Friday, March 30, 2012
This Friday, the important and controversial movie "Bully" comes out. If I wasn't a scholar of bullying, it would be exactly the type of movie I would avoid: painful, honest, and scary. A review of the movie focused on the ignorance and complicity of adults that allowed bullying in schools, which reminded me of how much bullying behavior is allowed in law schools. In ASP, we are the adults that students are most likely to turn to when they are in pain and struggling. It is our job to address the problem, and not ignore the source of the pain. Like in elementary, middle, and high schools, bullying can be caused by classmates. In this job market, it is increasingly likely that students are responding to stress by belittling and demeaning classmates. More insidious, and more dangerous, is the bullying that comes from professors and administrators, which is sometimes unintentional. I have heard of law professors blaming students for being unable to find post-graduate employment ("you didn't work hard enough to get the grades for a job" and "if getting a job was why you wanted a law degree, you should have spent more time studying"), as well as professors who have blamed students for the crushing debt they acquire to finance a law degree (insidious, because debt is far more complicated for many students than just signing up for loans). These professors may not intend to be bullying law students, but the message received by many students is the same as if a professor called them names. Even in the most charitable light, this sort of behavior is ignorant and cruel, and undermines our students.
The emotional and mental health of our students has an impact on their grades. Students who feel bullied and belittled are less likely to succeed academically. It is important for ASPer's to listen carefully to what students tell them about bullies in law school, and to believe students when they say the feel bullied. Bullying doesn't go away when students graduate from high school, and the pain and anguish caused by bullies isn't diminished because the target is a young adult. (RCF)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
POSITION: Assistant Director of Academic Support Services
Golden Gate University School of Law invites applications to fill one long-term contract law faculty position beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year. We are seeking experienced applicants capable of teaching in our Academic Development Program, as well as assisting with first-year Legal Research and Writing courses as needed.
The Assistant Director will work to support student learning in the law school by administering and participating in a program of academic support services, including teaching courses on legal study skills, providing individual tutoring to students, participating in new student orientation activities, and presenting workshops on study skills. Assist with the planning, scheduling and execution of training programs, lectures, workshops, meetings and special events that serve to enhance the serves of the program. Work with law students placed on Academic Supervision and Academic Probation to develop individual academic improvement plans and monitor student progress.
The Assistant Director will work collaboratively with other members of the Academic Development Program team and the Office of Law Student Services to improve the development of student study skills and ensure the academic success of all GGU law students. The Assistant Director will also supervise the work of student teaching assistants who work in coordination with the Academic Development Program.
- J.D. degree required.
- Five or more years of teaching experience in a law school academic support program required.
- California Bar membership is a plus.
- Strong academic and professional qualifications, as well as a demonstrated interest in teaching students with diverse backgrounds.
- Strong interpersonal, writing, and public speaking skills.
- An understanding of learning disabilities
- Ability to work independently, organize simultaneous projects, demonstrate initiative, and exercise professional judgment under minimal supervision.
- Maintain school’s strict confidentiality policies.
- Ability to handle and keep confidential a variety of different student questions and concerns.
E-mail applications may be sent to: email@example.com
Contact: Professor William Gallagher, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, Golden Gate University School of Law, 536 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Golden Gate University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The university has a strong commitment to the principles of diversity and inclusion, and to maintaining working and learning environments that reinforces these practices. The university welcomes and encourages applications from women, minorities, people of color, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQI community.
Making course outlines is a tradition at law schools. However, not all students get the most benefit from their outlines because they do not understand why they are making outlines and how to use them most efficiently and effectively for exam study. Here are some thoughts on outlining:
- If an outline is constructed properly, it will include all of the essential information from one's briefs, casebook, and class notes. In short, one should not have to go back to those materials again. The outline is truly the master document for exam study.
- The outline should be formatted to give the student a 360-degree view of the course: what is the big picture of the course; what are the main concepts and interrelationships among concepts as well as any relevant policy; what are the steps/rules/tests/questions to ask for analysis; and what are the details/fact examples/case names to flesh out the outline.
- The outline should flip the student's thinking from individual cases and minutia to synthesis of the material and the solving of new legal scenarios with the law that is learned through the cases. Except for major cases, cases should become illustrations rather than the focus of the outline.
