours of pro bono service during their time in school. Each J.D. student receives a faculty mentor for all three years in the program.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Law Degree Programs Offered||Graduate Tuition and Fees|
|Indiana University - Bloomington||Four-year, public; small city|| J.D.,
Master of Comparative Law,
Doctor of Philosophy in Law and Democracy
|In-state: $32,550, out-of-state: $53,300 (J.D. program only) (2016-2017)*|
|Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis||Four-year, public; large city|| J.D,
|In-state tuition: $26,500, out-of-state tuition: $47,000 (J.D. program only) (2015-2016)**|
|University of Notre Dame||Four-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb|| J.D.,
Master of Science in Patent Law,
|Valparaiso University||Four-year, private, not-for-profit; large suburb|| J.D.,
|Indiana Institute of Technology||Four-year, private, not-for-profit; large city||J.D.||$41,420 (2016-2017)*****|
Source: *Indiana University - Bloomington, **Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis, ***Notre Dame University, ****Valparaiso University, *****Indiana Institute of Technology.