Monday, August 31, 2015
This is the third and final installment of how to succeed in law school, advice from students. Below is advice compiled from my 1Ls from last year.
Filter Your Listening But Don’t Be Afraid to Talk:
Do not listen to other 1Ls. This will not be an easy task, many 1Ls think they are qualified to give advice to other 1Ls. They do not have any more experience than you, no matter how much they think they know. It will be very hard to tune out other 1Ls, but it is worth it. Instead, seek out 2 or 3L and professors. They literally have the roadmaps to success.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people when you’re stressing out ;) they will be able to help, and sometimes you can’t do it all on your own. Talk to the people sitting next to you in class, they may become your best friends. Talk to 2Ls about professors, test-taking, law school life, anything. They are a great resource!
Be willing to put in the work:
There are a lot of new concepts, which can be overwhelming, but try to stay on top of it all. If you don't understand something, ask your professors. And do this throughout the course, rather than waiting to the end. But the tricky part is that knowing the material is really only the first step. Knowing a rule isn't enough, you have to be able to apply the rules to tough fact patterns.
Everyone will walk out, mostly, knowing the material. Because of the curve (yes, the dreaded law school curve - yes, it is as horrible as it sounds) you need to be able to articulate the material and apply it better than your classmates. The only way to make that happen is through time. Realistically, the individuals who sink the most time into law school are going to be the ones with the best grades. Of course there are other considerations, work life balance, general test taking ability, etc. These also play a role, however the general trend is the more time, the better the results. You have to be the most dedicated and committed to come out on top.
Be Prepared for Class and Pay Attention:
Course supplements aren’t nearly as important to your performance on the final as is your ability to pay attention in class. Each professor teaches the material a bit differently, so it’s important to figure out the certain areas that your specific professor emphasizes.
If you really want to get good grades, do all of the reading, go to all of the classes, and pay attention in those classes. It seems like these things are so obvious, but I was really surprised last year by the number of my colleagues who didn't consistently do them.
I think if students are able to find the discipline to really make sure they always do what they're supposed to do, there's a good chance they'll do very well. Personally, I tried to think about law school as if it were a job. Showing up and doing the work was something I had to do, not something I could just blow off.
Do What Works for YOU:
There are a lot of extremely smart and well-spoken people in law school. During the first semester, I spent way too much time stressing myself about other peoples’ study habits and progress. I also wasted a lot of time trying to imitate some of their study habits, such as study groups and listening to audio recordings. I had never studied in this manner before, and it simply did not work with my learning style. Once I tuned out the other students, I was able to make more productive use of my time. Everyone learns differently! Find what works for you and stick with it.
At the end of spring semester one professor reminded us we are all incredibly special people who have rare and highly sought-after skills. For me this stood out because it's easy to forget this when you are constantly surrounded by other law students with similar skills. We are all incredibly gifted and we need to remember that.
Just because someone says to do something doesn't mean you should do it. Follow your gut and always do what is right for you. It is incredibly difficult to not feel obligated to do the traditional 1L activities like moot court competition journal write-on, but do your best to ignore these nagging feelings. Everyone is different and different approaches and experiences benefit different people in unique ways. Do not be afraid to go against the flow, but also don't be afraid to follow it.
Law school is demanding, and sometimes I found it difficult to maintain a healthy school-life balance. Although it is important to dedicate adequate time to learning the material, I think it is equally important to step away and allow yourself time to recharge! When I neglected to do this, I found I was much more stress and retained less information. There is no need to pull extreme hours in as long as you keep a consistent schedule throughout the semester and plan ahead. Do not feel guilty about taking a day off to catch up with your old friends or going home to visit your family for the weekend!
Take necessary breaks. Law school is extremely manageable, if you just use your time efficiently. With that being said, if you aren't focusing while doing work, take a break and do something fun. It is more efficient to work when you are focused than to half-work/half-text/facebook/browse online/shop online, etc. Taking breaks is important (as long as they aren't too often).
Your physical health helps your mental and emotional health. Pack your lunch more often with healthy things and eat the pizza in moderation. Bring your workout clothes to school and schedule time for exercise. Working out is usually the first thing to go because you think you don’t have time for it. That is just an excuse. Yoga pants are really stretchy and you don’t realize how much weight you gained until you can’t fit into any of your real clothes. 30 minutes at the gym or a run through campus was a great stress relief and helped me get back into my suit in time for interviews.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Maurice A. Deane School of Law
Director of the Academic Success Program
The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University invites applicants for the position of Director of the Academic Success Program. The Academic Success Program assists J.D. and LL.M. students in the development of the critical skills necessary to succeed in law school, on the Bar Exam, and in practice. The successful candidate will report to the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and will design and implement all aspects of the Law School’s established Academic Success Program including:
(1) Teaching first-year and upper-level classes and workshops for students;
(2) Assisting in planning and implementing first-year orientation programs;
(3) Providing individual writing assistance and counseling;
(4) Identifying and assisting students who need additional academic support;
(5) Coordinating bar exam preparation programs and events;
(6) Developing and implementing new services to enhance our students’ academic performance;
(7) Compiling and presenting bar exam data and maintaining departmental database;
(8) Special projects as requested by the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Applicants must have the following: a J.D.; a strong academic record; a background demonstrating a potential for excellence in academic support; an understanding of developments in legal pedagogy; strong organizational and interpersonal skills; the ability to work collegially with faculty and administrators to coordinate delivery of services and programs to students who are academically at risk; and excellent writing and speaking skills. The following are not required but would substantially enhance an application: experience in law school academic support programs or other relevant teaching experience (including experience as a teaching assistant during law school); and/or an advanced degree in education, psychology, counseling, or a related field. Law practice experience without teaching experience will generally not be sufficient. Salary will be commensurate with experience. Some evening hours are part of this position.
