Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pass the Bar!

Do you think we could pressure the publishers for an earlier release date?

Right about now, four weeks before the TEST at the end of the month, I would like to pull the book Pass the Bar! off of my bookshelf and refer to the study strategies, "checklists, exercises, and reflection questions" for some fresh ideas to present to students who are amid (or mired in) bar preparation.

Too bad it won't be released until November. 

Two experienced folks in the world of teaching law students wrote the book:  Denise Riebe, who teaches at Duke University School of Law and at the University of North Carolina, and Michael Hunter Schwartz, who teaches at Charleston School of Law and wrote Expert Learning for Law Students (Carolina Academic Press).

Order your examination copy in advance by visiting the Carolina Academic Press on the web.  I've already pre-ordered mine.  (els)

June 30, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bankruptcy and the Bar

Investigating Bar Applicants Who File Bankruptcy

Students sometimes ask me about how their credit/debt status may impact the character and fitness determination when they apply to the bar.  Specifically, "What about the fact that I declared bankruptcy a few years ago?"

In a 2003 article appearing in The Bar Examiner, Bruce Long, the Florida Bar Examiners Director of Investigations, explored the subject of the impact of a bankruptcy filing on an applicant's character and fitness determination.

Since 1992, the Florida Board has denied admission of those applicants who have filed for bankruptcy protection only when fraud or misrepresentation is discovered.

Why 1992?  That's when the Florida Supreme Court overturned the Board's adverse recommendation regarding the application of "S.M.D.," who had declared bankruptcy, discharging both credit card debts and family loans.  This, the Board had ruled, "demonstrated financial irresponsibility" in that she had "purchased goods and services on credit beyond her ability to repay in a timely manner."  The Board also determined the applicant had disregarded her moral obligation (to repay) and included a false statement on her petition.

The court, finding "little or no dispute over the relevant facts," nevertheless did not "believe that her decision to declare bankruptcy was morally reprehensible." Florida Board of Bar Examiners re S.M.D., 609 So. 2d 1309, 1312 (Fla. 1992).

More on bankruptcy when I post next.  Stay tuned.  (djt)

June 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Virtual Citation World

I don't do The Bluebook.

You may.

I don't.  It's my own personal line in the sand. 

Students, who are accustomed to me rolling up my sleeves and digging into the work of helping them to improve all aspects of their 1L skills, are understandably taken aback at my definitiveness, which is often coupled with a referral to their legal writing professors.

Now I have a teaching tool to do the work for me.  Enter "CITESTATION." 

The folks at West have created an interactive citation course that can be added onto an existing TWEN Course.

As I sponsor a TWEN Course through the ASP Office at Vermont Law School to publicize events for students, to post the PowerPoint slides from my presentations, to give out handouts and to offer useful links for students, I just contacted the West technical assistance by phone (1-800-486-5876) and they promised to link it to my ASP TWEN Page.

The two CiteStation courses were created by:  Pamela Lysaght, U. of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Danielle C. Istl, U. of Windsor, Ontario,


Bradley G. Clary, U. of Minnesota Law School, and


Sharon Reich Paulson, U. of Minnesota Law School.

West will provide a printed manual for teachers, including the answers and the questions.  They plan to update the program in time for the fall semester start to reflect the editorial changes in the 18th Edition.  Once the updates are available, teachers will be prompted to update CiteStation when they log onto the exercise.

Hmn, so I don't do the Bluebook, but my TWEN site does; there's a new twist on delegation.  (els)

June 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Grades Are Out - Now What?

Are all the grades recorded?

Now that your students have their cumulative GPA's, and now that many of them are gone for the summer, how many students will review their exams?  Why should they?  What advice will you give them?  Ahh ... the answers to these questions may be within reach!

University of San Diego School of Law's Academic Support Program Director Janet Madden has created a short, incisive set of suggestions for students.  Consider sending your students this helpful link, along with your own commentary ... (djt)

June 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Studying with Music?

