Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rediscovering a Sense of Purpose

For too many law students, law school becomes an endless slog. They get so bogged down in the daily grind that they lose enthusiasm for the law and the legal profession. If they do not rediscover their original sense of purpose, they will endure their legal studies rather than experience them fully.

Here are some suggestions for resuscitating your love of the law and finding your purpose again:

  • Remind yourself why you came to law school. What were your goals as an aspiring lawyer? What areas of the law piqued your interest? What wrongs did you want to right? What legal causes were you passionate about?
  • Remember who your legal role models were. Who were your inspirations for becoming a lawyer? Whether it was Atticus Finch, your mother the judge, your uncle the corporate lawyer, or the public defender who took your cousin's case, think about why you wanted to be like those individual lawyers.
  • Take time to get involved with the "heart matters" of law school. Volunteer to help with intake at a pro bono clinic. Get trained to participate with VITA or CASA or another worthy cause. Join a law school organization that provides community service.
  • Meet and talk to local lawyers. Attend a local bar luncheon as the guest of your professor or a local attorney. Attend lectures, CLE seminars open to students, and alumni events at your law school where you can meet the speakers and lawyers in attendance.
  • Sign up for courses that help you get hands-on with the law: clinics, trial advocacy, client interviewing, alternative dispute resolution, drafting courses, and more.
  • Talk with your professors and career services staff about your legal interests after graduation  and ways to pursue those interests. Gather information about types of legal jobs and legal specialties that you are considering.
  • Read biographies and other non-fiction books about the lawyers, legal cases, and legal movements that have impacted our world. Explore how the law and lawyers can change society for the good.

A sense of purpose makes any endeavor more meaningful. It gets us through the rough days. It inspires us to move toward our goals. It turns the slog into a stepping stone. (Amy Jarmon)

February 19, 2017 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Position at McGeorge Law University of the Pacific

Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

San Francisco Applicants: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

Below you will find the details for the position including any supplementary documentation and questions you should review before applying for the opening.  To apply for the position, please click the Apply for this Job link/button.

If you would like to bookmark this position for later review, click on the Bookmark link.  If you would like to print a copy of this position for your records, click on the Print Preview link.

Posting Details

Position Information

Job Title Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Union Level  
Department Student Services
Campus Sacramento
Posting Number 201300975P
Full or Part Time Full Time
Number of Months  
Work Schedule  
Position End Date  
Open Date  
Close Date 03/13/2017
Open Until Filled No
Special Instructions to Applicants  

Position Summary Information

Primary Purpose

The Assistant Dean is responsible for counseling and advising law students about classes, academic programs, and stress and time management. The Assistant Dean also oversees disciplinary matters, student policies, student government, student organizations and events, and supports the academic and community life of students to enhance retention. In addition, the Assistant Dean supervises examinations, accommodated examinations, wellness programs, special projects and programs, and disabled student services. The Assistant Dean serves on appropriate faculty committees. The Assistant Dean is responsible for the operations of the Student Affairs and Registrars offices, including supervision of staff, day to day office operations, and the operations budget.

Essential Functions

1. Directly supervise the operations of the Student Affairs and Registrars office. This includes supervision of professional and support staffs, day-to-day office operations, and the operations budget. Set performance expectations and customer service standards for each office and annually monitor and evaluate office functions against those standards.

2. Oversee and/or provide academic counseling services to J.D. and LL.M. students . Make referrals to other University student services as appropriate.

3. Process student requests for withdrawals, leave of absences, accommodations, requests to attend summer and other programs at other ABA schools, request for transfer, add/drop classes, switch divisions, letters of good standing, and letters to State Bar re: moral character and other registration information. Provides students with registration information through email and informational sessions.

4. Oversee the delivery of services including in-class and exam accommodations to all disabled students under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and pursuant to establish University policies and procedures.

5. Handles all faculty and staff requests for information regarding academic statistics (academic disqualification, academic probation, division switches). Handle all FERPA issues regarding information maintained by Registrar.

6. Handle all matters which come before the Grading and Advancement Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. Prepare student petition files, attend all Committee meetings and provides academic background to Committee, prepare and disseminate all decision letters.

7. Provide assistance to the Associate Dean including issues surrounding the preparation of the academic schedule, class size and classroom changes, exam scheduling, and requests to audit classes.

8. Assess the University’s student-oriented business processes, policies, practices and procedures to minimize risk and ensure compliance.

