Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Assistant Dean/Director of Academic Enrichment at FIU

Florida International University is a comprehensive university offering 340 majors in 188 degree programs in 23 colleges and schools, with innovative bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs across all disciplines including medicine, public health, law, journalism, hospitality, and architecture. FIU is Carnegie-designated as both a research university with high research activity and a community-engaged university. Located in the heart of the dynamic south Florida urban region, our multiple campuses serve over 50,000 students, placing FIU among the ten largest universities in the nation. Our annual research expenditures in excess of $100 million and our deep commitment to engagement have made FIU the go-to solutions center for issues ranging from local to global. FIU leads the nation in granting bachelor’s degrees, including in the STEM fields, to minority students and is first in awarding STEM master’s degrees to Hispanics. Our students, faculty, and staff reflect Miami’s diverse population, earning FIU the designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution. At FIU, we are proud to be ‘Worlds Ahead’! For more information about FIU, visit

About FIU College of Law

As a vital part of Miami's only public research university, FIU College of Law is a dynamic urban law school with approximately 480 students. The College of Law currently has 30 full-time faculty members. The FIU College of Law is housed in a state-of-the-art building at the heart of the main university campus. 

The FIU community and the College of Law are strongly committed to the pursuit of excellence and the goal of ensuring opportunities within the legal profession for individuals who represent different groups as defined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, age, disability, national origin, and religion.

Assistant Dean/Director of Academic Enrichment

The Academic Enrichment Program at the FIU College of Law seeks an individual to develop and administer a comprehensive program supporting law students from enrollment to bar examination.  The Assistant Dean/Director will hold instructional faculty status as a non-tenure track lecturer in law and report to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.   The Academic Enrichment Program is envisioned as a comprehensive component of the College of Law’s instructional platform impacting every stage of the academic program.  The specific components of the program will be developed by the Assistant Dean/Director, but must span the length of the academic year and accommodate both day and evening students. In previous years, the FIU College of Law Academic Support Program has included the following responsibilities: teaching courses on legal reasoning and analysis, performing counseling with students, preparing students for the bar examination, and academic advising.   The Assistant Dean/Director will work closely with the Faculty Academic Enrichment Committee; represent the interests of students participating in the academic enrichment program to members of the faculty and administration, and will coordinate efforts with faculty and administration, as appropriate.

Applicants who pass the first step in the screening process will be asked to present a proposal for a comprehensive academic enrichment program tailored to the mission and specific needs of the College of Law.  Applicant proposals will identify their comprehensive vision for the Academic Enrichment Program at the FIU College of Law which may include, but is not limited to, how to assist all law students in their law school performance while maintaining a focus on at-risk students needing additional remedial support, potential use of diagnostic testing to identify areas needing improvement, utilization of varying pedagogical methods to increase proficiency under a variety of test-taking circumstances, improving comprehension and critical thinking, coordinating faculty to complement the Academic Enrichment Program, and meeting the counseling needs of students.  


The successful candidate will have:

Ÿ  A J.D. from an A.B.A.-accredited law school (additional degrees in either law or education are a plus);

Ÿ  At least three years’ experience in legal education, and/or law teaching with a focus on legal writing and analysis, preferably with experience in law school academic, support, enrichment or related;

Ÿ  The ability to assess students’ academic performance consistent with the expectations of the faculty, to cultivate and enhance student learning processes and outcomes, and to design, implement and manage programs to promote academic development;

Ÿ  The ability to develop methods to evaluate, assess, measure, and report to the faculty and administration on the efficacy of the Academic Enrichment Program;

Ÿ  The ability to work collaboratively with a diverse population of students, faculty, and administrators.


Title and Salary will be commensurate with experience.  Expected Start Date:  fall 2013.  Although we will accept applications until the position is filled, we strongly encourage interested applicants to submit applications by April 1, 2013.  Interested applicants must apply to the FIU Office of Human Resources.  Applications must be submitted on-line at  When applying please reference Job Opening ID: 505596.