Mozart vs. Vivaldi

While in Las Vegas for the LSAC Academic Support conference, Daniel Dropko (Academic Excellence Program Manager at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law) and I briefly discussed the idea of recommending that students listen to classical (or other) music while studying.  Daniel mentioned the "Lozanov" approach and "suggestopedia" - neither of which were at all familiar to me ... so I asked him to send me information.

With his permission, I have reproduced Daniel's email for y'all below.

----- Original Message -----
From: Daniel Dropko
Sent: Wed Jun 15 12:15:38 EDT 2005
To: Dennis Tonsing
Subject: Studying while listening to Mozart

Dear Dennis,

    The listening/study experience I referred to in our hallway conversation is from a language learning technique called suggestopedia.  It was developed in Bulgaria by Georgi Lozanov, and although I have never actually tried or taught the system, it has a devoted following.

    The actual listening part is a component of a more complete lesson plan ... in which students sit in comfortable recliner chairs with headphones and listen to a dialogue that they have previously encountered which is read against a background of baroque music.  The underlying theory is that it is not the music itself, but the rhythmic pulse of approximately 60 beats per minute that produces alpha waves in the brain, which lead to a state of relaxation and reflection that aids in the retention of information.  Indeed, the singular achievement of suggestopedia is the ability of students to memorize and accurately reproduce very long dialogues.  Lozanov calls this component of the lessons "the concert". 

Vivaldiantonioenlarged     For whatever reason, the slow movements of early 18th century baroque concertos all seem to proceed at the 60 beat-per-minute pace.  (The concertos typically have three movements, the slow one being the one in the middle.)  Vivaldi is the composer of choice, since he wrote so many concertos and recordings are easy to find.  Others, however, should work (Corelli, for example).

Mozart     Other approaches similar to Lozanov's are usually grouped under the term "Superlearning", or its American derivative, SALT.  I am less familiar with these theories, but even more than Lozanov's work they tiptoe perilously close to New Age BS, and I am suspicious.  Lozanov's work, however, supposedly has a solid research base, though I have not studied it extensively and would probably never have even thought of it until you mentioned studying to Mozart.  (By the way, there is also apparently a "study to Mozart" school out there who claims that he, not the baroque composers, is the key.)  ... Daniel


June 28, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Welcome to Law School

Madison Michael J. Madison, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, teaches Contracts, Intellectual Property, and related subjects. 

Recently, Professor Madison posted advice to students about to begin law school, offering specific tips to the initiates.  Example: " If you are physically able to do so, get fit. Now. Walk, run, bike, swim, hike, climb – whatever works for you, get in the habit of getting out and getting sweaty."

Find his suggestions for the class of '08 here.  (This link takes you to part III of his "Welcome to Law School" posts ... links to parts I and II are at the bottom of the text of part III.)  (djt)

June 26, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Bumps in the Road

The Practice of Law Begins in Law School

Do we all agree that substance abuse, addiction, gambling, depression, and burnout are serious problems within the profession?  Do we all agree that they are also serious problems within our law schools? 

Benjamin For facts, figures and proactive recommendations, see Making the Most out of Law School, a power point slide show combining the expertise and talents of Professor Andy Benjamin (University of Washington School of Law) and Professor Paula Lustbader (Seattle University School of Law).

Professor Benjamin

"Practicing" law in law school is not limited to practicing working long hours and solving complex problems by careful analysis.  The "practice" must also include developing and maintaining . . .

  • self-knowledge
  • self-restraint
  • self-control
  • self-healing

One of the problems with bringing these issues to the forefront in law school is that many of the students have heard most of the temperance lectures in high school and, most recently, college.  "We're adults now."  Unfortunately, these are adult problems.  Suggestion: bring to their attention that these are problems lawyers encounter — law students can begin "practicing" for their law career by addressing the problems now, as lawyers do.  Do lawyers address these problems?  You bet. 

The General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section of the American Bar Association provides a wealth of reading material to help us and our students understand and cope with the many problems addressed by the Benjamin/Lustbader slides. 