9. Assist student organizations with planning and implementation of projects; provide guidance on availability and procedures for obtaining funds including coordination efforts with Advancement. Serve as liaison between the student body, faculty, and administration on matters affecting students; act as an advocate for students as appropriate; oversee student disciplinary processes.

10. Oversee the scheduling and administering of examinations and provide accommodated exams.

11. Oversee wellness programs and manage the student insurance program.

12. Designated Campus Security Authority.

13. Serve on various campus committees and perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

Juris Doctorate degree.

Valid driver’s license required. Incumbent must also be able to meet the University’s fleet rules and be eligible to drive for University business. The University’s insurance carrier reserves the right to exclude applicants based on their driving record.

Preferred Qualifications

• Education and Experience:
Experience or educational degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field would be beneficial. A minimum of three years of progressively responsible work experience in a law practice or higher education is required.

• Communication & Reasoning:
Exceptional verbal, written, organizational, and interpersonal skills required. Excellent collaboration and negotiation skills, including the ability to work effectively with students, faculty and staff. Demonstrated success in program management and leadership skills; the ability to work effectively with a diverse population; and function independently in making decisions and completing projects with limited supervision. Function effectively as a team player as well as works independently, set priorities and meet deadlines. Work with sensitive matters and records, and maintain confidentiality. Ability to form and maintain positive and collaborative professional relationships with colleagues and with other departments and academic units.

• Computer Skills & Technical Skills:
Candidates must have intermediate skills in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Experience with Banner or other database programs desirable.

Physical Requirements

• Physical Demands:
The physical demands described here are representative but not definitive of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
• Some lifting of materials (20 lbs or less)
• Bending, stretching, reaching required
• Sitting for long periods of time

• Work Environment:
Fast paced office with many competing demands. Travel up to 15%. Evening and weekend work often required.

Hiring Range  
Background Check Statement

Applicants who are selected as final possible candidates must be able to pass a criminal background check

AA/EEO Policy Statement

University of the Pacific is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer dedicated to workforce diversity. In compliance with applicable law and its own policy, Pacific is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and staff and does not discriminate in its hiring of faculty and staff, or in the provision of its employment benefits to its faculty and staff on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, genetic information, sex/gender, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, medical condition, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression or mental or physical disability.

Posting Specific Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter/Letter of Application
Optional Documents
  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Other Document

 

February 18, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Law School Action Comics

Pants

(Alex Ruskell)

February 17, 2017 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Bar Exam, Butterflies, and the Power of "Leaning Back!"

As you make your final tune-ups in preparation for your bar exam next week, remember, anxiety is normal.  So, please don't fret the "butterflies."

But, as I can attest due to my own exam stress, that is "easier said that done."  So, let me offer a technique or two that I use when dealing with a question that I can't seem to figure out how to even begin to answer.

First, I don't try to get a perfect answer. Rather, I treat each exam question as an opportunity to demonstrate my ability to solve legal problems.  In other words, I remind myself that I don't have to be right or correct to pass the bar exam; rather, I just have to demonstrate legal problem-solving abilities, something that we have all worked for several months to cultivate in our bar preparation work.

Second, no matter how difficult the exam, I focus on maintaining a winning positive attitude...by realizing that all of the test-takers are facing the same challenges (and therefore the same stresses). That's right.  If the problem seems difficult for you (and me), it is difficult for all of us!

Third, I use a simple "3-step plan" to give me a friendly "push-start" to get my mind around how to solve a problem.  So, here are the steps, steps that you might try yourself when you find yourself a bit perplexed on how to begin answering a problem:

1.    Grab hold of the call of the question and re-write it as an issue statement (e.g., The issue is whether the contract between Pratt and Delta is valid.). 

2.     Add material facts to your issue statement (e.g., The issue is whether the contract between Pratt and Delta is valid when the defendant failed to sign the contract.). 

3.    Now, you are ready to organize an answer...because you see (identified the trigger facts) that constitute the big issue (i.e., a statute of frauds problem here).

Let me offer one more "stress-busting" exam tip that you might incorporate in the midst of your bar exam.

LEAN BACK!

That's right.  Don't spend all of your time - for hours on end - hunched over your bar exam questions.  

INSTEAD, GET SOME FRESH AIR!

SOME OXYGEN!  

LEAN BACK IN YOUR CHAIR...AND BREATHE!

