Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, January 31, 2013

What a Bunch of Losers

He was so discouraged by rejections that he threw his first novel in the trash; his wife fished it out and talked him into trying again. His name is Stephen King. She was a broke, severely depressed single mom on social security trying to get through school and write a book. Her name is J.K. Rowling.

He was once fired because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas." His name was Walt Disney. She was fired from a broadcasting job because she was not "fit for the screen." Her name is Oprah Winfrey.

They were rejected by label after label, once being told they had no future in show business and that guitar bands were on the way out. They were the Beatles.

His music teacher said he was "hopeless as a composer" and would never amount to anything in music. His name was Ludwig van Beethoven. He was a lackluster student who failed his sixth-grade year and spent much of his political career losing election after election. His name was Winston Churchill.

He was told by a teacher that he was too stupid to learn; later he tried to create an electric lightbulb and failed 9,000 times -- then created one. His name was Thomas Edison.

No one ever did anything important without failing along the way. Don't ask yourself to be the great exception. When you fail, pick yourself up and go back out there. The story is not finished, unless you throw the draft in the trash and refuse to fish it out.

Dan Weddle


January 31, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Self-reflection and success

I frequently write posts for this blog on articles about research on thinking, learning, and success. This post will be about an article on the connection between self-reflection and success. Unlike most of my posts, I question whether this advice, without further qualifications, should apply to law students. While I think self-reflection is critical to success, the type of self-reflection advocated in this article might be damaging or dangerous when applied haphazardly to law students.

The article, from the New York Times, is titled "Secret Ingredient for Success," and chronicles the "self-examination" practiced by restauranteur David Chang, proprietor of Momofuku in New York City. His restaurant was failing, when he decided to subject himself to "brutal self-assessment." The article goes on to discuss the work of a Harvard Business School professor who studies what happens when people find "obstacles in their path." The findings suggest that people who struggle, but subject themselves to "fairly merciless self-examination" find success through "reinvention of their goals and methods."

I think self-reflection is a critical part of success, especially for law students. Law students should be thinking about their thinking, thinking about what they are doing right, where they can improve, and how their methods of study, reading, and writing contribute to their successes and failures. I find that many students can solve their own problems if they take the time to think about their own choices. It's easy to say "I want to be successful in law school" but it's difficult to admit to self-defeating behaviors, like playing video games for hours, drinking too much, or prioritizing a social life over studying.

Where I become concerned for law students is in the "merciless" and "brutal" part of the self-reflection. Law students receive no feedback until they receive negative feedback. I think it's easy for a law student to say to his or herself, "Qualified experts (law professors) think I am a B/C student. Reputable news sources say that B/C students cannot get jobs. I know I feel over-my-head, exhausted, confused, and depressed. What is the next step to turn this around?" While many students will look for support, some students will look to self-destructive means of self-medication and treatment to deal with their feelings. I think it's very important that self-reflection is paired with tools and resources to help law students who find themselves in a tough situation. So I agree with the idea that self-reflection is important to success, I think that it's not enough to tell students they need to reflect on their challenges; we need to support students as they begin the journey to become self-reflective practitioners. (RCF)

January 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Academic Success Director Position at University of Kentucky

Academic Success Director

University of Kentucky 

The University of Kentucky College of Law seeks an experienced professional for the position of Academic Success Director. The College of Law is a self-contained academic unit of a flagship land grant university. The College of Law is a medium-sized law school, with just over 400 full-time students and approximately 30 full-time faculty members. The College of Law is large enough to have a diverse and interesting curriculum, yet small enough to foster friendly relationships among students, faculty and administrators. 

The Academic Success Director oversees all aspects of operations of an academic success program at the College of Law. The Director plans the Academic Success Pre-Orientation Legal Reasoning Program. In addition, the director teaches regular Academic Success workshops during fall and spring semesters, including reading cases, briefing cases, study strategies, outlining, writing tips, exam strategies and practice exams. The position is also required to interact with other Academic Success professionals and contribute to academic success conversations and conferences on a national level. This position will develop and oversee an Academic Support Mentor program.