For consideration, please send a cover letter, resume and writing sample to Maria Filotti, Senior Assistant to the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at LawSchoolJobs@hofstra.edu. Please include “Director of the Academic Success Program” in the subject line.
Hofstra University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering diversity in its faculty, administrative staff and student body, and encourages applications from the entire spectrum of a diverse community.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Twelve law schools across the country are hosting LWI One-Day Legal Writing Conferences on one of the first two weekends in December. The Conferences are hosted by schools in every region of the country. They are great opportunities for first-time presenters as well as the seasoned legal writing, lawyering skills, and academic support professionals. Many locations include Academic Support as part of their theme: collaborating with ASP, preparing the academically unprepared law student, meeting the needs of different learners, and integrating legal writing and academic success, to name a few.
For more information about attending or presenting, please use the following link:
The link includes information about the schools hosting, the themes for each school's conference, the date and the site coordinators.
For those interested in submitting a presentation proposal, it also includes an area to submit proposals and to rank the sites in order of your preference to participate. Proposals are due by Thursday, September 17, 2015 10:00 PM PST.
After you submit a proposal the information will be compiled and distributed to the site coordinators. The site coordinators will then invite those whose proposals fit well within their schedule to participate.
If you don't want to present but are interested in attending, registration will open soon after the proposal submission process is complete.
Send any questions about the link or proposal submission process to email@example.com, and questions about the specific locations to the site coordinators.
This is a great opportunity for ASP professionals to learn, share, and collaborate with colleagues at different schools across the county. I encourage you to consider submitting a presentation proposal.
Monday, August 24, 2015
Last week was the first installment on how to succeed in law school, advice from students. Here is the second: You Belong. Be Yourself. Have Fun.
First off: Congratulations. Deciding to pursue law school is difficult; getting accepted even more so. You've successfully done both, and are finally ready to begin. So naturally the next question is: Now what? You've read the online blogs, you've talked to friends, family, and attorneys, and you may have even skimmed a few books in preparation of your first year. I did the same. I quickly realized that it's not as terrifying as they make it in the Paper Chase, nor as easy as in Legally Blonde. It is challenging though, especially that first semester. I want share with you three things I think helped me most to survive that first semester.
1. You belong here.
During orientation and throughout the first few months you will meet and get to know so many great and successful people that will leave you in awe. Your classmates will be decorated servicemen and women, others were valedictorians and college athletes, attended Ivy League schools, some even had illustrious careers before law school. All of this will be overwhelming, you may even think there is nothing you bring to the table, and there is no way you can possibly compete with these people. It is important that you remind yourself that you are here for a reason. Law schools undertake the rigorous selection process that it does to ensure that those who attend here, belong here. You've had just as successful of a journey here as they have. What's more, despite their impressive resumes you all have one thing in common: zero days of law school experience. It's a fresh start for all, nobody has an advantage over you in that regard. You belong here.
2. Be yourself.
I don't mean to sound clichéd but the second most helpful thing for me was to continue being myself, especially when it came to studying. Everywhere you look you will see student's working on some law school related thing: running to the library in between classes to get in a few extra pages of reading, answering every question under the sun that's asked in class, going to office hours; some will even work on their outlines from day one, constantly adding and editing. You will also see the opposite almost everywhere you look: students using class time to make that last second eBay bid, doing a Buzz Feed quiz to see which Disney character they are; some will leave after ten minutes and others won't even show. That doesn't mean that one group is doing significantly better than the other; it means they're doing what works for them, and you need to do the same. Don't feel pressure to be in the library in between every class just because you see others doing it. They might have gone out the night before and didn't get the day's readings done. Don't feel compelled to go to a professor's office hours, maybe you just get the material. Along the same lines, don't stream the latest PGA event in class because others are doing it. They might not find lecture a particularly helpful way of learning, are just there to get the attendance points, but will stay up burning the midnight oil later. You and you alone understand your study habits best, how far along in your readings you are, and what you need to do and when you need to do it. Don't pay attention to what anybody else is doing. Be yourself when it comes to study methods and study time.