- The outline is building a toolkit to solve new legal scenarios that will show up on the exam. Include the essential tools (each course may have different types of tools): rules, exceptions to rules, variations on rules, definitions, steps of analysis, questions to ask, bright line tests, policy arguments, etc.
- Additional information from supplements may also go into an outline. However, remember that students want to learn their professor's version of a course and not a supplement's version. If a student understands a topic fully, s/he may never look at a study supplement.
- The student wants to set aside time each week to review a section of an outline intensely - this is the review to learn the material as though the exam were next week. This intense review should be the time to gain full understanding and grapple with the material. Any questions that remain should be answered as quickly as possible by visiting the professor on office hours.
- In addition, a student wants to read the entire outline for a course through at least once a week - this is the review to keep all of the topics fresh (long after the intense review of early topics and before one has intensely reviewed some topics that are newly added to the outline).
- After one has intensely reviewed a section of the outline, it makes sense to do some practice questions to see if the material is really understood and can be applied to a new legal scenario. However, wait several days before doing practice questions. Otherwise, getting them right will happen because the material was just reviewed.
- After a topic in the outline is intensely reviewed and practice questions on the topic have shown that the material is truly understood, condense that portion of the outline by at least half. Start a second document that is the condensed outline so that the longer version is never lost.
- Approximately one - two weeks before the exam, condense the entire outline to 5-10 pages of essentials for the material so far. The essentials will bring back the more detailed information if the material has been studied properly. Use the condensed outline to recall the information.
- Condense the shorter outline again to the front and back of a sheet of paper. This condensed version can be memorized as a checklist. When the proctor in the exam tells you to begin, quickly write your checklist on scrap paper and use it as a guide throughout the exam.
Remember that the goal is to learn the material for an exam that is limited in time and will test students' knowledge solving new legal problems based on the semester's emphases. Students are not learning the material to go out and practice in that legal specialty the next day. If students tend to get bogged down in minutia, they need to remember that studying outlines has a specific goal in mind. (Amy Jarmon)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Carol Dweck is a psychologist who has done extensive research on how mindset influences our risk-taking, learning, and success in life. Her research defines two types of mindset: fixed-mindset and growth-mindset. Her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, looks at how these two groups differ in academics, business, sports, and relationships. She also looks at how parents, teachers, and coaches influence mindset.
The fixed-mindset individuals believe that one is endowed with certain abilities that cannot be changed. Activities then become "tests" of their intelligence and ability. Challenges are often avoided because one may be "shown up." Hard work is only needed for those who are not talented. Failure is devastating; fixed-mindset people may blame others or make excuses for failure because to do otherwise would mean a reflection on one's abilities.
The growth-mindset person, on the other hand, believes that one can improve on one's ability. Activities become opportunities to learn and develop. Challenges are often embraced because one has a chance to gain new expertise. Failure merely means that one has to work harder and learn from one's mistakes.
Dweck makes interesting observations about the damage that the "you are special" environment has caused millenials. By focusing on intelligence, natural ability, and talent, parents and teachers have encouraged young people to become fixed-mindset individuals who are less able to cope with constructive criticism, feel that they should get praise for any effort rather than true hard work, and give up when they do not achieve automatic success.
The encouraging thing about Dweck's research is that fixed-mindset individuals can become growth-mindest indiviuals. In fact, Dweck was initially a fixed-mindset person before she began her research and became aware of the benefits of the growth-mindset. She talks about how to change mindset in the last chapter in the book.
If you think about what we do every day as academic support professionals, we focus on the growth-mindset. Whether we work with students who are on probation or students who want to improve on test-taking skills, we help students learn strategies that improve their grades. With probation students, we encourage them to change in positve ways rather than get stuck in a negative mindframe because of poor grades. We help them to see themselves as valuable people with the ability to work hard for success. We treat them as more than just test scores that are equivalent to success or failure.
As I have read Dweck's book, certain things about my students' reactions to law school have really clicked for me. I think I knew those things before in a different context, but now I have a new perspective to understand each student better. (Amy Jarmon)
Monday, March 19, 2012
UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DAVID A. CLARKE SCHOOL OF LAW (UDC-DCSL) invites applications for visitors to fill the tenure-track position of Director of Academic Support. We will consider exceptionally talented applicants at either the assistant or associate professor level. Candidates must demonstrate a record of strong academic performance and excellent potential for scholarly achievement. The position will begin in July 16, 2012.
