Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Several ASPish Topics in AALS Call for Discussion Group Participation

 
 

AALS 2017 Annual Meeting

A Call for Participation in Discussion Groups

January 3-7, 2017
San Francisco, CA

Discussion Groups are a new session format introduced by the Program Committee in 2016 to facilitate scholarly discussion and engagement. Discussion Groups do not feature formal presentations; rather, the objective is to facilitate a lively and engaging real-time discussion. Participants consist of a mix of the invitees identified in the original proposal along with additional individuals selected on the basis of this call for participation. There will be limited audience seating for those not selected in advance.

The selected Discussion Groups for the 2017 Annual Meeting are:

If you would like to participate in one of these Discussion Groups, please submit an abstract using the online submission form here by August 30, 2016. For specific details on the submission requirements for participation in each of the specific Discussion Groups, click the links above.

Program Committee for the 2017 Annual Meeting
D. Benjamin Barros, University of Toledo College of Law
George W. Dent, Jr., Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Rachel F. Moran, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
Donna M. Nagy, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Chair
Hillary A. Sale, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

 
 
 
   
 

Association of American Law Schools Advancing Excellence in Legal Education
1614 20th Street, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20009-1001
Phone: 202.296.8851
Fax: 202.296.8869
E-mail

 
         

WEBSITE
TERMS OF USE
PRIVACY POLICY

   
 

July 30, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 29, 2016

What to Do Before You Start Law School

During the summer months, I sometimes get calls or emails from students who are about to enter law school asking me what they should watch or read before law school starts.  My advice is always just to relax and get charged up for the coming fall.  Personally, I wouldn't watch or read anything even remotely dealing with the law.  

The summer before I went to law school, I had a job counting otters in Idaho (they were attacking people, which is a long story).  Consequently, I spent all summer only thinking about otters, fly-fishing, and how much more fun I'd be having if my girlfriend had come with me.  I was aware I was going to law school, but I don't think I thought about law once.  The only books I had were the usual sci-fi and fantasy nonsense I like, and I had no television or access to movies.

I drove straight from Idaho to Austin and hit the first day of law school really psyched.  Everything seemed novel and shiny.  I learned that a "tort" was not a delicious jelly-filled dessert.  I answered a question about an exploding stove.  I found a place in the library where I could study surrounded by the death masks of English executioners.  I figured out where the law school bar was.  I made a bunch of friends right off.  Law school looked like it was going to be grand.  

Then, I got the idea that I should watch The Paper Chase because it was about law school.  So, a few friends and I got the movie from Blockbuster (which, believe it or not, used to be a big deal where a person would spend a lot of their time), bought some beer and pizza, and sat down to watch.

The Paper Chase freaked me out.  After watching it, I was a little terrified of returning to law school.  Professors were going to yell at me.  My friends and I were going to freak out during exams.  I'd be buried in reams of paper.

I got over it and went right back to liking law school, but I think I would have been better off just experiencing law school as I went and not trying to get a read on it from pop culture.

So, as the final weeks of summer fade and you get ready to begin your legal career, I think you could do worse than just playing Pokemon Go and hanging out at the pool.  

(Alex Ruskell)

July 29, 2016 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Part II: The “Now What” of the Bar Exam: The Waiting Period Begins – A Great Time to Thank Your Supporters!

As Goldie Pritchard pointed out in yesterday’s blog, it’s a great time for you - as this week’s bar takers - to reflect, appreciate, and take pride in your herculean work in accomplishing law school and tackling the bar exam.  Let's be direct!  Bravo! Magnificent! Heroic! Those are just some of the words that come to mind…words that you should be rightly speaking to yourself…because…they are true of you to the core!

But, for most of us right now, we just don’t quite feel super-human about the bar exam. Such accolades of self-talk are, frankly, just difficult to do. Rather, most of us just feel relief – plain and simple relief – that the bar exam is finally over and we have somehow survived.  

That’s because very few of us, upon completion of the bar exam, feel like we have passed the bar exam. Most of us just don’t know.   So now, the long “waiting” period begins with results not due out for most of us until mid to late fall.

So, here’s the conundrum about the “waiting” period. Lot’s of well-meaning people will tell you that you have nothing to worry about; that they are sure that you passed the bar exam; and that the bar exam wasn’t that hard…really. Really? Not that hard? Really? You know that I passed? Really? There’s nothing for me to worry about?

Let me give you a concrete real life example. Like you, I took the bar exam. And, like most of you, I had no idea at all whether I passed the bar exam. I was just so glad that it was finally over.

But all of my friends, my legal employer (a judge), my former law professors, and my family keep telling me that I had absolutely nothing to be worried about; that I passed the bar exam; that I worked hard; that they knew that I could do it.

But, they didn’t know something secret about my bar exam. They didn’t know about my lunch on the first day of the bar exam.