It's amazing but just leaning back in your chair, as the commander of your own "bar-ship" as you read and navigate your way through exam questions, can make a whale of a difference because the action of leaning back brings valuable oxygen to your body...to empower your mind...to do the work that is before you.  And, if you really want to take it to the next level, while you are "leaning back," why not just put your hands behind your head to form a "soft pillow" of comfort and confidence.  You can picture the move.  Just visualizing the move might bring a smile to your face.  And, that smile is a bit of relaxation in the midst of taking your bar exam.  So, nicely done!  (Scott Johns).

 

February 16, 2017 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exams, Exams - Studying, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Grooming Future Black Lawyers

In February, some celebrate Black History Month but at our law college we celebrate Diversity Week. Diversity Week is a celebration of diverse aspects of our community and raises awareness of various issues affecting our law college community, surrounding communities, and the legal profession.  Diversity week is celebrated for a full week in February and the theme this year is Pulse Check.  This week of events and programs has allowed me to reflect on my past experiences as a black law student and on the manner in which I engage with law students generally and black law students specifically.  I interact with black law students quite a bit by virtue of my community involvement and service to the law college.  I serve as advisor to the Black Law Student Association, volunteer with affinity groups, and serve as an ASP professional.  My black students hail from various states and countries and were raised in rural and urban settings.  They are first generation college and law students.  They are parents, immigrants, and children of immigrants.  They have various political and social affiliations.  In sum, I interact with a very diverse group of black law students.

Socio-cultural backgrounds do not always change the experiences they share which are similar to mine as a black law student.  When I encountered challenges I thought unique to me as a black law student, I had very few individuals I could turn to for help navigating these experiences so I am glad to help others.  I do not always have an answer but I can empower, encourage, and help students manage a variety of experiences.  Some students experience stereotype threat through verbal or non-verbal interaction in class or with classmates who sometimes perceive a black student’s academic ability and intelligence as inferior.  I have seen the brightest students have their confidence shaken by a comment or remark that attacks the core of who they are, minimizes what they bring to discussion, and delegitimizes the reasons why they are in the law school.  Other black students never encounter this and appear to have very positive experiences so it is important to recognize that everyone has unique experiences.

I am lucky to be at an institution where our Diversity Officer is readily accessible and her office serves as a place where several students of color converge to meet, build community, and support one another.  The Diversity Officer creates opportunities for students to discuss issues related to their experiences as students of color and possible challenges as legal professionals.  All I have discussed here might seem unrelated to academic performance but it does have a significant impact.  How students feel and the support networks they are able to develop are important.  We are here to help students achieve their dreams which entail completing their legal education and passing the bar exam.  We need to pay attention to the individual and each encounter is a possible transformative moment in the life of a student. (Goldie Pritchard)

February 15, 2017 in Diversity Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cold and Flu Season - Lessons Learned the Hard Way

A parade of sick students has marched through my office for the last several weeks, so I was not surprised when I finally succumbed myself last week. Just like my students though, I had tried to soldier on for a day and a half and get my work done rather than give in and visit the doctor at the very first signs. (My doctor kindly did not roll her eyes at me when I stated that I guessed I would be home in bed for a few days.)

As I lay in bed for four and a half days feeling really sick, I reminded myself of all the reasons why we tell our students to go to the student health center, stay home in bed, and get well. All we do if we persevere is get more ill, prolong our illnesses, and possibly pass our germs on to others.

So, the voice of consequences (if not wisdom), intones this advice to one and all: Go to the doctor, climb in bed, and stay there until you are well. Do not keep showing up for class. Do not infect your fellow students, faculty, and staff. Do not fool yourself into thinking you are being noble or heroic to continue in your academic slog.

For those of you who can, stay well. For those of you who cannot, face reality and go to bed.

Happy Valentine's Day. Hoping yours is germ free.

(Amy Jarmon)

 

February 14, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Public Speaking and Nervous Students

Hat tip to Professor Louis J. Sirico of Villanova for his post on the Legal Writing listserv recommending an article on advice for students nervous about public speaking. The information he gave is here:

Mark Cooney has written a helpful article in the ABA’s Student Lawyer: “It’s OK to Get Nervous.” His advice on public speaking: “Always nervous, but never scared.” I think this is a very helpful article to pass on to students. You can access more on the Legal Skills Prof blog. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2017/01/public-speaking-always-nervous-but-never-scared.html 

February 14, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Assistant Director Position at Stetson

            CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

EXEMPT

 

POSITION:               Assistant Director for Academic Success and Bar Preparation Services

DEPARTMENT:      Academic Success and Bar Preparation Services

DATE POSTED:       02/10/2017

Primary Purpose:

The Assistant Director for Academic Success and Bar Preparation Programs will participate in the development and implementation of a comprehensive program that partners with students and alumni from admission through matriculation and bar passage.  The Assistant Director is primarily responsible for academic success within the College of Law and responsibilities will include assisting students with academic skills to be successful in law school, planning and presenting academic skills workshops, academic counseling, and coaching alumni who are studying for the bar exam.

