Monday, September 12, 2011

Essay Exam Answering Tip #91311 – Spot the Issues

To score high on law school essay exams, you need to spot as many issues as possible.  They lurk in the narrative.  If you can't spot the issues on an exam you won't score the points.

Issue-spotting is the most fundamental activity in the process of writing an answer to a law school essay exam question. Those students who spend their exam time spotting issues then follow up by organizing their answers, formulating their legal analysis of the issue they have discovered, and then writing the answer in a way that demonstrates their lawyer-like thinking will get the best grades.

Consider making a mental checklist of the issues that continually arise in (for example) Contracts essay exams, then scrutinizing each question/answer by running through your checklist. Some students actually memorize a checklist of possible issues and scribble that down (quite abbreviated) after the test period begins … others use a “mental” checklist. This works for many students … think about it!

If you use the “checklist” approach, remember that it’s just for comparison against your answer outline. Don’t expect to write about everything on the checklist! Selecting and divining the right issues, and only the right issues, for discussion on an exam has its analog in narrowing and selecting the right issues to research and prepare for when you will be advising clients, or when you prepare for oral arguments in court.  Clients have neither the time nor the money to pay for unnecessary research.  Judges are even more demanding than clients! (In other words … try to find all the issues, but only the issues!)

To improve in the area of spotting issues, search through the question for facts that either side might use to fashion an argument that might help that side – then, if the argument is untenable, explain why. Here's a hint: as a general rule-of-thumb, most facts you find in the narrative can be used to support or attack a position.

On the other hand, if the argument would be merely specious (superficially attractive but actually of no real interest or value) it ought not to be raised. This is a decision a lawyer has to make in real life, asking herself, “Do I raise this as an issue, or is it too far-fetched?”  Likewise, it is a decision a law student needs to make in composing an answer to an essay question. But the law student has an advantage: most professors adhere to the policy that no points are taken off for including as an issue something that is not an issue. (Keep in mind, however, that you need to be prudent in this regard, because spending time writing about “non-issues” uses up time which would be better spent earning points by discussing actual issues.  Also, be sure to find out from your professor if this is the grading policy.)

Separating the actual issues from non-issues is a skill that you will pick up as you proceed through law school. If it seems difficult, don’t worry – you are on the road to learning this skill now, and as you answer more essays you will become better and better at it!

{This “tip” is one of a continuing series.  Law school academic professionals are authorized to use this material in their work however they choose – and law students who read these tips are encouraged to integrate them into their practice sessions. To see where this tip fits in the grand schema: Click here.} (djt)

September 12, 2011 in Advice, Exams - Theory, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Essay Exam Answering Tip #9911 – Write with Concision

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subject only in outline, but that every word tell.  William Strunk and E. B. White

Mr. Strunk and Mr. White got it!  Often, less is more, and simple is best.  I like the phrase, "...every word tell."  When you write your exam answer, every word ought to be a point-scoring word.

Example: When you're answering a Contracts essay exam question, there's no need to define Contract. That's right.  Just as there is no need to define “Tort” or “Crime” in Tort or Criminal Law essay answers, there is no need to define “Contract.” Simply begin with the first issue.  That's because your "audience" as you write an exam is not a "know-nothing," but rather, a (fictional) peer who is familiar with the facts of your case (the question you're answering) and the basics of the law ... but she needs a refresher on the particulars.

So writing that "...a contract is an agreement between parties that ..." (etc.) scores no points; whereas, it is important to state the applicable portions of the statute of frauds before using that as a defense.

Likewise, there's no reason to discuss matters that are not germane to the call of the question.  One mistake is to write about what the defendant should have done instead of what he did do, then explain how things would have turned out differently for the parties if that were to have occurred.  In other words, changing the facts of the hypothetical and writing about the issues that arise under the altered facts.  That's a no-no.  As in "no points."  It wastes your time.

Concision reigns.

{This “tip” is one of a continuing series.  Law school academic professionals are authorized to use this material in their work however they choose – and law students who read these tips are encouraged to integrate them into their practice sessions. To see where this tip fits in the grand schema: Click here.} (djt)

September 9, 2011 in Advice, Exams - Theory, Writing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NOW What?

Do you have to address the question, "NOW what am I going to do?  I have $100,000 in debt, and law jobs are drying up?" This is not just a Career Services question ... it definitely affects law school performance, and esprit de corps on campus in general.  So, NOW what?

According to Alan Scher Zagier, writing for the Associated Press, "The days of top law school graduates having their pick of six-figure jobs at boutique firms — or at least being assured of putting their degrees to use — are over.  Post-graduate employment rates are at their lowest levels in 15 years."

The article continues, explaining that because the employment rates have declined, so have the law school application rates.  "New student enrollment at UCLA law school is down 16 percent, while the University of Michigan reports a 14 percent decrease in applicants."

Now here's the good news (or maybe it's just speculation) for our students ... those who apply may be more committed, more sure of their career choice.  While a few years ago, very bright people with an aptitude for doing well in law school - but not necessarily with the desire and commitment you'd want to see in a lawyer representing you - were attracted to law school seeing it as "...a cakewalk to get a big salary," according to Sarah Zearfoss, the assistant law dean and admissions director at the University of Michigan.

According to the AP article, Larry Lambert, a 28-year-old U.S. Navy veteran struggled with the question of whether there were just too many lawyers before deciding to enroll in law school this semester.  He told the reporter that a candid conversation with a burned-out lawyer had "stopped me cold in my tracks." He began law school nevertheless, hoping to work as a federal prosecutor or in another position where he can "be a part of something bigger," and sees this diminishing application trend as "...one of the best things to happen to the profession in a long time. People don't go into social work thinking they want to get rich. They want to help people. The law should be like that."

Now THAT's the spirit!  Could it be that this trend - if that's what it is - will lead to more satisfaction among law students and then (am I the eternal optimist?) in the profession itself?  Click here to read the article.  (djt)

September 7, 2011 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Play Nice

As you may know, I'm a proponent of approaching law school as "practicing" law ... preparing for the professional practice by doing each day in law school many of the things laywers ought to be doing.  Example: attend every class.  There are hundreds of excuses ... even reasons for missing a class now and then.  But how many excuses or reasons stand up to the scrutiny of a client or a judge when a lawyer blows off a deposition or fails to show up for the second day of trial?  (Answer: zero.)

