May 7, 2011
What "The King's Speech" has to do with law school
I am an Anglophile. I lived and practiced in England for 5 1/2 years. I love everything British.
Plymouth, England was one of the most heavily bombed cities during WWII because of the naval facilities there. When I lived in Plymouth during the time period leading up to the 50th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, my elderly friends told me stories about life during the bombings and the destruction left behind. They also told me about the visit that George VI and his wife made to the city to bolster the morale of the residents during WWII.
Consequently, going to the cinema to see The King's Speech was significant for me. In the ensuing weeks, I have reflected on Bertie's struggle to overcome his speech impediment and his fear of being king. I realized that his story has parallels with some of my law students' struggles in law school.
Bertie had to overcome his pride to ask for help. He wanted to depend on his special status as royalty. He wanted to hold himself out as better than others. Some law students have to overcome pride to ask for help as well. They were treated like royalty in high school and college because they received high grades with seemingly little effort. They were told that they were special and their fellow students were less capable.
Bertie did not want to trust that someone had a better way than what he thought should be done. He balked at Lionel's methods. He wanted to depend on the familiar rather than confront the painfulness of the unknown and untried. Some law students balk at suggested study techniques for law school. They want to continue doing what worked in undergraduate school rather than struggle with new methods that seem suspect. They rather listen to the bad advice of upper-division students than trust the expertise of someone who is "administration."
Bertie wanted instant success. He wanted results without the heartache, embarrassment, and frustration. Some law students are overwhelmed when reading cases is difficult. They want professors to spoon-feed them rules rather than have to discover the law buried within the material. They become frustrated when things are hard or they make errors when called on in class.
Bertie triumphed both in self-esteem and in reputation as the king that Britain needed. He achieved his success through his willingness to change, to confront his fears, and to persevere. Law students who learn new ways of doing things, take on the challenges, and do not give up also have success. Their self-esteem increases as they do well the very things they feared they could not do. Their reputation as law students and future lawyers is gained as they are recognized as being serious about becoming the best they can be.
Bertie became the successful king that was always hidden within him. My law students can become the successful studiers hidden within them. (Amy Jarmon)
May 6, 2011
The importance of getting together with colleagues
Yesterday I met with other members of the ASP community at the NECASP (New England Consortium of Academic Success Professionals) at BC Law for our annual business meeting. While we did take care of business, the primary value in the meeting was the exchange of ideas between others in the Academic Success community. Amy's wonderful post on exhaustion highlights the importance of rejuvenation, and meeting with colleagues can help remind you of the importance of peer support. In addition to the joy of swapping stories with friends in the ASP community, I learned about some fantastic innovative programs at New England law schools. This is my shout-out:
1) UNH Law's Sunny Mulligan and Alice Briggs summer program for select incoming law students. Tremendous effort that went into planning a program that builds on the strengths of other summer programs, while bringing a unique New Hampshire touch to their program. Sunny and Alice have had great success avoiding stigma (the great bane of ASP) by embracing transparency in their programs. Sunny also talked about the innovative partnership between Career Services, ASP, and the Externship Program at UNH. I believe UNH is on the cutting edge with their program, and it is something all of us should be exploring during this time of belt-tightening at law schools.
2) Alex Ruskell at Roger Williams runs both the Honors Program and ASP. This is a neat, and somewhat unusual, group of duties, but it has benefits. Coming to the ASP office loses it's stigma (fast!) when it is as likely the student is visiting because they are in the Honors Program as it is they are looking for help. Alex also has a fantastic summer program for incoming students, and he had several ideas I plan on using if I go back to working on pre-orientation.
3) Lis Keller at BC was not only a gracious host, but brought up some challenging theoriesabout who ASP should serve. This is a concept we are looking at in more depth for our fall conference. BC Law's first-year orientation occurs three weeks into the semester, when students are ready to hear about outlining and preparing for exams. This approach to orientation inspired a lot of discussion within our group about how this can be employed at other schools. Many of us felt that some of what we do in orientation goes over the heads of our students who have no context before the start of the semester. BC's approach is one that I envision more schools will employ if they can find a way to fit it into 1L schedules.
