July 29, 2005
Job Opening - Pace U. Law
Pace University School of Law seeks applicants for the position of Assistant Director of Academic Support Program to begin August 2005. This part-time position presents a wonderful opportunity for someone who wants to become a member of a vibrant law school community with a commitment to Opportunitas. Compensation is competitive.
Minimum requirements are a J.D.; law firm or similar experience; excellent writing and speaking skills; membership in at least one bar and a genuine desire to work closely with students and faculty. Prior academic support experience, teaching experience (i.e., legal writing), law school membership on law review and/or moot court and counseling skills are preferred.
The successful candidate will report to the Director of Academic Support and will run all aspects of Pace's well-developed Bar Pass Program including working with students on an individual and group basis; implementing Bar related efforts, reporting to faculty on assessment of our Bar Pass Program and developing and implementing new program services relevant to enhancing our bar pass rate.
To apply for this position, please provide a resume, writing sample and three references to:
Prof. Leslie Garfield, Chair, Academic Support Selection Committee; Pace Law School; 78 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603, email@example.com
July 28, 2005
More About Study Groups
On July 6, I provided some links for Academic Support professionals looking for study group information (see Blog "archives").
Now, let's find out if study groups help law students.
In their paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association in San Diego, California last year (April, 2004), Penn State educational researchers Dorothy H. Evensen, Sarah Rzasa, and Stephen Zappe delved into every nook and cranny of wunnelle study groups.
The researchers had noticed that: "Despite ... limited yet clear evidence that study groups might not provide the competitive edge to students set on achieving grades that can assure them coveted spots both within and outside of the law school, study groups continue to be recommended by professors, law school graduates, upper-classmen, and numerous how-to-do law school publications ... ." Oops. I guess we ought to find out if they work before we recommend them too strongly.
The three-year survey was conducted with support from an LSAC research and development grant. The researchers focused on six questions, including:
- How pervasive are study groups?
- What are the patterns and practices that surround the formation and initial operations of study groups?
- What is the relation between group orientation and academic performance?
I don't want to give away the ending to this page-turner, but here's a hint: "From this study, all that can be said is that students who belong to formal study groups for both semesters have significantly higher LGPAs than all other students." (djt)
Job Opening - Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, is seeking applicants for the newly established position of Director of Academic Support. The Director will be responsible for designing, carrying out, and monitoring a comprehensive academic support program that extends from admission to law school through admission to the bar.
Qualifications for this position include a record of solid academic success in law school, strong interest in working closely with law students, and the ability to envision and oversee a comprehensive program that enables students to succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and in law practice. Experience directing and working in a law school academic support program or experience counseling and teaching learning and study skills is desirable, but not required.
The specific programs to be developed and carried out will be determined by the new Director in collaboration with the faculty. These programs may include learning and study skills workshops for all students; individual counseling and referral for at-risk students; a substantive course incorporating learning and study skills; and involvement in summer pre-law programs, new student orientation, bar preparation efforts, community outreach programs, and faculty teaching workshops.
Thomas Jefferson School of Law is a non-profit, independent, ABA law school located in San Diego, an attractive and diverse urban community along the Pacific Coast. The faculty comprises more than 30 legal educators with significant records of excellent scholarship and teaching as well as extensive law practice. The law school community is committed to fostering a learning environment that enhances students' opportunities to develop the legal knowledge and skills in law school that will be essential to them in passing the bar and entering the profession.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Thomas Jefferson is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from women and people of color. Electronic submissions are welcome; please send resume and cover letter to:
ASP/Bar Pass Task Force
c/o Linda L. Berger, Professor
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
2121 San Diego Ave.
San Diego, CA 92110
July 26, 2005
Study Groups - Useful Handouts
Amy Jarmon, Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs at Texas Tech University School of Law, wrote today:
I thought the attached materials may be useful to ASP professionals since study groups were a recent topic on the listserv. The inventory is an informal way for study group members to evaluate how they are doing on the purposes and etiquette of study groups and whether they need to seek help.
I have combined the three documents Dean Jarmon sent me into one seven-page MS Word document: study groups ... originally, the three were: Inventory of Study Group Success; Study Group Buddy Purposes; and, Study Group Buddy Etiquette.