Now here's a real-life example.  In law school, students ought to be encouraged to learn to solve problems through dialogue, discussion, and respectful negotiation.   As Academic Support Professionals, many of us are the "go-to" folks for students who have "issues" with other students, faculty, or administrators.  That role doubles when we have dual capacities (like also serving as Dean of Students) as part of our responsibilities.

When students approach the office in tears, or in a heated rage, explaining how they have been wronged, think about how to counsel them with the "practice" idea in mind.  Law school can be a wonderful training ground for civil behavior under stress ... or the opposite.

Consider an order recently made by United States District Judge Sam Sparks in the case of Morris v. Coker.  "You are invited," wrote Judge Sparks, "to a kindergarten party on ... September 1, 2011 ... in courtroom 2 of the United States Courthouse, 200 W. Eighth Street, Austin, Texas."  His Honor includes a list of exciting topics to be addressed at the party, including, "How to telephone and communicate with a lawyer ... How to enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates ... [and] an advanced seminar on not wasting the time of a busy federal judge and his staff because you are unable to practice law at the level of a first-year law student."  Later in the order, the Court encourages the invitees to bring their toothbrushes.  (Read the Court Order here.) 

According to Above  the Law, a web site for lawyers and law students, Judge Sparks is "...a colorful judge with a robust sense of humor, as well as a low tolerance for lawyer shenanigans and quarrels." 

Judge Sparks has campaigned for civility for years.  Another example of his impatience with purile behavior is his order of April 25, 2007, which includes several rhymed couplets.  Excerpts:

   Babies learn to walk by scooting and falling;
   These lawyers practice law by simply mauling
   Each other and the judge, but this must end soon
   (Maybe facing off with six-shooters at noon?)
   ... There will be a hearing with pablum to eat,
   And a very cool cell where you can meet
   And work out your infantile problem with the deposition.

(Read the whole "poem" here.)   Law school is a great place to learn to deal with difficulties.  After three years of practicing this skill, lawyers ought to be able to live up to the expectations of (even) Judge Sparks!  (djt)

September 4, 2011 in Advice, Miscellany, Professionalism, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Essay Exam Answering Tip #82511 – Writing for your audience.

If you were to write a book for youngsters about how to play baseball, or an adult-oriented romance novel, your “audience” would be easy to identify.  In the first example, you’d be writing for an age group between 7 and 11; the readers would all be interested in baseball; and they’d be, let’s say, beginner-to-intermediate level of capability and sophistication in the sport.  In the second example, you could Google the demographics for who buys romance novels, and get a pretty good idea of who might purchase your book.  Audience identification is critical whenever you write—and that’s the case when you write answers to law school essay exam questions as well.

When you write the answer to a law school essay exam question, your audience is fictional.  Think of your audience (reader) as an informed attorney or a colleague (law student) who is quite familiar with the nature and purpose of law in general; who has read the fact pattern; and who has a passing familiarity with the law of the subject (torts or contracts, for example), but needs to be reminded of the precise rules of law. Then proceed as if you are explaining the situation to that person.

For example, that person would not need to read that often hunting knives have sharp edges, that if a person is the manager of a grocery store, one can assume that she is the person who ought to be in charge of the store, or that there is a difference between tortious battery and criminal battery in that the latter is punishable by imprisonment. 

Also, because the fictional reader has read the fact pattern, there’s no need to repeat sections or sentences of the question.  In other words, if the question includes, “When Mr. Slocum walked into the airport he noticed the aroma of something burning—and this immediately caused him concern” … then there is no need to include in your essay, “When Mr. Slocum walked into the airport he noticed the aroma of something burning—and this immediately caused him concern.”  (Rather, you could refer to Slocum’s location, refer to the aroma, or refer to Slocum’s concern, if they are key facts in your argument—no need to repeat what the reader has just read in the question.)

Although each step of your legal analysis ought to be in the essay, it is important not to waste your limited time by explaining what your audience can be expected to know.

Now let’s look at the “real” audience: your professor. Always write with your professor in mind. In general, hallmarks of an “A” grade answer include: identification of all issues, significant attention to “grey areas,” incorporation of higher-level argument techniques (example: using the “slippery slope” argument), integration of the legal principles and facts of the hypothetical with common sense notions, and policy support for a position taken.

However, professors differ in what they consider “A” grade material. Therefore, it is very important to obtain not only the old exam questions your professor has filed, but also—if available—her examples of quality answers. You should study these answers carefully, for there you will find which qualities your professor rewards with high grades.

You ought to also discuss with your professors what they look for in exam answers during office visits.  You will also get quite a bit of this information during class—be sure to put that in your notes! Do this with each of your professors to learn what he or she expects on a real exam. Whatever you discover, that’s what to practice!  Then incorporate your professors’ suggestions into your practice exam answers. 

Audience matters in everything you write … and the audience you write for when you compose answers to law school essay exam questions is likely to be a determinative factor in the grade you receive!

{This “tip” is one of a continuing series.  Law school academic professionals are authorized to use this material in their work however they choose – and law students who read these tips are encouraged to integrate them into their practice sessions. To see where this tip fits in the grand schema: Click here.} (djt)

August 25, 2011 in Advice, Exams - Theory, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Essay Exam Answering Tip #82211 – What “conclusory” means.

Professors and academic support professionals warn against writing answers – or addressing issues – in a way that is “conclusory.” Let’s take a look at what “conclusory” means.

Law examination answers that do not supply the explanatory information detailing how each step of the argument is arrived at are “conclusory.” That is, they recite conclusions without stating supportive analysis. A display of the thought process leading to every conclusion is essential in a law examination answer.

When you enter the professional practice, judges, lawyers, and clients will be asking, “How did you reach that conclusion?” Throughout law school, your professors will expect you to respond to that latent question in every class session and on every examination. The ability to conclude is not what “thinking like a lawyer” is about—rather, you are developing the ability to persuade another that the conclusion you have reached is supportable by application of rules of law to a set of facts.