We are looking for an experienced academic success professional who is familiar with the best practices in the field and interested in designing a state-of-the-art academic success program suitable for our mission. The mission of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is to recruit and enroll students from groups under-represented at the bar, provide a well-rounded theoretical and practical legal education that will enable students to be effective and ethical advocates and represent the legal needs of low-income District of Columbia residents through the school’s legal clinics. UDC-DCSL is one of only six American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). UDC is the nation’s only urban, public land grant university. UDC-DCSL is highly ranked: Top 10 in the nation in Law School Clinical Programs ((US News and World Report, 2010) ; tied for 2nd in the nation in diversity (US News and World Report, 2010) ; 5th most chosen by older students (Princeton Review, 2009) ; 6th in the nation in percent of African American Students (ABA) ; 6th most diverse faculty (Princeton Review, 2009) ; and 9th in the nation in percent of students of color (ABA). UDC-DCSL has a strong commitment to diversity among its faculty.
The position advertised is for a visiting appointment with a maximum two year appointment. The salary range for Associate Professor is $92,000 to $138,000. The salary range for Assistant Professor is $73,533 to $110,300.
Although we will accept applications until the position is filled, we strongly encourage interested applicants to submit applications by April 4, 2012 for complete consideration. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume. Contact: Professor Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Building 52, Room 315A, Washington, D.C. 20008. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Call for Proposals
AALS Section on Academic Support
January 2013 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana
Assessing Our Students, Our Successes, and Our Selves
In response to a growing need within the legal academy, many institutions and individuals have developed programs to assure the success of law students as well as techniques to assess both programs and students. To broaden the impact of such efforts, the Program Committee seeks proposals highlighting the theme of assessment. What should we assess and how do we accomplish the necessary measurements? Topics might include, but are not limited to, helping new faculty design formative assessment measures for doctrinal classes; evaluating the impact of existing academic or bar support programs on bar passage rates; identifying at-risk students before they start law school; motivating entitled students to work hard enough to succeed; managing time and prioritizing tasks to derive maximum benefit from decreasing budgets; or using empirical studies to impact curricular and programming decisions.
Preference will be given to presentations designed to engage the workshop audience, so proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the methods to be employed. Individuals as well as groups are invited to propose topics. The Committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas. Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community—who are experimenting with assessment methods or doing empirical research.
Based on participant numbers for the last several years, we anticipate over 100 people attending the program.
Proposals must include the following information:
1. A title for your presentation.
2. A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.
3. A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.
4. The amount of time requested for your presentation. No single presenter should exceed 45 minutes in total. Presentations as short as 15 minutes are welcomed.
5. A detailed description of both the substantive content and the techniques to be employed., if any, to engage the audience.
6. Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employ other technology.
7. A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, national or regional ASP or writing conferences, or other academic conferences. (The Committee is interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)
8. Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).
9. Any articles or books that you have published that relate to your proposed presentation.
10. Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your presentation will provide.
Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Monday, April 2d to Prof. Barbara McFarland, Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law at email@example.com. If you have questions, contact Barbara McFarland at 859.572.7637.
The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:
Barbara McFarland, Chair
Emily Scivoletto, Past Chair
Robin Boyle Laisure, Past Chair
ASP Section Chair: Herb Ramy
Friday, March 9, 2012
Amy and I have run a number of posts on looking for work in ASP. Here are some updates and reminders.
1) Search the older posts from this blog. Rather than restate my advice, I will tell you where to find it.
2) Don't rely on the ASP listserv or this blog. Some schools only post to their internal website; be sure to check out HR websites. And check higheredjobs.com as well; it is another place ASP jobs can show up.
3) Try to figure out what schools are really looking for when they post an ASP position. I am seeing some (great!) changes in ASP job notices, with a shift towards practical legal skills training as a part of ASP. What is ASP at one school is not ASP at another school. Be sure you understand what they are looking for in an applicant before you apply.
4) It has been said before, but it is worth repeating: please don't apply to ASP positions because you hope to "back door" into doctrinal teaching. It is not a good a idea for you (you will wind up frustrated) or your students (who will know you are not in the job for them, but for advancement to another position). (RCF)
Thursday, March 8, 2012
It is time for law school spring breaks. This is our pre-break week; it is obvious that most of our students are already mentally away from the law school. The few focused students are the ones with a mid-term exam, paper deadline, or other assignment due date. My "no shows" for appointments and cancellations always increase during this week; they simply forget days and times.
