Sunday, April 24, 2005

In the Academic Support Spotlight

MorrisseyCorinne Morrissey
Director, Academic Achievement Program
The John Marshall Law School, Chicago

B.A. Swarthmore College
J.D. Loyola University School of Law

Corinne has been a member of the Academic Support Community for sixteen years!  She has much to offer those of us who are (actual or relative) newcomers.  When you are perplexed about how to handle an academic support situation at your law school, bounce your ideas off Corinne Morrisey.  (djt)

Corinne Morrissey knows something about transitioning to a new profession, as many of her students are doing.  Morrissey was an administrative assistant in the litigation department at Baker & McKenzie before enrolling in law school.  “I was very familiar with cases and case law because of the work I did,” she says, “so I decided to earn a law degree.”

As an evening student, Morrissey continued her work at the law firm, and was hired by the firm after she passed the bar.  She worked for Baker & McKenzie until 1989 when she transitioned again as the academic support person at The John Marshall Law School.  She was the first person to hold this full-time position and created a network of services to assist students struggling with their adjustments to law school.

Today Morrissey heads the Academic Achievement Program which provides advice and resources as the situation warrants. Its primary efforts are directed to helping students: 1) Transition from undergraduate school or the workplace to the rigors of law school; 2) Meet the challenging experiences of law school; 3) Transition from law school to preparation for the bar exam and the workplace. 

Drawing on her experience grading bar exams, Morrissey has worked with students to prepare for the bar.  She created and wrote the Writing for the Practice of Law course. She organizes workshops on such topics as outlining and lectures on bar exam essay questions.  She also sets practice times for students to take the Multistate Bar Examination, and she brings in speakers to help make students aware of the challenges the exam may present.

“The bar exam can be a very scary thing.  We work with our students to help get them ready for those two days so that they aren’t traumatized by it,” Morrissey said.  “Yes, the bar exam is a lot of work, but we believe that our efforts of working with students from their first semester through their last semester helps them realize that perseverance is important, and success is possible.”

Outside of John Marshall, Morrissey provides pro bono legal services through Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.  She and her husband, Frank, enjoy traveling in their free time.

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