To score the most points on each issue, the essay ought to specify the issue, indicate which rule (or set of rules) a lawyer would employ to resolve the issue, articulate an analysis of how the facts of this hypothetical case are affected by application of the rule, and reason to a solid conclusion.

Lawyerly analysis, in its most fundamental sense, boils down to an interweaving of the facts presented in the hypothetical, with the law you have identified. So to score more exam points, avoid conclusory statements—instead work on your analytical skills. {Where this tip fits in the grand schema: Click here.} (djt)

August 22, 2011 in Advice, Exams - Theory, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Essay Exam Answering Tip #82011 – What an “issue” is.

Let’s take a look at what an “issue” is, within the context of answering law school essay exams. An issue is usually a question the court will be called upon to answer. Sometimes “major” issues, like whether a defendant is liable for negligence, are referred to as “ultimate questions” in the case – whereas the elemental questions are the determinative issues … the questions which, when answered, will determine the answer to the ultimate question.

For example, a major issue, or ultimate question in a Torts exam may be whether the defendant’s actions or omissions constitute the tort of negligence. The elemental issues which the trier of fact will be called upon to determine include whether the plaintiff can prove each of the elements of negligence: duty owed to the plaintiff, breach of that duty, causation, and damage. 

Many issues include sub-issues.  For example, when one finds a negligence issue, often it will require a thorough analysis of breach of duty, including a discussion based on the balancing of the gravity of harm against the burden on the defendant to have acted differently, and also including attention to the utility of the defendant’s allegedly negligent conduct.

To help identify issues and sub-issues, carefully read the facts to determine which elements of each rule ought to be discussed. As to issues, remember that it’s important to not only name them, but to explain how they arise in the circumstances set forth in the essay question.

After each issue is named, state the applicable rule that will be used to resolve the issue; then engage in discussion and analysis to reach a conclusion before moving to the next issue or sub-issue.

{Where this tip fits in the grand schema: Click here.} (djt)

August 20, 2011 in Advice, Exams - Theory, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Giving 3L's a time line

On the heels of my last post, I realized that a time line is appropriate for 3L's planning on taking the bar exam next July. This is especially important if your school does not offer bar prep; every year I hear about students who miss the deadlines for bar exam paperwork because they didn't know when they were due. The best resource when creating a 3L time line is Denise Riebe and Michael Hunter Schwartz's Pass the Bar!; I would strongly recommend it to all 3L's.

A few pointers for 3L's and the ASPer's who work with them:

1) Know the state where you plan to sit for the bar and and the paperwork deadlines.

2) Know what paperwork is required for character and fitness and how long it will take to get the required documents. If students need to request their driving records from a state DMV or work summary from Social Security, they need to know how long this will take.

3) If a student is moving before the bar exam, they need to know when graduation is scheduled and when the commercial bar prep course starts. If graduation is on a Sunday and bar prep starts on Monday, it is good to be packed and ready to go before Sunday night.

4) Know the deadlines for signing up for commercial bar prep courses, and decide if they will need additional loans in order to pay for a course.

5) Ask recommenders how much time they will need to submit a reference.

There are many other pointers for 3L's that are state-specific. These are just a sampling of the things that trip up students and add stress to the 3L year.

(RCF)

August 18, 2011 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Giving 1L's a time line

As many ASPer's start orientation this week, I wanted to remind everyone that 1L's want (and need) a time line. I won't suggest a time line, because I think they are different depending on your school. Without a solid plan for their first semester, 1L's are left to rely on advice from the web and word-of-mouth regarding the proper time to start outlines, studying for exams, and working on practice essays. Here is a short list of things you might want on a time line for your incoming students:

1) Legal Writing Assignments: 1L's are always shocked at the amount of time they must devote to their first legal writing assignment. It's a good idea to give 1L's a rough idea of how many hours go into their first memo or brief. Encourage students to calendar the due dates and plan ahead. Students should understand that most professors do not want to see a "draft" 24-48 hours before the completed assignment is due, especially if they have been given weeks to complete the memo or brief. A time line should result in better assignments, and doctrinal teachers will thank you when they see fewer sleepy students the day after the assignment is due.

2) Outlining: I used to believe that there was a set time all students should start outlining. As I have gained experience, I realize this is something that is best decided school-by-school. Some professors finish a definable, set amount of material that allows ASPer's to tell students to start as soon as that topic is finished. Other professors start with an overview of the entire class, and then delve into topics in depth. When to start outlining depends on how your faculty teaches their courses and whether your school gives midterms. The only absolute advice applicable to all students is the need to start outlining before reading week.

3) Practice exams: Again, this is something that is best decided school-by-school. Some schools have midterms in each course, some have midterms in only one course, some schools still don't offer midterms.  Students should take a practice essay or exam before a midterm, especially if it is a graded midterm. Another variable is the amount and availability of prior exams students can use as practice. If your school offers only a few exams to students to use as practice, students should start later in the semester. Practice exams are crucial to success.

4) Take-home assignments (if applicable): If professors offer take-home assignments, students should have a rough sense of what it takes to complete the assignment. Like legal writing assignments, without a time line, students will either over-or-under prepare the assignment. This is not a result of student laziness (most of the time) but 1L's misunderstanding about the difference between undergrad and law school assignments.

I am sure there are many other things that can go on a timeline to distribute to 1L's; this is just a short list of things that baffle 1L's.

(RCF)

August 16, 2011 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Essay Exam Answering Tip #81411 - What professors look for when they grade essay exam answers.

In order to hit the target, you must have a clear view of the bulls-eye.  When you’re writing a law school essay-exam answer, you need to know exactly what your professor is hoping to find when he or she reads that answer.  It's true that some professors are looking for items, information, or methods of analysis that other professors don’t give a hoot about – there are differences in grading.  You ought to be able to pick up on these differences during class, during conferences with your professors, and by reviewing prior exam questions and (perhaps) prior graded answers.

Writing law school exam answers is different than almost any other writing you’ve done.  One of the most important differences is that – due in part to time constraints – you ought to focus on limiting each essay to point-scoring text. While wit, historical perspective, moral theorizing, and other aspects of what we consider to be “good writing” are definitely important to include in many genres – often even in legal writing – these generally lie somewhere between unimportant and deleterious when considering how to score the most points in essay exam answers.

