Saturday, April 16, 2005

Disabilities, Law Schools, and Law Students

This 1999 article by Professor Kevin H. Smith of Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, The University of Memphis (32 Akron L. Rev. 1), is a "must-read." (I have not yet been able to find an online version of the article to link you to - unless someone sends me a link, you need to hit the stacks or visit Lexis or Westlaw.)

In your position as an Academic Support Professional, do you work with students who have disabilities?  Professor Smith's excellent primer on disability issues emphasizes the treatment of disabled individuals who have been admitted to law school.

Consider this excerpt: "Most law schools already operate an academic support program (ASP). Though legal educators must be careful not to create the double stigma of disability and participation in an ASP, the school's ASP should be made available to students with relevant disabilities. The ASP's administrator, in conjunction with on-campus learning-disability specialists, should modify the ASP curriculum to fit the needs of disabled students, particularly those with LDs, ADD, and ADHD." Does your program include these modifications?  Read on.

Professor Smith travels far beyond an explanation of the basic legal requirements.  He champions an expansive interpretation of both "disability" and "reasonable accommodation," strongly advocating that a "wide range of accommodations and services" should be made available to disabled law students.  But wait, there's more . . .

"Similar accommodations and services," Professor Smith maintains, "should be provided to students with temporary conditions or impairments, such as pregnancy or a broken hand, which are not covered by disability laws, but which may impair a student's ability to pursue her law school education."

Eschewing the "sink-or-swim" and "Darwinian" approaches to legal education, Professor Smith grounds his positions in "...the pedagogical and normative convictions that law school administrators and legal educators should work actively to develop fully all students' skills and abilities and that they must do so in an environment of tolerance, inclusiveness, assistance, and understanding."

Let me know your reactions.  (djt)

April 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Learning Curve

Gantt2Natt Gantt
Assistant Professor and
Director of Academic Success
Regent University School of Law
Editor of The Learning Curve

Once again, Professor Gantt is reaching out to the Academic Support Professional community, searching anew for announcements, news items, and articles for the spring issue of The Learning Curve, the newsletter of the AALS Section on Academic Support.

He would like to receive submissions by Friday, April 22 (with some flexibility). 

If you intend to submit something, timely or a little late, please send Professor Gantt an e-mail.

(djt)

April 14, 2005 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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)

April 13, 2005 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 11, 2005

LexisNexis Sponsors Law Professor Blogs Network

Lexislogo200We are thrilled to announce that LexisNexis has agreed to sponsor all of the blogs in our Law Professor Blogs Network:

LexisNexis shares our vision for expanding the network into other areas of law, so please email us if you would be interested in finding out more about starting a blog as part of our network.

April 11, 2005 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)