Solo_magazine_1 An entire issue of GPSOLO, the section's magazine, is dedicated to problems associated with these "Bumps in the Road."  In the featured article, Myer J. (Michael) Cohen writes about long hours, demanding clients, and inhospitable work environments — a guaranteed recipe for stress, burnout, depression, and substance abuse. He reports that the organized bar is fighting back, helping lawyers regain health, save licenses, salvage families, and protect clients.  Query: Is your law school fighting back?

Just as excellent law students often become excellent lawyers, law students who succumb to these problems often become lawyers plagued by these problems. 

Other articles in this issue address:

  • Spotting addiction in colleagues.
  • Depression ("Are you suffering from a “blue” moment or the kind of depression that requires professional intervention?")
  • How to spot the signs of a gambling problem, and how to use a compulsive
    gambling defense when facing sentencing or disbarment proceedings.
  • Internet addiction (which is "... being identified as the culprit in an increasing number of divorce cases, child custody battles, criminal litigations, and law practice failures.")
  • Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (finding out "whether ADD is affecting your life.)
  • Recovery Success Stories ("Not everyone makes it to the other side, but these lawyers have. Here are their stories.")
  • The dangerous link between chronic office chaos, stress, depression, and substance abuse ("Last-minute panics, little pre-planning of case strategies, weak leadership, mismanagement of files, high turnover, and frequent client complaints — is this a snapshot of your office? If so, find
    out how to decrease office chaos and improve morale.")  [Is this similar to a snapshot of many of the students you assist?]
  • Protecting personal relationships ("Lawyers can unwittingly undermine relationships with family and friends when they bring home an
    adversarial turn of mind. Find out how to communicate with your loved ones.") [How many "breakups" and divorces did your student population experience last year?]

A note about Michael Cohen: He has a story to tell.  "In my own case, a 23 year history of dependence on drugs and alcohol led to the loss of my material possessions, my marriage, my family and friends, my ability to practice law, and finally my license."  He got it back.  Read his story beginning on the second page of Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company's bulletin, "The Risk Manager."

Consider directing some of these articles to the attention of your students.  (A quick Google search will lead you to pages featuring reprints of some of the individual articles ... examples: Bumps in the Road, Depression ... for more focused referral.)  (djt)

June 25, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

In The Spotlight: Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus


Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus is the Director of Academic Development and an Assistant Professor of Legal Methods at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Huntington, New York. 

Previously, she was an associate at a public sector labor law firm.

As Director of Academic Development since Fall 2003, Suzanne has coordinated all aspects of Touro’s Academic Development programs, which span the entire length of the legal educational process, from orientation to bar examination preparation and counseling. She is responsible for training and supervising teaching assistants, working with students on an individual basis, conducting skills training workshops, developing appropriate student work materials, coordinating bar-preparation programs, and implementing new services relevant to enhancing its students’ academic experience and performance. 

Before attending law school, Suzanne was a promotional and technical writer in the software, electronic, and medical device manufacturing  industries.  She believes her background in business and technology and her years in the workplace have helped to bring perspective, understanding, and appreciation to the study of law.   

Suzanne has published in the areas of contracts, labor law, the Fourth Amendment’s Exclusionary Rule, and federal preemption of state tort law as it relates to government regulation of medical devices. 

Bar_exam In the area of academic support and bar exam preparation, she has published Incorporating Bar Pass Strategies into Routine Teaching Practices in the Gonzaga Law Review, authored THE BAR EXAM IN A NUTSHELL for West Publications and is working on another publication for West entitled Mastering the Law School Exam, scheduled for publication in 2006.

In Fall 2004, her article, "A Response to the Society of American Law Teachers' Statement on the Bar Exam" was published in the Journal of Legal Education.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners adapted the article for publication in the May 2005 issue of The Bar Examiner. 

June 25, 2005 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lessons from the Practicing Attorneys

If you're still holding a law license or two you may find your state bar association a good locus for a useful training.  On Friday, I attended a day-long workshop entitled, "Time Mastery for Lawyers: 60 Ways to Maximize Your Productivity and Satisfaction," arranged by the New Hampshire Bar Association.


