Online Law School Seeks Bar Exam Eligibility In Indiana

The Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) is opposing proposed rule changes that would allow graduates of certain non-American Bar Association Accredited Law Schools to sit for the Indiana Bar Exam.
In a letter to the Indiana Supreme Court, the ISBA said it received feedback from members, the majority of whom were “overwhelmingly opposed to the proposed rule amendments for a variety of reasons.” The Board of Governors therefore “voted unanimously … to oppose the proposed amendments.”
“The best way to ensure quality and consistent legal education is through a reliable accreditation process,” the letter states. “Indiana has no such independent process, nor does it have a body that evaluates the standards of non-ABA accreditation entities. Without confirming that all such entities’ standards align with what we in Indiana consider crucial to providing a high quality legal education and that all such entities have a robust procedure for monitoring accreditation compliance, we do not support allowing graduates of law schools accredited by those other entities to sit for the Indiana Bar.”
The letter is signed by ISBA President Amy Noe Dudas.
The rule was proposed by Purdue University. Under the proposal, the law school must be accredited by one or more state, regional or national bodies that specifically accredit law schools. The school must also be operated by or affiliated with an Indiana-based educational institution whose legal education program/degree has been approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.
In the letter, the ISBA said it is not necessarily against online legal education and that its position is not a direct evaluation of Purdue Global’s Concord Law School. The ISBA recognized Indiana’s attorney shortage — something Purdue cited in its proposal — and the benefits of online legal education.
In a statement, Martin Pritikin, Dean and Vice-President of the Concord Law School, responded to the bar association’s acknowledgement that Indiana has an attorney shortage.
“But it not only concludes that ensuring quality legal education trumps those concerns; it also assumes that only the ABA can ensure such quality,” Pritikin said. “However, the ABA’s standards for accreditation contain requirements like a physical campus — including a physical law library — that drive up costs and restrict access without promoting quality.”
You can read more about this issue here.

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