4) Louis Schulz and Elizabeth Bloom at New England-Boston filled us in on the details of their comprehensive ASP, which includes programs for students through all three years of law school. Louis is always moving a thousand miles an hour, and the breadth of programs sponsored by NE-Boston demonstrate his energy and ingenuity.
5) Liz Stillman and Janet Fischer from Suffolk facilitated discussion among our group on the benefits and possible costs to students when ASPer's write job recommendations. This is a timely topic, as we are being bombarded with stories about the state of the job market. Janet made the connection between the job market and the upswing in interest in ASP that many of us are seeing.
I came home from the meeting excited about the innovation within ASP, and grateful that I belong to such a wonderful, warm, supportive community. (RCF)
May 4, 2011
Position for Bar Prep and Academic Success at Barry
Barry University School of Law is searching for an Assistant Dean of Bar Preparation and Academic Success. The job announcement is below.
School of Law - Orlando
4/15/2011 12:49:00 PM
Salary commensurate with experience
Keeping grades in perspective
It is exam time. Angst is in the air. So many students are seeing their grades as life and death matters.
Losing perspective is easy In the middle of all the stress, studying, and single-minded focus on exams. The competitive atmosphere is not helping matters. It all seems so incredibly important in the fish bowl of law school.
Here are some things to keep in mind about grades on exams:
- An exam measures knowledge on one set of questions, on one day, at one point in time. No exam is able to measure everything that was in the course. No exam is able to measure everything that a student may have learned from a course.
- A grade reflects an assessment in just X credits out of Y credits required for graduation. If the course is 3 credits out of 90 credits for graduation, then there are 87 other credits that can reflect ability when one course exam proves disappointing.
- Employers look for upward trends in grades. A weak semester can be overcome by future strong semesters.
- There are jobs for people who are not in the top 10% - 25% - 30% - 50% of the class. There are also plenty of attorneys working who were in the bottom half of the class in law school. All of those attorneys have jobs at law firms, government agencies, and non-profits with competent professionals committed to serving clients well.
- Plenty of attorneys who were not the "cream" at their law schools prove themselves in practice. Law firms unwilling to consider them right out of law school based on grades will later woo them based on reputation.
- Focus on taking one day at a time. Perseverance and hard work will improve the chance of good grades. Fretting over grades merely steals energy from more important tasks.
- Avoid talking about exams after they are over. The issues that others say they spotted may have been rabbit trails. Some students will purposely pretend there were issues on an exam to upset others in their studying. You cannot change anything about a completed exam. It is more valuable to turn your attention to the next exam.
- Do not focus on your feelings about an exam. I can recount many stories of students certain they did poorly who end up with very good grades - they focus on how they feel about the exam and do not know the big picture of overall performance for the entire class.
Ten years from now, no one hiring you for a new opportunity in practice will likely ask about your specific grades. They will want to know how well you perform in the practice of law. They will want to know whether you are ethical, hard-working, committed to clients, and a good fit with their current attorneys and staff.
May 3, 2011
Fellowship position at Southwestern Law School
SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL
ACADEMIC SUPPORT AND BAR-RELATED PROGRAMS
FELLOWSHIP IN ACADEMIC SUPPORT ADMINISTRATION, COUNSELING AND TEACHING
Southwestern Law School invites applicants for the administration, counseling and teaching fellowship in the Academic Support and Bar-Related Programs office (ASP) for a one-year term beginning in August 2011. The fellowship provides a unique opportunity for a young lawyer or recent law school graduate to gain experience in administration, counseling and teaching in academic support and bar programs. The fellow will work closely with the Academic Support and Bar-Related Programs Faculty assisting in the creation, administration and implementation of new programs and courses, the supervision of student tutors and the development of academic support and bar-related course curriculum.
Duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to any of the following:
- Working with the Director of Academic Support and Bar-Related Programs to research, design, implement and manage academic support programs, including pre-matriculation programs, first-year programs and Bar examination preparation programs
- Meeting with students individually and in small groups regarding academic performance issues
- Supervising student teaching assistants
- Teaching academic skills in workshops to current students
- Assisting with additional services to enhance the academic success of students
- JD from an ABA accredited law school and admission to the California Bar
- At least one year of legal work experience in practice, government, non-profit organization, judicial clerking or other legal setting
- Ability to work with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds, including students, staff and faculty
- Ability to counsel, critique and guide students to self-improvement through a professional, rigorous, respectful, supportive and reliable commitment to them
- Experience in academic support or legal writing instruction or other teaching experience
- Availability to offer occasional weekend or evening workshops
- Imagination, innovation and desire to grow into responsibilities in areas of mutual interest and need
- Understanding of, and ability to work for, the mission and goals of Southwestern Law School
The fellowship is an opportunity to develop a career in academic support or skills teaching. The salary is competitive with other academic fellowships. The fellow will also receive a competitive benefits package provided by Southwestern Law School.
Applicants should submit the following:
- A one page cover-letter describing (a) prior experience in providing legal services and teaching legal skills or concepts to law students; (b) other relevant experience; (c) aspirations for future legal education work; and (d) information relevant to the applicant’s potential for program development and management, supervision and teaching.
- A resume
- Contact information for three professional references and
- A law school transcript (unofficial is acceptable)
Applications must be received by May 15, 2011 or until position is filled and e-mailed directly to Professor Gabriela Ryan, at ASPfellow@swlaw.edu.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Southwestern Law School is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other prohibited category. We strongly encourage women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and all qualified persons to apply for this position.
Bar Passage Counselor position at Charlotte Law
Charlotte School of Law (CharlotteLaw) seeks applications for an experienced Bar Passage Counselor.
The Bar Passage Counselor reports directly to the Associate Dean for Students. He or she will work with students seeking to assist them with their bar admissions goals. The Counselor performs other academic support functions essential to promoting students’ success in law school and to the success and growth of the institution.
The school is a member of The InfiLaw System, a consortium of independent law schools committed to making legal education more responsive to the realities of new career dynamics. Its mission is to establish student-centered, American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools in underserved markets that graduate students with practice-ready skills, and achieve true diversity programs aimed at student academic and career success.
Primary Duties & Responsibilities:
• Counsel and advise students on bar admissions protocol, bar exam preparation, law school in general and the legal profession;
• Teach law school courses developed to increase students’ likelihood of bar exam success;
• Assist in the maintenance of statistical information on students and graduates;
• Prepare and present various Bar Exam related workshops and seminars;
• Further develop current bar exam preparation programming;
• Attend the North Carolina and South Carolina bar exams (where appropriate);
• Participate in bar exam related best practices meetings;
• Assist students in reviewing answers to practice exams;
• Attend meetings as necessary within the law school; and
• Attend seminars and conferences to improve ability to provide appropriate services at the law school.
Preferably, applicant will be a North Carolina or South Carolina licensed attorney.
Prior academic support experience (either professional or as part of a graduate or law school program) or teaching experience (i.e., legal writing or comparable teaching experience in writing and analytical skills training) is preferred.
Licensed attorney in North Carolina or South Carolina. (Dual licensure preferred).
If helping others and working in a dynamic workplace is what you feel passionate about and you are looking for a new challenge and a chance to put your experience to work in an innovative environment – Charlotte School of Law may be the place for you.
Please send a resume, the names of three references (including addresses and phone numbers) to firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to:
Charlotte School of Law
2145 Suttle Avenue
Charlotte, NC, 28208
Charlotte School of Law is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Director of Academic Support position at USC
The University of Southern California Gould School of Law is seeking a new Director of Academic Support. The details concerning the position can be found at the following link: University of Southern California Job Description.