Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 30, 2014

Conference Announcement: Teaching the Academically Under-Prepared Law Student

Teaching the Academically Under-Prepared Law Student
The Fourth Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference
Hosted by the Duquesne University School of Law
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Saturday, December 6, 2014

For generations, college and law school educators have often voiced the belief that their students are not as prepared as they used to be.  Although some educators may disagree about whether there really has been a change in students since the apocryphal “good old days,” there is a growing body of scholarship suggesting that 21st Century college graduates and law students lack the critical thinking skills necessary for law study and that as educators we are facing new challenges in teaching these students.  Scholars and other commentators have pointed to many causes for the real (and perhaps perceived) problems that new law students experience while trying to cope with the demands of academic and professional training.  These causes include the declining quality of pre-college schooling, the focus on standardized testing, lowered expectations at the undergraduate level, a decrease in the numbers and “quality” of incoming law students, the generational characteristics of current law students, the effects on student learning from psychological problems such as anxiety disorders, the deleterious influence of the Internet and computer technology, and more.  This conference will offer attendees an opportunity to hear from others who are interested in these questions, and, hopefully, learn how to better teach current law students or change the current educational environment.  The DUQUESNE LAW REVIEW, which has published papers from two previous Colonial Frontier conferences, will devote space in its Spring 2015 symposium issue to papers from the conference. 

Here is an alphabetical list of the presenters, their schools, and the topics of the twelve 30-minute presentations:

• Mary Ann Becker, Loyola Univ. Chicago College of Law – Understanding the Tethered Generation: Net Gens Come to Law School
• Heidi Brown, New York Law School – Empowering Millennial and Generation Z Students to Overcome Extreme Public Speaking Anxiety in the Socratic Law School Classroom
• Catherine Christopher, Texas Tech Univ. School of Law – Eye of the Beholder: How Perception Management Can Counter Stereotype Threat Among Struggling Law Students
• Rebecca Flanagan, Univ. of Massachusetts Law School – Should Law School Admissions Follow a Medical School Model?  An Argument for A Pre-Law Curriculum 
• Shailini George, Suffolk Univ. Law School – How Mindfulness Training Can Improve Learning in Law School
• Julia Glencer, Duquesne Univ. School of Law – Emerging Adults, “Rules” and Authority: Navigating the Minefield to Cultivate Professional Behavior
• Jane Bloom Grisé, Univ. of Kentucky College of Law – Critical Reading and Legal Writing
• Sherri Keene, Univ. of Maryland School of Law – Are We There Yet? Aligning the Expectations and Realities of Gaining Competency in Legal Writing
• Susan Landrum, Savannah Law School – Drawing Inspiration from the Flipped Classroom Model: An Integrated Approach to Academic Support for the Academically Underprepared Law Student
• Courtney Lee, Pacific McGeorge School of Law – Changing Gears to Meet the New Normal in Legal Education
• Tammy Pettinato, Univ. of North Dakota School of Law – Special Challenges for Law Students from Lower Socio-Economic Backgrounds
• Ruth Vance and Susan Stuart, Valparaiso Univ. School of Law – Academically Underprepared Yet Overconfident: Teaching the Learning-Resistant Law Student

The attendance fee for the conference will be $50 for non-presenters.  Duquesne will provide free on-site parking to conference attendees.  The conference will begin 8:00 a.m. with a breakfast reception at the Duquesne University School of Law, followed by a welcome and a series of presentations beginning at 9:00 a.m.  We will provide a catered, on-campus lunch, followed by a series of afternoon presentations, ending at approximately 3:00 p.m.  The conference will close with food and drinks in the “Bridget and Alfred Pelaez Legal Writing Center,” the home of Duquesne’s Legal Research and Writing Program.  

Pittsburgh is an easy drive or short flight from many cities.  To accommodate persons wishing to stay over in Pittsburgh on Friday or Saturday evenings, Duquesne will arrange for a block of discounted rooms at a downtown hotel adjacent to campus, within walking distance of the law school and downtown Pittsburgh.  We will also provide attendees with information about the Pittsburgh area’s attractions, including our architectural treasures, museums, art collections, shopping, and world-class professional sports teams.

For more information contact Professor Jan M. Levine at 412.396.1048 or  Online registration for the conference and hotel will be available in September 2014, at  
(Myra G. Orlen)

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