Frank Sanitate, a consultant from California, led the day-long trek through muddled calendars and undone to-do lists into a positive discussion of goal setting and strategies to free up more leisure time and to make work hours more efficient and satisfying. 

As the cover of his book on time management notes, his approach is "State-of-the-Heart Time Management."   

Dont_go_to_work_unless_its_funEven though I only recently left (or escaped, depending upon your perspective) the practice of law I was struck by how my memories have started to fade of the urgent demands of clients, the vagaries of court calendars and the headaches of scheduling depositions.   Sitting in a room discussing ways for a lawyer to schedule her time reminded me: a) of the privilege of teaching in a law school, and b) of the importance of keeping touch with the profession so that I can best help my students to prepare themselves through school to practice at an optimal level. 

Most astonishing was the lesson this business consultant gave to this member of the teaching profession:  how to keep a room full of attorneys engaged and interested for a full day.  My hat was off to him.  (els)

June 20, 2005 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Fundamental Skills

Revisiting the MacCrate Report

In 1992, an American Bar Association task force headed by Robert MacCrate issued a report, Legal Education and Professional Development: An Educational Continuum.  The "MacCrate Report" identified fundamental skills and values essential for competent lawyering - and, of course, had a very significant impact on the future of the curricula of all ABA approved law schools.

Maccrate_1 "...  American law schools cannot reasonably be expected to shoulder the task of converting ... students into full-fledged lawyers licensed to handle legal matters. ... a gap develops between the expectation and the reality ... . The lament of the practicing bar is a steady refrain: 'They can't draft a contract, they can't write, they've never seen a summons, the professors have never been inside a courtroom.' Law schools offer the traditional responses: 'We teach them how to think, we're not trade schools, we're centers of scholarship and learning, practice is best taught by practitioners.' 

* * *
"Early in its deliberations this Task Force concluded that it was not possible to consider how to 'bridge' or 'narrow' the alleged 'gap' between law schools and the practicing bar without first identifying the fundamental skills and values that every lawyer should acquire before assuming responsibility for the handling of a legal matter." (Quoting from the ABA web page summarizing the Report.)

The ABA summary continues, "The Statement of Skills and Values can serve as an aid to law students in preparing for practice. ... many law students are passive consumers of legal education: They lack an adequate understanding of the requirements for competent practice, the process by which a new member of the profession prepares for practice and attains competence, and the role that law schools play in that process. If the Statement of Skills and Values is distributed to all law students at the time they enter law school, students will begin their legal education with a clearer sense of the importance of acquiring skills and values in the course of professional development."

Not a bad idea.  (editorial comment)

What are these skills (and values)?  Click here for the list of ten skills (with many sub-categories ... you may need to scroll down to Chapter 5, section B).

Query: Aren't skills 1 through 5, and skill 9, those we can/should/do address in our Academic Support Programs?  Without these tools, skills, capabilities (call them what you will), lawyers face difficulties functioning as lawyers.  But without these same capabilities, law students simply cannot function at their highest "personal best" levels while in law school.

What do we teach in our Academic Support Programs?  I submit that we help law students morph into lawyers.  And we do so by helping them understand that law school truly is a preparation for the professional practice of law, but not in the way so many students think it is when they fill out their law school applications.  We do so by encouraging them to practice the fundamental lawyering "meta-skills." 

Doctrinal professors encourage the learning and use of doctrine; Academic Support professionals encourage the learning and use of lawyering skills.  (djt)

June 19, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

What Law Schools Are Doing to Accommodate Students with Learning Disabilities

Stone Are you involved in deciding whether a student qualifies (under the ADA) for accommodations?  Do you determine what those accommodations will be?  If so, you will find this (year 2000) article of interest.  Professor Donald H. Stone (University of Baltimore School of Law) explores the entire subject of accommodations for law students with learning disabilities.  (42 S. Tex. L. Rev. 19)

Relying on a study involving eighty law schools as well as case histories (several court decisions are presented and analyzed), Professor Stone discusses the most common procedures for properly accommodating law students.

