Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

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 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"


"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"  


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


(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, " 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)."

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:  

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 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:

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 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

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.


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

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
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

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.

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.


 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.

 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.

 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

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Incoming Associate Dean for Academic and Professional Success Morris Ratner at
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.

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:  (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

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.


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)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

NCBE Missed An Opportunity

Thank you to Jamie Kleppetsch for sharing the link to Louis Schulze's post on PrawfsBlog regarding NCBE's missed opportunity regarding cognitive load and adding Civil Procedure to the MBE. The link to the post is here: Adding Civil Procedure to the Bar Exam.

July 5, 2016 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Assistant Director for Academic Affairs Position at Catholic University of America

The following new position was announced on the listserv by Maura DeMouy, Assistant Dean for Student Support, at Catholic University:

Dear ASP Colleagues,

I am happy to let you know about an exciting new opportunity at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law as Assistant Director for Academic Affairs. The Assistant Director position will report to me and is a 12-month, full-time, non-faculty staff position.
This position carries two primary responsibilities. One is to support our students in successfully gaining admission to the bar of their choice. This responsibility in turn involves two main activities: (1) implementing and managing the law school’s efforts to support our student’s success in passing relevant bar examinations (mostly in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and New York); and (2) supervising preparation of bar certifications for all relevant jurisdictions (nationwide). Pursuit of the first activity will most likely involve significant counseling and coaching of students, both in groups and individually. Pursuit of the second activity will be supported by an Administrative Assistant II in the Office of Academic Affairs.  Part of this overall responsibility will also involve the collection and maintenance of data regarding the bar exam experience of our students, and the appropriate analysis and reporting of that data. It will also involve the regular monitoring of, and reporting on, bar admissions requirements, and bar exam characteristics, in all relevant jurisdictions.
The second primary responsibility of this position is to implement and manage our ongoing academic support efforts at the law school. Again, discharge of this responsibility is likely to involve significant counseling and coaching of students, both in groups and individually. It will also likely involve the development and deployment of resources of particular use to students having academic difficulty.  The individual in this position will also tailor counseling and support for students with disability accommodations.
Beyond these two primary responsibilities, the position more generally supports the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, the Assistant Dean for Academic Services and Registrar, and the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Dean of Students in the work of the Office of Academic Affairs. To see the position description or apply, please click here.


July 2, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Brexit: Lessons in Democracy and the Rule of Law

I am sitting in a flat in London watching one of the Brexit wrap-up news shows. As someone who teaches EU Law and Comparative Law: The English Legal System, the referendum vote and aftermath have been fascinating.

I always encourage the students in my courses to "take off their U.S. spectacles" and try to understand the views and processes of other legal systems. Law students have certainly had an interesting year to watch in Europe with the migrant crisis, terrorist attacks, and Brexit.

For those who have not been following the happenings across the pond, let me do a quick summary of the action.

  • As part of the party manifesto in the last General Election, the winning Conservative (Tory) Party promised to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership in the European Union and to then hold a referendum on membership.
  • In February, the renegotiated terms with the EU were finalized; the Prime Minister had negotiated new terms in several areas with disagreement in the UK as to the success of those negotiations.
  • Within days of the renegotiated terms, the Prime Minister set the date for a referendum on whether to remain in the EU.
  • The official campaign for remaining was named Britain Stronger in Europe - colloquially Remain; the official campaign for leaving was named Vote Leave - colloquially Leave.
  • The pre-vote campaigns and debates leaned heavily on speculative promises on what Brexit would involve, mudslinging, name calling, and lying with statistics; UK citizens voiced frustration on not knowing what to believe.
  • On June 23rd, UK citizens voted in a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union.
  • The vote was in favor of leaving the EU - rounded 52% leave and 48% remain.
  • London, Scotland, and Northern Island voted strongly for remain; England and Wales voted strongly for leave.
  • Voters over 65 voted mainly to leave; 18-24 year-olds voted mainly to remain.
  • Approximately 83% of older voters turned out while 35% of younger voters turned out.
  • The main issues debated were the economy, immigration, and sovereignty.
  • The Conservative (Tory) Party was split between Remain and Leave campaigners.
  • The Labour Party was part of the Remain campaign; Labour voters mainly voted for leave.
  • The Liberal Democrats Party stood for Remain, but was fairly quiet during the campaign.
  • The UKIP Party focused mainly on national identity and immigration. (Note: there are three main parties and additional parties in the UK; UKIP is a right nationalist party.)
  • The Remain campaign focused mainly on the economy; the Leave campaign focused mainly on national identity and immigration.

The aftermath?

  • David Cameron, the Prime Minister, will resign as soon as the Conservative (Tory) Party chooses a new leader at its September party conference. (Note: the electorate votes for the governing party and not the P.M. in the UK; so the 150,000 party faithful will determine the new P.M.)
  • Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, is being attacked for his lack of leadership for the Remain campaign. Many of his shadow cabinet members have resigned, and there is a call for his resignation after a no-confidence vote among Labour MPs.
  • There are calls for a General Election in the near future. (Note: the governing party determines when an election is held within its 5-year governing period.)
  • Pro-EU Scotland is talking about a new referendum to leave the UK; and its First Minister has been meeting with EU leaders.
  • The pound fell to its lowest level since 1985 on Friday and has stayed depressed.
  • Shares fell steeply on Friday in all world markets - especially banking shares - and have not fully recovered.
  • The Governor of the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have made statements to reassure the country of the economic stability of the UK.
  • The Prime Minister met with EU leaders at an emergency meeting in Brussels; the other 27 Member States' leaders then met without him to discuss the 2-year UK withdrawal process required under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty as a result of the referendum.
  • Some are predicting the disintegration of the EU because the exit of the UK will trigger exits of other Member States. (Note: there are 28 Member States including the UK.)
  • Remain campaigners are pointing fingers; Leave campaigners are back-peddling on "promises" they made before the vote.