At the risk of revealing a closely held secret, my first day of the bar exam actually started out on the right foot, so to speak. I was on time for the exam. In fact, I got to the convention center early enough that I got a prime parking spot. Moreover, in preparation for my next big break (lunch), I had already cased out the nearest handy-dandy fast food restaurants for grabbing a quick bite to eat before the afternoon portion of the bar exam so that I would not miss the start of the afternoon session of the bar exam.

So, when lunch came, I was so excited to eat that I went straight to Burger King. I really wanted that “crown,” perhaps because I really didn’t understand many of the essay problems from the morning exam. But as I approached Burger King, the line was far out of the door. Impossibly out of the door. And, it didn’t get any better at McDonalds next door. I then faced the same conundrum at Wendy’s and then at Taco Bell.

Finally, I had to face up to cold hard facts. I could either eat lunch or I could take the afternoon portion of the bar exam. But, I couldn’t do both. The lines were just too long. So, I was about to give up - as I had exhausted all of the local fast food outlets surrounding the convention center - when I luckily caught a glimpse of a possible solution to both lunch and making it back to the bar exam in time for the afternoon session – a liquor store.  

There was no line. Not a soul. I had the place to myself. So, I ran into the liquor store to grab my bar exam lunch: two Snicker’s bars. With plenty of time to now spare, I then leisurely made my way back to the bar exam on time for the start of the afternoon session.

But, here’s the rub. All of my friends and family members (and even the judge that I was clerking for throughout the late summer and early fall) were adamant that I had passed the bar exam. They just knew it! But, they didn’t know that I ate lunch at the liquor store.

So when in late October the bar results were publicly available on the Internet, I went to work for my judge wondering what the judge might do when the truth came out – that I didn’t pass the bar exam because I didn’t pack a lunch to eat at the bar exam. To be honest, I was completely stick to my stomach. But, I was stuck; I was at work and everyone believed in me. Then, later that morning while still at work computer, the results came out. My heart raced, but my name just didn’t seem to be listed at all. No Scott Johns. And then, I realized that my official attorney name begins with William. I was looking at the wrong section of the Johns and Johnsons. My name was there! I had passed!   I never told the judge my secret about my “snicker bar” lunch. I was just plain relieved that the bar exam “wait” was finally over.

That’s the problem with all of the helpful advice from our friends, employers, law professors, and family members during this waiting period. For all of us (or at least most of us), there was something unusual that happened during our bar exam. It didn’t seem to go perfectly. Quite frankly, we just don’t know if we indeed passed the bar exam. So, here’s a suggestion for your time with your friends, employers, law professors, and family members.

First, just let them know how you are feeling. Be open and frank. Share your thoughts with them along with your hopes and fears. Second, give them a hearty thank you for all of their enriching support, encouragement, and steadfast faithfulness that they have shared with you as walked your way through law school and through this week’s bar exam. Perhaps send them a personal notecard. Or, make a quick phone call of thanks. Or send a snap chat of thankful appreciation.

Regardless of your particular method of communication, reach out to let them know out of the bottom of your heart that their support has been invaluable to you. That’s a great way to spend your time as you wait - over the course of the next several months - for the bar exam results. Finally, don’t give up your hopes and aspirations for your legal work. We need you, all of you, as officers of the court. And, don’t forget, as Goldie Pritchard mentioned in yesterday’s blog, to take time out today to “appreciate and enjoy your accomplishments” as law school graduates and bar exam takers! (Scott Johns).

July 28, 2016 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Bar Exam is Over, Now What

For the past few years, your focus has been on finishing law school, walking across the stage at commencement, and taking then passing the bar exam. Well, you have finished law school, you may have walked across the stage at graduation, you took or are almost done with the bar exam, now what’s next?  You may be a planner and have a perfect plan for the days, weeks, and months ahead.  For others, your next steps involve visiting your law school's career services office or referencing communication they may have shared with you. 

All in all, take the time to appreciate and enjoy your accomplishments, get some rest, and dream big about the journey and adventures ahead of you. It is no small feat to attend law school, complete law school, graduate from law school, prepare for the bar exam, show up for the bar exam, and complete the bar exam.  You did all of that!  Not everyone can accomplish what you have accomplished and not everyone who started the journey completed it.  Take pride in your accomplishment. (Goldie Pritchard)

July 27, 2016 in Advice, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Call for Proposals West Coast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals

WEST COAST CONSORTIUM
OF ACADEMIC SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS


Fifth Annual Conference: Preparing Our Students for What’s Next
McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, CA
Saturday, November 5, 2016


CALL FOR PROPOSALS


Academic support staff and faculty from anywhere in the country (as well as “ASP ally” faculty
and staff) are welcome and encouraged to submit proposals for presentations addressing the
conference theme of Preparing Our Students for What’s Next. Presentation topics may include:
- Novel ways to introduce incoming first-year students to the rigors of law school;
- Incorporating experiential exercises into programs;
- Successfully pairing students with upper-division student and alumni mentors;
- Helping students form effective professional identities;
- Supporting students’ well-being to better enable them to handle the stresses of law
school, the bar exam, and practice;
- Adapting to new ABA requirements, evolving entering class preparedness levels, or
changes to bar exam format;
- Exciting ways to motivate students to prepare successfully for the bar during law school,
after graduation, or both;
- Or other ideas!
Please send your proposal to clee1@pacific.edu (be sure to add the “1”), and include:
- Presenter Contact Information: name, title, school, email, phone
- Presentation Description (up to 400 words) and summary blurb (up to 150 words)
- Presentation Time: Most presentations will be scheduled in 45-minute blocks, but we
will do our best to accommodate reasonable requests for different time spans.
- Requested Equipment: Internet connection, projection for PowerPoint, etc.