You can reach Dean Jarmon at firstname.lastname@example.org. (djt)
Guess what ... We're happy again!
We're all aware that unhappy law students morph into unhappy lawyers; so just where did this latest group of California lawyers come from?
Contrary to everything I've read in the past decade, the July issue of California Lawyer, reports that California lawyers are choc-fulla' glee as they head for the office each day.
Based on a 2004 poll taken by the magazine's editors, "Fully 57 percent of responding lawyers said they're extremely or very satisfied with their jobs. Another 29 percent said they are somewhhat satisfied, which makes a whopping 86 percent who are content with what they do for a living."
Not only that, the pollsters conclude, "What's more, 30 percent are more content at work today than they were a year ago. California lawyers do indeed seem to be a happy group."
The conclusions in the article seem remarkable to me. Why?
The questionnaire was sent to "a representative sample of 700 California lawyers," and the poll achieved "a 17 percent response rate." Do the math. 119 lawyers responded. That means, that of California's 201,626 lawyers (as of July 16, 2005), 102 reported being content.
Does the number of respondents seem small?
A 1994 issue of the California State Bar Journal (the official publication of the California State Bar) included an article entitled, "Pessimism for the future: Given a second chance, half of the state's attorneys would not become lawyers." The conclusions in that article are based on 2,700 responses (from a significantly smaller base number of attorneys at the time).
According to former litigator (now career consultant) Holly Huart: "More than half of the lawyers who responded to a 1992 California Lawyer fax poll rated themselves 'unhappy but inert' or so unhappy they would change careers; 70% said they would start a new career if they could. Similarly, a poll taken by California Lawyer magazine in 1993 found that over 70% of the respondents said they would not go into law again if they could begin their careers anew, and this was reinforced by a study published in the California Bar Journal in 1995." (See: Huart article, with sources)
(Disclaimer: I am a member of the California Bar. I am neither "unhappy" nor "inert" (does that mean I'm happy and "ert"?)... but then I live in Rhode Island and work at a law school. Also, I was not one of the 119 lawyers responding to the survey questions.) (djt)
Living Without the Bar Exam
And on the topic of the bar exam, there's one jurisdiction that is looking at discarding it altogether.
New Hampshire, the state with the "Live Free of Die" motto on its license plate, and the state where I hold a license (which I obtained through sitting for the bar examination) is starting a pilot program with this year's incoming class at the State's only law school.
A select group of 25 students at Franklin Pierce Law Center will have the opportunity to earn their law licenses in New Hampshire without taking the traditional two-day rite of passage after graduation.
Students will, however, undergo rigorous evaluation of their work.
The students will demonstrate their mastery of the fundamental skills of lawyering through the Webster's Scholars Program, run by a veteran lawyer and long-standing Franklin Pierce adjunct faculty member, John Garvey, who recently left private practice after a more than two-decade-long career.
I look forward to watching this story unfold. As the updates come to my attention, I'll pass them along to you, the blog readers.
Thank you to my Lexis-Nexis rep., Attorney John Harding, for bringing the link to this article to my attention. (els)
July 25, 2005
In Defense of the Bar Examination
With only a few days until the July bar examination, it's not a bad idea to have a few ideas from a recent article about the value of the bar examination to pull out of your hat when you talk with a student facing the test who is grumbling and griping about the challenge ahead.
In a thoughtful article excerpted in the recent issue of The Bar Examiner, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners, Professor Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus writes an articulate and provocative piece about the value of the test to measure the basic skills required to practice law -a response to criticism of the bar examination.
Professor Darrow-Kleinhaus, author of the Nutshell on the Bar Exam, writes regularly about the bar examination and helping students to prepare.
She concludes that the bar exam, "appropriately serves its purpose. I have come to this conclusion after five years of working with candidates who had failed the bar exam multiple times and who passed after we worked together. They passed because they learned to read carefully and actively. They passed because they learned the rules with precision and specificity. They passed because they learned to write a well-reasoned argument based on an analysis of the relevant issue and an application of the law to the facts. They passed because they learned that there were no tricks to be applied, only the law."
So next time you're tempted to collude with your student about the bearish (no offense to bears) nature of the bar examination, it might be an opportunity to point out the value of improving their skills to become better practitioners. I recommend downloading the article and reading it. (els)