3. Have fun.
Yes it's possible to have fun in law school. You can go to bar reviews, football games, and trivia nights without your academics suffering. It's important that you don't ignore your hobbies and do non-law related things, whatever that may be. It's easy to get sucked in to the law school world and lose sight of the outside world. Don't. Doing the things I mentioned above will take your mind off studying, give you a nice break so you can keep going, plus you'll have fun doing it. Getting to know your classmates outside of the law school halls was also one of the most rewarding things I did in my first year.
So keep these three things in mind: You belong, be yourself, and have fun. You will also be surrounded by a most supportive group of professors and students to help you along the way, so never hesitate to ask for advice or support. Congratulations, welcome, and good luck!
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Spoiler: I'm into rhetorical questions, so I'm not going to answer the one I asked above in this post.
A little over a month ago, I sat for a 200 multiple-choice question exam to determine whether I would cross a hurdle necessary for professional licensure. The readership of this blog is probably a little confused because the bar exam was a little less than a month ago. So to answer the obvious question, no, I was not sitting for yet another bar exam. But I have sat for the bar exam in two jurisdictions, so I was comparing the ordeal for licensure in this new profession against that “golden” standard.
My experience leading up to the test was as follows. I filed my application to undergo supervision as a precursor to becoming a licensed professional counselor in the state of Oklahoma in the summer of 2014. The Board did what it had to do with my application which seemed to consist of a verification of education, a background check, confirmation of a relationship with a suitable supervisor and place of employment, and payment of the fee. After about five weeks, they sent me two letters. One notified me that I could begin accruing supervised hours and the other that I was eligible to take the licensure exams. I have two years from the date of that letter to schedule and successfully complete my examinations. It’s a two-part exam, the already mentioned MCQ exam and then a brief, separate law and ethics exam. I looked at my calendar and said, “I think I’ll take it next summer while my students are preparing for the bar exam; I need a reminder of the misery so that I can be sufficiently sympathetic to their ordeal.” A school year goes by during which I continue working as an academic support professional and I accrue supervised client-contact hours in my spare time.
In early May, I pulled out the letter to find the procedure for registering for the exam. I had to apply with a third party administrator to take the exam. I sent in the application with a check and a copy of the Board’s eligibility letter. While waiting to hear back from the third party administrator, I procured my materials to prepare for the exam. I bought them new (which most of my fellow graduates did not), and I combined several different providers resources. They cost less than buying the books alone from most of the bar prep providers.
By the end of May I received an email with my approval and instructions to continue. I went to their website. I entered my zip code. I chose a geographically convenient testing center. It then showed me a calendar with available appointment times. I selected a convenient and feasible date and appointment time to take the exam. Because mornings aren’t my friend, I choose a noon appointment.
I won’t bore you with the details of my study plan (or my study reality) and I’ll go straight to test day. On test day, I had a leisurely breakfast and ran a couple of low brain-power errands, e.g. buying moving boxes. I reported to the testing center 20 minutes before my appointment with two forms of ID in hand. The receptionist checked my ID, confirmed my appointment, created a palm scan to verify identity should I need to exit and then return to the test. I put my hair in a ponytail because a hair tie on my wrist is a threat to test security while one in my hair is not. All of my belongings except my picture ID went into a locker, and I was escorted into the test room to my testing station. The proctor pulled up the test on the computer, gave me a brief orientation, and then left me to the test.
The format of the exam is a 200 question test in a multiple choice format, given in what someone who has taken the MBE considers an overly generous amount of time (I believe it was 240 minutes). It covers eight different content areas as well as five different types of work behaviors. Only 160 of the 200 questions are live questions; they are testing 40 items on every single administration of the exam. And I received my results within 60 seconds of hitting the submit button. Had I failed, it would be three months and another registration fee before I could attempt again. I exited the room, and they used my ID and palm scan to verify that I was still the person who entered the room to take that test. They gave me an unofficial copy of my test results and I was on my way within 90 minutes. No BS belief that finishing the exam early indicates I’m compromising exam security.
Moving to the point I really want to draw with this post - many other professions, some that are arguably more aligned with the practice of law than counseling, use an examination format closer to the counseling model than the law model. Some CPA candidates are encouraged to focus on their exam one segment at a time rather than try to pass all sections at once because they can stack scores from multiple testing dates to get the passing score for each component of their exam. Nurses receive an adaptive computer-based test in facilities like the one I was at. Moreover, the GRE is now, mostly, a computer-based test that is administered in centers like the one I went too. And it’s administered to more than 300,000 people in the United States each year. I’m sorry, I know I jumped from licensing to entrance exams, but let’s compare the number of times the GRE is administered in a year with the almost 81,000 people who took bar exams in 2014.