Please submit your proposal by no later than Monday, September 12.


We look forward to hearing from you and learning from you this November!

 

July 26, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Assistant Director Position at California Western

Academic Achievement


Position: Assistant Director of Academic Support


California Western School of Law (CWSL) invites applications for the position of Assistant Director of Academic Support.


Summary Description: Under the general direction of the Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement, the Assistant Director of Academic Support provides academic support to law students, particularly those at academic risk. The Assistant Director is primarily responsible for supervising the tutoring program, presenting skills workshops, and working with first-year students who are facing academic difficulty. The Assistant Director teaches the Academic Achievement Workshop for second-year students and assists alumni who are studying for the California bar exam.


About the School: California Western School of Law is a not-for-profit, independent law school located in downtown San Diego, with approximately 800 students. San Diego’s oldest law school, CWSL was accredited by the American Bar Association in 1962 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1967. In addition to its strong JD and LLM programs, California Western offers dual and joint degrees with UC San Diego and San Diego State University and administers numerous clinical programs including the California Innocence Project, Community Law Project, and several programs focused on improving the rule of law in Latin America.


Qualifications: Juris Doctor Degree from an ABA-accredited law school; successful passage of California Bar exam; at least one year of law teaching experience in an academic support or bar preparation program required. Experience in course planning, classroom presentations, and one-on-one tutoring; experience in learning theories and effective pedagogy, including formative and summative assessment; and knowledge of California Civil Procedure preferred.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Candidates must be self-starters, able to prioritize and complete multiple tasks of varying complexity and urgency in a timely and efficient manner. This individual will be joining a great Academic Achievement team that consistently collaborates and reinforces each other’s efforts in furtherance of a truly supportive learning community for our students. The individual must have a firm commitment to provide exemplary services in a demanding and challenging environment, while understanding processes and compliance requirements necessary to execute academic success programming. Demonstrating good judgement is key. The applicant must have a demonstrated ability to speak effectively to groups. The individual must have poise, tactfulness, diplomacy and professionalism when dealing with staff, faculty, students and outside constituents. The candidate must also demonstrate a passion for working with students – particularly those who struggle academically – and have a track record of developing robust relationships with students.
Salaries are commensurate with qualifications and experience. The institution offers competitive benefits, including 403(b) and flexible spending plans.


Interested individuals should provide a cover letter describing their interest in and qualifications for the position, salary requirements, and resume to: Human Resources at HR@cwsl.edu by August 1, 2016. The search will continue until the position is filled. Start Date: Ideally September 2016 to facilitate transition into the fall trimester and prior to the kick-off of student tutor programming. The institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to affirmative action and to excellence through diversity. The institution provides reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants with disabilities upon request.

July 23, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Get Pumped for the Bar Exam!

You should walk into the bar exam knowing that you can absolutely do it!  You're in the home stretch, so sleep well these next few days, eat well, exercise, stay positive, and GET PUMPED!  

I'm sure you have your own idiosyncratic pump-up songs (Pavement's "Stereo" is one of mine -- mainly because I like the screaming in the chorus), and this list will clearly betray my age and inherent lack of hipness (I'm not even going to try to come up with things that might actually be popular at the moment), but I thought I would post a few music suggestions to get you pumped for test day.  Really, one could do worse than spend the morning before the bar exam trying to get psyched:

Classic Rock/Positive Choice

There's a reason this song is played at every sporting event known to man.  Queen's "We Will Rock You."  "We are the Champions" works as well.

Classic Rock/I Need to Scream Choice

Screaming the beginning of this song is one of the most fun things in the world.  Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song"

Classic Rock/Fatalism and Sarcasm Choice

Sometimes, making yourself laugh is the best thing you can do.  For the morning of the bar, I might suggest AC/DC's "Highway to Hell"

Indie Rock 

The White Stripes's "Seven Nation Army"

Prince

"My Name is Prince"

Catchy Pop Song

After months of studying, you might feel that you have nothing in your brain anymore.  Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off"

Catchy Pop Song #2

Not that it has much to do with the bar, but this song seems to make everyone happy:  Beyonce's "Single Ladies"

Catchy Pop Song #3

Another one that seems to put everyone in a good mood:  Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars's "Uptown Funk"

Rap/Hip Hop 

My wife recently finished her second book.  She began every morning listening to Eminem's "Lose Yourself"

Classic Rap/Hip Hop

LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out"

Classic Country

The country equivalent of a song that just seems to put everyone in a good mood:  Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again"

Modern Country

I don't really listen to modern country, but I found this page with a song list of major league baseball players' pump up songs: MLB Country Songs

Classical/Movie Theme

Feel like you could take on the entire galaxy!  Because you can!  "Star Wars"  

Polka

Dance your way into the bar exam!  "Polka Music"

GOOD LUCK!  YOU'VE GOT THIS!

