What is the current status of the Law School?
On Oct. 29, 2018, Valparaiso University announced the University’s decision to continue to teach-out the current Law School students in a timely manner and cease operations.
Valparaiso University Law School remains accredited and in operation. It will continue to provide the opportunity for all currently enrolled students at Valparaiso University to complete their legal education through Valparaiso University Law School in a timely manner
These circumstances do not diminish the Law School’s proud legacy of nearly 140 years and the thousands of successful law graduates who lead and serve around the nation.
Currently, there are approximately 100 second- and third-year law students enrolled in the Law School.
The American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar approved Valparaiso University Law School’s Teach-out plan in its February 2019 meeting.
Why did this happen?
Based on a several-year process, which included efforts to seek to improve the Law School’s financial circumstances, and analysis of the Law School’s projected future financial position conducted by third-party financial consultants, the University Board of Directors voted in November 2017 to suspend admission of a first-year law school class in Valparaiso, Indiana for the fall of 2018.
The Board of Directors also directed the University’s Administration to explore alternative possibilities related to the financial challenges facing the Law School. These alternative possibilities included the possibility of affiliating the Law School with another existing law school or relocating the Law School to another geographic market with greater demand for legal education.
The Valparaiso University Administration explored alternative possibilities for the future of the Law School. Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), located in Murfreesboro, Tenn., emerged as a potential new location for the Law School.
In June 2018, MTSU and Valparaiso University entered into a non-binding letter of intent to transfer Valparaiso University Law School to the Murfreesboro campus.
On October 5, 2018 the Valparaiso University Board of Directors approved a cooperative education agreement with MTSU for the transfer of the Law School to Murfreesboro pending approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) to create a College of Law.
On October 10, 2018, the MTSU Board of Trustees approved the same agreement pending approval from THEC to create a College of Law.
On October 15, 2018, the Tennessee Higher Education Commissioners voted not to permit MTSU to create a juris doctor program.
On October 26, the Valparaiso University Board of Directors directed the University’s Administration to continue to teach-out the current law students in a timely manner and cease operations. No additional law students will be admitted.
Will the Law School still pursue relocating?
No, with the October 15, 2018 decision of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the relocation plan will not move forward with MTSU. THEC approval was required to transfer the Law School to MTSU.
What will happen to current law students?
Valparaiso University and the University Administration will continue to support and provide the opportunity for all currently enrolled students at Valparaiso University to complete their legal education through Valparaiso University Law School in a timely manner. The faculty are currently under contract for this academic year, and the terms of those contracts have not changed. As more information becomes available about next year the FAQ will be updated.
Will the Law Library still be available?
The Law Library will remain open and available to the public throughout the current academic year. The Law Library will be closed to the public as of May 20, 2019.
What is the status of the Law Clinics?
The Law Clinics currently in operation will continue through this academic year as planned, but the Law Clinics are no longer accepting new clients.
What will happen to Wesemann Hall, Heritage Hall, and the Law School memorabilia such as class composites?
At this time, plans for the Law School buildings have not yet been developed. In the spring semester 2019, a task force will convene to study possible alternatives. Law School memorabilia such as class composites and historical items will be archived to preserve the legacy of the Law School. Some pieces may be displayed throughout the Valparaiso University campus.
What will happen to the Law School’s Alumni?
Valparaiso University Law School alumni will continue to be valued alumni of Valparaiso University. All alumni will have access to their Law School information through the Valparaiso University Registrar. Services, including transcript and record requests, career services, and alumni relations will be available through the relevant University office or department responsible for those services. The University plans to continue communications and interactions with Law School alumni.
How can Law School Alumni help?
Alumni can help the Law School’s current students and recent graduates through hiring, offering externships, mentoring, and sharing their legal expertise. If you are interested in helping, please contact the Law School Career Planning Center at 219.465.7814 or firstname.lastname@example.org.