The infrastructure exists in this country to change the way we do the bar exam, while still maintaining the quality of the test in regards to assessing our graduates' core legal knowledge and reasoning skills. In future weeks, I hope to discuss some of the further ramifications of this idea. This change would create some benefits for examinees, state bars, the public at large, and others. There would also be burdens to those same entities, as well as some others, if this thought experiment were to become a reality. (CMB)
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
Each summer I ask my outgoing 1Ls “what advice would you give to someone getting ready to start law school?” I compile the responses and create a Top 10 or list of Dos and Don’ts. This year, however, two students wrote such fantastic, heartfelt, and in-depth advice that I have to share them in their entirety. Here is the first one: You Only Have One 1L Year So Make it a Good One.
The summer leading into your 1L year of law school I would do one thing: relax. Spend time with family and friends, travel, and enjoy all of your favorite activities. Read a novel or your favorite book, and avoid legal treatises or cases; there will be plenty of that in the year to come. I would also avoid the law school prep books. While I did read two of these books, I found that, instead of providing solid advice and preparation, they only made me more anxious about the year ahead. In my opinion, the less time thinking about law school, before law school actually starts, the better. I learned everything those books told me, and much more, in my first two weeks at school. The books were more useful in producing unnecessary anxiety and erroneous preconceived notions of law school than actually being helpful. Some might find these guides useful, but I think law school orientation and the first few days of class provide a clearer picture of what to expect. It’s easier to begin with a blank slate and learn as you go, rather than be forced to overwrite preconceived notions. Plus, whether they show it or not, everyone starts 1L year in the same boat, naïve and intimidated, and these prep guides will not provide an easy leg up. So I say pick up a novel instead.
As far as success in law school, there is no one answer or rule that everyone can abide by and succeed. Every student is different. I can say, however, that it’s important to be yourself. Stick to the study methods and discipline that got you accepted into law school in the first place; don’t try to imitate others. Other students will inevitably brag to you about how long they spent in the library, how late they stayed up studying, or how it all just “makes sense” to them. Usually these are lies and, if not, what works for one person may not work for others. Unless they are completely deficient, do not radically adjust your lifestyle and your work habits, do what works best for you, and stick to your guns. I believe staying true to yourself and maintaining a work/life balance is absolutely essential to succeeding and staying healthy, both mentally and emotionally, your first year of law school. Make friends with your classmates, commiserate together, and blow off steam in your desired fashion when you have free time, which will still exist. Do not let life pass you by just because you have a heavy workload. Furthermore, if you find that your methods aren’t producing the results you want, speak with your professors, counselors, and upperclassmen to find successful strategies that work best for you. Along those same lines – feedback is key. Utilize your professors as much as possible, as they also want to see you succeed, and seek feedback from them whenever possible. Find out what they are looking for in your work, the things they think are important, and adjust your strategies to their class. This will pay dividends in developing your skills and knowledge. Most importantly, make sure you follow your own path, otherwise you may not be happy with where you end up.
That being said, however, the easiest way to undermine your success in law school is to fall behind. While the work may seem overwhelming at first, it’s important to complete all of the required reading before each class. Without doing so, the material in class will be much harder to comprehend and will leave you a step behind. Worse, you may be called on to answer questions about the reading. If you didn’t read, you could, at worst, lose points toward your final grade, and, at best, be embarrassed and discouraged. Over time, any backed-up work will build until you are left with an insurmountable amount of information that you now have to teach yourself. This will definitely be at a disadvantage when it comes time for the exam. Therefore, it’s important to stay ahead of your work. Even if you read the material days ahead of time, it’s critical to do the required work and be prepared for class. Leaving work until the last minute or falling behind is the easiest way to shoot your law school success in the foot.
Finally, I would emphasize all of the incredible upsides of law school. I heard plenty of horror stories coming into my first year, and generally expected to be working non-stop under constant stress. Yet, I had no idea how much fun law school could actually be. While there are certainly times of stress and feeling overwhelmed, I would highlight the other side of law school– basically, how enjoyable the experience can also be. While this is the time to buckle down and establish clear career goals, it is also a time to meet many intelligent, like-minded individuals, challenge yourself intellectually, expand your personal horizons, and make friends and acquaintances that will likely be around for life. Put yourself out there and challenge yourself whenever possible. As long as you are mindful not to overburden yourself or stretch yourself too thin, be willing to say yes to every opportunity that crosses your path. You will come out stronger and better prepared for a legal career every time. Finishing my first year of law school was an extremely proud moment for me. I felt as if I had accomplished as much in one year as I had in my entire life leading up to that point. Becoming a lawyer had seemed like a vague, distant future for most of my life, but after my first year I felt as if I could finally see where my career and my life were headed, and I could not be more excited for it. Be proud of heading into your first year of law school, and avail yourself to all of its incredible benefits. There is plenty of fun to be had. This is one aspect I wish had been more impressed upon me going into 1L year.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
I have listed several newer books that have come out in the last couple of years. Again, there are many more, but these books will be good ones for your bookshelf. (Amy Jarmon)
Law School Success:
- Paula A. Franzese, A Short & Happy Guide to Being a Law Student
- Alex Ruskell, A Weekly Guide to Being a Model Law Student
Specific Skills in Law School:
- Julie Schechter, Off the Charts Law Summaries: An All-in-One Graphic Outline of the 1L Law School Courses
- Alex Schimel, Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades
- Sara J. Berman, Pass the Bar Exam
Friday, August 14, 2015
The ABA (finally) adopted a resolution that encourages state bar licensing entities to eliminate questions about mental health on bar applications. Many of us have advocated for such elimination for years due to the potential damaging effects that these types of questions may have on law students. The stigma that these questions produce may discourage law students from seeking much needed mental health treatment or therapy while they are in law school. By eliminating these questions, law students do not need to fear the character and fitness/bar application process if they do decide to seek mental health treatment.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
In case you missed it, the August 2015 issue of the ABA Journal takes a look at legal movies in its article, "100 Years of Law at the Movies." So dig out the buried copy from your inbox and grab the popcorn. The list reminded me of some classics I want to see again and a few that I never made it to the cinema to view. (Amy Jarmon)
Monday, August 10, 2015
I recently attended the last of the summer films offered by our Teaching Learning and Professional Development Center here on campus. The film showing was an edited version (1 hour) of Waiting for Superman, a 2010 documentary by Davis Guggenheim which looked at the crisis in K-12 public education.