The Director will work with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, faculty and registrar to identify at-risk students nearing graduation and intervene by contacting and counseling. S/he will prepare, staff and conduct bar preparation support sessions, specifically inviting at-risk students but open to all students. In addition, s/he will conduct surveys and interviews with UK COL graduates regarding the preparedness for the Kentucky Bar Exam. The Director will continue to enhance the UK COL Bar Exam support program, including monitoring bar support programs at other schools and selecting bar support activities for UK COL.

The Director will teach one section of first-year legal writing, including creating lesson plans and materials, commenting extensively on student papers, and conducting individual student conferences; hold weekly office hours during each semester; conduct student oral arguments. The Director will collaborate with a legal research liaison, a library faculty member who teaches the legal research component of the first-year Legal Research & Writing course. 

A Juris Doctorate degree is required for this position along with 4 years of paid, full-time professional level employment in education, legal writing, client relations and/or law. The qualified applicant will also possess excellent presentation, leadership, analysis, and organizational skills; and exercise good judgment along with creative solutions. Experience teaching in higher education and knowledge of adult learning theory is preferred in this role. 

See for yourself what makes UK one great place to work! Apply online today for requisition #SM544612 at: Deadline to apply: 02/20/2013. For any questions you may contact HR/Employment via phone at 859.257.9555 (option 2) or email Upon offer of employment, successful applicants for certain positions must undergo a national background check and pre-employment drug screen as required by University of Kentucky Human Resources. The University of Kentucky is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from minorities and women. 

January 28, 2013 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Project Manager/Research Faculty Position with LSSSE at Indiana University

If you are research oriented and support the efforts of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, this might be the perfect job for you.  Although within the School of Education, the position announcement is looking for a J.D. with law school experience.  Review of applications starts today.  Check it out at: Project Manager LSSSE.




January 28, 2013 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Using "Positive Procrastination" in ASP

An essential part of ASP is dealing with students who have problems with procrastination.  There are two types of procrastinators; positive procrastinators and toxic procrastinators. Toxic procastinators are easy to spot; they just don't get the work done on time. They have a million excuses. Toxic procrastinators usually have psychological issues, like an intense fear of failure or issues with perfectionism, that are beyond the scope of a typical ASP, and need the intervention of a mental health professional. The New York Times has a wonderful article on positive, or productive, procrastinators. Positive procrastinators, according to Robert Benchley, "can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” In law schools, we can also break this down further: positive procrastinators who limit themselves to law-related work, and positive procrastinators who do everything possible to avoid law-related work. The first group are remarkably productive, if always stressed out. Their outlines will be done a month in advance, but only because it allowed them to avoid writing their law review note. In my experience, most of these positive procrastinators see us in ASP because of stress. Their grades do not suffer from this form of procrastination, but their sanity and close associates suffer a great deal.

The second group of procrastinators are common in ASP classes and workshops; they will do anything, as long as it is not law-related work (I am defining law-related work as reading, homework, outlines, resumes, cover letters, and other essential tasks). They will  take on leadership roles in every law school club or team sport. They will initiate fundraisers and chair student committees. They will often have significant, out-of-school commitments that they insist they must oblige. Superficially, these students seem to be the most productive students on campus. Underneath all this productivity is an intense desire to avoid doing the work that needs to be done to succeed in law school. These students need to stay involved, but also need to be persuaded to drop some commitments. They need to make to-do lists, and they must include law-related work. It also helps if these students can share why they feel like they need to overextend themselves; ask them to discuss what is most important to them. Law school is usually one of their priorities, but they don't know how to succeed academically, so they try to succeed in extracurricular. These students can become positive, productive procrastinators if they modify their schedules; they can also become toxic procrastinators if they feel they can not succeed academically.


January 25, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Forgot to Attend Civil Procedure -- All Semester!!!!

I had my Civil Procedure dream the other night. Ever since law school, I have had a recurring dream that I was enrolled in Civil Procedure but forgot to attend it until the week before finals.