In order to maintain fairness to the entire student body while making accommodations, Professor Stone suggests that proper identification and documentation of the disability must be performed by a qualified diagnostician.  He argues that too few schools have written policies and procedures for academic modifications for disabled students.

The article provides some useful quantitative benchmarks.  Example - "The majority of law schools that provide students with additional time to complete course examinations usually allow an average of one and one-half times the amount of time normally allowed for the exam." 

Professor Stone recommends that any student requesting accommodation should (1) be required to provide the documentation, and (2) submit the request to the Dean of Students, Disability Services Director, or other designated school officer.  Should professors be involved in the determination of whether/which accommodations are to be provided?  "In a significant majority of cases, professors have no input in the decision to provide an exam accommodation," he reports - and discusses the wisdom of this approach.

The article provides interesting statistical/geographical information. Example - "Comparing law schools by geographical region reveals a striking contrast in the role of the law professor in the decision to provide an academic modification in the course examination." 

Professor Stone includes comprehensive discussions of testing accommodations, testing formats, environmental control, alternative testing strategies, scoring accommodations, implications of test accommodations, and bar examination/admission issues.

This article provides valuable guidelines to any student unsure of the procedures for receiving accommodations for disabilities, and to academic support professionals who are interested in better accommodating their disabled students. (djt)

June 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Making Contracts Relevant

Robert M. Lloyd, Lindsay Young Distinguished Professor of Law at the University Tennessee_1of Tennessee College of Law, recently (Spring 2004) published an interesting article in the Arizona State Law Journal (36 Ariz. St. LJ. 257) - interesting to me, and I hope to y'all. 

My interest was piqued by these opening sentences: "The traditional first-year contracts course is a disaster.  There is almost nothing in the course that bears any relation to what lawyers really do.  Rather than teaching students what good lawyers do in representing parties to contracts, we just show them a lot of usually unsuccessful arguments that can be made where somebody screws up."

Professor Boyd offers "Thirteen Lessons for the First-Year Contracts Course" that relate directly to "what lawyers really do."  (Example - Lesson Ten: Perjury Does Occur - And the Good Guys Don't Always Wear White Hats.)

Most Academic Support folks don't teach Contracts - so why did this article appeal to me?   As an advocate of the concept that "The Practice of Law Begins Now" (in law school), I maintain that the more we can tie students' Firematchesacademic experiences to "what lawyers really do," the more we can keep the passion to practice (professionally) burning ... or in many cases, ignite the fire.

Do you remember your Criminal Law professor who actually defended criminals for a living for two decades? ...your Torts professor who had prevailed in some significant jury trials? ...your Constitutional Law professor who recounted her several arguments before the Supreme Court?  "War stories" (when artfully intertwined with doctrinal lessons) can enchant and inspire students.

Here's another novel thought: Could it be that infusing practical and useful information and exercises into presentation of substantive material will actually help our students become the lawyers they want to be?

Those of us in Academic Support  (a) who teach doctrinal subject matter and/or (b) who engage in pedagogic philosophy discussions with those who do, ought to maintain a bibliography of articles along these lines.  Send me some. 

As Ellen and I construct the left-side panel of this blog (to be introduced within weeks) we are hoping to build an electronic resource library/bibliography choc-fulla' info, links, articles and opinions of interest to our AcSup community members.  This - actually preparing students for "The Practice" through skills training and mastery, as well as through introduction of practical and useful substantive material - is one of the subjects we will feature.  (djt)

June 18, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 17, 2005

Briefing: A PowerPoint Slide Show

Are you planning to teach "case-briefing" during Orientation?

Would a pre-fab PPT slide-show help?

Try this: Ruth Ann McKinney's Power Point slide show.   You will need a user name (mckinney ... all lower case) and a password (reading4law ... all lower case).  Don't worry, Professor McKinney authorized the publication of her user name and password.   (djt)

June 17, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Recharged Batteries

Multiple Choice Question

Here's a multiple-choice question everyone should get right ...
A national conference is only as good as its:

   (a) Sponsoring organization
   (b) Development committee
   (c) Host school
   (d) Participants
   (e) Agenda and topics
   (f) Materials provided
   (g) All of the above.

