Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What will you do with all your free time now that exams are over?

Our law school upper-division students have apparently been telling the 1L's to spend the semester break reading study aid supplements for their spring courses.  Now I have a great deal of respect for go-getters who want to receive good grades.  But, I am not so sure that this advice to the 1L's is very good.

Here is why I am concerned about their reading up on their doctrinal 1L courses:

  • The syllabi for 1L courses have not been posted yet.  Consequently, they will be reading in the dark without knowing what topics and subtopics will be included in the course.  Study aids typically include material for a national audience with all topics that might be taught by some professor.  Rarely does a professor have time to cover all of that material.
  • Each professor has his or her own slant on course material.  Some professors have specific analysis frameworks that they want students to learn.  Some professors are more policy oriented to the material.  Some professors cover both state-specific codes as well as model codes.  Without more information on the professor (by attending class and tutoring sessions), 1L students will read out of context and absorb the study aid's point of view which may not be the professor's slant.
  • 1L students still have additional analysis skills and foundational areas of law to learn.  They will be encountering concepts, terms, and new ways of thinking in their spring courses that are foreign to them.  They may be working extensively with statutes for the first time.  Trying to learn these new areas without class discussion and case readings may leave them more confused than grounded in a new subject area.
  • Most 1L students are exhausted.  They have been through a grueling first semester with constantly demanding concepts, formats of testing, legal jargon, and new study techniques.  Many have not only lost sleep, but also eaten junk food and not exercised.  For some, they have been stressed from day one of fall semester.  Now they should relax, catch up on sleep, eat right, get on an exercise regime, and spend time with family and friends.  For most, learning more law will not be a therapeutic endeavor.

It would be more helpful for them to read one or two books on academic success, legal reasoning, or exam-taking strategies if they are determined to do something law related.  Books of these types will help them evaluate their study techniques and fill in gaps in their foundation of how to think about the law.  Here are some books that they may want to consider:

  • Charles R. Calleros, Law School Exams: Preparing and Writing to Win.
  • John Delaney, How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams.
  • John Delaney, Learning Legal Reasoning.
  • Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul. Getting to Maybe.
  • Wilson Huhn, The Five Types of Legal Argument.
  • Michael Hunter Schwartz, Expert Learning for Law Students (with workbook).
  • Andrew J. McClurg, 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School.
  • Ruth Ann McKinney, Reading Like a Lawyer.
  • Herbert N. Ramy, Succeeding in Law School.
  • Dennis J. Tonsing, 1000 Days to the Bar: But the Practice of Law Begins Now!.

I think it is very important for law students (whether 1L or upper-division) to return in January well-rested, happy, healthy, and energized.  Spring semester will be just as long as fall - though hopefully a bit less overwhelming for the 1L's.  (Amy Jarmon) 


December 18, 2010 in Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Welcome to a new Director at Vermont Law

Carluzzo Photo 

We would like to welcome Matt Carluzzo at Vermont Law School to the ASP community.  I had the good fortune of meeting Matt at the NECASP workshop in Concord, New Hampshire at the beginning of the month.  Matt has provided the background information below to help us get to know him.  I hope that all of you will send him warm greetings as he joins us.   (Amy Jarmon)

Professor Matthew Carluzzo joined the Vermont Law School faculty in 2010. He is the director of the Academic Success Program, where he designs and instructs courses that teach students the skills necessary to succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and in their future legal practice.

Professor Carluzzo earned an AB degree in Religion from Dartmouth College in 1997 and a JD degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2003. Upon graduation from law school, he joined the litigation practice group at the Washington, DC law firm of Arnold & Porter, where his practice comprised of large-scale civil and appellate products liability litigation. He later joined Gilbert LLP, also in Washington, DC, where he specialized in corporate insurance law. In 2006, Professor Carluzzo joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program, where he worked with Middlebury College’s Alliance for Civic Engagement to lessen the causes and effects of poverty in rural Vermont. From 2007 to 2008, Professor Carluzzo served as the Dean of Cook Commons at Middlebury, a role in which he served as a primary resource to help students achieve success in their academic and personal lives.


December 17, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Assistant Director Position Open at Hofstra

Assistant Director of Academic Support



Hofstra University School of Law invites applicants for the position of Assistant Director of Academic Support. The Academic Support Program assists J.D. and LL.M. students in the development of the critical skills necessary to succeed in law school, on the Bar Exam, and in practice. The successful candidate will report to the Director of Academic Support and will assist in designing and implementing all aspects of Hofstra’s established Academic Support Program including:

(1) Assisting in planning and implementing first year orientation programs;

(2) Providing individual writing assistance and counseling;

(3) Identifying and assisting students who need additional academic support;

(4) Assisting in the coordination of bar exam preparation programs and events;

(5) Teaching first-year and upper-level workshops; and

(6) Assisting in the development and implementation of new services to enhance our students’ academic performance.

Minimum requirements are: a J.D.; a strong academic record; a background demonstrating a potential for excellence in academic support; an understanding of developments in legal pedagogy; strong organizational and interpersonal skills; the ability to work collaboratively with all members of the law school community; and excellent writing and speaking skills. The following are not required but would substantially enhance an application: experience in law school academic support programs or other relevant teaching experience (including experience as a teaching assistant during law school); and/or an advanced degree in education, psychology, counseling, or a related field. Law practice experience is helpful, but without teaching experience will generally not be sufficient. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

To apply for this position, please provide a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and writing sample to Maria Filotti, Assistant to the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Hofstra University Law School, Hempstead, NY 11549, fax to 516-463-9554, or

 email to . For more information, visit

Hofstra University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering diversity in its faculty, administrative staff and student body, and encourages applications from the entire spectrum of a diverse community.




December 16, 2010 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whew! Where did the time go?

Fifteen weeks certainly flew by this semester!  West Texas is always windy, but this time there was a veritable whirlwind that passed through the law school.

My students are hunkered down in the second week of exams.  The first-year students finished yesterday, so the student numbers in the building have dropped today.  By tomorrow afternoon when all of the finals for the big required courses are over, the ranks will thin down to just a few students with elective exams to take before the week ends.  Saturday is hooding ceremony.  Next week it will be a ghost town.

So this is project time.  I am slowly checking off my list of things for which there is never time during classes.  As a one-person office, I always have a "wish list" that needs extra pairs of hands to complete.  Now in the brief lull is when I can turn to those items.  Prioritizing is necessary once again.  I know that some items will remain on my "wish list" for another semester, but that is okay.  There will be another lull in May.

As I look back over my appointment calendar for the past semester, I am heartened by the progress that many students made in their study skills.  It has been rewarding to hear them talk of being better prepared for finals this time around, getting their first good result on a midterm or paper, or feeling less anxious about the semester's outcomes.  The thank you e-mails that have begun to show up in my inbox cause me to forget how tired I am.

During the lull and the days while the university is closed, I'll recharge and begin to look forward to another semester.  Then, I'll rejoin the whirlwind.  (Amy Jarmon) 



December 15, 2010 in Encouragement & Inspiration, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)