Responsibilities:

 

Academic Success

  • Assists students with academic skills to be successful in law school.
  • Planning and presenting academic skills workshops.
  • Collaborates with faculty members to implement academic success strategies within the curriculum.
  • Provides academic counseling to students seeking assistance with study techniques and exam preparation.
  • Reviews student work product to provide analysis and feedback to help students improve legal writing skills and exam preparation strategies.
  • Develops and presents academic skills workshops for first-year students, focusing on time management, note taking, and preparing for classes and exams.
  • Works closely with at-risk students academic strategies.

Bar Preparation

  • Bar Preparation Counseling
  • Meets with students in their final semester to begin developing an individualized approach to the bar exam.
  • Develops and presents bar preparation workshops for all students, providing information on long-range planning and the skills required to pass the bar exam.
  • Answers general student questions related to completing the Florida Bar Application.
  • Communicates with commercial bar review companies to coordinate student services.
  • Helps College of Law alumni to create individual study plans and strategies for passing the bar exam.
  • Coaches individual alumni as they prepare for the bar exam through regular meetings, reviewing sample bar exam essays, and providing feedback and analysis based on their performance.

Administrative Tasks

  • Develops and maintains the Academic Success, Bar Preparation and, Bar Prep Portal website.
  • Assists in planning and presenting at New Student Orientation.
  • Participates in campus-wide initiatives in collaboration with other student services offices to provide a comprehensive and meaningful academic experience for Stetson students.
  • Performs all other duties as assigned.

Core Competencies

  • Sound judgment and discretion sufficient to build relationships with students and colleagues that foster trust and cooperation.
  • Ability to develop rapport with students in an individual counseling setting.
  • Ability to complete tasks in an expeditious and courteous manner.
  • Ability to collaborate in order to build highly effective academic outcomes.
  • Work collaboratively with academic success and bar preparation team.
  • Sufficiently strong minded so as to impart unambiguous directions to students who need motivation, both in law school and on the bar exam.

 

Qualifications:

  • JD degree from an ABA accredited law school required
  • Member attorney in good standing required
  • At least one to three years’ experience in academic success program preferred. 
  • Member of the Florida Bar preferred. 
  • High level of organization, flexibility, sound judgment, and interpersonal skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills.
  • Large group and small group presentation ability.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality pursuant to FERPA and other regulations.
  • Ability to conduct basic statistical analysis, preferred.
  • Teaching experience helpful
  • Must establish and maintain positive working relationships within department and College of Law.
  • Must be a dependable, responsible contributor committed to excellence and success.
  • Flexibility to work outside the normal assigned schedule when requested.
  • Computer skills include:  Proficiency in MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook), required.

Please visit http://www.law.stetson.edu/jobs. Click on How to Apply to complete the secure online application and upload your resume. You may also mail your cover letter/resume/application and salary requirements to Human Resources Office at 1401 61st Street S, Gulfport, FL 33707 or email to hr@law.stetson.edu   Resume review will begin on February 27, 2017.  The position will remain open until filled.

The Stetson University community is dedicated to being one of inclusive excellence, where people from all backgrounds can live, learn, work and contribute.

Stetson University is an Equal Opportunity Employer that affirms cultural diversity and inclusion as a core value of academic excellence at Stetson University. We are committed to achieving equal access in education, employment, and participation through the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty, staff, and students from diverse backgrounds, and to meaningful academic and intellectual transformation in curriculum, research and service. We are dedicated to actions and policies that foster a community in which individuals with various identities, cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints work together to create opportunities for engagement through rewarding and fulfilling careers and personal experiences in a culturally and racially diverse society and a globalized world. We strongly encourage members of historically under-represented and economically-disadvantaged groups and women to apply for employment. Stetson University is an EEO, ADA, ADEA, and GINA employer.

