The Robert H. McKinney School of Law (McKinney Law) is one of two law schools associated with Indiana University. McKinney Law is located in Indianapolis and is part of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (commonly known as IUPUI). In 1936, a variety of part-time and full-time law schools in Indianapolis completed a 40-year consolidation to create one law school in the state capital that offered both full-time and a part-time, evening programs. By the late 1960’s, the law school was the largest in the state. It later took the name of Robert H. McKinney after a contribution by McKinney, one of the founders of the largest law firm in Indianapolis. In its history, McKinney Law has produced multiple governors of the state of Indiana, numerous Indiana Supreme Court justices, and former vice-president Dan Quayle and second lady Marilyn Quayle.
The Juris Doctor program at McKinney Law requires 90 hours of coursework. The first-year curriculum is entirely prescribed with six core academic courses–civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts–along with skill-based courses in legal research, writing, and communication. After the first year, students are required to take a course in evidence and professional responsibility as well as at least eight courses from a pool of recommended academic subjects. These course ensure that students are prepared to pass the bar exam as well as practice law. All students must also complete six hours of experiential education credits as well as complete an advanced research and writing assignment.
McKinney Law also offers eight advanced certifications that offer students the opportunity to specialize in a certain practice area. The certification process ensures that students are well versed in the underlying academics of the practice area as well as the practical skills. Students may earn up to two graduate certificates. Core courses can count towards both certificates.
True to its history, McKinney Law offers a part-time evening program that allows students to earn their J.D. program in four years while still completing roughly 21 credit hours per year. The law school also offers summer courses. Additionally, all students may complete up to 30 hours of their required 90 hours through McKinney law’s unique online options. These options include completely online courses as well as some hybrid options that combine online instruction with in-person coursework.
McKinney Law offers several additional graduate degrees in addition to their J.D. program for both lawyers and non-lawyers. For lawyers who have already earned their Juris Doctor, the law school offers both a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) program. The LL.M is designed for both U.S. lawyers and attorneys who graduated from an international law school. For U.S. lawyers, the LL.M offers six concentrations that allow attorneys to build their academic foundation in critical practice areas such as health law or intellectual property law. Foreign attorneys are offered a concentration in the American legal system to either help build their international practice or, in some jurisdictions, sit for the bar exam. Foreign lawyers may pursue one of the other concentrations but are required to take some foundational courses. All LL.M programs require 24 hours of coursework for graduation.
The S.J.D. program is intended for students who wish to pursue a career in legal academia. The S.J.D. has no time requirement but instead requires students to complete a dissertation of publishable quality. The program is highly selective and generally admits only students who have completed both their J.D. and LL.M degrees. Previous research and publication credits are also suggested.
For non-attorneys, McKinney Law also offers a Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) degree for professionals whose careers intersect with the law. The M.J. program is intended to be extremely flexible. It may be completed both full-time or part-time. Students design their own curriculum to meet their professional and academic goals. McKinney Law has also designed three curriculums for students interested in law enforcement, human resource law, or natural resource law.
Career and Career Services
According to the most recent graduation statistics, just under 90% of all graduate of McKinney Law are employed within 10 months of graduation with 82% of graduates securing jobs that either required a law license or prefer a candidate with a Juris Doctor degree. Small law firms, government positions, and careers in the business sector accounted for over 57% of all job choices by graduates. Another 28% of students opted for law firm work in mid-sized to large law firms. Less than 10% of students pursued careers in the public interest sector or in judicial clerkships. While most students remained in Indiana to begin their careers, over 30% of graduate do pursue careers outside of the state.
The McKinney Law Office of Professional Development (O.P.D.) staffs four professionals who work to both prepare students for their career search and the entirety of their professional careers. The O.P.D. provides a robust program to prepare students for the job market including self-assessment testing, resume and cover letter preparation, and mock interview programs. The school’s on-campus interview programs is held over the course of eight weeks during the fall semester and brings interested employers on to campus to find candidates for a variety of positions. The O.P.D. also has a dedicated program for students who wish to pursue judicial clerkship as well as a student loan repayment program for students who opt for careers in the public interest sector.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
McKinney Law stresses the need for all students to learn practical skills in order to apply their academic lessons into the real world practice of law. Primarily, students learn the practice of law through participation in either the clinical program or an external field placement as well as through simulation courses.
McKinney Law’s clinical program is comprised of nine different practice areas where students work with real clients in a wide range of legal situations. Under the supervision of practicing faculty, students represent clients in court, draft legal documents, and participate in dispute resolutions. The externship program affords students over a 100 external field placement options where students work under the supervision of practicing lawyers, judges, and faculty members to build their skill base and professional network. The law school’s simulation courses teach practical skills in the classroom setting. These simulation courses mimic real-world legal situations and allow students to master complex skills while working with classmates under the supervision of faculty experts.
McKinney Law also offers a number of unique experiential learning opportunities including experiential credit for some coursework or research work. McKinney Law’s academic journals and competitive trial teams also afford students unique experiences to gain practical skills.
McKinney Law’s J.D. program affords students tremendous flexibility with options for full-time or part-time evening courses as well as a summer curriculum. Students may switch between programs between semesters. Additionally, up to 30 hours of coursework may be completed through online learning. Some modules combine a hybrid approach that brings students onto campus for portions of the semester while the bulk of the coursework is completed online.
On the campus of McKinney Law, students enjoy an active and busy student body that offers dozens of student organizations, a dedicated program to ensure student’s success on the bar exam, and a robust mental health and wellness program. McKinney Law’s Office of Student Affairs strives to be a national leader in supporting students and encouraging a holistic approach to both legal education as well as their careers in general.
The McKinney Law school campus is located in the heart of beautiful downtown Indianapolis just blocks from the White River and Indianapolis’ famous zoo. Students are surrounded by one of the midwests most active city with a bevy of restaurants and entertainment options including NFL and NBA games as well as the city’s renowned Speedway. Housing is affordable throughout the city numerous options within walking distance of the school.