Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Expressive Writing

Hat tip to Barbara McFarland, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Student Success Initiatives at Chase College of Law - Northern Kentucky University, for sharing a link to a New York Times article on this topic and supporting research. The link to the article can be found here.

May 28, 2017 in Miscellany, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

AASE Elections - Voting Open until 5 p.m. May 23

The ballot is now open for the election of the AASE Board positions for the 2017-2018 year.  The open positions are: President-Elect, Vice President Diversity, Secretary, and Treasurer. 

Please go to the Membership page of the AASE website and follow the Election link which can be found here:  http://www.associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/membership.html.  You must be an AASE member to vote. If you are unsure whether you are an AASE member, please contact us at aasemembership@gmail.com.  You may only vote once for each open position.  Voting will be open until 5 pm on May 23, 2017 (the first day of the AASE National Conference). 

The election committee (Betsy Six, Pavel Wonsowicz, and myself – the members of the Executive Board who are not eligible to run for an office) will count the ballots and announce the winners during the AASE Conference.  The new officers will transition during the Closing Session of the conference.  Below is a list of the candidates for each open position:

President-Elect:

  • Russell McClain

Vice President Diversity:

  • Rana Boujaoude
  • DeShun Harris

Secretary:

  • Rana Boujaoude
  • Jeff Minneti

Treasurer:

  • Marsha Griggs
  • Kandace Kukas
  • Jeff Minneti

May 20, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Effects of Social Media

The Chronicle on Higher Education recently posted an article looking at the professionalization of social media, especially Facebook, and the effect on students' outlets to be themselves: Instagrim.

May 15, 2017 in Miscellany, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The BBC Looks at Mindfulness

An article on the BBC website this past week gave an every day look at mindfulness: The Japanese skill copied by the world.

May 14, 2017 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Study Questions Student Recognition of Good Teaching

Today's The Chronicle of Higher Education references a study of nearly 340,000 mathematics students at University of Phoenix that questions whether students can recognize good teaching. The link to the post is here: Student Evaluations Study.

May 9, 2017 in Miscellany, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Whittier Closure and the Future of Legal Education

Inside Higher Ed posted an article this week on the Whittier closure and the future of legal education. The link is What Comes After Whittier Shutdown?.

April 29, 2017 in Miscellany, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Do you have trouble finding time to research, write, or complete projects?

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently included a series of articles for faculty on how to use their summers and how to make time to research or write. Obviously, most of us in ASP/bar prep work are on 12-month contracts, so summers are not totally free, dead periods. However, many of us (with the exception of bar support) have some quieter periods that could be used productively for the tasks we long to have time for during the academic semesters. One of the articles included tips from a series of scholars and might be helpful to ASPers who want to make time to research and write or to complete other projects: Making Time for Research and Writing. (Amy Jarmon)

April 16, 2017 in Miscellany, Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Are you a practicing attorney who wants to switch to ASP/bar work?

Practicing attorneys who want to switch to law school positions often contact those of us who have ASP/bar experience to get advice on making the transition. Requests for information are particularly prevalent in spring and summer when turnover is high and so many positions are advertised. Here are some tips for attorneys considering the switch:

  • Read through all of the ads posted even if they are not for law schools or parts of the country where you want to be. You will see trends in position descriptions, required/preferred skills, duties, departmental structures, reporting lines, and other typical characteristics for the jobs. This broader view of ASP/bar work provides you with comparison information as you focus on specific ads.
  • Write variations of your cover letter and resume that match the specific law schools and ad requirements to make yourself more marketable. A one-size-fits-all approach may overlook your major selling points for a particular position. Make sure your cover letter matches the emphases in the ad so your resume gets a review. Remember that for some positions, your first "cut" is at the university's human resources level instead of at the law school!
  • Take time for a serious consideration of your strengths and weaknesses for the types of positions you want to apply for at law schools. List your specific qualifications and experiences that match the trends you see across job ads; this is your strengths/pros list. Next list specific qualifications and experiences that you lack for the trends you see across job ads; this is your weaknesses/cons list.
  • On your strengths/pros list: add characteristics that you may have initially overlooked in the ads; continue to add your own qualifications/experiences initially forgotten.
  • On your weaknesses/cons list: add strategies for filling these gaps as quickly as possible. Here are some strategies you might consider:
  1. read multiple sources in the ASP/bar field (Carolina Academic Press has a wonderful catalog of books to choose from; West Academic, Wolters-Kluwer, and Lexis are other publication sources)
  2. regularly read the Law School Academic Support Blog and read archived articles from the last year where relevant to your gaps
  3. consider informational interviewing by phone or in person with some ASP/bar folks at law schools where you are not applying for positions: your alma mater; law schools in your current location; law schools where colleagues have connections
  4. inform yourself through web resources about ABA standards, LSAC law school admissions data, NCBE bar data, etc.
  • Salary information is not typically given in ads for ASP/bar support positions. Ads will normally say that salary is dependent on qualifications. At some universities, you can view an online position that will give a position grade/level - the corresponding HR/payroll pages may show the salary ranges by grade/level. However, in many cases, there will be no readily available information. On-line salary comparison calculators can give you a ballpark for what salary in a new geographic location would align with your current salary.
  • There is a great deal of movement by ASP/bar professionals among law schools as people gain more experience and move to other law schools for promotions etc. You may need to find an entry-level position and later move up in your school's hierarchy or change schools once you have specific ASP/bar experience.
  • Realize that there may be other types of law school positions that may be suited to your specific interests, qualifications, and experiences: doctrinal faculty, legal writing and research faculty, clinical faculty, career services, development, admissions, student life, special events coordinator, etc.

April 15, 2017 in Advice, Job Descriptions, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Ankiweb Flashcards

Hat tip to Steve Black, my colleague here at Texas Tech School of Law, for telling me about Ankiweb to make flashcards. You can build flashcards on your computer and share them with your other devices. The link to the website is Ankiweb. (The phone app is also available through the Google Play Store for Android phones.) (Amy Jarmon)

April 8, 2017 in Miscellany, Teaching Tips, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Loophole Lifestyle

I was talking to a colleague about a student who turned in a mediocre paper for a class. Because of some gaps in the syllabus information, the student was able to get full credit although the paper was not really up to the professor's expectations. The professor had no choice but to give credit and fix the syllabus for the next time around. The loophole benefited the student on that occasion.

Let's face it, students often find the loopholes in syllabi, discipline codes, academic regulations, and more. Administrators and faculty regularly clean up the language or add the details to fill in the gaps to avoid future problems. The students get the benefit of the loopholes for the time being. I understand the necessity of that ongoing process.

But what if the loophole situation is not a "one off" for the student? Unfortunately, I have met some law students who spend their three years constantly looking for loopholes rather than pushing themselves to achieve their best work. Such students repeatedly look for ways to get out of work, to get by with minimal effort, and to "pull one over" on their professors. They often have tremendous academic potential, but prefer to coast rather than excel. For these students, "lookout for loopholes" becomes a lifestyle.

Will these students become lawyers who do minimal work on behalf of clients? Will they try to take shortcuts at every turn? Will they expect to "pull one over" on opposing counsel, the jury, or the judge? Perhaps they will be different in the "real world of practice" because law school was just a game to them. However, I am concerned what has been a lifestyle in law school will jeopardize their professionalism in practice. (Amy Jarmon)

April 4, 2017 in Miscellany, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Get the Popcorn Ready! Law-Related Movies

Hat tip to Aslihan Bulut, a Librarian at Harvard Law School, for sharing this wonderful resource on movies related to law and the legal profession. I met Aslihan at the the Global Legal Skills XII Conference in Monterrey, Mexico last week. The link to Ted Tjaden's Legal Research and Writing page and movie list is here: Law-Related Movies. The movies are listed in multiple ways to make the resource more useful: A-Z, substantive law, documentary, court martial related, prison related, etc. Other movie-related resources are also given on the same page. (Amy Jarmon)

March 26, 2017 in Film, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Global Legal Skills Conference XII - A Recap

I had the privilege of presenting at the Global Legal Skills XII Conference in Monterrey, Mexico last week. It was a wonderful conference. Presenters and participants came from around the world to discuss issues in international legal education. This conference specifically addressed international L.L.M and exchange student populations as well as teaching, legal research and writing, and technology issues for global legal education. I met legal educators from Australia, Canada, Estonia, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Qatar, United Kingdom to just name a few of the countries represented. Law schools throughout the United States were represented at the conference in large numbers as well.