The UK firmly believes in the democratic process. The democratic process can be messy. At first glance, democracy seems to be causing pain within the UK for the short-term and possibly longer. Most say that 500+ years of parliamentary democracy show that the UK will survive this blip. Rule of law is firmly in place in the UK.

The business now is for the UK government to unify, determine the desired future for the UK, and begin negotiations with the EU for the withdrawal. The EU needs to get down to the business of negotiations that will be fair to the UK and to the EU and stabilize the EU.

Hopefully, these global happenings will give our law students food for thought about democracy, rule of law, leadership, and globalization. How the UK handles Brexit will provide additional lessons on democracy in the next months and years. The importance of democratic processes is front and center for all.

Now we, and our law students, get to watch our own example of democracy as the election process plays out. No matter what our political views, we need to understand our important roles in democracy as citizens and as lawyers who protect those democratic processes and the rule of law. (Amy Jarmon)


June 30, 2016 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Practice MBE Aftermath

Unlike the fear of the bar exam essay, bar studiers tend to face the practice MBE exam head on. Maybe because with multiple choice questions the correct answer is included in the answer options and one has a one in four chance of uncovering it.  Also, one could attribute poor performance on the MBE to the format of the exam, multiple choice questions.  Either way, comprehensive information recall is not perceived as imperative because of the hope that facts might trigger recollection.  The challenge is whether recollection is accurate or complete. 

Post practice MBE, three categories of bar studiers emerge: (1) the Confident Conqueror, (2) the Insecure Naysayer, and (3) the Earnest Hard Worker.

The Confident Conqueror likely met or exceeded the benchmark for “success.”  This person is excited and might even be arrogant about their achievement.  They know that they will pass the bar exam.  Social media might be where they announce their achievement or they might share their score with students in their bar review course.  For some, this achievement provides confidence and energy needed to effectively continue the process.  For others, this success is detrimental because laziness, procrastination, or bad study habits takeover.   

The Insecure Naysayer is the polar opposite of the Confident Conqueror.  This person is devastated because they failed to meet or barely met the benchmark for “success.” They previously may have been fearful and intimidated by the bar study process but they are even more fearful now.  Complaining may have been a habit for this person but now they have justification for their frustration.  Following the study schedule, completing assignments, and carefully following the program did not yield expected results.  They are convinced that they will not pass the bar exam. 

The Earnest Hard Worker is somewhere in between the Confident Conqueror and the Insecure Naysayer.  This person’s performance might be in the middle of the pack or they may have failed or achieved the benchmark for “success.”  Regardless of their performance, this person is working smart and not hard.  They are self-aware and aware of the progression in their studies.  They may have challenging moments but they can always pick themselves up or  rally individuals who can help.

Whether bar studiers find themselves in one of these categories or none of them, maintaining a hopeful and positive attitude combined with hard work is necessary for success. (Goldie Pritchard)

June 29, 2016 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why Are Law Students Not Always Prepared for the Rigor of Law School?

Academic support professionals at law schools have noticed that new law students are often coming in to the study of law without the same basic study habits and critical reading and thinking skills that we would have seen previously. Although the knee-jerk reaction would be to blame it on the falling number of applicants and those applicants' credential erosion, I think that would be a mistake. The lack of study habits and skills is not just limited to those with the lowest credentials. It is prevalent across entering classes and cannot be explained just by LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs.

A number of factors in undergraduate education (and no doubt earlier education) seem to be linked to students coming into law school without the background study habits and skills that we have long expected entering law students to have. Here are some of the things that students who did very well in college commonly tell me about their undergraduate experiences:

  • Most students studied only 15-20 hours per week at the most. Many will tell me that they made As and Bs with even less studying.
  • The course examinations often required them to memorize information and merely regurgitate it onto the paper to get high grades.
  • Examinations were not comprehensive over the semester's entire course material; exams typically covered no more than 2-4 weeks of material.
  • Because examinations covered limited material, cramming was the successful study method for high grades. Students did not study to retain information for long-term memory and later use, but rather to dump it and forget it.
  • Students often took courses and had majors that they never planned to use the information from in the future. Thus, cramming for high grades had few or no long-term effects for many of them.
  • Students often were allowed to drop the lowest grade among the 4 or 5 tests they took for a course.
  • Students often commented that professors rarely graded papers for punctuation, grammar, word choice, or style. "They just wanted to know my ideas."
  • Many students mention they had never written a paper longer than 5 pages in college. Some had never written anything longer than 2 pages.
  • Students delayed any work on papers until a few days before they were due because they could get high grades on first drafts.

Although students are warned throughout orientation programs about the differences in law school, students who end up in academic difficulty often state that "I thought they were talking to everyone else." It is often difficult for students who have been successful on little studying and cramming to change their habits.

The students who listen to the warnings that law school is different and "up their game" with more study hours often choose study habits that focus only on class survival and required papers. They do not always realize the importance of regular review and long-term memory for comprehensive semester exams, the future bar exam, and practice. They do not realize the importance of practice questions to apply concepts. They may miss the importance of building skills across classes that will be used every day in practice.

Professional practice as a lawyer requires a different approach toward education by law students. Our dilemma is to determine how to provide the study habits and skills not attained in lower education so that law students can be successful in law school and ultimately in practice. (Amy Jarmon) 


June 28, 2016 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)