Even though professors have their own preferences, when grading exams nearly all law professors award points for these characteristics:

  • Lawyerly skill in extricating the salient facts from inert, non-determinative facts presented in the narrative.
  • Capability to identify and specify the legal issues these key facts raise.
  • Ability to recall and accurately set out the applicable law or principle which leads to the resolution of the conflict.
  • Logical, organized interweaving of the facts with the elements of the law in a compelling analytical presentation.
  • Recognition of the driving policies and purposes of the law in question, and the ability to express how these policies and purposes support the resolution proposed by the answer. (Often you will find that there’s not much need for policy discussion.)
  • Proficiency in clear, concise, organized legal writing.

These criteria coincide with the several points stressed by Professor John Delaney, in his classic How to do Your Best on Law School Exams, and they continue to be the most important targets for high-scoring exam answers. 

{Where this tip fits in the grand schema: Click here.} (djt)

August 14, 2011 in Advice, Exams - Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Road to Success

Warning: this post is too long.  Can we blame it on Amy?  Thanks.  Writing about stress a few days ago, Amy Jarmon suggested that our law students need to learn how to manage stress early in their careers. Hoorah, Amy!  Yes, “…early in their careers…” is now. 

If there is one universal and outstanding surprise to the new academic support professional it is this: it’s not all about showing students how to brief cases, read like lawyers, or handle study groups.  There’s SO much more to academic support than that.  I have had colleagues who (sort of) complained that they didn’t have enough time to get to the core skills (reading, briefing, note-taking, etc.) because they were inundated with requests – overt or subtle – to help cope with the meta-skills of handling time and stress.

Even more surprising (and here, I certainly include me as a surprisee in the first few years of academic supporting) is the fact that so many students honestly believe the road to success in law school is paved with formats for briefing, IRAC structures for exam writing, speed-reading techniques, quick and efficient course outline production methods, and fail-safe study strategies.  Yup, those are important topics to cover.  But they’re worthless if one does not (borrowing from Amy’s list) . . .

  • Manage time carefully.  Every student in this incoming first-year class has exactly one thing in common: 168 hours to use to his or her best advantage each week.  If a student spends 8 hours each night sleeping – almost essential for most, and the first time rule to be broken by nearly every first-year student – that leaves 112 for studying law and handling the “other parts” of life.  If one were to work a 65-hour week at law (not unlike many lawyers), that would leave 47 hours for exercise, church, shopping, cooking, eating, entertainment, _____, _____, and friends & family time.  (Two blanks is enough, don’t you think?)   Not bad.  When you break the individual tasks associated with being a great law student down into their chunks, you can usually show students how 65 (okay, 70?) hours ought to be more than enough time to get the job done very well.  More than forty hours completely away from the law is essential each week to maintain recognizable sanity.   If students can learn to work within a framework similar to that, many of the time management issues will resolve.
  • Recognize and minimize procrastination.  I advise students to put off thinking about procrastination.  
  • Follow optimal sleep, exercise, and nutrition routines. Can you imagine hiring a lawyer who never slept a full night’s sleep, seldom left the office chair, and (remember: you are what you eat) lived on a diet of beer and junk food?  Good luck   I hope your lawyer isn’t representing you for anything important.
  • Keep in touch with friends and family.  Duh.  Those who have loved you and supported you much or all of your life … uh, let’s see … could contact with them possibly help keep your head screwed on straight?  But there’s more to it than that.  The non-law-oriented spouse or significant other of a law student is in for some tough times.  And the last one to notice the “change” in the law student’s behavior is (guess who) the law student.  So all law students who have many hours of contact per week with someone who loves them but does not necessarily love the law need to receive some pretty strong advice about how to relate … and the non-student half of that equation needs a support group of some type as well (“No,” I have told some unfortunate adults in that position, “it’s not just you, and it’s not just her … it’s … it’s … well, it’s bigger than both of you – but you can handle it.  You just need to know what to expect and how to get the job done.  Love works.”  (Sorry, I sometimes get carried away.)
  • Talk to someone about the stress.  Too many students find that most qualified people to talk to about stress is (either or both) their bartender or their equally stressed law student friends.  Too few visit their Dean of Students, Academic Support professionals, law-school savvy psychologists, or other professionals who can support them and/or refer them.  They need the way to these offices highlighted … like those little lights that the flight attendant promises will come on in case of an emergency to show you the way to the emergency exists.  (Unfortunately, taping those yellow paper footprints to the corridor carpets is frowned upon by the Dean, and seldom works anyway.)

Help students realize that the “practice” of law begins near Orientation day.  Help them (perhaps through a guest speaker or two at Orientation or soon after) realize that the pressures and stresses of law school (generally) pale when compared with those of the professional practice.  “What you are practicing, students,” they need to know, “is less about how to revise a contract, and more about how to balance/juggle thirty things that need to be done during a day – with no possibility of ‘forgiveness’ if they are not all completed, and completed at your highest level of capability.”  Would you hire a lawyer who settled for less? 

Does this suggest that a trip to the gym for a 30-minute swim or a one-hour yoga class is more important than an hour in the library briefing a couple of torts cases?  Not really … but it sure is meant to suggest that either one without the other will not lead to a student’s performance at his or her highest level of competence. 

Teaching time and stress management ought to be a high priority in every academic support program.  If the professionals in the department can’t teach it … by talk, by counseling, and most of all, by example … they ought to bring in those who can as guests.  But … as you well know … he/she who is most stressed has no time to attend that guest presentation.  And if you don’t believe that, stop by the cafeteria or the local pub later in the day and he or she will tell you.

We are not obliged to make every law student the best law student that person can be.  But I think we are obliged to try as hard as we can to do just that.  Your thoughts? (djt)

August 6, 2011 in Advice, Miscellany, Professionalism, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Orientation Planning? A Great Piece by Nancy Levit and Douglas Linder

The authors of "The Happy Lawyer" have authored a piece for students on what to do the summer before law school. This is a great article to use as a starting point for letters to incoming students and orientation planning. http://www.nationaljurist.com/content/summer-law-school

 

July 18, 2011 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Covering Material or Answering Questions?