I happened to find a kudo on my desk - next to the Westlaw paperweight - and I intend to gift-wrap it and send it to Kent Lollis.  I will hunt around the office for more, but I'm sure I could never find enough to send one to each deserving recipient.

Most of what I have learned about law school academic support has come directly from attendance at these LSAC national and regional conferences.  This summer conference was no exception. 

One of the greatest "lessons" learned - again and again at these gatherings - is that people involved in academic support are unusual.  In a good ... no, great ... way.  We don't just have jobs.  Most of us look at what we do more as a "calling."  What a great bunch to hang out with!

One of my colleagues at Roger Williams just asked me this morning, "Do you still get something out of these conferences?" 

"You bet," I responded.  I intend to make substantial changes - not just "tweaks" - to the Academic Support Program here ... all based on what I learned from my friends at the conference. 

And more importantly, each time I attend a conference, I extend my network ... that is, I find more and more people to turn to for advice when needed.  Believe me, I need it often. (djt)

June 16, 2005 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

What Happened In Vegas?

Logolsacnewwebsite_2 So maybe our in boxes are a bit fuller than those of you who stayed at home last week, but it was worth the trek to Las Vegas

First, a toast to our hosts, UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law and their ASP Director, Professor Pavel Wonsowicz, and LSAC, the organization that graciously covered our airfare, registration and most of the week's meals.



The Conference offered a day of events on Wednesday for newcomers, and the event kicked off with an opening reception and dinner that evening at the swanky Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, which, gratefully, had no slot machines to blink, beep, whistle or otherwise make a racket in the reception area, unlike the airport and most buildings on the strip, but that's another story.

After a rousing welcome by UNLV Dean Morgan, UMKC Dean Ellen Suni and President of the AALS Section on Academic Support led an exercise on how to select students for a first-semester ASP program.  Working through an exercise on how to whittle down a list of applicants for a program during break out sessions made for a lively debate.


Leading the discussion on whether to limit program sizes for academic assistance programs were Ann Iijima, William Mitchell College of Law, Carolyn Nygren, Nova Southeastern University - Shepard Broad Law Center, and Martha "Marty" Peters of University of Iowa College of Law.

After lunch, a new panel discussed program models that included UCLA's Kristen Holmquist, Whittier Law School's Mario Mainero, Roger Williams' & this blog's own Dennis Tonsing, Herbert "Herb" Ramy of Suffolk University Law School, and UNLV's Pavel Wonsowicz.

An evening in local restaurants, hosted by LSAC, gave us all terrific opportunities to swap ideas and stories about our programs, among other topics of idle and not so idle conversation.

(The following evening we got together in groups and enjoyed meals together as well)(L-R Dionne Koller, Alison Nissen, Ellen Swain, Jennifer Swezey, Marcia Goldsmith, Tracey Banks Coan).


While mention of the B-A-R passage rates can often stifle a conversation quickly, Friday's sessions offered some valuable suggestions on how to approach the issue at your school.

The afternoon offered a choice of six break-out sessions on topics varying from the role of academic support and the bar exam, program models, learning theory,Lusty training and evaluating teaching assistants, and ways to help students manage their time more efficiently.

Saturday's sessions offered a morning of discussion and braining storming about professional development and ways to achieve your own professional goals. 

The afternoon strategic planning session spilled over into an unexpected session of brainstorming for the future of Academic Support, led by Seattle's Paula Lustbader.

Here's a positive use of peer pressure.  Encourage the presenters to send their program materials to the blog.  Just include them as attachments in an e-mail to either one of us (check out the top left-hand column of the blog) and attach your program materials.  Really, share the wealth. 

