Member Spotlight: Indiana Tech Law School

Posted on March 17th, 2015

Indiana Tech Law School is a new kind of law school dedicated to preparing students for success in law, leadership, and life. From the first day of orientation, students will experience an exciting, collaborative learning environment. Tech Law aims to bring law students the best practices in legal education today, taught by dynamic, innovative faculty. Students will learn legal history, philosophy, and theory — just as students at other law schools will do — but Tech Law students also will learn how judges and lawyers apply those lessons to the practice of law and to finding solutions to people’s problems.

Students will also study professionalism and ethics beginning in their first year. and students will discover that these are among the most important topics that lawyers need to know. Law students will discover that Indiana Tech Law School is a place where theory and practice are equals in the classroom so that they are better prepared for the world beyond law school.

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A New Kind of Law School

Indiana Tech Law School exists to prepare students for success in law, leadership and life. To that end, the Law School community is committed to blending theory and practice from the very first semester; infusing the curriculum with ethics and professionalism education; and providing abundant opportunities to apply real world lawyering skills for everyone in the student body.

The Law School will supplement traditional classroom instruction with experiential and collaborative learning. Every student will have a judge or lawyer mentor from the start of law school, and professors will include members of the bench and practicing bar, in meaningful ways, in every required course and in many of the electives offered each semester. Every student will also have the opportunity in the second and third years of study to refine their skills development by participating in a legal clinic or externship course and, in the third year, by completing a 40-hour-per-week Semester-in-Practice capstone practicum.

The Dean at Indiana Tech Law School

Charles Cercone
Charles Cercone

Charles Cercone began his duties as Dean of Indiana Tech Law School on January 5, 2015. Most recently, he served as dean of faculty at Western Michigan University’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a position he has held since 2003. Cercone first joined Cooley Law School in 1996 as professor of law, and has also served as acting dean of students during his tenure there.

Cercone is a member of the American Bar Association and holds bar admissions with the State of New York, State of Michigan, Federal Courts in Michigan and New York, and the United States Supreme Court. He has served as Vice Chair of the Board of the YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing since 2009, and on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, also since 2009. Cercone earned a B.A. in History from Williams College, and his J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.

In addition to his education background, Cercone has extensive practice experience, having worked at several of the most prestigious law firms in the U.S. prior to his career in legal education. Cercone has practiced law with Buchanan Ingersoll Professional Corporation in Buffalo, NY; Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York, NY; Bingham McCutchen, LLP in Boston, MA; and Dewey Ballantine in New York, NY. His practice areas included Environmental Compliance and Litigation, General Litigation Defense, Corporate and Tax Law.

Why Indiana Tech Law School?

Several factors need to be considered when narrowing down a search to find a law school that best fits. We feel that Indiana Tech Law School should be on every student’s radar. 

A Different Approach

Tech Law students will enroll in ethics and professionalism courses from the very first year of law school, and the focus on these important subjects will be carried through all three years of study. Some examples of what you will learn will be what it means to be a professional, what the basic ethical principles are that apply to all lawyers, and how to cope with stress in your new profession.

Small Class Sizes

Don’t expect to be sitting in large lecture halls here. Our classes are small enough where students have the opportunity to join in discussions, ask questions, and get to know professors and classmates.

Accessible Faculty

Unlike larger law schools, you won’t have to wander the halls or worry about getting lost looking for faculty to talk with. If you didn’t get a chance to talk to your professor in class, make sure you stop by his or her office. Attending to our students’ needs is one of our top priorities.

Opportunities to Get Involved

Indiana Tech Law School will provide events and activities that will be student-run and organized. Co-curricular activities currently include the Indiana Tech Law Review, a Moot Court organization, and will include a Mock Trial program, as well as other opportunities as the Law School grows.

Learning Through Experience and Theory

The academic mission at Indiana Tech Law School is unique and forward thinking. Indiana Tech Law students will have opportunities to experience the law in ways that few students in the nation will.

Indiana Tech Law School is committed to blending theoretical learning with experiential learning, therefore students will begin experiencing the law in first-year courses taught by professors that are nationally recognized for their innovative classroom instruction and experiential style of teaching. Every first-year course and a majority of all courses at Indiana Tech Law School will combine cutting edge collaborative and experiential classroom methods with deeply considered theoretical teaching.

Following an innovative first-year experience, Tech Law students will have the opportunity to practice law in their second and third years of law school through a robust offering of externship, semester-in-practice, and clinical opportunities. Every student who matriculates at Indiana Tech Law School will be given the opportunity to earn significant credits in the actual practice of law, under the supervision of a practicing attorney, whether it is in a clinical setting or while practicing law for an entire semester while away from the law school.

When a student graduates from Indiana Tech, he or she will have more hands-on experience, both in the classroom and out in practice, than almost any other law student in the United States. Additionally, Tech Law students will have the opportunity to focus their studies in a particular area of the law if they wish, by selecting a concentration to study.

Built for Learning

The Indiana Tech Law School contains nine state-of-the-art classrooms, a courtroom, several learning and relaxation spaces for students including lounges and an outdoor patio, a three-story library, and everything else our students need to make their time here a successful and rewarding experience.

Lobby

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As one enters the Law School building, people will immediately realize that they are in a different kind of learning environment. The first area one sees is Barrister Commons, a vast social space designed for receptions and dinners, and connected to this space is a 3-story atrium that reveals the openness of the Law School facility.

Classrooms

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The Law School building has eight traditional classrooms that accommodate class sizes from 20 to 75. In addition, the rooms are designed to facilitate different teaching methods. There are rooms with fixed seating that will be used mainly for lectures and individual work and rooms with moveable tables and chairs that allow for group work and conference-style presentations. All have power outlets that are easily accessed so that students using laptops and tablets will not have their learning interrupted.

Courtroom

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The courtroom has been designed for students to practice their trial and appellate court skills and also for state and federal courts to convene actual hearings on campus. The courtroom is an incredible space with state-of-the-art technology and all of the grandeur of a “real” courtroom. The room also doubles as an auditorium that seats 120 and, from time to time, Law School guest speakers will be invited to deliver lectures and panel discussions from that special location.

Student Lounges & Creative Spaces

 

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In addition, the building’s floor plan allows student learning to take place anywhere and everywhere. There are several student lounges, collaboration spaces, and seating areas designed to encourage faculty and students to sit down and discuss ideas and issues throughout the building. Teaching and learning do not have to take place only in the classroom or in an office.

Law Library

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In the heart of the building, students will find the law library, a three-story space that contains books, electronic resources, study tables, and small-group study rooms that are available not only to students, but also to members of the local bench and bar.

Legal Clinic

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The first floor of the building also houses a legal clinic that will give students the opportunity to work on cases for real clients as part of their legal education. Our clinics will include a Law Clerk Clinic, a Mediation Clinic, and Habeas Clinic and a Consumer Protection Clinic. Our Associate Dean for Experiential Learning will supervise students in providing service to members of the Indiana Tech community and our neighbors in Fort Wayne.

Outdoor Patio (“The Terrace”)

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Not all of the great features of the law school are found inside our building. Students can relax on our patio that faces the main Indiana Tech campus, which is the ideal place to take a study break, eat lunch, or socialize with friends and classmates. The patio is within walking distance of Indiana Tech’s soccer and lacrosse fields, so students can watch our Warriors’ sports teams in action during home games.

Conclusion

Indiana Tech Law School is purposefully different. From our innovative integrated experiential curriculum and collaborative opportunities to our state-of-the-art facility and our dynamic faculty, everything at Tech Law is focused on our students and empowering them. At Tech Law, law school is Practical, Personal, and Possible.