I had the privilege of teaching at CLEO's Attitude is Essential 3-day workshop in Atlanta this past weekend. I co-taught my small group of 25 students with Joanne Harvest Koren of Miami Law. One of the issues that arose in our session was how much time to devote to student questions when we were trying to cover substantive lessons in a compressed time period. Joanne and I decided to spend a significant amount of time answering questions, at the expense of some substantive coverage. I think we made a smart choice, but I think this is something many ASP professionals struggle with when they teach a class or workshop.

The students in our section were an unusually motivated group, which they demonstrated by spending almost twelve hours a day for two and a half days in hotel conference rooms learning about how to succeed in law school. They came with more smart, important questions than we had time to answer. However, there are some questions asked by new students that need to be answered before they can move on to other work. When trying to decide how much time to allot to questions, it's important to judge the importance of the questions to the student. What might seem like something that can be answered at another time might be pressing to the student. If the question stops the student from thinking about anything else, than cutting some coverage helps students focus on what needs to be covered in class. These types of questions are the type that are shared by many incoming students; only one or two students have the courage to raise their hand and ask the question.

Joanne and I found it best to start each session with a general Q and A. We explicitly limited the time and scope of the answers to what we thought was most pressing for the students. At the end of each session, we tried our best to have a more limited Q and A about the material we just covered, so students could leave the session and move on to new material, instead of remaining confused.

What sort of questions were most pressing for incoming law students?

1) How much time should be devoted to law school each week?

2) Do I need to do law school work and nothing else for the next three years?

3) What are the benefits of typing/handwriting notes?

4) How do I explain to my significant other/parents/children that I can't be there for them the way I used to be when I am in law school?

These are all questions that are great to tackle in pre-orientation or orientation. When students are preoccupied with major questions about law school, it uses parts of their working memory that can be devoted to other, more productive things. By spending some time to answer questions, you have more focused students.

(RCF)

July 15, 2011 in Advice, Miscellany, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Dog Days of Bar Preparation

The 4th of July is over. Students have now been studying for the bar exam for at least a month and a half, and they still have weeks to go. Students are tired, and there isn't a break in sight. These are the dog days of bar prep. Many parts of the country are in a heat wave, which means beaches and pools beckon even devoted students.

It is important to keep students going through the dog days of bar prep. Encouragement and strategically timed breaks are critical.

1) Encourage students to mix up their study routines to keep things fresh. It's easy to get bored of bar prep.If they haven't been using flash cards, they should try them now. Study in a different room. Students who try novel ways to mix up their routine recall information better than students who stick with only one method.

2) Breaks are encouraged, but should not be abused. Students need to understand they don't want to peak before the actual exam. If they feel like they are at their very best right now, they need to slow it down. Many super-achievers focus too hard, too soon, and are burnt out before the bar. That is not good.

3) Expect a dip in performance for a week or so. Everyone goes through a period where their progress feels stalled, and they can't find the focus to keep going. It's important to realize that a dip in performance on practice questions is okay if they are still studying.

4) Have an ice cream social for bar studiers, or a movie night that reminds them of why they want to be licensed. Sponsor a night of Legally Blonde or To Kill a Mockingbird. Remind them of why they are putting themselves through this. If money is an issue at your school, ask the development office to sponsor the event. This may be one of the law students last contacts with the school.

5) Shopping should not be a bar prep relaxation technique. This is something I have heard more about recently, in light of the economic challenges facing many law students. Students cannot afford to use shopping as a release, even if they have a job lined up after the bar.

Good luck to all my colleagues who are helping students prepare for bar exams! (RCF)

July 12, 2011 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Guest column with another tip for 1L students

Our Guest Column for today is a posting by Barbara McFarland, Director for the Office of Student Success Initiatives at Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University.  Barbara has suggested an excellent tip for first-year law students and included an exercise to help them apply it.  Thank you for sharing your insight and expertise with all of us, Barbara!  (Amy Jarmon) 

One More Tip:  Remedy Writing Problems

Dr. Amy Jarmon’s May 19th blog post provided ten excellent pieces of advice for incoming students.  She is kindly allowing me to add an eleventh:  Remedy writing problems before you begin law school.

Even students who have always been good writers struggle to master the intricacies of legal writing.  Students who are not good writers do not have time during first semester to learn the basic rules of writing good English prose, punctuating properly, and editing for clarity and concision.  While we can say that our students should have mastered the mechanics during undergrad, or even earlier, the sad truth is that many of them have not.  They have studiously avoided any class that required them to write anything more than a name on a scantron.  Or, if they have done any writing, it was assessed by teachers and professors more interested in commenting on the substance than the form.

When my law school offered a voluntary writing course in the week before classes began last August, almost half of the incoming full-time class attended.  The improvements achieved during that one-week class, as measured by pre- and post-tests, were impressive.  A second post-test given at the end of the first year of law study indicates that some, but not all, of the gains made during that week were retained nine months later.  More number crunching is needed to confirm this initial impression, but the good news is that it’s not too late for our incoming students to learn the rules needed to improve their writing.

How they go about that task is up to them, of course.  They could take a business or technical writing class at a local college or university this summer, beg help from the high school English teacher who tried to teach them those rules back in the ninth grade, or just buy a book.  Grammar and writing books abound; any used bookstore will have inexpensive texts that will serve the purpose.  Online grammar guides are also plentiful.

For a simple technique that students may find helpful, suggest this exercise.

_____________________________________________________________________

Often, mechanical errors are much easier to find in our own writing after the passage of time.  Pull up a document you wrote some time ago, read it critically, and use it to diagnose areas of weakness in your writing.  