All of us work with international or L.L.M. students in our ASP and bar preparation work. We are familiar with their adjustments to U.S. legal education, their struggles, and their successes. It was a pleasure to spend a week with others who are dedicated to providing support to these students. The participants at the conference are as friendly and ready to share ideas and materials as our fellow ASP'ers here in the U.S.

Here is a very brief sample of a few ASPish presentation topics:

  • Beyond IRAC: Introducing LLM Students to Problem Solving -  Lurene Cotento, John Marshall Law School, Chicago
  • Teaching Common Law Skills to Civil Law Students - Amrita Bahri, ITAM, Mexico
  • Teaching and Diversity: How MBTI Might Assist an Inclusive Approach to Individual Consultations, Chantal Morton, Melbourne Law School, Australia
  • Put It To Practice: Role-Play Exercises in the International Graduate Classroom - Kathryn Edwards Piper and Sarah Kelly, St. Johns School of Law
  • Facilitating Online, Peer Support Student Study Networks Using a Number of Social Media Solutions - Matthew Homewood, Nottingham Law School, UK
  • LLM Orientation Design for Cohort-Building and Academic Success: Two Models - Miki Pike Hamstra and Cathy Beck, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
  • Using Film to Teach about Foreign Legal Systems - Lauren Fielder, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

The next Global Legal Skills Conference (XIII) will be held in Melbourne, Australia in December 2018. (Amy Jarmon)

 

 

March 25, 2017 in Meetings, Miscellany, Teaching Tips, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Working Hard: Do Academic Standards Still Apply?

The Inside Higher Ed daily news update last week had a post that I thought might interest our readers: Trigger Warning: Academic Standards Apply. The author looks at the therapeutic and consumer models of higher education in response to a student's comment that academic standards cause stress and anxiety for students. The post resonated with me not only because of my observations about student perspectives on work, but also because of the observations made by Alex Ruskell, one of our Contributing Editors, in his post on March 3rd: Work Is a Four-Letter Word. (Amy Jarmon)

March 14, 2017 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Gen Z: Our Future Law Students

Hat tip to Vickie Sutton, the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at Texas Tech School of Law, for forwarding a report released by Barnes & Noble and an article about the report. Gen Z students are currently 13-18 years old. The two items can be found here:  Download Gen-Z-Research-Report-Final and Download ECampus News Gen Z is about to take ove... (Amy Jarmon)

March 6, 2017 in Learning Styles, Miscellany, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Compilation of Reader Comments and Emails

We periodically gather some comments from our readers to share on the Blog. Here are some responses and conversations that we have had over the last several months:

Marsha Griggs (Texas Southern ) shares her idea in response to Goldie Pritchard's A Wall of Inspiration post on February 22nd: "I do something similar via Facebook. I have a private FB group set up for our bar takers. Each day of bar study, I send motivational pictures, quotes and positive affirmations. The response is overwhelmingly positive." 

Don Macaulay (Pipeline to Practice Foundation) sent a link to their website in response to our announcement of the Inaugural AASE Conference on Diversity: http://www.pipelinetopractice.org/.

Rod Fong (U of San Francisco) and I had a nice email exchange after my February 19th post on Rediscovering a Sense of Purpose. Rod shared two links that may interest readers who have not seen them: Angela Lee Duckworth's Ted Talk on Grit (Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance) and Eduardo Briceno's Tex Talk on Growth Mindset and Success (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN34FNbOKXc). Rod also observed: "I combine the grit and growth mindset with two other social-psychological theories, belonging and stereotype threat.  I find these four work together well. The other thing I'm noticing in students is that grit and growth mindset don't work well if the students are not good self-regulated learners.  Without this skill, they seem to think that just doing the work, like going through the motions, is enough to learn and study. . . . They don't realize that it takes energy to assess their work and properly correct their mistakes." 