What is it about law school that so unnerves us? I graduated, passed two bars, practiced without committing malpractice that I know of, and became a professor.

But still I regularly dream that I forgot to attend Civil Procedure and have to take the final exam. My professor is going to be so mad.

Do you worry that you are a failure? Me, too, sometimes. Do you think you have no business in this profession? Me, too, sometimes.

The trick is to refuse to believe your fears. Press forward and learn well. Keep going and find that perfect fit for yourself in this profession. Do not aim low when it comes to jobs -- aim high for the perfect fit and take what comes. What is the worst that can happen? You don't get the high flying job of your dreams? You will find the right job if you stay persistent.

When you do not get the "perfect offer" from some firm or agency, just say what I always say: I've been thrown out of nicer joints than this. Then laugh off the fears and aim high again.

Dan Weddle

January 25, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Asst. Dean of Student Success position at Charlotte Law

Assistant Dean position open at Charlotte School of Law


Charlotte School of Law is seeking qualified applicants for the position of Assistant Dean of Student Success.  The Assistant Dean position oversees the management of Charlotte Law’s Academic Success and Bar Preparation functions.  The position carries faculty status with eligibility for long-term renewable contracts.  Visit their website ( and click the “Join Our Team” link at the top of the page for official details and how to apply.


Professor Christopher Woodyard is currently serving in the position on an interim basis and will be happy to discuss the role/team with interested individuals.  You can email him directly at

January 24, 2013 in Job Descriptions, Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Academic Success Counselor Position at Valparaiso

Valparaiso University Law School is pleased to announce an opening for the position of Academic Success Counselor.  Those interested may contact Bethany Lesniewski, Director of Academic Success, with any questions regarding this position, but should apply formally through the Human Resources website:  


Please see below for the position description or click the link to the job posting:


Valparaiso University Law School


Valparaiso University Law School invites applicants for the position of Academic Success Counselor.  


Valparaiso University Law School is located in Northwest Indiana and is part of a residential community with excellent public schools and other resources.  It is approximately ten miles from Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as well as one hour from downtown Chicago.


The law school is an integral part of Valparaiso University, a Lutheran affiliated institution founded in 1859 and known for its outstanding liberal arts education and professional programs.  For more information about Valparaiso University Law School, see


Valparaiso University Law School is looking for an Academic Success Counselor.  The duties of the position include, but are not limited to, teaching academic study skills to currently enrolled Valparaiso University law students, counseling students on academic and bar exam success skills and attorney licensing requirements, and advising graduates studying for the bar examination.


Responsibilities Include:

  • Assists in counseling and advising new students, students on academic probation, students "at risk", and any other student seeking to improve academic performance and/or other academic issues including course scheduling social influences, etc.
  • Prepares and presents academic success workshops for 1L students during the fall and spring semesters. Assists in planning and executing new student orientation.
  • Develops lesson plans and teaches the Legal Method course for 1L students on academic probation.
  • In conjunction with the Director of Academic Success, directs the Dean's Fellow's program. Recruits, trains, and supervises the Dean's fellows. Evaluates the success of the program through student evaluations and other means.
  • Assists students in reviewing answers to practice exams and provides advice regarding exam strategy, including bar exam essays and strategies.
  • Tracks the academic progress of "at risk" students on academic probation. Assists the Director in maintaining the Academic Success website.
  • Perform all other duties assigned by the Director of Academic Success.


Please upload cover letter, resume and professional references when applying for this position.

Cover letters may be addressed to:

Bethany Lesniewski, Director of Academic Success

School of Law
Valparaiso University
Valparaiso, IN  46383

Employment will require a background check.


Required Skills

  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to cultural diversity and the ability to work with individuals or groups from diverse backgrounds.

