Wednesday, April 13, 2005

In the Academic Support Spotlight

FranklinKris Franklin
Associate Professor of Law
Director of the Academic Skills Program
New York Law School
J.D., NYU School of Law, 1992
B.A., Yale University, 1989
NYU Rev. of Law & Soc. Change, Editor-in-Chief

Professor Franklin joined the New York Law School faculty in 2002.  She describes her position as "...leading a team of New York Law School faculty dedicated to teaching sophisticated legal reasoning skills to all entering law students, and to providing direct intervention to students who struggle after their first semester of law school."

Prior to joining the NYLS faculty she taught for six years in the Lawyering program at NYU School of Law, where she participated in a study group investigating adult learning theory and legal pedagogy, and experimenting with methods for methods for teaching skills to beginning law students.

Before beginning teaching, Kris spent four years as a staff attorney with the Brooklyn Office of the Legal Aid Society. In her practice Kris focused primarily on housing and family law, but also covering public benefits and immigration cases.  She conducted numerous trials, hearings, and appellate arguments. Kris continues to take on pro bono cases in her spare time, and frequently engages in direct action activism around such issues as bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender rights, reproductive freedom, opposition to the death penalty, support for services to the poor, and preservation of community gardens.

Relatively new to the academic support field, Kris has tried to learn as much as possible from those who have been at it for a while.  In addition to attending conferences and reading published ASP literature, Kris has regularly brought experienced academic support professionals together in her semi-annual New York Area Academic Support Workshops.  She currently serves on the Board of the AALS Section on Academic Support.

Long a non-conformist and an activist in the political realm, Kris Franklin brings a talent for creative and unconventional thinking to her teaching of legal analysis and to her leadership of the Academic Skills Program. "I've always felt the traditional law school curriculum, and the traditional ways of teaching law, leave both the students and the clients underserved," Kris says. "The standard approach can be quite narrow, and it doesn't necessarily train people to be good, thoughtful, effective attorneys.  There have to be better ways to reach and teach a far greater range of students.  If we can develop them, we can not only help more students, but perhaps better understand and strengthen the foundations of legal education for everyone."

Kris's scholarship focuses on rhetorical analysis in law, with her published works, both academic and non-academic, also mirroring her political interests in gender roles, diverse family structures, and sexual identity.  Her most recent article explores the necessity of theoretical skills for students learning legal reasoning.

Kris designs and builds furniture in her spare time.  At any given moment at least some small portion of her attention is probably devoted to power tools.  (Photo by John Halpern)

(djt)

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