Hoosiers have only four American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools to choose from, but the state makes up for in quality what it lacks in quantity. Three of them appear within the top 100 of U.S. World & News Report rankings of law schools nationally. The fourth does not have a public rank, but has its own merits that may make it the right choice for you. The following is an overview of Indiana law schools with a brief discussion of their relative merits.
Notre Dame Law School
The highest ranked of Indiana's law schools, Notre Dame Law School (NDLS) is the oldest Roman Catholic law school in the nation. It has a reputation for producing a large number of federal and Supreme Court clerkships. NDLS also hosts the only ABA-approved study abroad program, a year-long course in London. NDLS's prestige means that its admissions are competitive. It also has the highest tuition in the state, more than twice the annual tuition of the least expensive school. Of course, attendance at NDLS also means being part of the vibrant university culture, and opportunities to root for the school's legendary football team.
Indiana University, Maurer School of Law
Indiana University's Maurer School of Law (IU Maurer) is located in Bloomington. Not to be outdone by Notre Dame, IU Maurer is also one of the oldest law schools in the nation. It is one of two Indiana University law schools, which are separately housed and operate entirely independently. Of the two, IU Maurer stands out as the more reputable school. Ranking among the top public law schools in the United States and closely following Notre Dame Law School in overall rank. As a public law school, it provides a more secular alternative to Notre Dame. IU Maurer also has the advantage of having a public school tuition, which is considerably less than you would spend on the Fighting Irish.
Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Although less competitive in national rankings, Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law (IU McKinney) still boasts an impressive reputation. The school produced two U.S. Vice Presidents and has the highest post-graduation employment rate of any Indiana law school. Located within Purdue University Indianapolis, IU McKinney offers an urban campus that some students will find appealing. The school is known for its specialties in legal writing and healthcare law. The school is both cheaper and has a higher rate of admission than IU Maurer or NDLS. IU McKinney also has a highly regarded part-time law school program that may be appealing to non-traditional students.
Valparaiso University School of Law
Valparaiso University School of Law is an outlier in many ways. The school was the subject of ABA censure in 2016. Following a review of admissions practices, the ABA found that the school had admitted applicants who did not appear capable of completing their program and achieving admission to the bar. Low rates of graduates chose to sit for the bar and large numbers failed to pass after their first attempt. As a result, post-graduate employment rates for Valparaiso have been low. On the other hand, the school was among the first in the nation to admit both men and women, and is located a short distance from Chicago.
Tips for Law School and Beyond
Choosing which Indiana law school is right for you is just the first of many decisions you'll make as you forge your law career. Check back with us frequently for some help making the choices that are right for you. FindLaw's Law Students section includes tips about exam taking, internships, bar exams, your first job, and other topics to help you get through law school and into practice.