Required Experience


  • J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school with a strong academic record is required.
  • Have at least one (1) year of academic experience in either law school teaching, counseling, or bar exam tutoring is preferred.
  • Must be a member of a state bar who has successfully completed a bar examination.
  • Strong academic and professional qualifications, as well as a demonstrated interest in teaching students with diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to establish and maintain positive working relationships with faculty, staff, law school affiliates and guests.
  • Ability to use initiative and independent judgment within established policy and procedural guidelines.
  • Ability to handle and keep confidential a variety of different student questions and concerns.

Job Location

Valparaiso, Indiana, United States

Position Type



January 23, 2013 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Back to Basics

Students who fail to perform as well as they would like in the first semester have often made a critical mistake early on in their law school experiences: they have not thoroughly briefed the assigned cases. They hear from others that they need only the facts and the rule and a one-paragraph rationale, and they embrace that approach wholeheartedly. Many times, they realize they can capture all three by merely highlighting parts of the text.

The problem, of course, is that they have failed to process the cases deeply on the one hand, and have created no record of the critical steps in the reasoning on the other. Therefore, they must get back to basics, but they have largely forgotten what those basics might have been.

Below are briefing steps I teach my students and insist on for those asking for or needing academic support. Because these steps form the basis for other critical strategies, I insist that students follow them if they are working with me. They should complete the steps for the majority opinion and repeat the reasoning steps for concurrences and dissents.

Begin with SPRS

Step 1 -- (S) Skim

Skim through the case looking for headings that may be helpful in giving a quick overview of the opinion.

Step 2 -- (P) Preread

Read the first sentence of each paragraph of the case. This step will take only a couple of minutes, even for lengthy cases. The result will be that you will have read most of the key concepts and will have a general grasp of the case before actually reading it. Details will make more sense, and the logic will jump out more easily.

Step 3 -- (R) Read

Read the case straight through, placing a dot in the margin next to each idea that seems important in the court's reasoning. Do not place dots next to facts because you have no real idea which facts are critical to the portion of the case excerpted for your casebook. Focus on reasoning, and do not worry if you find that nearly every sentence has a dot after it.

Step 4 -- (S) Summarize

Begin your brief by converting each dot into a numbered sentence under the heading "reasoning." As you reread the sentences you have marked, make a decision whether you still believe the concept is important enough to keep. In other words, could you use that concept to resolve a similar legal issue on an exam? If so, put it in your brief as a discreet concept. You should end up with a list of important principles, steps in the logic, tests, definitions, etc., instead of a vague paragraph that describes generally what the case means.

Complete Your Brief

Step 5 -- Identify the Holding

The holding is the specific result for the litigants in the case.

Step 6 -- Identify the Rule

The case has been chosen for the casebook because it articulates and applies some key rule or corollary rule. You should find the key rule in your reasoning section and can generally copy and paste under "Rule."

Step 7 -- Identify the Material Facts

Capture, as briefly as possible, the critical facts that will trigger the story for you in the future. The critical facts are those on which the decision turned. One way to think about critical facts is to decide which facts, if they had not existed, would have changed the outcome of the case.

Step 8 -- Additional Possibilities

You can add whatever else you find helpful. For example, many highly successful law students add a short personal reaction to the case or to its dissents or concurrences.

Dan Weddle

January 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Planning Your Finances for the Bar Exam

An important piece of your bar exam preparation has nothing to do with Torts, Family Law, or Criminal Law.  It has to do with planning ahead to ensure that you have a budget in place to pay for the expense of taking the bar exam.  

A few ideas to get you started with your Bar Study Financial Plan:

  • Create a budget that incorporates your bar review expenses.  Make sure to include your bar review course fee, your bar exam application fees, examsoft fees if applicable, MPRE registration fees, your hotel/transportation during the administration of the bar exam, and living expenses while studying for the bar exam.
  • Save a designated amount of money each month for your bar review.  Put this money in a separate account or a “cookie jar” so that you do not unintentionally (or intentionally) spend it on something else.  Try to make sure that you have scheduled enough months of saving to cover your projected expenses.
  •  Reduce your current spending (forgo that extra latte, brown bag it for lunch, or take the bus instead of paying for parking).  Cutting out the extras can be a bummer but in the end, you will be happy to have saved enough to get through your bar preparation without having to work.  It is unnatural to give up every luxury.  Pick one or two things that help you feel good and that are good for you.  If you enjoy your yoga classes or gym membership, keep those.  If you like to get a smoothie or fill up at the salad bar once a week, you should continue.  These are healthy choices that also make you feel good.  Keep the treats that nourish you and pass on the rest.
  • Discuss bar loans and/or bar scholarships with your law school’s Financial Services Office. If your finances will require you to apply for a bar loan, do not wait to research your options. Scholarships are numbered and due to the economic times there will be a great deal of competition.  Learn about the opportunities in your State or City and apply early.
  • You do not want to hear this but you could move back in with your folks.  I know this may be a bitter pill to swallow.  On one hand, you are an adult and you do not want to move back in with your parents.  However, on the other hand, it is best to think about how you can save money while you are studying.  Check to see if your relatives or friends have an apartment, cabin, or summer home that will be unoccupied or ask around to see if someone you know needs a house sitter for the summer. 
  • Graduation is around the corner.  While you would rather use a gift of cash on a trip to Hawaii for after the bar exam, using graduation money to fund your bar study is a smarter and more fiscally responsible idea.

Although they are a costly endeavor, bar review courses are essential if you want to be successful on the bar exam.  Planning ahead for the costs associated with the exam will lessen your stress and help you cope with the potential financial strain.

Lisa Young

January 21, 2013 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Job Tip: Believe in Yourself

I once blew a job I really wanted because I became convinced on the way to the interview that I was just filler in a field of heavy hitter applicants. In at least one way, I deserved to lose that offer because I had no right to think they would waste their time and mine if I were not a very serious candidate. Nevertheless, all the way to the interview, I could not shake the thought that I was up against people with whom I could never compete.

You might think I choked and wilted during the interview, but I did something completely different. I spent the entire day-long interview trying to convince everyone that I was a heavy hitter, that I was every bit as good as whoever was already in their back pocket.

I told them everything I had ever accomplished and everything I had ever thought of accomplishing. I assured them I would accomplish all those new things and probably much more. I was there to help them change the world, and I would give all that I had to be a key player in that mission.

I wore them out. By the end of the day, they thought I was a self-important blowhard that could not listen, cared nothing for others' interests, and thought I was God's gift to their organization and the profession.

I found out later that I had been the top candidate until that interview. The job had been mine to lose, and I had lost it with a vengeance.

Had I actually ignored my fears and believed I would be a good fit, I might have landed that job. It may be that I would have lost out to someone better anyway, but at least it would have been the real me losing out instead of the lunatic they met.

Identify your strengths and be able to talk about them realistically. Have some faith in those strengths, however, and do not work too hard to show them off to everyone. Give the organization a little credit and assume they are not in the habit of interviewing people they are not serious about. They have seen something in you. Be yourself, and that something might just come out naturally.

Dan Weddle

January 20, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Congratulations to Michael Hunter Schwartz: One of our own is a dean!

While we don't usually highlight the comings and goings of law school administration here at the ASP blog (Faculty Lounge covers that realm) I thought it was important that we recognize University of Arkansas-Little Rock for hiring Michael Hunter Schwartz as their new dean. Most of us know Mike from his work in ASP, but for those who haven't met Mike, he is one of the most prolific, generous, gifted people in ASP. His book Expert Learning for Law Students is a classic in academic support, and his more recent book with Denise Riebbi, Pass the Bar!, is a classic-in-the-making.

I am thrilled for Mike, and for UALR, but I also think his appointment signifies something important for our field: one of our own has made it to the top. This is a wonderful thing for our students, who will benefit from a renewed focus on student-centered teaching in the academy.

Mike is not the only ASPer in a deanship; it is important to note that Mary Lu Bilek at UMass Law also has deep roots in our field. Mary Lu came on board at UMass this past year. Let's celebrate these milestones, and congratulate our newest deans!