Last week and this week have been consistently filled with appointments to plan the balance between study and play during their nine days away. Most of them cannot afford to take the entire time off because exams are 6 weeks away when they come back. Yet they do need to have some relaxation so that they return refreshed.
Here are some points that we cover in our discussions:
- What are all of the due dates that they have during the week before break and the week after break? We schedule the work required to meet any deadlines before they leave town. We list the other deadlines for consideration as we plan their study tasks while gone.
- What is their status on reading/briefing and outlining for each course? We prioritize any catching up that is needed. If possible, they complete that step before they leave. If not, they schedule it for the first study days during break.
- What is their status on any papers that must be completed for each course by the end of the semester? We look at these long-term research/writing projects to determine what steps remain. We look at any interim deadlines still outstanding for outlines, drafts, or other stages. Many students plan to do major work on these papers over the break.
- How much exam review have they already started for each course? We prioritize where they need the most work, next most work, etc.
- How many practice questions have they been able to complete already for each course? Again, we prioritize.
- What are their travel plans? We look at travel dates, mode of transportation, locations, and possibilities for studying. Listening to audio CD's is popular for students driving. Reviewing outlines or flashcards is popular with students flying. Other tasks on non-travel days will depend on their specific plans for the break.
- What portions of any day do they think they can study? Each day has three parts: morning, afternoon, and evening. Most students try to study at least two of those parts on the days when they can realistically do so. We consider when they can study and when they want to be with family/friends. Non-skiers study while the others are on the slopes. Students at home may study while their parents are at work or before the rest of the family gets up or after others go to bed. We also note any days that will not realistically include studying because of family plans.
- What tasks do they want to assign tentatively to each study block? Some students like to spend the day on one course. Other students like to divide their time among two or three courses. Some students want to mix up the tasks for one course: intense exam review, practice questions, making flashcards, or other tasks. Paper or assignment tasks also fill in slots.
- What tasks do they want to list for any unexpected smaller blocks of study time that emerge? By listing a few tasks that might work for extra time that is found, they will not waste those times. Examples of such tasks are reading through an outline for a course, working with flashcards, or doing practice questions.
- When will they complete their reading for the first class days on their return? Sometimes students forget to schedule when they will read and brief for the Monday after Spring Break. If they can get reading done for Tuesday classes as well, the beginning of classes will be less difficult for them.
We lay out the spring break schedule on a monthly calendar template so that they have a schedule to take with them. By having a plan, they are more likely to accomplish their goals. Within the plan they can move tasks to different days/times as they wish. (Amy Jarmon)
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
It is easy to assume that we can accomplish nothing important in small chunks of time. It is human nature to waste time increments that are under an hour, and especially under 30 minutes. We feel we acquire permission automatically to take breaks, chat with friends, mindlessly surf the web, or complete any other leisurely task in such time blocks.
However, if one seriously follows this line of thought, it is very easy to waste enormous amounts of valuable time within a day. There are many tasks that can be completed in small amounts of time. It does not matter whether the windfall time occurs because a reading assignment was shorter than expected, class let out early, a ride showed up late, or there was merely a break between two scheduled classes. For students, using those chunks of time can be critical as exams approach.
Think about it. If you capture 1/2 hour per day for small study tasks for 7 days, you have found 3 1/2 extra study hours during the week. If you capture 3 slots during the same day of 20 minutes that can be rearranged to end up consolidated together, you have an extra hour to study rather than taking 3 study breaks at separate times.
Here are some study tasks you can do in blocks of time under 30 minutes:
- Review the day's class notes for a course to fill in gaps, re-organize, and condense them as a pre-outlining step.
- Write down a list of questions that you need to ask a professor.
- Make several flashcards for a course.
- Quiz yourself from your flashcard deck.
- Complete 2 or 3 multiple-choice practice questions and read the answer explanations.
- Complete 3 or 4 CALI questions on a topic.
- Write out several rules or element definitions multiple times to help you memorize them.
- Talk with a classmate about a case or concept you did not understand.
- Make up hypothetical fact spin-offs to consider how a case rule would apply in another scenario.
- Stop by a professor's office to ask questions about the material.
