September 7, 2007
Wingspread 8 Conference for Law School Pipeline Projects
The Wingspread 8 Conference information can be found on the web site for Texas Wesleyan School of Law. Just click on the conference link on the home page for the law school. The conference general announcement is included below:
Wingspread VIII, Fort Worth, TX
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law & the Hilton Fort Worth
October 4, 5, 6, 2007
Cost: $125, which includes all meals beginning with dinner on Thursday evening through lunch on Saturday.
Starting Thursday evening, ending Saturday after lunch
PLUS Saturday meeting with medical and dental school team
About Wingspread: Wingspread is the collaborative national organization for professional school involvement in pipeline initiatives, an informal consortium with distinctive appeal, strengths, and impressive loyalty among its participants. It offers a highly placed and visible constituent base for national policy leadership and success in conceptually framing and drawing attention to the issues around diversity and the law community and the need for systemic and systematic change; enhancing the intellectual presence of law schools and their sister professional schools in the field of pipeline issues as participants, conveners, and collaborators; emphasizing, inspiring, and creating teams to work along the educational pipeline in site-specific projects; and assuring that lessons learned are lessons shared.
Wingspread involves a group of over 40 law-schools working with teams that includes P-20 educators, the bench, and the bar, all committed to working collaboratively across the educational continuum to improve the participation, persistence, and success of diverse students in high school and college. The goal of the group is to enhance these students’ aspirations and capacity to move into positions in the legal profession and in the leadership of the nation.
The 8th meeting of the group is focused on team-building and on action plans for collaborative improvement in outreach along the pipeline. The meeting also brings the law pipeline group together with their colleagues in medicine and dentistry. Specific sessions will include Wingspread for Newcomers; Law-Themed Curricula and Schools including both elementary and law magnet programs; Perspectives from our Sister Professions; Prelaw Programs; and the View from the Bench and the Bar. And, of course, Texas barbecue!
Why students do not achieve the success they want
Whether we work with all law students, just 1L students, or only invited students, we begin to see patterns as to why students do not succeed at the levels they wish. Whether it is a student who wants to get higher grades ("As" instead of "Bs" or "Cs") or a student on probation, I find that the student usually have one or more study skill problems that need to be overcome.
During orientation, I try to alert students to these problems. And, I offer workshops during the semester to help them on the necessary skills to avoid problems. However, too many students only seek help after their grades have disappointed and discouraged them.
Here is a list of common problems that I help students work on in their pursuit for better grades (in no particular order and not an exhaustive list):
- They treat law school like undergraduate school (or other graduate programs) and do not adjust their strategies and techniques to the new law school learning environment.
- They have poor (or no) time management skills and need to learn how to use weekly schedules, daily "to do" lists, and monthly schedules for meeting deadlines on projects or papers.
- They have one or more major procrastination styles which they need to curb through good time management schedules and other strategies.
- They do not make law school a priority in their lives and are consequently pulled away easily from studying when something fun is on offer.
- They participate in too many organizations and activities because that is what they have always done without any adverse academic effects.
- They do not use their learning styles to advantage and do not know how their learning styles may make it important to "compensate" or "convert" in some study tasks.
- They depend on shortcuts rather than learning the material themselves: they use canned briefs; class scripts; other people's outlines.
- They are inefficient and ineffective in their studying because they do not focus on "payoff" instead of "doing time" over tasks.
- They memorize the law, but do not know how to apply the law to new facts.
- They focus on cases and never gain the "big picture" of the course with its inter-relationships and methodologies.
- They "gloss" the law and know it generally rather than learning it to more depth for true understanding.
- They do very few practice questions during the semester and only a few at the end of the semester.
- They wait until the last 2 - 6 weeks of the semester to study for exams rather than reviewing and applying material all semester.
- They do not have adequate exam taking strategies for fact-pattern-essay exams, multiple-choice exams, and/or take-home exams.
- They have extenuating circumstances (such as personal illness, family death, undiagnosed learning disabilities) and try to cope without assistance from staff members who could help.
The good news is that only the last item on the list of common problems is outside the student's control. (And, even then, the students can get assistance from the law school staff members and utilize the policies and procedures within the law school.) All of the other problems can be corrected by implementing new strategies and techniques.
Now, if we could only get them to come in earlier.... (Amy Jarmon)