There has been much said and written about the film - both positive and negative. Some sample links are:
Whatever the position you take on the film's accuracy or finger-pointing or pro-charter-school stance, it still brings home the depressing state of American public education. The edited film clearly showed the sad reality of the students who are lost in the system and never finish high school. It also pointed to the number of college students who are under-prepared and have to be remediated. (Many of those in the room who had previously seen the full, unedited version of the film relayed that they were in tears by the end of that screening.)
What hit home for me once again was the impact that the public education crisis ultimately has on preparation for law school. And also once again the impact that the crisis has on the lack of diversity in the legal profession because of the many leaks in the K-12 pipeline, not even mentioning the leaks in the college pipeline. (Amy Jarmon)
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Others have often said it best and offered wisdom to help us gain perspective. (Amy Jarmon)
- I did not make sense of one single word spoken today. - Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (in a letter to his father after his first day in law school)
- Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. - Confucius
- Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought with ardor and attended to with diligence. - Abigail Adams
- "Learn" is an active verb. - Dennis Tonsing
- Borrowed brains have no value. - Yiddish proverb
- To know the law is not merely to understand the words, but as well their force and effect. - Justinian
- If you can't say it clearly, you don't understand it. - John Searle
- Writing is thinking made visible. - Joe Kimble
- Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you sow. - Robert Louis Stevenson
- You'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind. - Irish proverb
- It's not the time you put in, but what you put in the time. - Burg's Philosophy
- Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of. - Benjamin Franklin
- The two offices of memory are collection and distribution. - Samuel Johnson
- Repetition is the mother of learning. - Russian proverb
- If you study to remember, you will forget; but, if you study to understand, you will remember. - Unknown
- You can eat an elephant one bite at a time. - Chinese proverb
- To succeed, we must first believe that we can. - Michael Korda
- To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. - Joseph Chilton Pearce
- Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. - Dennis Waitley
- A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. - John Burroughs
- The leading rule for a lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today. - Abraham Lincoln
- What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. - Pericles
- Be the change you wish to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi
Friday, August 7, 2015
Across our nation, new 1Ls are concluding their preparations for the start of school. By the end of August, almost every new 1L will have crossed the threshold of a law school to begin the journey to a J.D. In these last days, there are a number of things that these 1Ls-to-be can do as final preparations:
- Read your emails and announcements from your law school every day. Read them carefully. You will be responsible for any instructions, first-day assignments, and other announcements that your law school sends out.
- Complete as many law school tasks and details as early as possible. Stay on top of instructions from your law school about computer access, email addresses, parking decals, billing accounts, and more. By completing as many steps on-line or on-campus before the first day, you can avoid a lot of last-minute hassles.
- Get moved in and unpacked as soon as possible. You need to hit the ground running from the first day of your orientation. By settling into your new space beforehand, you will have time to focus on law school instead of waiting for the cable guy, searching through boxes for necessities, and wasting time shopping for room decor.
- Complete a dry-run. At least the weekend before orientation starts, decide the best route to school by driving the options, check out where the correct parking lot is, give yourself another tour of your law school building, and scope out the neighborhood surrounding your law school for restaurants and other services. You will be more comfortable if you are familiar with the terrain.
- Prepare your elevator speech. You will be asked to introduce yourself a thousand times. Be able to do it in a minute or less. Avoid bragging, boasting, and self-adulation. You are now one in the impressive echelon of high achievers who enter law school. Stay confident, but be humble.
