Paul L. Caron

Monday, July 29, 2013

Indiana Tech's Class of 24 1Ls Is 76% Below Target; On Plus Side, 2:1 Student/Faculty Ratio Will Be #1 in Country

IndyTech, Enrollment Lower Than First Anticipated for Indiana Tech Law School:

University officials at Indiana Tech are not worried about lower enrollment numbers at the new law school when it opens next month for the fall semester.

When the university announced it would add a law school, which cost around $15 million, the plan was to have 100 students enrolled in the inaugural class.

As of Friday night, 24 students had enrolled.

"The hundred number, I think, was more aspirational," Jessica Lynn Anderson, an assistant dean of admissions at Indiana Tech, said. ..."I really do think 30 is a more reasonable number and I think we are going to hit 30," she said. According to Anderson, the law school will employee about 25 people. Eleven of those employees are professors, which makes for a near 3-to-1 professor to student ratio this fall. "I think that's more beneficial to the students," David Felts, an incoming law student at the university, said. "I'm sure as the time goes by, more students will come."

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@JM. I am sorry, but I have to poke a hole in your explanation of top students at state schools vs. mid level students at elite schools. My hearsay anecdotal evidence via my father is that the top state school students are HIGHER quality, not merely equal to mid level students at elite schools, in regards to their performance as grad students/doctoral candidates.

I recall that a 166 is a 94th percentile, so I am guessing that a 170 is 97th percentile. I base this on my recollection that the LSAT scores are bell in shape. So in the middle of the scoring, a one point change can make a large difference in percentile, but at the ends, the change in percentile is less drastic for every increased point in score.

I simply reject your premise that there is something magical about 170, and that everyone below 170 is incapable of the cognition to be a good law professor. You are suggesting that only people who perform better than 97% (approximately) of the rest of the population taking the test are smart enough to be able to teach law? What about 95%? 91%? Do I hear a bid for 90%? I suggest that your mindset smacks of raw, unbridled "institutional" elitism.

Posted by: Andy Fox | Jul 31, 2013 11:46:29 AM

"That, of course, requires assuming that the LSAT and undergraduate performance are predictive of performance as a lawyer or as a law professor. I assume they are to a significant degree, but they are not necessarily perfect predictors."

Much more predictive for performance as a law professor than a lawyer. I never said anything about lawyers.

I agree they are not perfect predictors. I think they are necessary, but not sufficient conditions in this case. Of course not everyone with a 3.7/170 will make a good law professor, but it is hard for me to imagine someone with inferior credentials having the basic analytic ability and demonstrated academic interest to be a good professor at a law school.

Posted by: JM | Jul 30, 2013 6:37:27 AM

That, of course, requires assuming that the LSAT and undergraduate performance are predictive of performance as a lawyer or as a law professor. I assume they are to a significant degree, but they are not necessarily perfect predictors.

Posted by: Jobs | Jul 29, 2013 1:15:38 PM

To prove my point about the top law students being highly concentrated at the the most elite schools, check out the chart below:

There were 3230 law school applicants with LSATs over 170 in 2012. I believe it is reasonable to assume that 2/3 of this group had GPA's in the 3.7 range, although it could be slightly less. That mean there are 2132 applicants that I would determine "elite."

There are probably 12 schools where the median student is about 3.7/170. If you estimate that the average class is about 270 students from those schools, that means that at least 1620 of the elite students are definitely accounted for at the top 12 schools. In reality, it will be more than that because the top 3-5 schools fill at least 75% of their class with students of such caliber, and two more schools will fill 25% of their class with these elite students.

So, realistically, probably 2,000 of the top 2,132 law applicants by the standard objective measures are going to the top 14 schools as ranked by USNews. That sort of obliterates the idea that there are all sorts of equal caliber students at state schools like UConn, UColorado, etc.

So I think my original point remains valid. It is concerning that Indiana Tech did not fill its initial faculty with one single alumn from one of the presigious law schools.

Posted by: JM | Jul 29, 2013 12:37:02 PM

Andy Fox,

I'm guessing your commment was aimed at my observation that none of the faculty went to a "good law school."

In general, I agree with your father's observation that top students at top public universities are as good as middle of the pack Ivy Leaguers. That rule does not quite hold the same way for law schools. The best students really are concentrated at the most highly ranked schools. While great high school students have multiple reasons to go to a state school for undergrad, the vast majority of top prospective law students want to attend an elite institution. I'd estimate that there are really only 5,000 or so elite law applicants each year (3.7 UGPA/ 170 LSAT), and the numbers indicate that the top 14 schools take nearly all of them. There are extremely few graduates of each law school class that are qualified to teach fundamental classes at a law school, and, barring extremely few exceptions, they will all be found on law reviews at the best 5-8 schools in the country.

I did not make the point to be elitest. My opinion is that, for a $30,000 price tag, students deserve to be taught by individuals that have participated at the highest level of the profession. That means clerkships for federal court judges, as well as stints in AMLAW 50 firms and/or as Federal prosecutors. Otherwise they are being cheated.

Furthermore, the faculty at Indiana Tech looks shakey for other reasons as well. Not a lot of professional interest in standard doctrinal law that is the foundation of 1st and 2nd year law school.

Posted by: JM | Jul 29, 2013 10:17:43 AM


Whatever manner in which one evaluates the quality of students, education, etc. at a particular law school really is irrelevant unless the students at said school are able to find employment that justifies the time and expense of attending. I don't think anybody is being an elitist for the sake of being an elitist. The point is a practical one, and the fact of the matter is that where you go to law school drastically will affect your ability to find work.

Posted by: No, breh. | Jul 29, 2013 10:08:36 AM

I should have been more specific in my previous comment. I was replying to "JM"'s comment, not to this blog.

Posted by: Andy Fox | Jul 29, 2013 10:03:47 AM

What is a good law school? The US News & World Reports rankings are stupid. If I interpreted the methodology correctly, 25% of the ranking is based upon what other boobs (I mean peers, i.e., law school deans, etc.) think your law school should be ranked. On the other hand, objective criteria like LSAT scores and bar passage rates, count as 12.5% and 2%, respectively. Bar rates count 2%? Isn't the bar exam the great equalizer, and what almost everyone who goes to law school seeks to pass?

Additionally, my father, who has been a professor (not law) his whole life, tells me that the top students from state schools are almost always better quality than the mid-tier students from the Ivy League, or other "prestigious" school. So in my book, just because someone attended a non prestigious school does not mean they are not a quality professor.

I agree that there are too many law schools and law school is too expensive, but I despise elitist attitudes.

Posted by: Andy Fox | Jul 29, 2013 9:38:41 AM

Who didn't see this coming? Also, what are the chances that some of the kids that put down a seat deposit end up withdrawing?

Posted by: HTA | Jul 29, 2013 9:02:37 AM

In a recent article in the IT student paper, a 1L called himself a "pioneer".

Posted by: unlingua | Jul 29, 2013 8:50:43 AM

Why doesn't the ABA just shut this thing down right now? A law school with 11 faculty members, what are they going to offer for courses? None of the faculty members went to a good law school either. What a joke.

Posted by: JM | Jul 29, 2013 5:47:14 AM

I'm afraid my Defenestration of Tenured Faculty proposal, initially a joke, may become reality at many institutions (perhaps including my own).

Posted by: michael livingston | Jul 29, 2013 4:03:42 AM