Amid the fruitful exchange of ideas and the hallway business card swapping, the chance to talk with others who confront the same challenges at their law schools was truly reviving and offered some opportunities for ground-breaking brain storming (really, it's not hyperbole).  Meeting the incredibly bright and talented men and women who work away quietly in the ASP field as tenure-track professors, instructors, assistant professors, directors and assistant deans was a real gift.  And, wow, do they have great ideas.

My hunch is that program participants felt a little more revived than the man sitting next to me on the plane out of Vegas on Saturday morning who oozed stale beer and said, "I just wanted to let you know that I may need to jump up and run to the bathroom," which brought my gloating over the fact that I had an aisle, not middle seat, to an abrupt halt.

Before he nodded off into a clearly needed slumber he said, "Vegas always seems like such a good idea before you go and not so good on the way home."  I suppose that was true for most of my fellow travelers on the plane, but then again, they didn't attend the ASP conference.

Now back to the overflowing in box.  Hopefully, thanks to the fine planning work of the ASP Section of the AALS and LSAC we'll all have an opportunity to get together again soon. (els)

June 15, 2005 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Unexpected Twist in the NY Bar Score Controversy

The NY Court of Appeals has decided to put the brakes on the graduated rise in the minimum passing score for the NY Bar Examination, an apparent response to criticism of the change.


The New York Law Journal reports today that New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye said in a letter to two Senate committees, "We are distressed by the deep divisions that the subject has generated among the law schools, the Bar Association and the Bar Examiners...You have the Court's assurance that we will devote ourselves to repairing the rifts, beginning with efforts to work with the newly formed State Bar Association Special Committee."

While the minimum score will rise by 15 points with the upcoming July test, the effect of the score hike will be studied before the imposition of further increases in the minimum passing score.  Incremental minimum score increases were scheduled for the following two summers, July 2006, July 2007. (els)(Thanks to my sharp RA, Meredith Strobridge, who found this moments, I believe, after it was posted).

June 15, 2005 in Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

So How Was the Conference?

Up tomorrow, a posting about last week's ASP Conference in Las Vegas.  What happens in Vegas, yes, you guessed it, stays on the blog.

June 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Debate Over Mental Illness

A hot debate is brewing within the American Psychiatric Association regarding the definition of mental illness: whether to tighten up the definitions of the current symptoms and categories or to broaden the concept of mental illnesses, "to be broad enough to include mild conditions, which can make people miserable and often lead to more severe problems later," according to an article in today's New York Times.

The trigger for the debate?  The revised diagnostic manual that will appear in 2010 or 2011. 


"Severity is at the core of the debate.  Are slumps in mood bad enough to make someone miss work?  Does anxiety over social situations disrupt friendships and play havoc with romantic relationships?"  according to the article.

When a mental illness becomes a psychiatric disability, of course, the ADA and Section 504, as well as the Office of Civil Rights take notice and expect law schools to make reasonable accommodations.

View the DSM-IV on line (els)

June 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Census of Law Professor Bloggers

This morning's PrawfsBlawg has an interesting census of the current law professor blogging population.  They report that 103 law professors currently blog; we have 24 law professors who blog as part of our Law Professor Blogs Network.

PrawfsBlawg notes that of the 103 law professor bloggers, 80.6% (83) are male and 19.4% (20) are female.  The comparable numbers for the 24 members of the Law Professor Blogs Network:  62.5% (15) male and 37.5% (9) female.

Here are the law schools with the most law professor bloggers:

Law Schools with Most Law Prof Bloggers


Number of Bloggers

San Diego




George Mason


Ohio State




George Washington




St. Thomas




June 13, 2005 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Bar Curve Is Steeper in NY

Students studying for the NY Bar Examination this July will likely feel a heavier load.  The minimum passing score just rose by fifteen points.

Criticism of the point change continues from the president of the New York Bar Association.  A 13-member committee, including members of the bar association, law school deans, and bar examiners has been created to evaluate the relevance of the examination.   

Read an article on the controversial change that appeared in The National Law Journal.  (els) (Thanks to my research assistant MS for bringing this article to my attention).

June 7, 2005 in Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)