- Realize that you begin your professional career the first day you enter law school. Your classmates are your future professional colleagues. How you act and how you treat others during law school will determine your reputation as a lawyer for those classmates. Negative character traits and behaviors in law school can haunt you for years to come. Consider how you want to be remembered in the future.
- Spend some quality time with family and friends. Have fun with the significant people in your life in these last weeks. Law school will keep you very busy. Most full-time law students need to study 50 - 55 hours per week to get their best grades and gain an in-depth legal foundation for the bar exam and legal practice.
- Start a good sleep routine. Proper sleep will give your brain cells the boost they need. The study of law is heavy lifting. If you get 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night, you will be more alert, absorb information more quickly, be more productive with your time, and retain more information. And research tells us that a nice bonus of sleep is that you are less likely to gain weight compared to the sleep-deprived.
All of us in legal education look forward to your arrival at our law schools. Enjoy the last part of your summer as you prepare to become a 1L. (Amy Jarmon)
Thursday, August 6, 2015
All of us in ASP are fortunate to have so many well-written and practical books available to us on law school success. Today's post focuses on the "Classics" written by ASP professionals and faculty. Again, there are many more titles that could be included among the Classics - this list is to get the new ASP'er started.
Law School Success:
- Michael Hunter Schwartz, Expert Learning for Law Students (with workbook)
- Ann L. Iijima, The Law Student's Pocket Mentor
- Andrew McClurg, 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School
- Carolyn J. Nygren, Starting Off Right in Law School
- Herbert N. Ramy, Succeeding in Law School
- Ruta K. Stropus and Charlotte D. Taylor, Bridging the Gap between College and Law School: Strategies for Success
- Dennis J. Tonsing, 1000 Days to the Bar: But the Practice of Law Begins Now
Legal Reasoning and Analysis:
- Wilson Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument
- David S. Romantz and Kathleen Elliott Vinson, Legal Analysis: The Fundamental Skill
Specific Skills in Law School:
- Charles R. Calleros, Law School Exams: Preparing and Writing to Win
- Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus, Mastering the Law School Exam
- John C. Dernbach, Writing Essay Exams to Succeed in Law School
- Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul, Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams
- Barry Friedman and John C. P. Goldberg, Open Book: Succeeding on Exams from the First Day of Law School
- Ruth Ann McKinney, Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert
- Charles H. Whitebread, The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School: An Easy-To-Use, Step-By-Step Program for Achieving Great Grades!
These ASP Classics can fill the starter shelf for your professional library. Another post will focus on some of the newer publications. (Amy Jarmon)
Monday, August 3, 2015
As a follow-up to my presentation at AASE this summer, I would like to announce that my new book, A Weekly Guide to Being a Model Law Student, has been published by West Academic Publishing.
A Weekly Guide to Being a Model Law Student gives law students weekly checklists explaining the skills necessary to successfully navigate their first year of law school. Each chapter provides a checklist of things to do that week, such as briefing cases, going over notes, outlining classes, or doing practice questions. When a new concept is introduced, this book clearly explains the concept and its purpose and provides examples. Instead of merely providing advice, this book lays out a detailed plan for students to follow. It also includes a bank of over 100 short, medium, and long practice questions in six first year subjects.
If you would like to request a complimentary print or digital copy of this title, please contact your West Academic Publishing Account Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-313-9378.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
If you have joined the academic support/bar preparation professional community for the first time, we welcome you to a rewarding career and wonderful group of colleagues. One thing that ASP is known for is collegiality. There are many experienced ASP'ers who will be happy to share ideas, materials, pitfalls to avoid, and much more. We hope that you will reach out to those of us in the ASP profession whenever we can assist you.
This post is the first in a series to help those who are new to ASP find resources, get settled in, and discover the professional community waiting to help them. Today's post lists some of these resources. The post is by no means exhaustive!
Professional organizations for ASP:
- Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Academic Support: The upcoming annual meeting will be held January 6-10 , 2016 in New York City. The tentative schedule indicates that the Section's business meeting will be at 7 - 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 9th with the program (Raising the Bar) on the same date at 10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.. An informal meal get-together is also usually scheduled. Our Section is co-sponsoring a program with the Section on Balance in Legal Education (Finding Your Voice in the Legal Academy) at 10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. on Friday, January 8th. The Section on Teaching Methods also has a program on Friday. The Sections on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research and on Student Services are holding programs on Thursday, January 7th. The 2015-2016 Section on Academic Support Chair is Lisa Young at Seattle University School of Law (email@example.com). The AALS Section on Academic Support website is https://connect.aals.org/academicsupport.
- Association for Academic Support Educators (AASE): The upcoming conference will be held May 24 - 26 2016 at University of New York (CUNY) Law School on Long Island. The 2015-2016 President is at Pavel Wonsowicz at UCLA School of Law (firstname.lastname@example.org). The AASE website is http://www.associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/.