First, double space after each period and review each sentence in isolation:

  • Is each group of words between the capitalized first letter and the end punctuation a complete sentence?
  • Do the subject and verb match in number and make sense together?
  • Does every verb that requires an object have one?
  • Are modifiers close to the words they modify?
  • Does every pronoun have an antecedent, and do they match in number?
  • Are the sentences typically very long, containing two or three thoughts that could be separated?
  • Are the sentences typically very short, dividing ideas that could more effectively be communicated in compound or complex sentences?
  • Does the sentence structure vary sufficiently?
  • Does every word of each sentence convey the precise meaning intended?
  • If you read the sentence aloud with great inflection and pregnant pauses, does the punctuation seem appropriate, necessary, and correct?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” chart the errors to identify patterns and problem areas. Once you have identified your errors, learn how to fix them by reading in a grammar book or online service.  Rewrite each sentence to fix the sentence-level problems.

Then reunite all the sentences for a particular paragraph and review each paragraph in turn:

  • Is the first sentence a topic sentence that accurately portrays the remainder of the paragraph?
  • Is every sentence in the paragraph related to the stated topic?
  • Do the remaining sentences present ideas or information in a logical order for the purpose of the paragraph?
  • Are relationships between sentences clearly made by references and other transitional devices?
  • Do the remaining sentences develop the stated topic as completely as needed?

If not, identify, chart, and remedy errors.  Rewrite each paragraph into a coherent and correct whole.

When you finish reviewing all of the paragraphs in a particular section of the document, look at the entire section:

  • Do transitional devices between the paragraphs develop the overall topic or theme of the section?
  • Are the paragraphs in a logical order, facilitating the development and exposition of that topic or theme?
  • Are the paragraphs typically overly long, too short, or a good mix of lengths?
  • Are one- or two-sentence paragraphs used only sparingly and for emphasis?

Again, identify, chart, and remedy errors.  Follow the same procedure with as many written documents as possible until you can identify and eliminate errors accurately and efficiently.  If you can write and punctuate good sentences and paragraphs, you are more likely to successfully adapt to the forms and structures of legal writing. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I will look forward to meeting you in August. ___________________________________________________________________

Although this exercise was created specifically for students who have not yet started law school, it can be easily modified for use with current law students.  Unfortunately, many law students are taken by surprise when we expect them to write perfect English prose.  Even those with good mechanics are astonished that their writing style, honed by years of trying to write enough to meet the minimum page requirements of undergraduate papers, must be simplified, clarified, and slashed to meet the expectations of their legal writing professor.

We do our students a service by preparing them for legal writing, in addition to warning them about other rigors and oddities of law study. Recommending that they take time now to remedy writing problems is another step toward the goal of informing and educating our incoming students even before they reach our classrooms.

 

 

June 20, 2011 in Advice, Guest Column, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Positive Psychology and Law Students

Corie Rosen of ASU-Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law recently published in article in the McGeorge Law Review on positive psychology and law students. Corie's work is a good reminder for all of us that self-efficacy is important for law students as learners and as future professionals.

1) Feedback should be temporary and specific.

Avoid making comments on students papers (and to students directly) that are permenent or pervasive. This is a hard thing to do, especially when you are frustrated. Setbacks are temporary. One bad grade or semester does not mean the student cannot succeed in law school.

2) Students need to know they have some control in their lives.

Law school can infantilize students. During their first year, they cannot choose their classes, their section, or their schedule. If you cannot let them make a decision, then explain to them why they can't make the decision. If them control where you can.

3) Encourage connection and roots in the community and in the law school.

Law school can disconnect students from their traditional support systems. Try to reorient them by letting them know where they can seek help if they need it. Help foster close relationships with peers by encouraging study groups and teaching them how to work in a study group. Show them the community outside the law school walls and help them remember the relevance of what they are learning to the outside world.

(RCF)

June 13, 2011 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Laugh at yourself

I need to remember the title of this post.  Sometimes it is too easy to be very serious and not see the humor in my life. 

Mind you, there are many serious things that ASP'ers deal with: students on academic probation, students facing dismissal, students with life events that disrupt their studies, teaching courses, sitting on committees.  I am not suggesting that we laugh about the serious things that confront us.

However, there is plenty of room for humor and a laugh at oneself.  Many years ago, a colleague advised that one always needed to laugh during hectic or stressful times because otherwise it would be too easy to become discouraged.  He was right.  Perspective is everything.

So what are some of the things that I laugh about?

  • By the time I read a slew of student memos with multiple punctuation errors, I begin to wonder if I am the one who does not know commas and semi-colons!
  • Last week I walked down to the administrative offices and couldn't remember why I was there.
  • In the midst of a busy semester, I tend to pile rather than file.  In an anti-clutter fit, I threw stacks of papers for later sorting into a series of boxes.  To my chagrin, a student asked me what had happened because he had never seen my office so neat. 
  • Recently a student told me his name, and I forgot it within the conversation we had.  After he left, I had to check our class photo files to remind me.
  • I hurriedly photocopied a series of charts for class only to discover when I passed them out that the 2-sided function had printed every back page upside down.
  • A colleague asked me why I didn't have any pictures or other items on the wall in my office.  I had to laugh and point to a large picture leaning against another wall and admit it had been there for 3 years waiting to be hung once I decided what other things would go on the wall as well.
  • After at least the twentieth interruption, I sent an e-mail off before another distraction could hit.  Of course, immediately after hitting the send button, I realized I had misspelled my own name in a sentence.
  • I attended a law school event which denoted on the invitation that "business casual" was the designated attire.  On arrival in the appropriate attire, I discovered that almost everyone else was dressed in cocktail dresses and suits! 
  • A number of students had been late during class presentations, so I reminded my students to please be on time the next class.  On the day, I got engrossed in a project and only made it to class 5 minutes late after one of my students stuck his head in my door and asked me if I were coming!

