Law School Venture Getting Off The Ground At Fort Wayne University

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 4, 2013 Updated Oct 4, 2013 at 6:12 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) --- Carving out a niche in a highly competitive field.

Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne is hoping its new law school will take hold in a tough environment to launch such an endeavor.

28 students are enrolled in the Indiana Tech program this first year.

It's far below the 360 total they hope to work up to over time.

There were skeptics when the plan to start the law school was first announced.

That's because applications are down at law schools nationwide.

Officials at Indiana Tech think they can beat the odds, by taking a different approach.

Students like Robyn Clark do dig into textbooks, but the school is also providing training in things like legal writing, litigation and alternative dispute resolution with a lot of hands-on instruction in courtroom settings.

" We'll basically enact or re-enact a case like Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, where we have to present both sides of the argument, and both sides can be argued very well, and we're learning that, and we learn it a lot better than just a regular lecture," said Clark, who chose Indiana Tech over six other law schools she was approved for.

The school is also pairing students up with a local judge or lawyer to serve as a mentor, and the school is requiring each law student to provide 30 hours of legal service out in the community, pro bono, or free of charge.

The idea is to prepare the students to be job ready on “day one” post graduation.

A key barometer of how the school is doing will be keeping close tabs on student enrollment numbers.

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