February 13, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Director of Academic Enhancement/LRW Position at U of Kentucky

University of Kentucky College of Law

Advertisement for Director of Academic Enhancement/Assistant Professor of Legal Research & Writing

The University of Kentucky College of Law invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Enhancement and Assistant Professor of Legal Research & Writing beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year.  The successful candidate will oversee all aspects of the Academic Enhancement program at the College of Law. This includes planning the Academic Enhancement Pre-Orientation Legal Reasoning program, teaching regular Academic Enhancement workshops, and continuing to enhance the College of Law’s Bar Exam Support program.

In addition, the successful applicant will usually teach one section of legal writing in the first-year Legal Research and Writing course. The course is a year-long, four-credit course that introduces first-year law students to legal writing, analysis, and research.  Law librarians teach the research component of the course, which is approximately 1 of the 4 credits. Thus, the new faculty member must be able to work collaboratively with other faculty involved in the Legal Research and Writing program.

The position offers an initial contract as Director of Academic Enhancement and Assistant Professor of Legal Research and Writing (clinical title series) for a term not to exceed three years.  After the initial appointment period, the successful candidate will be eligible for renewable five-year appointments. The salary will be commensurate with experience.  This is a twelve-month appointment due to the requirements of the Academic Enhancement program. 

Qualified candidates will have a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school, a distinguished academic record, strong analytical, writing, and research skills, and substantial legal-practice experience (a minimum of three years is strongly preferred). Experience teaching in higher education and knowledge of adult learning theory is preferred.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, C.V. or resume, writing sample, and at least three references. Apply online for requisition # FE00870 at www.uky.edu/hr/ukjobs. Applicants who submit their materials by March 1, 2017, are assured consideration, but applications received after that date will be reviewed until the position is filled. For further information, please contact Scott R. Bauries, Chair of the Appointments Committee, at scott.bauries@uky.edu.

The University of Kentucky College of Law is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

  1. The position advertised:

     __   a.   is a tenure-track appointment.

     _X_ b.   may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.

     __   c.   may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.

     __   d.  has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.

     __   e.  is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.

     __   f.   is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

  1. The professor hired:

    _X_ a.   will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings (with some limitations).

     __   b.   will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

  1. The school anticipates paying an annual 12-month base salary in the range checked below. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; a base salary does not include conference travel or other professional development funds.)

___ over $120,000

_X_ $110,000 - $119,999

_X_$100,000 - $109,999

_X_ $90,000 - $99,999

_X_ $80,000 - $89,999

_X_ $70,000 - $79,999

___ $60,000 - $69,999

___ $50,000 - $59,999

___ less than $50,000

___ this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000

___this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

  1. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:

_X_ a.   30 or fewer

_X_ b.   31 - 35

_X_  c.   36 - 40

__   d.   41 - 45

__   e.   46 - 50

 __   f.    51 - 55

 __   g.   56 - 60

 __   h.   more than 60

February 13, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Waiting

Writing papers is a drag.  I think it's a safe generalization to say that most students, when faced with a writing assignment, start down the primrose path of procrastination, which pushes people to panic and plot putting down their pencils in the p.m. instead of producing a page of proper paragraphs or poetic prose, probably producing protracted palsy and palm sweat with poisonous prophecy and postgraduate poverty, prayer, and pupil pressure.

Basically, anticipating starting the work is the worst part.

So, instead of waiting until you have a few clear hours or a clear day to do your work (in most cases, seemingly the day before it is due), try to do a little bit every day as soon as you get the assignment.  Fifteen or 30 minutes every day adds up, and once you get started, your brain will likely come up with ideas during your downtime, making the entire project a lot easier and giving you time to edit and rethink the way you might be analyzing or phrasing things.

If you don't believe me, believe Tom Petty:

The Waiting -- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

(Alex Ruskell)

 

February 10, 2017 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Should I Be My Students' Teacher or Their Coach?

I just came out of a great conference.  However, it wasn't a great conference because it made me feeling better.  In fact, I left the event realizing how far I often fall short of the mark as a teacher.  But, it was great...in the sense that I learned (or perhaps re-learned) some key principles...that I can bank on in trying to BECOME a better teacher.  

So, let me cut to the chase.  Based on the principles shared by conference leader Dr. Maryellen Weimer, Professor Emeritus at Penn State University, I started to think that I might be trying too hard to teach my students.  That's right.  I might be trying so much to help my students learn that I leave very little for them to do, which is to say, that I leave them no room for learning.