(Alex Ruskell)

 

July 22, 2016 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bar Exam Stress - A Two-Minute Video Clip to Help You Catch Hold of "Growth Mindset" Optimism!

There's been a lot of talk about "growth mindset" and for good reasons.  

As the author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Dr. Carol Dweck relates in a June 21, 2016 commentary on the website Education Week, "...my colleagues and I learned things we thought people needed to know. We found that students’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities—played a key role in their motivation and achievement, and we found that if we changed students’ mindsets, we could boost their achievement. More precisely, students who believed their intelligence could be developed (a growth mindset) outperformed those who believed their intelligence was fixed (a fixed mindset)."  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/09/23/carol-dweck-revisits-the-growth-mindset.html

But, with the bar exam looming next week for many law school graduates, as the saying goes, "sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words" to hep you and your graduates "catch" hold of a growth mindset in the midst of bar exam stressors.   So, at the risk of minimizing the science behind the growth mindset, here's a quick video clip that just might spark some positive vibes of optimism as you and your graduates focus on final tune-ups in preparation for the bar exam next week:  http://www.values.com/inspirational-stories-tv-spots/99-the-greatest  

In particular, just like the baseball player, we don't all have to be great hitters…or runners…or pitchers…to be successful on the bar exam. But, right now, most of us working through bar exam problems feel like we don't even know enough to play the game, to run the bases, to hit the ball, in short, to pass the bar exam. However, it is not about knowing enough that is key to passing the bar exam.  Specifically, I try to place my confidence NOT in getting right answers on bar exam problems but rather in learning and demonstrating solid legal problem-solving abilities.  It's just not an exam in which one can always be correct.  So, don't worry about what you missed.  Instead, focus on just being the best possible problem-solver player that you can. (Scott Johns).

 

You Can Do This!

July 21, 2016 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

THE FINAL STRETCH: THE BAR EXAM

The bar exam is next week and bar studiers are experiencing a variety of emotions. Please keep in mind that you worked hard in the weeks and days leading-up to this point.  Now, it is time to take care of yourself so you can perform at an optimal level.

Rest. Sleep is a tool to help you feel refreshed for the exam ahead and to help improve your memory.  With sleep, you can strengthen memories and skills you practiced while awake.  Memories of incorrect answers to essay or MBE questions become memorable fact patterns. 

In the alternative, do something else you find relaxing such as watching a movie or your favorite TV show, meeting-up with a non-law school friend for lunch or an activity, or just lounge around. Remind yourself that you have put in a lot of work and it is okay to rest a little.

Prepare. If you are flying or driving to the location of your exam, pack your belongings and pack your car early.  Ensure that you have the essential items but also consider packing one or two things that bring you comfort. 

Map-out your route to the testing site and determine how much time to allow but also consider alternative routes.

Layer your clothing in such a way that you can adjust to changes in temperature (extreme cold and extreme heat) throughout the testing period.

Have cash on hand as you might need it for parking, lunch, or other emergencies. Have a plan for where you will have lunch.  

Have a plan for how you will address stress, anxiety, and stay focused prior to the exam, during the exam, and after the exam. Think of how you will refresh for the next day. 

Visualize yourself sitting at the table, taking the bar exam, and passing the bar exam.

Meet the challenge. This is an exam you are likely to feel unprepared for regardless of how much time and effort you devoted to the process.  Trust your process and your intelligence.  You are capable of reading and following directions so you know what to do.  You have completed hundreds of practice questions so you can do it.  You have compartmentalized and organized information in a number of ways so you can retrieve information.

You own and only have control over your experience so stop comparing yourself to others. Be optimistic! Stay forward looking!  You have the Academic Support and Bar Preparation educator(s) at your law school cheering you on.  You can do it, truly. (Goldie Pritchard)

July 20, 2016 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Director of Diversity Position at Northwestern

Here is the link to apply:

https://nuhr.northwestern.edu/psp/hr91prod_er/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_CE.GBL?Page=HRS_CE_JOB_DTL&Action=A&JobOpeningId=28797&SiteId=1&PostingSeq=1

Here is the job description:

Job Summary:

The Director of Diversity, Education, & Outreach is responsible for the development and management of all Diversity Education & Outreach programs and activities in the Law School.  This includes recruitment, planning, coordination, project management, conflict management, budgeting, student counseling, relationship building, and external networking as outlined in the duties described below.