It helps to realize that as a human I will be fallible.  If I accept that fact with good grace, it allows me to laugh at my imperfect moments.  I learned long ago that perfection is just not always possible if I want to finish projects, keep up with the workload, and remain productive.  Have you laughed yet today?  (Amy Jarmon) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 4, 2011 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Now that grades are out

Most law students have received their spring semester grades at this point.  The cheers and groans are probably echoing somewhere near you.  Grades can be a euphoric high, a dismal depression, or somewhere in between.  Here are some ideas how to view your grades wherever you fall in the class:

For those who are at the top of the class (however you want to define that measure):

  • Congratulations!  Your hard work has paid off, and you can celebrate.
  • Evaluate your study habits.  Even though you are happy with your grades, you still want to take some time to consider your semester's studying to improve your study skills.  What were your strengths and weaknesses?  Do you need to become more effective in your reading, note-taking, outlining, writing/researching, or exam-taking skills?  Do you do better in certain types of course or exam requirements?
  • Consider your options.  Do your grades give you confidence to sign-up for more challenging courses for next year?  Do your grades suggest that you want to re-think your career goals?  Do your grades mean that you can now become involved in student organizations or community service where you were hesitant to do so before?  Do you now have the confidence to try out for a competition team, apply to be a research assistant, or participate in the write-on competition after all?
  • Evaluate your summer plans.  Does your evaluation of your study skills suggest that you need to spend time this summer on specific skills?  Are there areas of the law that have picqued your interest that you want to read about during the next weeks?  Do you have the confidence now to apply for summer law jobs that you doubted you could get before?
  • Enjoy your academic postion, but do not let it go to your head.  Some law students make the mistake of letting an inflated ego become an obstacle.  They may slack off because they think they are invincible and will actually see their grades drop at the end of the next semester as a result.  Or they may become a bit arrogant and think they are better than fellow students, staff, faculty, and deans.  Arrogance does not win friends or influence people.     

For those of you in the great middle of the class:

  • Work through any frustration or anger about your grades.  Occasionally I will talk with law students whose dissatisfaction with their grades leads them to vent emotionally rather than taking positive actions to improve.  If you find yourself saying any of the following things, you probably need to step back and regain some objectivity: "I was in the hard section and would have done fine in another section."  "If I had Professor A instead of my professor, I could have had a better grade."  "Course C is a dumb course any way, so it wasn't my fault."  "It is not fair that there is a curve."  "The prof should have given me the B because I was only 3 points away."
  • Do not make the mistake of considering yourself to be mediocre or just average.  You are holding your own. Remember that you entered your law school class with the best and the brightest of college and university graduates.  You are still who you were when you entered; the competition changed.  You are not necessarily destined to remain in the great middle.  You can break out of the great middle with appropriate changes.   
  • You can improve your grades by becoming a smarter studier.  Take some time to think through what worked well and what did not.  Be honest with yourself.  Did you put in your best efforts or slack off at some point?  Did you take shortcuts rather than become more efficient and effective?  Did you use all of the resources available to you at your law school - professors' office hours, supplemental study groups, academic support professionals, writing specialists, advisors?
  • Make a plan for improving your study skills.  Instead of just changing up things at random or latching on to every piece of advice you hear from upper-division students, make an appointment with the academic support professional at your law school.  That person is able to help you objectively evaluate you strengths and weaknesses and look at sound strategies for improvement.
  • Review exams with your professors for any courses in which you received a C+ or lower grade.  You should try to do this as soon as possible on your return for the next semester.  You want to determine what you are doing well and need to continue.  You want to get specific feedback on what you need to improve on for higher grades.  Take copious notes during your discussions with the professors and share them with the academic support professional at your school to get advice on strategies and techniques for improvement.

For those of you in the bottom portion of the class (however you want to define that measure):

  • Deal with your disappointment with your grades and move forward.  Do not let discouragement prevent you from improving your grades in the future.  All law students can learn more effective ways to study.  You definitely want to work with the academic support professional at your law school to evaluate what went wrong and what you are doing right.  Avoid being your own expert.  You obviously need someone else's expertise in study strategies to sort out what can be done.
  • Review each of your exams with your professors.  If this will not be possible until the fall semester, make yourself notes about each exam that you took.  Did you run out of time?  Did you have trouble with one section but not others?  Were you confused by a particular topic that was tested?  Did you panic or freeze up during the exam?  As soon as possible in the new semester, make an appointment to go over the exam to discover your strengths and weaknesses.  The more specific the feedback, the more information you will have to guide your improvement.
  • Look hard at your time management and tendency to procrastinate.  It is not unusual for law students to have problems with these two areas.  Many law students received good grades in undergraduate courses with little work and last-minute cramming.  There was less material to learn.  The material was rarely as dense as law cases.  Multiple tests or other assessments made it easier to fall into cram mode.  Again, your academic support professional can help you develop better skills in these problem areas.
  • Evaluate your goals, motivation, and commitments.  How do you want to use your law degree upon graduation?  Do you want to be in law school right now?  Do you like the study of law?  Are there other variables (family, financial, medical) that suggest you need a leave of absence to get things sorted out?  Is law school a priority in your life right now?
  • If you are being placed on probation, find out exactly what that means.  What is the standard that you must meet?  What time period do you have to meet that standard?  Are you required to take a certain number of credit hours during your probation semester (some schools have a higher requirement for probation students)?  What happens if you have to repeat a required course while on probation?  What resources are available to you (academic support professional, advisor, tutoring, counselor)?

For those of you who are facing academic dismissal:

  • Be honest with yourself.  After you get over the initial shock, you need to evaluate how you ended up in this place academically.  Is law school where you really want to be?  Is being a lawyer a priority for you?  Did you put in the effort that was needed on your academics?  Were there circumstances outside school that caused you problems?         
  • Find out your law school's procedures and policies.  Every law school is different.  You need to determine your law school's way of doing things.  You should be able to find this type of information in your law school's student handbook (look on-line if you were not handed a hard copy during your 1L orientation).  If you cannot find the information, contact the Associate Dean for Academics, Registrar, or other appropriate person at your law school for help.
  • Find out what options you have (if any).  Some law schools allow dismissed students to petition for readmission (continue on with your class) or re-entry (repeat your 1L year) on the basis of extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.  Some law schools make you sit out at least two years before you can reapply.  Some law schools have entirely different options. 
  • Get some advice from an authority on the school's policies and procedures if you need to consider options.  You preferably want to talk with administrators who work most closely with students on these issues.  If possible, schedule an appointment.  Consider a telephone discussion if you cannot make it back to campus.  Write down your questions ahead of time so that you do not forget to ask everything.
  • Have a Plan B.  There are always other options than law school if a petition is not successful or you cannot petition under your law school's policies.  You can apply to a graduate program in another field.  (Yes, people who leave law school for academic reasons do get accepted in other graduate programs.)  You can get a law-related job until you can re-apply.  (Think paralegal or legal assistant, for example.) You can get a non-law-related job until you decide what to do more long-term.  You can get a roommate to help with expenses on your apartment.
  • Remember that leaving law school does not mean that you are a failure.  The study of law is not a good match for everyone.  There is a niche out there that will use your talents and abilities.  You will be successful in life - law is not the only career path.  You are the same bright, talented, exceptional person you were before law school.  All that has changed is that law school did not work out.  That is actually okay even though it may not feel that way right now.  You will be fine. 

