Dear Indiana Tech:
I realize that it must seem like an exciting time right now, what with twenty-some-odd students enrolling for your first class. I know you are already looking ahead to accreditation, to expanding the roster, and producing freshly-minted JD graduates in the next three years. There is a lot to do, and the thought of the tasks ahead in becoming a Practicing Law School can be exciting and invigorating.
It reminds me of when I, as a student, applied to Law School several years ago. There was so much to consider. So much to plan for. I bet it is similar with you right now - you researched the market for potential law students, talked to other Law Schools about their careers, and everything seemed promising and bright for joining the ranks of Practicing Law Schools. However, when I as a student researched the market, went to Law School open houses, and talked to the attorneys I knew, there are some frank things I wish I had known and some things I wish I had been told, and I want you to have the advantage of the general insight I didn't have access to.
First, have you considered market saturation? There are already four other established Law Schools in your jurisdiction that have been in business for some time now. There are scores of such Law Schools across the country. Let’s be honest: there has been overproduction of Law Schools for a long time now...is this really the best use of your talents and abilities? I don't say this to say you "can't cut it" (I really don't want you to try to "prove yourself"), I say it because the market is tough out there. Do you want to be part of a scholastic profession that already has so many Schools scrambling for so few entry-level students? Based on merely a pre-packaged and almost mythical idea of how cool it would be to be a practicing Law School? Have you considered looking at an underserved market, like Nebraska, instead of doubling down on Indiana?
Second, do you realize that becoming a Law School has very little to do with being an actual, practicing, established Law School? Yes, I realize that per the ABA you have to have a large library with print materials, a fax machine, and impressive facilities among other things. Certainly you will produce many, many law reviews and scholarly journals. Certainly you will open clinics and give symposia on various academic legal matters. But have you considered that fact that scholarly work-product and a large building doesn't remove you from the hard work of actually have to drum up students? That you have to produce actual, real results for your graduates (i.e. the ability to get jobs), otherwise future students would be foolish to apply to your program?
Third, consider the statistics. Other Law Schools may say that "now is a great time to become a Law School," but have you looked at the actual law student application data? Many schools like to tout how many applicants they get, but rest assured that there is a bimodal distribution of students when you look at LSAT scores and GPAs. Are you banking on getting hypothetical "median" law students that don't actually exist, as there are actually very few high LSAT/high GPA candidates but many, many low LSAT/low GPA candidates? Perhaps you should consider some sort of "Law School-Advantage" position - maybe retool the facilities into a Graduate School that is more in demand. While it may take some time to garner the credibility necessary to move away from being a Law School, that would be better, long-term, than trying to force something to happen that doesn't want to happen.
Please, don't take this as an insult. This is really intended to make you think before you commit. Theory-vs.-practice is worlds apart in this case. It's possible to change gears now, and end up in a place you would actually like to be. Becoming a Graduate School where the students have actual career prospects, instead of being known as a money-sink that sucks students dry and tosses their carcasses away in a large heap, is much more rewarding. Yes, you many have one or two students who are the children of judges or partners at large law firms, but do you realistically think you can get access to that clientele all the time? Moving into an area in actual need is not a failure, unless you choose to perceive it that way.
I sense, however, that you are a "special snowflake" Law School and won't give real credence to the points I have brought up. That you are going to "beat the odds." That you are "better than the rest and will be in the top 10% of Law Schools," even though that's not really what this is all about. Again, I tried to give you fair, honest warnings about your career choices, something I never had in my own right when contemplating Law School.
Oh well. If nothing else, at least your debt will be dischargeable in bankruptcy. That's something.