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ISU may add law school

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) -- Indiana State University is considering creating a law school, but the proposal is in its early stages.

ISU has completed a preliminary review of the idea, and will now work on a more detailed feasibility study, which should be completed by June, said university president Lloyd Benjamin.

"The concept appears to have a lot of merit," he said. "At the same time, it has a lot of questions."

If Indiana State establishes a law school, it would be the third public law school in the state, along with Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington and IU School of Law at Indianapolis. Two private universities -- Valparaiso University and the University of Notre Dame -- also have law schools.

If ISU officials decide they want to establish a law school, the proposal would have to be approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Stan Jones, state commissioner for higher education, said he knows little about the idea, but had concerns about whether there was demand for another public law school.

"I think we need to be certain we really have a need in the state for another law school before we would walk down that path," Jones said.

"I've not been aware that we need more lawyers in the state."

Benjamin said the preliminary study suggests some Indiana students want to go to law school, but aren't admitted because there is no room at other schools. The more detailed study will look at the demand for legal education, and also examine what resources ISU would need to support such a school.

ISU trustee Rick Shagley, who also is a Terre Haute attorney, said he supports further study of the proposal, which he said could strengthen some of the university's existing programs in areas such as health care, pre-law, or political science.

"I think it's a good fit and it fits with what we're trying to do to increase our enrollment," Shagley said.

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