Hoosiers have only three American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools to choose from, but the state makes up for in quality what it lacks in quantity. All three of these schools appear in the top 100 U.S. World & News Report Best Law Schools rankings. But rankings aren't everything. It's also important to consider cost, location, and other factors.
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, and is one of the few non-Ivy League law schools that can boast of producing a Supreme Court justice. 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 (around $65,000 a year), 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 having 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 that are separately housed and operate entirely independently.
Of the two, IU Maurer stands out as the more reputable school. As a public law school, it provides a more secular alternative to Notre Dame. IU Maurer also has the advantage of having 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 appeal to non-traditional students.
Tips for Law School and Beyond
Choosing which law school is right for you is just the first of many decisions you'll make as you forge your law career. 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.