January 17, 2013 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finding a Job

First, the bad news: law jobs are not falling off trees. Here's the good news: the jobs are out there because people always need lawyers, and law firms need you. They may simply not be coming to campus to find you.

The giant firms can afford to let an associate sit all day on your campus, interviewing the top 15%. In a firm of hundreds, that associate's day represents a tiny fraction of the firm's billable hours.

Smaller firms cannot afford anyone to sit around interviewing all day. In a firm of five attorneys, one person's day represents somewhere around 20% of the day's billable hours. The jobs are there, but you will not find the firms sitting around on campus to pick up a summer associate or new attorney.

So how do you find these jobs? It takes some hard work and persistence, but you can find them if you go about the search in the right ways. One way that has worked for many of my students is below.

Step 1: Make a list of all the lawyers and judges you know personally. It may be a short list.

Step 2: Make a list of everyone you know that may have used a lawyer at some point. Think about adoptions, divorces, trusts and wills. Think about people who own businesses, work in management positions in organizations that have legal counsel. Think about people who have been in accidents or property disputes or employment disputes. Think of all the ways people use lawyers and ask yourself whom you know that would likely have a lawyer. Include your friends, family, and parents' friends.

Step 3: From the two lists, choose three people who would know attorneys that do the kind of work you might like to try. If it is a lawyer or a judge that you know call her and ask if you could take her to lunch to pick her brain about opportunities in the field. If it is a lay person, ask if you could use that person's name to contact his attorney and invite the attorney to lunch. Tell the attorney, "Your client, Joe Smith, suggested I contact you and invite you to lunch to get your advice on finding the kind of work I am interested in pursuing."

Lawyers pay attention when they hear the words "your client." They also need to go to lunch, so you are not wasting their time. Finally, most attorneys would love to help a novice get established.

Step 4: Take these people to lunch (separately, of course) -- nothing too pricey; they all know you are a student. Talk to them about their experiences in the field and your goals and interests. Give them copies of your resume, and ask for advice on how best to place yourself in the field. Whatever you do, do not ask for a job. This cannot be a bait and switch. Learn from them.

Step 5: Send a note thanking each for his advice and time.

What typically happens is that each lunch partner will send your resume around to people she knows in the field who might be looking for someone like you. You may be surprised who calls you. My students often are.

Dan Weddle


January 16, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

It Was an Accident

Sometimes, those who perform well in the first semester do not really know how they did it. We should reach out to all of our students to help them find the most "bang-for-buck" learning strategies, even if they have succeeded "by accident" in the first semester. After all, do we ever want to say that success precludes help to learn more deeply and consistently? I should hope not.

Dan Weddle


January 16, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New bar passage rules in California

California will be changing the rules for law schools seeking to maintain their California accreditation.

January 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Working With Students Experiencing Major Trauma

I want to start this post with a disclaimer: I am not a licensed counselor or therapist, and I am do not have a PhD or a PsyD in clinical psychology. I held this post for two weeks because I wanted to give my thoughts on events some time to process. This post is based on my experience as a law student who experienced major trauma and as an ASP professional who has worked with students experiencing major trauma. If you have a student who is experiencing major trauma, I suggest consulting with a licensed mental health professional.


Connecticut is the size of a shoebox; several states have counties that are almost as large as my home state. Everyone I know has a personal connection to the tragedy of two weeks ago; they have a friend, neighbor, or colleague related to a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School, they have lived in Newtown, or they are related to a first responder. The tragedy is unspeakable, but here in Connecticut, it's the only thing anyone can talk about. It's on the news, in the papers, on the radio. The horror is replayed over and over.

I anticipate that there are law students studying in other states, and at other law schools, that have a connection to the tragedy. I am sharing some of my experience, in hopes that it can help a new ASPer who may not have experience working with students experiencing major trauma.

Don't expect them to want to share, talk or emote. As a culture, we expect people experiencing major trauma to scream, cry, yell, and emote. Not all people process tragedy in this way. You may not know who is experiencing major trauma until well after the event. Students will share on their own schedule.

