Friday, November 14, 2008
With exams just two weeks away, some law students have started to lose perspective in major ways. Despite the current world events, they have forgotten what a real crisis looks like outside our building. They believe that papers, exams, presentations, and grades are crises of enormous magnitude rather than transitory problems with solutions.
Law school is tough, but not as tough as life is for many people each day. Here are four statistics to share with students who have lost their perspective:
- 9.2 million children died worldwide in 2007 before their fifth birthday. (UNICEF)
- 33 million people worldwide were living with HIV in 2007. (UNICEF)
- One out of three city dwellers worldwide lived in a slum in 2006. (UN-Habitat)
- More than 14 million refugees and internally displaced people lived in tents or temporary shelters in 2006. (Kissick et al)
Perhaps these world figures are too faceless and, therefore, have little impact on regaining perspective. In those cases, I suggest you provide examples by filling in the blanks below for your own locale:
- The small businessman caught in the economic downturn who owns _____________ is focused on trying to avoid filing for bankruptcy this week.
- The single mother living in the _______________ shelter with her three children just hopes to be safe from domestic abuse tonight.
- The homeless person at the ____________ soup kitchen is most concerned about having one hot meal.
- The mother whose child was killed at the corner of ____________ and ____________ by a drunk driver last week just wants her child back.
- The workers for ______________________ that just laid off hundreds are wondering how to pay the rent, buy groceries, and find another job.
If the students came to law school to make a difference in the world, they will likely regain perspective quickly by remembering all the people in their own city, in the U.S.A., and throughout the world who are waiting for caring lawyers to graduate, pass the bar, and come to their assistance. With that incentive, these students can re-focus on preparing for upcoming exams and a future where they will be qualified to help solve the world's most difficult problems.
If the students came to law school merely wanting to earn enormous future salaries, drive expensive cars some day, and own the biggest houses in the neighborhood when they become partners, perhaps these statistics will cause them to think of others and how their legal careers could serve society through pro bono work. They may get more perspective on what a real crisis is and get back to work with less angst over their studies.
There are always some law students who keep their perspective in place because they live with real life crises daily. However, living in the law school fish bowl with the same people every day can cause other law students to forget the world outside. Those law students need to regain perspective on what a real crisis is and be thankful for the privilege of being in law school. (Amy Jarmon)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
One of my faculty colleagues, Professor Jennifer Bard, recently told me about a new volume from Aspen Publishers titled, Essentials: Torts. As a Torts professor, she has found this study aid helpful for some of her students because it explains the material in a narrative format that puts it in words with context rather than being a mere outline. She has several reserve copies in the library for her students to access.
In checking out this volume, I discovered that the same series currently has a Civil Procedure volume. Other volumes will be available throughout 2008 and 2009 in a number of subjects. I have added the current volumes to my purchasing list. If you would like more information on this new series, you can find it at Essentials Series from Aspen Publishers. (Amy Jarmon)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
As students are gearing up for finals, I have received a number of requests, and corresponding reviews, of help for students who are not predominantly read/write learners. Here are a couple of my suggestions for these students that have received positive reviews from their peers:
For aural learners: The Gilbert's Legends Series and the Sum and Substance Audio Series. One of the neat suggestions a students gave me was to "talk back" to the CD's, and turn the listening experience into an argument, or discussion. When something on the CD is confusing or leads to an ephiphany, stop the CD and talk to yourself about it. Ask questions of the material, like a dialogue with the CD. Students often have the answer to their own questions, but need something to spark their understanding. A caveat for law students reading this post--these CD's are NOT a replacement for class, but a chance to review and condense the material.
For visual learners: Inspiration software. For students who like to create diagrams, mind maps, and charts, Inspiration turns traditional outlines into these visual learning tools, and can change visual tools into a traditional outline. The Inspiration software has a free 30-day trial. Attached is my intentional tort chart, created with Inspiration software; you may need to load the Inspiration software on your computer to see the chart Download intentional_torts.isf