Please noteThe Director of Diversity, Education, & Outreach must be willing to travel and when necessary, work a flexible schedule (night and weekend events are sometimes necessary).

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Works with school deans, faculty, staff, and other administrative offices to plan strategies, develop programs, and implement new activities that foster and support diversity and inclusion in the law school student population.  With Law Admissions, develop and implement innovative recruitment strategies to attract a larger number of diverse student applicants through work with Student Services, personal visits to target schools and cities, dissemination of materials promoting the Law School, coordination of student, faculty, and alumni efforts, and individualized follow-up with applicants. Advises the Dean and faculty on diversity and inclusion issues.
  • Leads Diversity, Education, and Outreach initiatives in the Law School, ensuring the continued development of an inclusive, student-focused culture. Oversee and plan programs, workshops, and training sessions with students, staff, and faculty to promote the school's effort to build and maintain an environment that is inclusive, pluralistic, and diverse. Oversees programs to support the integration of diverse students into the law school community.
  • Serve as an advisor to individual students on academic issues, curricular and educational decisions, academic progress and performance, and career objectives. Serves as an ombuds for students when necessary. Provides guidance and support to 12+ student groups who serve diverse students or whose mission involves diversity.
  • Collaborates in program and policy development is Student Services to ensure that diversity goals are included in event planning, budget preparation, and promotion of the mission.
  • Takes on Student Services assignments as delegated by the Associate Dean of Students, including matters related to the honor code, character and fitness, examinations, orientation, convocation, ADA accommodations, and other matters related to Student Life. Represents Dean of Student Services in circumstances as needed.
  • Builds external networks to promote diversity goals of law school. Represents the school at the local, state, and national levels on all matters related to diversity affairs.
  • Fosters the development of a vibrant community of diverse scholars through work with diverse alumni, faculty, and current students. Ensures diversity goals and initiatives are integrated in the Law School community, including marketing efforts, recruitment, and other strategic objectives and matters.
  • Develops financial aid resources (including scholarships) and employment opportunities for diverse students through coordination with a range of private and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Plans and manages Diversity Education and Outreach budget; coordinate and consult in planning and management of Student Affairs' budget.  Reviews and approves expenditures charged to and revenues applied to Diversity Education and Outreach and assigned student groups.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Successful completion of a full course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a JD degree.
  • Minimum of 3 to 5 years of legal or comparable experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain strong interpersonal relationships with students, faculty, alumni, staff, legal professionals, and the general public. 
  • Demonstrated ability to engage others in difficult conversations and manage conflict.
  • Proven ability to exercise initiative and judgment in coordinating various programs to serve the best interest of all parties involved. 
  • Must be self-directed and willing to identify and assume new responsibilities as the needs of the Law School change and grow.
  • Must be willing to travel and when necessary, work a flexible schedule (night and weekend events are sometimes necessary).
  • Strong computer skills, including word processing and spreadsheet applications. 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior experience in counseling, recruitment, and/or job placement in a law school or comparable setting strongly preferred. 
  • Prior experience in both advocacy and conflict management/resolution settings.
  • Prior experience that encompasses broad range of client interactions, including, at least, racial, ethnic, religious, geographic, sexual identity, and socio-economic status diversity.
  • Strong communicator.
  • Highly organized.
  • Experienced advocate.
  • Proven conflict management/resolution ability.
  • High degree of comfort working with a wide variety of competing constituencies.

As per Northwestern University policy, this position requires a criminal background check.  Successful applicants will need to submit to a criminal background check prior to employment.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

July 19, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Are you a current or aspiring ASP writer?

Texas Academic Support and Legal Writing Scholars Colloquium

Location: Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas

Date: September 23,  2016

Although named the “Texas Academic Support and Legal Writing Scholars Colloquium," this gathering is open to legal writing and academic support faculty/instructors from anywhere to present works-in-progress across all disciplines within the law, doctrinal or pedagogical.  Academic Support and Legal Writing faculty have complicated time commitments in our jobs, so we would like to create a forum to discuss our scholarship in light of our responsibilities that are somewhat different than from faculty members.  The works presented can be in the very early stages to elicit comments for fully developing the project, to more complete articles for honing before publication.  You can also participate without presenting if you like, to discuss your ideas informally with like minded colleagues during the breaks in the program.

Depending on the response, we will make every effort to create panels that share some common attributes. We would like to be able to distribute drafts, or even outlines of works in progress to the other members of the panel if possible. 

The colloquium will be all day on Friday, September 23, 2016 at the Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth, TX.  There is no fee to participate, but registration is required so that we may plan our panels, plan for lunch and other logistic needs.  We are located in downtown Fort Worth, with a wide variety of hotel choices, and two fairly close airports that make travel here not terribly difficult (DFW, and DAL).  The Sheraton Fort Worth is directly next door, the Omni a short walk across the Watergarden, the Hilton a few blocks away, a lovely independent called the Ashton is also walking distance,and there are some more budget minded offerings within a short drive. 

