Saturday, March 5, 2005
Clicking on the article title (above) will bring you to the National Conference of Bar Examiners' pages that include a long excerpt from Professor Day's thought-provoking article. Professor Day notes that many of the ideas and information included in his essay were the result of a two-day conference at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, in June of 2001. Rich Litvin and I were also in attendance - what a remarkable gathering of Academic Support professionals and Bar Examiners. We ought to do that more often. The essay from which these excerpts were taken was originally published in the California Western Law Review, Spring 2004 issue (40 Cal.W.L.Rev. 321).
"The most important obligation of law schools," Professor Day maintains, "is to prepare their students to become capable, practicing lawyers ... and law students must pass the bar or they cannot practice law." Professor Day describes the alarming decline in bar passage rates. "This article," he suggests, "calls law schools and their faculty to action to recognize and address the problem." He then offers a variety of techniques and strategies (twenty-two to be specific) to help increase overall scores and prevent the devastating consequences of failure.
Through techniques such as identifying innate learning differences in students, emphasizing better legal writing, offering special non-credit bar prep courses, and giving students more detailed feedback and assistance, Professor Day provides straightforward advice about the bar and how to increase pass rates.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
The Newsletter of the Academic Support Section of AALS
...is The Learning Curve, expertly edited by Natt Gantt, Assistant Professor and Director of Regent University School of Law's Academic Success Program.
Packed with information and resource material, each issue deserves our attention. Thanks, Natt, for continuing a job well done for many years by Southwestern University's Paul Bateman.
Would you like to contribute to The Learning Curve? Natt is soliciting articles right now! Contact him for details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don't need to be a law student to use these "quick relaxation techniques," recommended by the Suffolk University School of Law Academic Support Program.
Director Herbert N. Ramy credits the University's Counseling Center Stress Management Program for providing the material. Consider trying the techniques yourself, then recommending them to your students as the end-of-year "crunch" begins.
Practicing law is stressful. So is attending law school. (And, we agree, so is "practicing" academic support.)
California lawyer Amy O'Keefe addressed the stress issue in her excellent (and brief) article in the November 2004 issue of "California Lawyer" magazine (See: Curing the Ills of Work-Related Stress, by Amy O'Keefe, Esq.). I have reprinted the article on my web site, with permission from the author and the publisher.
As ASP professionals, we see high-end stress daily -- how many boxes of kleenex have you used already this semester? The more familiarity we can have with this demon, the better off we are, in terms of preparing ourselves to assist our students.
Here's my advice to students: start practicing now to relieve your stress, so that when you enter the professional practice of law you won't fall into the pitfalls described by Ms. O'Keefe.
“The brief,” Professor Bateman explains to beginning law students, “is not an end in itself but, like a hammer, is a tool that lets you nail down a legal concept.” Rather than setting forth a detailed format for case briefing, Bateman describes the why and wherefore of preparing a brief.
To help neophyte law students avoid much of the inevitable frustration of their initial briefing experiences, he cautions them never to lose sight of the target: the final examination.
By mapping the relationship between case reading, case briefing, classroom discussion, course outlining and exam answering, Bateman provides an instructive and very useful tool for either: (a) designing an Academic Support orientation presentation around, and/or (b) bringing directly to the attention of the students we serve.