You see, according to Dr. Weimer, I can't actually "learn anything for my students."  Rather it's my students that are the learners.  And, to be frank, learning is just plain hard work.  It's messy.  Its discomforting.  It's even downright excruciating sometimes.  But, I often don't want my students to feel that sort of uncomfortable frustration that is required to generate real learning.  Or, as Dr. Weimer put it, "we are often doing a lot of the hard messy work of our students" by making decisions for them, which, if true, means that our students are not truly learning.  In short, we are just teaching them to be dependent on us rather than coaching them to succeed as independent learners, to put it in my own words.

So, my sense is that my students need less of me as a teacher and more of me as a coach.  They need me to step out of the limelight, to give them fresh air to try, to let them work hard and ponder mightily as they grapple with the course materials.  That's because learning is personal.  It therefore requires lots of practice.  It requires deep engagement in the materials.  It requires sometimes (or even often) failing.

But, as Dr. Weimer pointed out, my students often do not see me fail.  Instead, they often see me demonstrating how to succeed (i.e. teaching!).  But, I didn't learn the materials through success.  Rather, I learned the materials through lots of rough 'n tumble practice (and that means through lots of trials, errors, and downright embarrassing mistakes).

So, Dr. Weimer encouraged me (us) to open up with our students, to admit our mistakes, to let our students have empowered agency to personally engage with the materials.  In short, it's time for me to teach from the sidelines, and, that means that I am not "making the big plays for my students." Instead, I am their coach on the sidelines and they are the players moving the ball downfield as learners.  That's a game that I am excited about watching.  Oh, and by the way, taking Dr. Weimer's words to heart, I admitted to my students just today that I have made lots and lots of mistakes on the path to learning how to become a lawyer, and it was through walking through those experiences that I truly learned.  (Scott Johns).

February 9, 2017 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Learning Styles, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Law School Diversity Professionals Annual Meeting

Information about this April 27-28 conference was recently posted to the ASP Listserv. The information is here: Download ASP-L6688 AMLSDP - Conference Hotel Rooms Available.

February 7, 2017 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Learning Curve Winter Issue and Next Submission Deadline - March 15

Through The Learning Curve, we hope their works here can enrich all of our work in law teaching and support.  And if you have something to contribute to the conversation, the submission deadline for next issue of The Learning Curve is March 15, 2017.  Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate, and attached as a Word file.  Please send your submissions to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com.    

The Winter 2017 issue of The Learning Curve is here: Download The Learning Curve (Winter 2017).

February 6, 2017 in Publishing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

SCASP Workshop Information

5th Annual Southwestern Consortium of Academic Support Professionals Workshop

Outside the Box:  Creative Strategies in Academic Support

at University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas on March 3, 2017

The Southwestern Consortium of Academic Support Professionals will host a one day conference focused on creative solutions to help students succeed.  ASP departments face the daunting task of reaching a new generation of learners with diminishing budgets.  Academic Support Professionals must adapt faster than most in academia, so we hope to provide a range of ideas to help all programs from first-year to bar passage. 

Registration is open to anyone interested in academic support.  The registration form is attached.  Return it to Elizabeth Bangs at ebangs@law.utexas.edu.  UT School of Law is located in Texas’ capital city of Austin.  Austin’s music scene and beautiful weather will make this a great place to visit in early March.

Hotel Information

A block of rooms has been reserved at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at 1900 University Avenue, Austin, TX 78705.  This hotel is located on campus.  You can book your room online at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/UTLAWA0317.

Conference Dinner – March 2nd

The University of Texas School of Law is hosting an awesome dinner cruise on Lady Bird Lake Thursday night prior to the workshop.  It will be a can’t miss event with a cash bar.  A bus will pick everyone up at the hotel around 5pm and bring everyone back after the cruise.  Please let us know if you plan to attend the dinner so we have an accurate count.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Steven Foster (sfoster@okcu.edu)

Director of Academic Achievement at Oklahoma City University

Elizabeth Bangs (ebangs@law.utexas.edu)

Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at University of Texas School of Law

(See the ASP Listserv announcement for the attached Registration Form.)

Schedule

March 2nd:

Dinner for anyone arriving early.