They will laugh. Yes, they will laugh, even in the depths of grieving. They will smile.They will go out with their friends. They will play board games, go to parties, and hang out with friends. It does not mean they are blocking or avoiding the trauma. It means they are living.

Do not expect, or pressure them, to take the semester off. Some people process grief by adhering to the structure that shapes their life. Some students will need to go right back to class, take a full course load, and work a part-time job. The structure helps them feel safe in a world where nothing feels safe. Do not pressure a student to take it easy, or take a reduced course load, or to take time off. For a student who needs purpose in their life, telling them to stay home, without a focus, will be terrifying. Let the student decide what they need in their life in order to process their feelings.

They may not want to go home if they live in CT.  Our instincts tell us that someone experiencing major trauma will want to go home. But not everyone feels they can handle the situation, and those students may want to take a break before coming home. They should not be made to feel unfeeling if they decide to stay with a friend instead of going straight home. Living in CT right now is extremely difficult. Yes, we have come together as a state. But the media is an echo chamber of sensationalism, distortions, and horror. It's not just traditional news coverage; daytime and prime-time TV  is being regularly interrupted by memorials, tributes, and "breaking" news. Not everyone can handle going back to a place that will force them to relive horror, day after day. If a student has a history of major trauma, it may be safest for them to go to a place where they feel somewhat sheltered from the media.

My experience is that there are as many ways to process tragedy and trauma as there are humans on earth. Everyone is shaped by their own experiences. There are many ways to grieve, and many ways to mourn. As long as the student is practicing self-care, their method of processing and healing is normal. Watch for self-destructive coping mechanisms: alcohol, drugs, or a refusal to engage with the world. Get a professional involved immediately if you think the student is making  self-destructive choices. (RCF)


January 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

ASP Section Newsletter - Check It Out

Check out the ASP Section's Winter Newsletter that Herb Ramy just distributed through the AALS listserv.  There is lots of information included on the Section's AALS highlights: speakers for our program, posters to view, officer/board candidates, committee members and chairs, other events, and the section award.

January 3, 2013 in Meetings, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ASP Business Meeting at AALS Update

Here is an update from Herb Ramy on the location for the ASP Business Meeting at AALS:

Regarding the section business meeting, please note that the original AALS Program did not contain a time or room for the event.  The most recent online version of the program lists the Section Business Meeting as occurring on Sunday, January 6, 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. Windsor, Third Floor, Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  This is an hour and 15 minutes after our section program concludes.  Unfortunately, we could not meet immediately after the section program due to a conflict with another event.

January 3, 2013 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Director Position at UNH

University of New Hampshire School of Law

Director of Academic Success

The University of New Hampshire School of Law, located in Concord, New Hampshire, seeks a Director of Academic Success.

Working collaboratively with the law school community, the Director will focus the Academic Success program on the skills critical to being a lawyer, succeeding in law school, and passing the bar exam. These skills include the analytical ability to understand and organize the law, apply it to facts, make arguments where appropriate, and communicate effectively. In addition, the program will also address non-analytical skills such as time and stress management, motivation, responsibility, self-direction, among others, necessary for students to succeed in law practice, law school and on the bar exam. The Director will effectively design and prioritize academic success efforts to maximize student performance in these areas. A complete job description, with required education, experience, skills and characteristics is available at:

UNH Law, an affiliated school of the University of New Hampshire, is internationally renowned for its intellectual property program. The school’s unique Daniel Webster Scholar Honors program is a pioneer in practice-based education. The Social Justice Institute offers a wide range of clinics, externships and practice-based curricular opportunities. Concord, the capitol of New Hampshire, is home to the state’s legislature, state offices and local, state and federal courts. Just over an hour’s drive from Boston, Massachusetts, the ocean, and the majestic White Mountains, Concord offers good schools, high quality of life, and a variety of affordable housing options. Salary for the position will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

Please submit a cover letter and CV to Professor Margaret Sova McCabe, Chair of the Academic Success Director National Search Committee, via e-mail to Submissions are due by February 11, 2013.

January 3, 2013 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)