To register for the colloquium, email Deshun Harris at dharris@tamu.edu by September 1, 2016. In the email, please include the title of your presentation topic (if you have one), your school name, previous publications/presentations, and your title.  Please also let us know of any food or other accommodations that we can make to enhance your visit.  Additionally, please note whether you will be attending the September 22, 2016 evening reception. Presenters are encouraged to submit a summary or draft paper two weeks prior to the colloquium (September 9) to ensure adequate time for review by panel members.

James McGrath 
Professor of Law & Director of Academic Support and Bar Services

Texas A&M University School of Law
1515 Commerce Street 
Fort Worth, TX 76102 
(817) 212-3954

jmcgrath@tamu.edu

July 17, 2016 in Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Assume the Day of the Bar Exam will be Nuts

When I took the Texas bar exam, a woman sitting next to me spent the entire first day crying.  Really, it was closer to wailing.  I didn't know her, but I felt very sorry for her.  On the second day of the bar, she returned, still crying.  She stared bullets at my lucky R2-D2 watch, which I put away because I could see that somewhere in her head she was blaming this entire experience on the fact I had an R2-D2 watch.  The third day, she returned to cry even more.  

If I hadn't been as prepared for the bar exam as I was, something like that could have thrown me.  But I had studied to the point that I believed that even if I literally caught fire during the bar exam, I was still prepared enough to make it through.

There are all kinds of horror stories from bar exams -- people throwing up on other people, computer systems crashing, people peeing into their pencil bags, windstorms making the roof bang like a coffee-addled Tito Puente, air-conditioning outages, live target practice happening in the room next door, oil spills that make it impossible to get to the test center, open sewage, wild dogs, etc., etc.  Perhaps all the student stress built up over the last few weeks attracts the weirdness, like bugs to a lamp.

Consequently, study enough so that even if something terrible happens, you'll be OK.  Set multiple alarms so you will wake up on time.  Leave SUPER EARLY for the exam.  Be mentally prepared for your computer deciding test day would be a good day to die.  Tell yourself that no matter what happens, you've got this.  Get mentally prepared and strong in case something goes wrong.

And if nothing goes wrong, great!  Just set yourself up so you don't need everything to be perfect on test day. (Alex Ruskell)

 

July 15, 2016 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Print Versus On-Screen Reading

An interesting article in The Chronicle of Higher Education explores the research and anecdotes regarding on-line reading and learning: Does Reading on Computer Screens Affect Student Learning?

July 14, 2016 in Learning Styles, Reading | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Last Minute Bar Preparation Tips II

The “practice run” through should be your priority. As a bar studier, you want to mentally prepare for the exam ahead and the best way to do this is to mimic the circumstances surrounding the bar exam.  Next week is ideal for this type of activity because you are done with bar review and have a full week.

Read and Follow the Instructions

Know the policies of your exam site and the policies of the jurisdiction where you are taking the bar exam. Know what items are permitted and what items are prohibited. Ensure that you do not bring prohibited items such as cell phones, fitness trackers, or bar review books. Ensure that you bring necessary items such as admission ticket, identification card, laptop, and writing utensils. Know what type of behavior is prohibited and ensure that you comply. Review information included with your admission ticket and (re)visit your jurisdiction website for any policy updates.

Know the Structure of the Exam

Ensure that you know the dates of your exam and what component of the exam is administered on each of the days and in each of the sessions. If you have a three day exam (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), then know what component of the exam is covered on each of those days. Know whether you have essays in the morning and performance tests in the afternoon or vice versa. Know what time each session begins and ends.

Practice

Practicing on the days and at the time of your exam a week before your bar exam is ideal. You may have only practiced one session (3 hours) of essays, performance tests, or MBE. You may have practiced a full day (6 hours) of MBE or a writing day practice but you have not done it in the same sequence as the bar exam. The goal of this exercise is to see how you maintain your stamina, how you engage with the material at the times you need to, and how you manage two or three days of testing in a row. It will likely be an exhausting process and plan to be unable to do anything each night. The focus of this exercise is not on assessing whether you will pass the exam based on your performance. Bar studiers focus on the score rather than on time management, energy, and the like. Adrenaline keeps you going on exam day but you are fighting fatigue from the past few months and you want to train your brain to engage when you need it to. This is also an opportunity to practice following the policies of your testing center and jurisdiction. (Goldie Pritchard)

July 13, 2016 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

UC Hastings Two Academic and Professional Success Lecturer Positions

UC HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW
EST. 1878

The University of California Hastings College of the Law was founded in 1878 as the law department of the University of California and was the first law school in California. Over the years, it has built a legacy and reputation of being a preeminent institution comprised of renowned faculty committed to the study of legal theory and research, preparing students for careers in the judicial system, public service, and industry.