March 3rd:

9-9:50 – Using a Practical Skills Curriculum to Improve Academic Success – Ellen Pryor and team from UNT Dallas’ School of Law

10-10:50 – Practical Methods to Integrate a Growth Mindset into the Curriculum – Carrie Sperling from the University of Wisconsin School of Law

11-11:50 – Utilizing Early Assessment Tools to Help At-Risk Students in First Semester – Camesha Little and DeShun Harris from Texas A&M University School of Law

12-12:50 – Lunch

1-1:50 – A Deep Look at Variables that Predict Bar Exam Outcome – Cassie Christopher from Texas Tech School of Law

2-2:50 – Providing the Last Piece of Supplemental Instruction to Get Students Passed the Bar – Scott Johns from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law

February 5, 2017 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

NY Academic Support Workshop Coming Up

Dear ASP friends;

We are pleased to announce this year’s full-day NY Academic Support Workshop, to be held from 9:30 to 5:30 at New York Law School on March 31st.  This will be an intimate gathering of academic support professionals and colleagues actively working to learn from one another. 

As is our usual practice, the afternoon sessions of the workshop will have an open agenda and room to include any subject of interest to those in attendance, while the morning sessions will be centered on a specific topic. For this year’s morning session we would like to concentrate on interactive/experiential learning and academic support. What new ideas do you have for interactive ASP exercises? Is the new emphasis on experiential learning inherently ASPish? Is ASP inherently experiential? Is there any tension in the curriculum between the two? Any and all insights, discussions, ideas or activities on this topic will be welcome.

One thing that makes all ASP gatherings exciting has always been our unique emphasis on collaboration—ASP folks DO things together so that we can learn together. NY Workshop participants work with one another to develop or enhance our individual lessons, materials, presentations, or any other part of our professional endeavors.  No one who comes is allowed to be a back-bencher.  If you would like to attend, please let us know whether you want to share one of your own materials or ideas, lead a discussion on a topic we all wrestle with etc., or comment on ideas presented by other participants, or both. And please let us know whether you think your topic/question/issue/material/presentation lends itself more to our morning’s theme or to the open-ended part of our day.  When we confirm who will attend and what specific questions the participants plan to address we will send out a finalized workshop agenda. 

RSVP to Kris and Linda, at addresses below and cc’d above. Since this workshop is not a formal conference, there will be no fee to attend. 

We hope to see many of you soon!

Kris Franklin                                  Linda Feldman                                                  

New York Law School                  Brooklyn Law School                      

kris.franklin@nyls.edu                   linda.feldman@brooklaw.edu                    

February 4, 2017 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Easy

If you are taking the February Bar exam, remember there are several easy things you can do to score points:

  1.  On the MPT, follow the directions -- If the task memo says that argument titles have to contain a legal argument or that you don't need to talk about some issue, make sure you do what it says.  Imagine if you were writing whatever the assignment is for your boss or a judge -- imagine how ticked he or she would be if you didn't follow a simple direction.
  2. Pretend essay and MPT questions are real life -- Don't view the bar exam as some abstract hoop you have to jump through.  What would real people do in this situation?  For example, if you were in court trying to convince a judge that a child of divorced parents should be allowed to move to a different state, would you say "The wife has put things in place to keep the husband involved in their child's life" or would you say  "Wife has installed FaceTime on her child's computer, set up a weekly FaceTime date with husband, bought Xbox gold so father and child can play Halo together, and scheduled a trip every 15th of the month for child to see father"? 
  3. Plan for the worst on bar exam day -- Study so much that it doesn't throw you off your game if your computer catches fire or the person next to you cries.  Have a backup plan for getting to the bar exam if there is a transit strike or your car is stolen.
  4. Don't panic if you don't know the exact rule -- Even if you have never studied family law, you could probably guess that the best interests of a child include mental and physical health, friends, and his or her relationship with his or her parents.  Even if you don't remember the elements for adverse possession, you could probably guess it needs to be open and notorious, and that you don't necessarily get the entire parcel if you just possess part of it.  
  5. Always build around a rule -- IRAC is your friend!  If you don't state some clear rule in the first or second sentence of an essay, you're probably just rambling.
  6. Don't skip MBE questions -- You only have 1.8 minutes per question -- how is coming back later going to help?
  7. Don't talk yourself out of MBE answers -- You've studied and gone to law school.  Most of the time, your first choice is more likely to be right than the second one that you only chose because you spent 30 seconds talking yourself out of the first choice.
  8. There's not a lot of new things under the sun -- More than likely, questions and essays will focus on that subject's major points of law (i.e., negligence, diversity jurisdiction, intestacy, etc.).  Do a lot of practice questions in those areas.
  9. This is not the time to be nice to yourself -- You only have a few weeks left, so study as much as you can.  You can relax and kick back later.
  10. For the love of all that is good, stay off the Internet --  Salt-throwing cooking videos are fun, but not helpful.  Social media political discussions are pointless.  You will not miss anything important if you take an Internet (and phone) break for the next few weeks.  If the earth is visited by aliens, someone will let you know.
  11. Keep everything easy -- The Commodores -- Easy                                                                                         (Alex Ruskell)

February 3, 2017 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Friendly "To-Dos" in Preparation for the February Bar Exam!