- Edit several paragraphs of a paper.
- Add a subtopic to your outline.
- Review a subtopic in your outline.
- Sketch a preliminary flowchart or other visual to finish later.
- Make a "to do" list of tasks for the next day.
Please realize that I am not saying you should never take a break when you have windfall time. (Walking around outside or running a quick errand may be productive use of time rather than a study task.) Instead I am saying that you want to decide carefully how you will use small blocks of time. Do not just assume that you cannot accomplish something productive because you "only have a few minutes." (Amy Jarmon)
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
INSTRUCTOR, Academic Success and Bar Preparation
The Academic Success and Bar Preparation Program Instructor is responsible for assisting the Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation in designing, coordinating and administering an academic support program to enhance the learning and study skills of all law students at the FAMU College of Law. Also to assist in enhancing the overall academic performance, especially in regards to bar exam preparation, performance and quality of law practice.
Teach and design critical skills courses to ensure that students possess academic skills necessary for law school success and the passage of the multistate bar examination and state bar examinations. Work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, and administrators from diverse backgrounds. Monitor bar passage rate and compile bar passage reports for internal and accrediting purposes. Consult with students regarding options for bar exam preparation and assist students with the completion of the bar application. Monitor and track students’ academic progress. Conduct assessments and meetings for students on academic probation and academic alert. Maintain information and compile reports for required meetings with students. Assist the Director in the maintenance of all ASBP records with attention to student confidentiality and privacy. Work with students and graduates planning to take a bar exam to help them design a study plan that recognizes their individual learning style and abilities. Perform all other duties assigned by the Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation.
Applicant should submit the following: (1) Cover letter that explains suitability for position, (2) a FAMU employment application (go to www.famu.edu), (3) a current curriculum vitae, (4) the names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of three professional references, and (5) unofficial copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Applications will be received until the deadline date and should be sent to:
Mrs. Carrie M. Gavin, Equal Opportunity Programs
Florida A&M University
674 Gamble Street
Tallahassee, FL 32307
Director of Academic Success & Bar Preparation
The LSU Law Center is a top 100 ranked law school located on the main campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The school draws its students from Louisiana and throughout the United States and has a strong tradition of academic excellence dating from its founding more than a century ago. LSU Law is the only law school in the United States at which all graduates receive a dual degree that reflects the mixed civil and common law tradition of Louisiana and the preparation of LSU Law students for practice or service in the global, national, and state arenas.
The Director will support the mission and vision of the law school by monitoring student learning outcomes, academic performance, and academic success activities; working with students individually and in group settings to teach and enhance the analytical, writing, and other academic and related skills necessary for law-school and professional success; managing all bar preparation and evaluation activities; and participating in other activities related to student success and retention. The Director will have the opportunity to play a major role in designing, developing, implementing, and managing an academic success and bar preparation program reflecting the best practices in the field. In so doing, he or she will be expected to rely on both innovative and established practices in academic success. The Director will be expected to both work collaboratively with the faculty and administration of the Law Center and exercise initiative and judgment in the creation of new programming, drawing on both past experience and careful analysis of the Law School’s particular needs. Specifically, the Director will be charged with:
- Designing, developing, implementing, and conducting academic-success workshops and programs, including instruction for refining students’ analytical, learning, and time management skills, as well as guidance in case briefing, note taking, outlining, exam preparation and exam taking;
- Identifying students for possible inclusion in the Law Center’s academic success programs and communicating with students who could benefit from academic success services; tracking and evaluating the academic progress of those students being served; and evaluating and prioritizing student requests and referrals for tutoring;
- Providing individual and small-group educational counseling and tutoring to students in need of academic support, including assisting students with basic writing and analytical skills through regular written diagnostic and corrective feedback;
- Working in coordination with the faculty and administration to design, coordinate, implement, evaluate, and improve the academic success program;
- Coordinating and supervising an effective, high-quality peer tutoring or student teaching fellow program, including designing appropriate student-led sessions and recruiting, training, supervising, and evaluating the participating upper class students;
- Designing and coordinating a program of academic advising for all students, including counseling on academic policies, upper class course selection, the intersection of academic and career planning, and related personal and academic development issues;
- Assisting in the collection and evaluation of data to help assess the effectiveness of the academic success program; reporting on all programs and services; and critically evaluating all available programs and initiatives to assist in determining which should be continued or expanded and which should be discontinued or modified;
- Assisting in developing and overseeing a budget for academic success and success programs;
- Participating in the greater academic success professional community in order to stay apprised of best practices through regular attendance at conferences, participation in relevant listservs and blogs, and study of relevant books and other resources;
- Assisting in implementing and teaching programs of academic success related to bar-exam preparation;
- Analyzing bar exam results and providing regular reports concerning results;
- Providing bar-related information to faculty members regarding topics tested and recent bar exam questions in the faculty member’s area of teaching; and
- Other duties related to academic support, success, retention and bar preparation as assigned by the Chancellor.