The College is redefining legal education through an experiential, interdisciplinary, and international approach to the law. By integrating rigorous academics with hands-on practice, the College is preparing its graduates to tackle the legal challenges—and leverage the opportunities—of the 21st century.


ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS LECTURER
Academic and Professional Success
Classification: Level 3 / Class Code 1717 / Exempt / Full-Time / Benefited
Hiring Salary Range: $57,890-$81,034 (commensurate with qualifications)
Posting Date: June 24, 2016


THE ROLE
Under the direction and supervision of the Associate Dean for Academic and Professional Success, the Academic and Professional Success lecturer will support the Legal Education Opportunity Program and the Academic Support Program, administer bar passage success programming, lead academic workshops, provide 1:1 academic support to individual students, coordinate student led programs, supervise student workers, and teach academic support classes, which might include courses described in the UC Hastings online course catalog as “Legal Analysis” and/or “Critical Studies.” Collect and analyze program data. The position is thus a combination of program administration, direct student tutoring, and classroom teaching.


RESPONSIBILITIES
Typical duties and responsibilities consist of, but are not limited to, the following:
 Assist the Directors of the LEOP and ASP programs in the design and teaching of special workshops to improve the academic skills and bar passage rate of diverse students, including, in the case of LEOP, students from non-traditional backgrounds.
 Assist in design and implementation of student led programs, including, hiring, training, and supervision of student workers.
 Evaluate and provide written and individual feedback on student work product;
 Counsel and advises individual students on various academic concerns;
 Devise and implement bar passage success programming, including cultivating resources, improving the website, engaging with Student Services to do informational outreach to students, organizing summer bar prep programming for recent graduates;
 Teaching Legal Analysis, Critical Studies, and other “Academic Success” classes;
 Evaluate programming, e.g., by collecting and analyzing data.


REQUIREMENTS


EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
 Juris Doctor Degree from an ABA-accredited law school;
 Active membership in the California State Bar;
 Some prior teaching, tutoring, and/or academic program administration preferred.


KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES.
 Strong legal writing, research, and analysis skills;
 Strong organizational skills for tracking data and program materials (electronic and hard copy).
 Knowledge of creative teaching methods for diverse populations with a focus on skills development.
 Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with faculty, alumni, staff, students, the public, and bar associations through responsive communications, pro bono activities, and professional presentations;
 Must be available to attend occasional evening and/or weekend events.


BENEFITS
 Comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance coverage
 Life Insurance
 University of California Retirement Plan (defined benefit)
 Disability Insurance
 Legal Insurance
 Generous vacation and sick leave
 Thirteen paid holidays per year
 Pre-tax Retirement Savings Programs
 Flexible Spending Accounts for transportation-related, healthcare and dependent care expenses


THE HIRING PROCESS
To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Incoming Associate Dean for Academic and Professional Success Morris Ratner at ratnerm@uchastings.edu.
Failure to provide the information as required on the application form including attaching a cover letter and a resume shall immediately disqualify an applicant from employment consideration.


Please Note: **This position has been designated as “sensitive” and requires a pre-employment background check.


Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities. Please contact Human Resources if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for a job. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making a change to the application process, providing documents in an alternate format, using a sign language interpreter, or using specialized equipment.


WHAT TO EXPECT
Applicants who meet the position requirements will be competitively evaluated to identify the individuals whose breadth and depth of experience and education most closely relate to the stated requirements and the needs of the College. Depending on the quality and number of the applications received, only the better qualified applicants may be contacted for an interview. The position is open until filled.


UC Hastings College of the Law is an Equal Opportunity Employer

July 12, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pace Associate Director of Academic Success Position

The Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University has an opening for its Associate Director of Academic Success position.  A full description of the position and the qualifications necessary is posted on the Pace website: careers.pace.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=55909  (best viewed in Firefox).  

All applications should be submitted through the link on the website. 

July 11, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Threat to ABA Accreditation Powers

Hat tip to Mark Wojcik, John Marshall Law School (Chicago), of the Legal Writing Prof Blog for providing the link to an ABA posting about this matter. The link is: here.

July 10, 2016 in Miscellany, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

UC Irvine Associate/Assistant Director of Academic Skills Position

Associate/Assistant Director of Academic Skills Program

University of California, Irvine

School of Law

The University of California, Irvine School of Law invites applications for the position of Associate/Assistant Director of Academic Skills. The successful candidate will develop, enhance, and implement a program to assist students in the transition to law school, to promote their successful completion of the J.D. program, and to prepare them to sit for the bar exam. Ideally, the successful candidate will be available to begin on August 1, 2016.

UCI School of Law opened its doors to students in August 2009. The Law School’s innovative curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning, interdisciplinary teaching, research, and public service. With faculty recruited from top-tier law schools around the country, the Law School is uniquely positioned to build an institution that is relevant to law practice and legal scholarship in the 21st century and that pushes the frontiers of the profession. For more information, visit www.law.uci.edu.

Job Description

The Associate/Assistant Director will promote the academic success of students at the Law School.