February Bar-Takers!

Here's a list of friendly "to dos" as you prepare for success on your bar exam (adapted from Pass the Bar!):

  1. Confirm the exam location, times, transportation solutions, and parking locations, etc.
  2. Pack your bar exam items (i.e., baggies, pencil sharpeners, extension cord, etc.).
  3. Plan your lunches (i.e., bring a cooler-filled lunch in case the lines are too long at restaurants).
  4. Test your games plans and memory for each subject area (two subjects per day) by rehearsing, writing, talking, singing, etc., your lines.
  5. Practice 34 MBE questions per day & one essay question to keep you in the flow for success.
  6. Get exercise every day!
  7. Start going to bed early to adjust for bar exam time!
  8. Plan how you'll celebrate once all of the hard work of bar exam preparation is successfully completed in just two weeks.
  9. And, remind yourself daily why you will pass your bar exam!  (Scott Johns)

February 2, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Simulated Exam Meltdown

      Most bar review programs include a simulated practice exam which might be a full MBE, a full written day, or a combination. First time bar takers might be apprehensive about completing the simulated exam under timed circumstances but they typically complete the task because they are fearful of not doing what they need to do to be successful on the bar exam. For repeat bar takers, it is a little more of a challenge. Repeat bar takers hold on to memories of all of the effort they previously put forth and the negative result it yielded. Often, these students might either start but never finish the simulated exam or complete the simulated exam but experience emotional trauma. For students who finish the task, the raw score is a verdict on how they will perform on the exam. When things seem to fall apart, this is the time to remain optimistic, not give up, and expect the best. Keeping the exam in perspective is imperative.

      The bar exam is only a few weeks away so be realistic about what you can accomplish in the weeks and days to come, cater to your weaknesses because what you are afraid of will show up on your exam, visualize the exam taking process, and be positive. Good luck to all of the February bar takers. (Goldie Pritchard)

February 1, 2017 in Bar Exam Preparation, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meet Goldie Pritchard, Contributing Editor

GPritchard Picture 2 (1)

I am Goldie Pritchard and I love what I do!  I recognize that it is quite rare for one’s passion and proficiency to intersect but please do not think that I am not challenged on a regular basis. I serve as one of two Co-Directors of the Academic Success Program at Michigan State University College of Law (MSU-COL) and as Adjunct Professor.  I have worked at MSU-COL for seven and a half years now and had the unique opportunity to create and establish the academic support program we currently have which is now an integral part of the law college.  I started as Interim Director and later became Co-Director providing general academic support and bar exam preparation support.  As an adjunct professor, I teach Effective Legal Analysis and Process, a 1L course and Problem-Solving in Contracts, a bar preparation course.  For approximately two and half years, I served as Director of the Legal Education Opportunity, a conditional admission program MSU-COL no longer offers.  When I was a law student, my mentor encouraged me to enter the academic support workforce but I resisted for a period of time.  Who knew that years later, this would be the best professional move for me.

I also serve as advisor to the Black Law Student Association and participate in various support programs lead by the Diversity Services Office and targeting students of color.  For my own professional development, I strive to stay engaged with the Academic Support Section of Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) by serving on committees.  I had the opportunity to chair the ASP section program at AALS one year and to present at AASE another year. 

Writing for the Law School Academic Support Blog has been a rewarding experience for me thus far.  It gives me an opportunity to reflect on what I do, how I do it, how to maximize impact with limited resources, and how to best engage students in their learning.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.

January 31, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 30, 2017

States Banning the New MacBook Pro for the February Bar Exam

A number of states are banning the use of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for the February bar exam because of issues with fully disabling the touch bar functions when using ExamSoft.  ASPers at law schools may want to check out the recent chain of emails on the ASP Listserv.  Some state bars have started posting official announcements on their websites. Keep a watch for what your state is doing.

 

January 30, 2017 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)