Wednesday, May 16, 2018
I first saw the name Herbert N. Ramy on the cover of a book, Succeeding in Law School. In my early years of Academic Support, I attempted to build an arsenal of resources I could recommend to students and I also wanted to ensure that I was well aware of all resources available. Herb's book was one of the books I collected. I formally met Herb a little later at a conference and had a brief conversation with him. Please see the information below to learn a little bit about him (Goldie Pritchard).
Q: Please indicate your full name, title, and institution of employment.
Herbert N. Ramy
Professor and Director of Academic Support
Suffolk University Law School (SULS)
Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.
I created the ASP Program at SULS back in the summer of 1999. At the time, my school provided little in the way of ASP services, and relied on its LRW faculty to fill the gap. I was already an LRW Professor at SULS, and the Deans of the law school asked me to create and run a new ASP Department. Candidly, I accepted the offer because it meant a promotion, a raise, and a bit more job security. Little did I realize that I was accepting a position that would form the foundation for the rest of my academic career.
Q: Which aspect(s) of ASP work do you enjoy the most? What would you consider your greatest challenge thus far and how have you overcome the challenge?
Without question, the most enjoyable aspect of my work is working one-on-one with my students. Over time, it seems that ASP departments have evolved to the point where classroom work – 1L skills sessions and bar prep – dominate our day. While some of my teaching happens in the classroom, I love being able to tailor my approach to the needs of each individual student. Through these individual meetings, I learn things about my students that I would never otherwise know. These individual meetings give me a front row seat regarding each student’s progress, which allows me to make small adjustments to my teaching based on that student’s actual needs.
My greatest challenge is providing assistance to students who have the drive to succeed but not necessarily the aptitude for legal work. Due to the recent dip in law school applications, this has occurred a bit more often over the past few years. The important thing from my perspective is to avoid pre-conceived judgments. I remind myself that law school success is not the same thing as success in the profession. Similarly, students do not need to be on law review in order to meet their professional goals. On occasion, I must have difficult conversations with a student about withdrawing from law school. Thankfully, those conversations will continue to happen infrequently so long as the student and the teacher do everything they can to ensure success.
Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?
I just hope that I made some small difference in the professional lives of the students with whom I had the pleasure of working. One of my most treasured possessions is a file folder stuffed with “thank you” notes from the past 19+ years in ASP. These notes are more valuable to me than any professional award or accolade I could ever receive.
Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or midcareer ASPers or law students?
It is too easy to get caught up in the numbers related to our work – incoming LSAT score, 1L GPA, school’s bar passage rate. One-on-one work reminds me that our students are far more than their admission’s applications or law school transcript. Statistics may tell me that a student with a specific LSAT score has X % chance of failing the bar exam, but they can never tell me how the student sitting in front of me will perform. Treat every student like an individual, not a statistic, and I guarantee that you’ll be reading about some of doing great things in the legal profession.
Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?
At its core, ASP work is about “doing”, and Confucius said it best – “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” Show your students how to do the work, make them do the work, and give them feedback about what went right and wrong – great things are bound to follow.