Otto Stockmeyer (Emeritus Western Michigan) gave some historical insight on IRAC following Goldie Prichard's January 13 post on Dr. Martin Luther King: "The Letter from the Birmingham Jail," and IRAC?: "Michael Josephson, who founded a bar review course in Michigan in 1991 which became one of the country's largest within 10 years, emphasized IRAC in the essay-writing portion of his course. He attributed IRAC's origin to the U.S. Army. According to him, the Army developed IRAC at the outbreak of World War II as a method of teaching problem-solving to a flood of new recruits. Whether or not IRAC helped us win WWII, it made Josephson a millionaire." 

Otto Stockmeyer (Emeritus Western Michigan) also commented on Alex Ruskell's Weapon of Choice post on January 13th: "My experience counseling poorly performing students has been that 60% of the time they change right answers to wrong ones. Of course, they are presented with more wrong choices, so that may explain part of it. Also, it may be a characteristic of poor performers and not universal." 

Thank you to our many readers who post comments for the editors after reading our posts. We have a policy of not posting comments publicly because of the amount of spam comments that are received by the Blog. Please know that we appreciate hearing from you. (Amy Jarmon)

March 5, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Oops! Correction to AALS Section Officers/Exec Board Post

Our apologies to Jenn Car! She was incorrectly listed as still being at UNLV. She is now at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The corrected Exec Board list is below:

    Chair: Danielle Kocal (Pace)

    Chair-Elect: Staci Rucker (Dayton)

    Secretary: Courtney Lee (McGeorge)

    Treasurer: Jenn Carr (Thomas Jefferson)

    Past Chair: Amy Jarmon (Texas Tech)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Twinette Johnson (Southern Illinois)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Philip Kaplan (Suffolk)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Raul Ruiz (Florida International)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Goldie Pritchard (Michigan State)

February 27, 2017 in Meetings, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Do You Know Who Your Exec Board and Officers Are for AALS Section on Academic Support?

In case you were not at the January 2017 business meeting and are wondering who to contact about the AALS Section on Academic Support, here is a list of the 2017-2018 leadership:

    Chair: Danielle Kocal (Pace)

    Chair-Elect: Staci Rucker (Dayton)

    Secretary: Courtney Lee (McGeorge)

    Treasurer: Jenn Carr (UNLV)

    Past Chair: Amy Jarmon (Texas Tech)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Twinette Johnson (Southern Illinois)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Philip Kaplan (Suffolk)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Raul Ruiz (Florida International)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Goldie Pritchard (Michigan State)

February 25, 2017 in Meetings, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Public Speaking and Nervous Students

Hat tip to Professor Louis J. Sirico of Villanova for his post on the Legal Writing listserv recommending an article on advice for students nervous about public speaking. The information he gave is here:

Mark Cooney has written a helpful article in the ABA’s Student Lawyer: “It’s OK to Get Nervous.” His advice on public speaking: “Always nervous, but never scared.” I think this is a very helpful article to pass on to students. You can access more on the Legal Skills Prof blog. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2017/01/public-speaking-always-nervous-but-never-scared.html 

February 14, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cold and Flu Season - Lessons Learned the Hard Way

A parade of sick students has marched through my office for the last several weeks, so I was not surprised when I finally succumbed myself last week. Just like my students though, I had tried to soldier on for a day and a half and get my work done rather than give in and visit the doctor at the very first signs. (My doctor kindly did not roll her eyes at me when I stated that I guessed I would be home in bed for a few days.)

As I lay in bed for four and a half days feeling really sick, I reminded myself of all the reasons why we tell our students to go to the student health center, stay home in bed, and get well. All we do if we persevere is get more ill, prolong our illnesses, and possibly pass our germs on to others.

So, the voice of consequences (if not wisdom), intones this advice to one and all: Go to the doctor, climb in bed, and stay there until you are well. Do not keep showing up for class. Do not infect your fellow students, faculty, and staff. Do not fool yourself into thinking you are being noble or heroic to continue in your academic slog.

For those of you who can, stay well. For those of you who cannot, face reality and go to bed.

Happy Valentine's Day. Hoping yours is germ free.

(Amy Jarmon)

 

February 14, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Best Articles 2016 Legal Education

Paul Caron, over on the TaxProfBlog, has included a list of the best for 2016. Several ASP and legal writing folks are the authors of some of the articles. Check it out here: Best of 2016.

January 3, 2017 in Miscellany, Publishing | Permalink | Comments (0)