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and is an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer.

March 16, 2013 in Job Descriptions, Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 15, 2013

A New Addition to the Multistate Bar Exam

The National Conference of Bar Examiners has announced upcoming changes to the Multistate Bar Examination.  Civil Procedure is being added as the seventh content area on the MBE.  Many of us knew that this addition was being contemplated, but we did not anticipate that this change would be implemented so quickly.

Per the NCBE memo, Civil Procedure will be added to the MBE beginning with the February 2015 bar examination.  Thus, the number of questions per topic area will decrease.  Once Civil Procedure is added, there will be 28 questions covering Contracts, and 27 questions covering each of the six remaining topics (Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Evidence, Property, and Torts). 

For some students, four less Property questions is a reason to celebrate!  While for others, taking an advanced Civil Procedure class may be a wise option.  Stay tuned for more information regarding the coverage for the Civil Procedure MBE questions.  The Civil Procedure content outlines will be updated by June 30, 2013.  However, for now, you can review the Civil Procedure MEE content outlines to get an idea of what to expect.

Lisa Young

March 15, 2013 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

AALS ASP 2014 Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

AALS Section on Academic Support

January 2014 Annual Meeting in
New York, New York

Early Intervention for At-Risk Students


In response to a growing need within the legal academy, many institutions and individuals have developed programs to assure the success of law students.  To broaden the impact of such efforts, the Program Committee seeks proposals highlighting innovative methods, programs, or ideas related to early intervention for at-risk students. In light of shrinking budgets, smaller applicant pools, and media attacks on legal education, how can we proactively address a potential influx of at-risk students?  Should law schools admit at-risk students?  What does at-risk really mean?  Are law schools responsible for ensuring student success once they are admitted?

Topics might include, but are not limited to: identifying at-risk students before they begin law school, in their first year of law school, or prior to taking the bar exam; criteria for identifying at-risk students; stereotype threat; stigmatization; orientation programs; pre-law programs; conditional admission; or using empirical studies to assess risk factors affecting law students.

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.

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 1st at 5pm to Lisa Young, Seattle University School of Law,  If you have questions, please email Lisa Young or call at 206-398-4323.

The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:

Lisa Young, Chair

Barbara McFarland, Past Chair

Robin Boyle Laisure, Past Chair

Robert Coulthard

Steven Foster

Danielle Kocal

Goldie Pritchard

Brendon Taga

ASP Section Chair:  Louis Schulze


March 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Borrowed Brains Have No Value

The title of this post is actually a Yiddish proverb.  It applies to law school in multiple ways:

  • Reading canned briefs or headnotes instead of the actual cases will not teach you how to analyze cases as an attorney.  You need to know how to spot the issues, pull out the legally significant facts, understand the court's reasoning, and distill the legal essentials from the opinions.  Then you need to synthsize everything you have read.
  • Using scripts instead of taking class notes will not help you think about the law.  Scripts are merely verbatim transcripts without true understanding.  A court reporter can make a transcript; an attorney needs to process the law to know how to use it correctly.
  • Relying on other people's outlines instead of making your own outline focuses on memorization rather than understanding.  Attorneys need to be able to struggle with the law and know how it works; they need to use the law rather than parrot the law.
  • Reading the model answer in a practice question book instead of writing out your own answer will short-circuit learning.  You cannot learn the nuances of thinking by reading another's work.  You cannot learn how to organize a tight analysis without doing it yourself.

Studying the law well takes effort.  Thinking about the law is very different than memorizing the law.  Understanding how to apply the law to legal problems goes beyond borrowed brains.  Clients want to hire lawyers who excel at using their own brains.  (Amy Jarmon) 

March 13, 2013 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Attitude of Gratitude

It is hard for law students to realize sometimes that they are privileged.  When the reading becomes overwhelming, the outlines are not going well, mid-term grades are lower than desired, and job prospects for summer or after graduation look bleak, it is easy to become discouraged and negative. 