The successful candidate must demonstrate a commitment to and understanding of academic success in legal education and have the requisite knowledge to design and implement legal academic success and bar preparation programs. The successful candidate will –
- Be able to work with multiple, diverse constituencies, including students, faculty and administration;
- Have superior verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills as well as either demonstrated or potential teaching skills;
- Have the ability to encourage self-improvement by students from diverse backgrounds by counseling and critiquing in a professional, rigorous, respectful, and supportive environment;
- Think imaginatively, critically, and collaboratively about how to improve and measure law student academic development;
- Have an understanding of and strong interest in developments in legal pedagogy in order to assist in designing, implementing, and managing programs that will promote law student academic development;
- Have a strong commitment to student confidentiality and privacy;
- Possess excellent organizational skills and a strong attention to detail;
- Effectively manage multiple priorities and related deadlines; and
- Have a commitment to maintaining and enhancing the academic strength and cultural diversity of the Law Center community
- A strong academic record that demonstrates potential for leading a successful law school academic support and success program;
- A J.D. or equivalent degree from an ABA-approved law school, with admission to a state bar in the United States;
- Four years of relevant experience, with a focus on legal analysis and writing (including a combination of public or private law practice, judicial clerkship, teaching or academic success delivery experience in an ABA-approved law school, or providing writing instruction in a law firm or an ABA-approved law school); and
- Demonstrated understanding of legal education (which may include experience in teaching legal writing and analysis, academic success, other law school teaching or law school administration).
- Experience in an ABA-approved law school’s academic success program; and
- Additional experience or an advanced degree in psychology, counseling or secondary or post-secondary education.
Interested applicants should provide a cover letter, resume, and three references to www.lsusystemcareers.lsu.edu . The Law Center will begin reviewing applications on March 21, 2012 and the position will remain open until filled. Inquiries may be directed to Vice Chancellor Christopher Pietruszkiewicz at 225-578-8491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Students are always introducing me to new, scary websites and blogs. It happens at both levels; I have to beg and plead to keep my undergrads off top-law-schools.com (the comments are awful) and I have to talk law students down after they find a new "scamblog" that tells them their life has been ruined by their decision to attend law school. If you have not heard about these sites from students, and the terror they provoke, than they are just not telling you about them. As ASPer's, we work with students who are already afraid. These sites are like gasoline on a fire; they inflame students who are already scared, anxious, and shell-shocked by grades, disappointment, and news about the job market.
I have come up with some tips for students when they come to my office devastated by something they have read.
1) Yes, the legal market is not good. But reading about other law student's bitterness is not going to help you get a job. It is just going to leave you depressed and angry. Spend less time reading blogs written by people who hate law schools--no one ever got a job or better grades that way.
2) You chose to attend law school because you wanted to be a lawyer. As they say in the South, "the hay is in the barn." Now is the time to find your passion, make yourself marketable, and focus on success. It may not be as easy as it once was, but that doesn't mean it is impossible.
3) The scamblogs tell you a lot about debt, but little about the ways to manage the debt. Income-based repayment (IBR) is an option if you are passionate about lower-paying social justice positions. The College-Cost Reduction Act can provide substantial help if you want to work for a non-profit. Spend time making a plan so you are prepared when it comes time to repay your loans.
4) Reconnect with the reasons you chose to attend law school. Remember what you wanted to do with your law degree. Talk to people who have succeeded doing what you want to do. Successful people don't have the time to write scamblogs, but they usually have great tips about how to succeed in their chosen field.
I am not advocating a head-in-the-sand position; I want students to be informed--not scared. The meanness of the blogosphere doesn't help them, it scares them. (RCF)