In collaboration with the Director of Academic Skills, the Associate Director of Academic Skills, the Assistant Director of Academic Skills, and faculty members, the Associate/Assistant Director will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop curriculum for and teach third-year/post-graduation bar preparation programs;
  • Develop curriculum for and teach first-year Academic Skills “Labs” and integrated exercises in doctrinal subjects;
  • Develop workshop content and teach workshops for matriculating first-year students;
  • Assist in developing curriculum and teaching second-year programs focusing on legal analysis and legal writing skills;
  • Provide individual and small-group feedback on student practice exams and exercises;
  • Manage department databases (e.g., internal shared drive, TWEN), create and administer student surveys to assess programming, create marketing materials, and coordinate with administrative assistants on logistics for department programs;
  • Assist with hiring, training, and supervising student fellows to help administer various first-year student programs;
  • Engage in professional development through collaborating with Academic Skills professionals at the local, regional, and national levels to present educational and innovative programs; and
  • Assist in planning and managing the budget for first-year programs, student fellows, and books/materials purchases.

The Law School’s inaugural class graduated in the spring of 2011. The School projects total enrollment of approximately 350 students across all three classes in 2016-17. At full size, the School anticipates an annual enrollment of 600 students. With the School still in its growth stage, the Associate/Assistant Director of Academic Skills will have a rare opportunity to contribute to the design, development, and implementation of the Academic Skills Program. It is therefore expected that the successful candidate will examine and add to existing programs with the same spirit of innovation that characterizes the School. The successful candidate will be expected to exercise independence and judgment, drawing on past experience and careful analysis of the Law School’s particular needs.

Requirements

Candidates for the position must have:

  • A J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school and a record of academic and extracurricular success in law school;
  • Admission to a state bar, preferably California;
  • A minimum of two years’ experience in law practice and/or law teaching with a focus on legal writing and analysis;
  • Familiarity with the subjects tested on and the format of the California Bar Exam;
  • Superior written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills;
  • The ability to think imaginatively and critically about techniques to improve law students’ academic development, and to design, implement, and manage innovative programs to promote that development;
  • The ability to handle confidential information, exhibit good judgment, and exemplify customer service in working with students, faculty, and staff;
  • The ability to work collaboratively with a diverse and growing population of students, faculty, and administrators; and
  • The ability to juggle multiple competing priorities and meet firm deadlines.

Preferred:  Experience in academic support/skills programs at the law-school level.

Nature of Appointment

The Associate/Assistant Director of Academic Skills reports to the Director of Academic Skills and works closely with the Associate Director of Academic Skills, the Assistant Director of Academic Skills, the Assistant Dean of Student Services, and the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The successful candidate will be provided with the standard vacation and benefits package accorded employees of the University of California. This is not a faculty appointment, and residence during the summer is expected. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Salary and title will be commensurate with experience.

The University of California, Irvine is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity.

July 9, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Law Schools and Tough Financial Times

The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article in its July 1st issue that looked at the relationship between universities and their law schools now that many law schools are no longer the cash cows they once were. Implications for law school strategies toward applicant credentials, national rankings, class size, faculty and staff cuts, and university relations are very real. The ultimate impact on academic support's ability to serve students in this changing world is just one of many unknowns. The article is found here: here.

July 7, 2016 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Last Minute Bar Preparation Tips

July is here and panic has set in because the bar exam is fast approaching. What can you do with the time you have remaining to maximize your preparation?  Below are a few last minute suggestions from former bar studiers.

Memorizing the Law. Time is of the essence so big picture organization should be your focus. Create a one to two page outline of each subject area with at the most three levels of headings and memorize that information. It makes the information manageable and you can build from there. You can use the information as a checklist to ensure that you are considering all aspects of a subject area and it could serve as a tool to quiz yourself. You can rely on your recall of mistakes on MBE or essay questions to ensure that you revisit nuances and recall specific information.

Exam Time Management. Practice in 3 hour increments. Alternate between morning hours and afternoon hours and practice in the format of your exam. You can use assignments you have yet to complete if you do not have time to use supplemental materials. Determine how much time you will spend reading and outlining your essay answers and how much time you need to write your answers. You can note the time when you will start each essay question on scratch paper or at the top of each essay question to stay on task. How will you monitor your completion of MBE questions? Will you note ¼ of time and ensure that you have completed ¼ of the questions and so on?

Reviewing Subjects. Prioritize how you will review information. Chronological order might not be the most effective and efficient use of time. You might want to identify areas of most concern under each subject area and start there. You might also want to group subjects that go together or could be tested together.

The Last Two Weeks. Create a plan; make a schedule for the days leading up to the exam. What, specifically, are you going to do on each day? What materials do you need to put together for test day? What materials are not permitted in the exam room? Plan to be awake and study during the times you need to be awake and alert on exam day. Consider whether you need to regulate your fluid intake. Adopt a plan and stick to it. (Goldie Pritchard)

July 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)