Whichever category matches your grades, don't get stuck in the place where you are.  Evaluate.  Strategize.  Move forward.  And, believe in yourself.  (Amy Jarmon)  

 

June 3, 2011 in Advice, Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ten tips for preparing for your 1L year

Throngs of eager 1L students are awaiting the fall semester to start law school.  Many of them want to take some constructive steps to prepare themselves to do well academically and personally.  Here is my advice on ten things that will pay off big time:

  1. Have fun with family and friends this summer.  Law school is a marathon that tends to consume one's time.  The carefree days are over come August.  Relax now.  Spend time with the people who are important to you.  Make sure your energy levels are high for the start of the semester.  You won't get a true break until December after your exams are over.
  2. Read voraciously.  The type of reading does not necessarily matter.  The main point is that you get used to reading large numbers of pages each week.  Also practice summarizing the main points of what you have read: the story line, the important events, the main points.  Mix it up: novels, biographies, history, philosophy, plays.  Whatever strikes your fancy is fine - it does not have to be about the law.  In fact, reading doctrinal law books may not be helpful because you will not have the classroom context for what you are reading.
  3. Read one or two books on academic success by academic support professionals or law professors.  There are lots of books on succeeding in law school.  The advantage of reading books by academic success and professor experts rather than by ex-law students or attorneys is that those who are currently involved with law students on a daily basis and have professional expertise in law school success are more likely to give you well-rounded advice rather than narrow "this worked for me advice."  For book suggestions, watch this blog for later postings.
  4. Visit a courtroom.  If you have never observed a court hearing, now would be a great time to sit in the public gallery and absorb the world of law.  Attend a variety of court proceedings if possible in your area: federal, state; traffic, civil, criminal, family; trial, appellate.  Too many law students come to law school with no clue about what happens in court.  The latest legal sitcom or movie is the closest they have ever been to the real thing.  Observing in court will provide you with context for your legal studies.
  5. Evaluate your motivation for going to law school.  Internal motivators are helpful when the deadlines pile up: planned to be an attorney for a long time, want a profession in which you can help others, interested in an area of law, relates to prior work experience, like reading about the law.  Try to expand your personal list if at all possible.  External motivators are less likely to sustain you when the workload seems huge: want to make lots of money, didn't know what else to do, your parents want you to be an attorney, you didn't get into a Ph.D. program. 
  6. Evaluate your readiness to study long hours.  Many 1L's have been able to get top grades with very little studying prior to law school.  Most law students tell me that they studied less than 20 hours per week in college.  For a law student to get grades commensurate with academic potential, it will be necessary to study consistently 50 - 55 hours per week in a full-time program.  (Cramming does not work in law school because there is an overwhelming amount of material, application of concepts is critical rather than mere regurgitation of material, and retaining material long-term is important for the bar exam).   
  7. Evaluate your time wasters.  Law students who get into academic difficulty often do not use their time wisely to complete the many tasks that are required.  The biggest time wasters for law students seem to be surfing the web, using social media, talking on the phone, playing video games, taking naps, and watching television.
  8. Have a realistic financial plan.  1L students are not allowed to work under the American Bar Association rules unless they are in part-time or evening programs.  (After the first year, law students are allowed to work 20 hours per week maximum under the ABA rules.)  Plan what you can realistically spend each month and stick to your budget.  You don't want your student loans to run out before the end of the semester because you did not allocate monies well.  You will not be able to focus on academics if you are fraught over bills. 
  9. Talk with your family and friends about the demands of your upcoming law school life.  Law school is not like your prior educational experiences.  You will have to study harder (and smarter) than ever before in your education.  You will be with classmates who have been the best and the brightest at their colleges and universities.  Most law schools have a grading curve with a C or C+ median for 1L students - A and B grades are not as easy to come by in law school.  You need to talk with your family and friends about your no longer being able to take every weekend off, going on a fun-filled vacation during Thanksgiving or Spring Break, or having lots of company come visit.  You need them to understand that you have to be very focused and diligent if you plan to get top grades. 
  10. Get on a regular 8-hour sleep schedule now.  Law school study demands that you be alert so you can be productive, focused, and retain material.  Research shows that you should go to bed and get up at a regular time each day (varying by only 2 hours on the weekend) if you want your brain cells to work optimally.  A minimum of 7 hours of sleep is needed for good brain function.  I suggest getting 8 hours because it is likely that you are already sleep-deprived (Americans and the Japanese are the most sleep-deprived nations in the world).  You can cut back to 7 1/2 or 7 hours if you need to once law school starts.

These ten tips are based on what has worked well for thousands of law students over the years.  Your 1L year will be exciting, challenging, exhausting, and demanding.  However, you can succeed easily if you do not misplace your commonsense.  (Amy Jarmon)  

May 19, 2011 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A 3L's perspective on relationships with professors

I would like to give a hat tip to Sue Liemer at Southern Illinois University for bringing the following blog post to our attention on the Legal Writing Prof Blog.  Although the student's posting on Beyond Hearsay is specifically related to legal writing professors, I think it has merit for relationships with all doctrinal professors and ASP'ers.

J. Richard Lindsay, a 3L at Southern Illinois, writes about learning humility as a law student writer so that he could learn from his legal writing professor instead of seeing his professor as an enemy.  He writes about professors becoming allies when law students are able to get past the hurt and frustration of criticism of their work.  The link is here: Uncovering Secret Allies: How Humility Can Lead to Great Relationships.  (Amy Jarmon)

 

May 14, 2011 in Advice, Miscellany, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)