Websites and listservs for ASP:
- The ASP Listserv: The listserv membership is available to legal educators who interested in ASP/bar topics. To join the listserv, send an email to email@example.com. Subject line can be blank or say Subscribe ASP-L. In the body of the message type subscribe ASP-L your name title law school name. The listserv is a great place to ask questions of your colleagues, mention resources of interest, post workshops and conferences, and post job openings.
- The Law School Academic Support Blog: This blog is part of the Law Professor Blogs Network and will include postings of interest to ASP'ers, law students, and law faculty. Multiple postings are made each week on a variety of ASP/bar-related topics by the Editor and Contributing Editors. There is an archive function to search prior posts. Spotlight postings introduce new colleagues to the community and highlight colleagues' work. Job announcements are also posted. You can subscribe so that articles are directed to you inbox whenever postings occur. The Editor is Amy Jarmon at Texas Tech University School of Law (firstname.lastname@example.org). The website is http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/.
- The Law School Academic Success Project: This website is maintained by the AALS Section on Academic Support and receives ongoing funding from the Law School Admissions Council. The website includes sections for ASP'ers and students. Student pages are available without registration. To see the ASP pages, you need to be employed currently at a law school in ASP/bar-related work and register. After you register, please update the staff information for your law school to reflect current staff. There are a variety of resources on the site. The Committee Chairperson for the Website is O. J. Salinas at University of North Carolina School of Law (email@example.com). The website is lawschoolasp.org.
Other resources of interest:
- American Bar Association: The Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will be of interest. There are ABA publications, including the Student Lawyer which law students now can receive under the new free student division membership plan. The website for the Section is http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education.html.
- Institute for Law Teaching and Learning: This consortium of law schools provides resources and conferences focused on best practices for legal education. The website is www.lawteaching.org.
- Law School Admissions Council (LSAC): LSAC has long been a champion of the academic support profession and diversity in the legal profession. For many years, LSAC sponsored workshops and conferences for ASP'ers. The website is www.lsac.org.
- Law School Success: Blog written by Susan Landrum at St. John's University School of Law. Website is http://lawschoolacademicsuccess.com/.
- National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE): The organization that brings us the bar exam. The website is www.ncbex.org.
Hopefully this "starter list" will help new ASP'ers to become familiar with some of the available resources. (Amy Jarmon)
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Position: Visiting Assistant Professor, Center for Academic & Bar Readiness
This position is currently being filled as a one-year visiting position. The position will be reposted and filled permanently next year, for 2016-2017. The anticipated start date is no later than August 17t, 2015.
The University of La Verne College of Law is ideally situated in the Inland Empire city of Ontario, CA, ten miles east of the main university campus. Ontario is within an hour’s drive of the Pacific Ocean, the mountains, and the desert near Palm Springs. The College of Law is seeking a highly organized, energetic, dynamic person who is passionate about student success, culturally intelligent, and is excited about the opportunity to be a part of the growth and change at the COL. Reporting to the Assistant Dean for the Center for Academic and Bar Readiness, the person in this position will assist students in developing the skills necessary for success in law school and on the bar exam.
Job duties include designing and assisting with the law school’s academic and bar support classes, workshops, and events; assisting the Asst. Dean and the Director of the Center for Academic and Bar Readiness in designing and implementing innovative academic and bar support programs and evaluating existing courses and programs; teaching workshops and/or classes related to law school and bar exam preparation; counseling and working with students in individual and small group sessions. Additional duties include developing learning outcomes, exercises and assessments designed to help students develop into self-regulated learners.
- Juris Doctorate
- Have taken and passed a bar examination in any U.S. jurisdiction.
- Good oral and written communication skills, strong analytical/critical thinking skills.
- Teaching experience,
- Working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, and Power Point.
- Licensure in California
If you are interested in working with a great team, please apply today! Click here.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
JOB TITLE: Associate Director of Bar Preparation
DEPARTMENT: Academic Success & Bar Preparation
REPORTS TO: Director of Bar Preparation
POSITION SUPERVISES: Work Study Students
POSITION STATUS: Full-time, Exempt
GENERAL SUMMARY: Reporting to the Director of Bar Preparation the Associate Director of Bar Preparation (“Associate Director”) is responsible for helping coordinate and supervise academic success and bar support programs for students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, with an emphasis on bar preparation. The Associate Director will provide assistance with and will monitor learning outcomes, academic performance, academic support activities to all grade levels, and will participate in all other student retention activities. The successful candidate will also help support law school students and graduates as they prepare for their bar examinations, including by teaching Academic Success and bar-related courses and by coordinating post-graduation bar support programming.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBLITIES:
- Work collaboratively with faculty, the Director of Bar Preparation, the Assistant Dean of Academic Success & Bar Preparation, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to assess and address the current needs for programming and support.
- Participate in the presentation of academic success program activities beginning with the new student orientation program.
- Work collaboratively to tailor current programming and curriculum to meet the needs of students participating in the Intensive Curriculum.
- Provide administrative, research and design support to the Assistant Dean of Academic Success & Bar Preparation and the Director of Bar Preparation.