At the times of discouragement, students need to remember that they are studying for a profession that has a long history of making a difference in people's lives every day.  Law school can be overwhelming and frustrating and challenging.  It is not a perfect environment by any means.  The job market is not as robust as it used to be, and job hunts take more initiative and diligence.  But if one does persevere in law school, bar study, and the job hunt, the legal profession provides the opportunity to impact individuals and society. 

When law students lose perspective on why they came to law school and what they hope to accomplish with a law degree, they need to look at the world outside the law school fishbowl.  There are thousands of people in every part of this country who would love to have the opportunity to have an education - let alone a graduate education, to focus on learning , and to enter a profession some day.  They are too busy with daily survival, however, to have those luxuries.  They are worried about the next meal, a roof over their heads, or protecting their children from violence.  They are wondering how to get access to justice for themselves and their families.

The study of law is not for everyone.  The legal profession is not a good match for everyone.  It is okay if a law student would prefer to pursue another degree in business or music or anthropology or some other discipline.  It is equally okay if a law student would prefer not to be in school at all and instead work full-time. 

If the decision is to stay in law school and pursue the law degree, then it is important to realize the privilege of that choice.  When it gets tough, remember the impact a lawyer can have.  Persevere through the hard courses; study with purpose; prepare to be the best lawyer possible.  There are people out there who need help in their daily survival, and they need each law student to be focused on being the lawyer who will have that impact in their lives.

Have an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to pursue a law degree, for the chance to make a difference through our profession, and for the people who will allow each new lawyer to touch their lives.  When discouraged, look beyond the moment to the future that awaits.  (Amy Jarmon)        



March 12, 2013 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Study Tip: Analytical Templates

A tip you can give students:    


    Consider developing analytical templates for issues you know will appear on your exams. You can glean them from your briefs and class notes, from explicit tests and definitions applied by the courts, or from cases that lay out a series of steps in the analyses of particular issues.

    You can create your own template by gathering the critical concepts governing the analysis of an issue and arranging the concepts into a set of steps or questions the courts generally use to analyze that issue. You could then use the steps or questions to guide your own analysis on an exam.

    For example, you might boil down the critical concepts concerning animus under the Equal Protection Clause and create a template to guide your discussion of whether the facts of a problem suggest animus on the part of the government. You could then make the template easy to remember by arranging the concepts into “BIASES”:

    Animus/Invidious Choice (Purpose to disadvantage a group)

  • B – Bare desire to harm unpopular group = never legitimate gov’t interest
  • I  – Invidious choice = violation of E.P.
  • A – Arbitrary assignment of burdens among classes
  • S – Singling out unpopular group for special disability = possible bias
  • E – Enabling private biases through gov’t action = violation of E.P.
  • S – Smoking out animus -- Scrutiny depends on classification


    This template reflects a more expanded version, which is itself a boiled down version of a detailed outline:

    Animus/Invidious Choice (Purpose to disadvantage a group)

  • Bare desire to harm unpopular group = never legit
  • Invidious choice = violation of E.P.

                implies disrespect

                driven by animus

  • Arbitrary assignment of burdens among classes    

                no logical purpose = no rational basis = arbitrary

                Standard: achieved purpose in patently arbitrary or irrational way?

                Rationale so attenuated from goal = arbitrary or irrational.

  • Singling out unpopular group for special disability = possible bias

                Disadvantage politically unpopular group

                Targeting group w/ unpopular trait or affliction

                Broad disability on single class

                        E.g., singling out class to restrict ability to seek protection from discrimination                         especially egregious violation of E.P., e.g. (Colorado gays)

                        E.g., no food stamps for unrelated households (bias against hippies)

  • Enabling private biases through gov’t action = violation of E.P.

                    Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or                     indirectly, give them effect.”


  • Scrutiny depends on classification (tests to smoke out animus)

                Non-suspect = Rational Basis Test

                Quasi-suspect = Intermediate Scrutiny     

                Suspect = Strict Scrutiny


Dan Weddle

March 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)