- Provide administrative support to the Academic Success & Bar Preparation Program.
- Work collaboratively to provide support to bar candidates.
- Provide support and academic advice and counseling to recent graduates.
- Collaborate to design, develop, and implement the Continuing Bar Program and the Commercial Bar Support Program.
- Work with the Director of Bar Preparation and others in the department in the design of a comprehensive workshop series on topics related to the bar exam.
- Help to track and report information regarding bar passage and programming assessments.
- Enforce campus policies regarding commercial bar preparation access to Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
- Participate in committees as assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Represent the law school at and participate in outside conferences and other events organized for and/or by bar preparation or academic support professionals.
- Teach courses that provide academic support and skill development as well as bar preparation-focused courses as needed.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES:
- Required: J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school and a proven record of academic achievement during law school.
- Required: Admission to a state bar in the United States, preferably California.
- Minimum of 3 years of experience practicing law or delivering writing or other instruction in an academic institution or law firm.
- Experience with academic support and bar preparation.
- Experience with curriculum design, including an understanding of educational learning theory, best practices in teaching pedagogy, and individual learning styles.
- Prior academic tutoring or experience in an academic success program.
- Familiarity with online technology.
- Able to sit or stand, type, read or write for extended periods of time.
- Able to handle high level of stress in a useful, constructive manner.
- Able to lift/carry materials and publications up to 20 pounds.
- Able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation.
- 40 or more hours per week, Monday through Friday, as well as on weekends and in evenings, as needed.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Call for Proposals: 2015 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers - Maximizing Student and Faculty Potential"
Call for proposals
2015 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers
“Maximizing Student and Faculty Potential”
Suffolk University Law School is pleased to host the 2015 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Conference on Friday, September 18, 2015. We are now accepting proposals for presentations at the conference. The theme of the conference is “Maximizing Student and Faculty Potential.” This broad theme encompasses a wide range of interests, including topics relevant to legal writing, academic support, career and professional development, diversity, technology, and innovation.
You may submit a proposal for a 25 or 50 minute presentation, or a 30-minute workshop. We are offering a workshop format for discussion of teaching or scholarship ideas or other topics in small groups. The workshop will entail a 10-minute presentation followed by 20 minutes of discussion.
The deadline for proposals is Friday, August 21, 2015 at 5 pm EST. Please submit the following information by completing the form attached and emailing it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1). Name and contact information of presenter(s)
2). Title of presentation
3). Preference for 25 minutes, 50 minutes, or workshop
4). Brief (one paragraph) description of the presentation or workshop topic
5). Technology needs (if any) for the presentation
Writing Lockdown on Thursday, September 17, 2015, 2:00-5:00 p.m. We are offering a “writing lockdown” for anyone attending the conference who will be in town on Thursday afternoon and would like to enjoy a block of uninterrupted time for writing, while enjoying a view of the Boston Common and refreshments. Come with a writing goal in mind. Bring your writing project (an article, book, etc.) to work on as well as any materials you need (laptop, paper, writing utensil, etc.). We provide the space and location – you provide the words. No submissions are necessary as your writing can be at any stage (notes, an outline, a draft, etc.) and will not be reviewed; just let us know if you would like to attend all or part of the lockdown.
Registration is free for all presenters and attendees. Suffolk University Law School is located in the heart of beautiful historic Boston. We will provide details on accommodations and travel arrangements in the coming weeks. Please contact Professor Rosa Kim (email@example.com) or Professor Kathleen Elliott Vinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
Monday, July 6, 2015
You’ve had some time to rest and, perhaps, are wondering how to make the most of the remainder of your summer break. Here are a few suggestions – if you are not entirely satisfied with your 1L final exam grades or if you were placed on your law school’s equivalent to academic warning or academic probation.
First, if you can – arrange to get copies of your exam answers. Review them carefully and do a critical self-assessment. If you are wondering how to approach this task, consult one of the many texts on surviving and thriving in law school. For example, Mastering the Law School Exam, by Suzanne Darrow Kleinhaus, might be a good text for this purpose.
Second, compare and contrast the essays on which you succeeded to the essays that were less successful. Make a list of the components of the successful essays. Did you clearly identify the issues that you spotted; did you clearly state an applicable rule; and did you fully apply the rule to the facts in the exam hypothetical?
Third, take out the review materials that you got from the various bar vendors that tabled at your law school and use the materials to review each of the required 1L subjects. Do the practice multiple-choice and essay questions that the materials may contain. It is not too early to start brushing up on these subjects; first, they may form the basis of some of your upper-level classes and, second, these subjects will be tested on the bar exam.
Fourth, review your 1L strategies for class prep, e.g.., case reading and case briefing; note-taking; daily and weekly review; and exam preparation, e.g. outlining and drafting practice exam answers.
Fifth, and last but not least, relax; spend time with family and friends. Arrive at school for the fall term rested and ready to succeed.