Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 26, 2017

OJ Salinas' First Post!

Hello pic

Hello, everyone. I am excited to join the Law School Academic Support Blog as a Contributing Editor! I have enjoyed keeping up with the Blog entries over the years, and I look forward to adding my take to this wonderful ASP resource.

We work in a diverse profession, and we carry many responsibilities. I hope to use the Blog as an opportunity for us to share our insight and experiences. If there are any particular topics or ideas you would like for me to explore in the Blog, feel free to email me at osalinas@email.unc.edu. You can also Tweet me @ojsalinas (#lawschoolASP).

I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at our various ASP conferences. If our ASP paths have not crossed yet, I hope they do soon! (OJ Salinas)

June 26, 2017 in About This Blog, Academic Support Spotlight, Miscellany, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Choosing Wellness This Summer

Law students often comment about how stressed they are, how little sleep they get, how they survive on pizza and energy drinks, how they never have time to exercise, and more. It is easy for them during the academic year to become overwhelmed and forget to take care of themselves.

The summer is a perfect time to focus on getting healthy before the next academic year. By setting good wellness routines during the summer months, students are more likely to continue those routines once school starts. Here are some tips for the summer to prepare to be a healthy law student this coming year:

Set up and maintain a routine sleep schedule. Medical research shows that sleep is one of the most important prerequisites for your brain to be focused and productive!

  • Research shows that we need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you get less than that amount consistently, you will be chronically sleep-deprived.
  • Sunday night through Friday morning should have the same routine - same time to bed and same time getting up.
  • Research shows that a set sleep routine has more benefits than getting the same hours of sleep per night, but at varying times for bed and rising.
  • Varying the sleep routine 2 hours or less during the weekend makes it easier to get back on the weekly routine on Sunday night.
  • Obesity and chronic health problems are linked to lack of sleep. So use some preventative medicine by getting your ZZZZZs!
  • Naps do not substitute for a good sleep routine and may actually disrupt your sleep schedule.

Exercise is one of the best stress reducers available to us. You do not have to become obsessed with exercise to benefit from it!

  • Research shows that we need 150 minutes of exercise each week to get the benefits. That is just five 30-minute sessions!
  • Exercise does not have to be a rigorous gym workout - walking is also good.
  • Pick an exercise routine that suits your interests and lifestyle.
  • An exercise routine with set days, times, and activities helps you remember to make time for your exercise plan.
  • Exercising with a friend can often increase accountability to stick to the routine and make exercise more fun.

Nutrition is another key to brain and body health. Your brain needs fuel for all the heavy legal thinking you do!

  • Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables this summer while they are plentiful.
  • Limit your intake of sugar, salt, and caffeine to benefit your health.
  • Stay hydrated and drink water regularly throughout the day.
  • Limit your caffeine intake and especially watch those energy drinks which can have negative health effects.

Build positive activities into your week to balance work or study.

  • Spend time with family and friends during the summer months - especially if you go to law school in another town or state away from them.
  • Learn to take short breaks every 90 minutes during periods of focused tasks to allow your brain to re-focus and your body to de-stress.
  • Practice mindfulness techniques to become more aware of the present. Many apps and websites exist to teach you simple techniques that can improve focus.
  • Become more aware of tasks, body positions, situations, etc. that cause you to tense up and stress. Learn to avoid or manage those items and events more effectively.

When you walk through the law school doors in August, do not abandon your routines that focus on wellness. With time management techniques and effective study strategies, you can continue your wellness efforts throughout law school semesters. If you need assistance to find that balance in your life, contact your law school's academic support professionals for help in managing your life-study schedule. (Amy Jarmon)

June 25, 2017 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Looking for Some Summer Reading?

Who are your favorite professors in fiction? What academic novels would you recommend? The Chronicle of Higher Education suggests a few possible titles for your summer reading in two recent articles: Academic Novels and Fictional Professors

June 17, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Why Being Bad at Something Is Good for You

A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education lauded the importance of trying things we are bad at, practicing, and becoming better. Carol Dweck's growth mindset concept, a concept known to many ASPish readers, is mentioned in the article. The article is found here: The Importance of Being Bad at Something.

June 16, 2017 in Learning Styles, Miscellany, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Does your law school want to host the May 2019 AASE conference?

Hello Academic Support Professors:

Even though we just concluded the conference in Fort Worth, the AASE executive committee is already looking to identify possible conference venues for 2019.  To identify the pool of possibilities, we are asking for your help.  If you have an interest in hosting the AASE annual conference at your school in May 2019, please let us know.

This is a formal request for proposals.  The deadline to submit proposals is August 1, 2017.  Interested academic support professors should let us know the answers to the following questions:

  1. Do you have large room capacity–i.e., the ability to have as many as 175 people meeting together in a single room–for plenary sessions?  (The room must be available in late May, which may rule out schools that already have made commitments for other conferences or for bar review lectures.)
  2. Are there smaller rooms available for breakout sessions?
  3. What are the general technical features (e.g., projectors/audio/wifi) in the building?
  4. How easily can your school be accessed from airports and other public transportation?
  5. Have you ever hosted a conference before (local, regional, or national)?  Please identify the conference(s) you hosted. (Prior hosting experience is not required.)
  6. Have you spoken with your school’s Dean or anyone else whose approval would be necessary for your school to host the conference?  If so, please identify their response.

Note that while hosting the conference requires no out-of-pocket financial costs for the host school, the school will need to provide space and manpower for the event, and one academic support professional from the school will serve on the AASE Executive Board for two years.

Please respond directly to Betsy Six, who can be reached at bsix@ku.edu

Thanks in advance for responding!

Best regards,

The AASE Executive Committee

Betsy Six, President

June 12, 2017 in Meetings, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 9, 2017

California Bar: The Relationship Between Lower Scores and Discipline or Disbarment

Over on Paul Caron's Tax Prof Blog is a posting regarding a Wall Street Journal article on law school deans pushing for a lower pass score and a new study that indicates lawyers with lower scores are more likely to face discipline and disbarment. You can read the Tax Prof Blog posting here.

June 9, 2017 in Bar Exam Issues, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cross-Cultural Competency in Legal Education Teaching

Thank you to various colleagues on the Legal Research and Writing Professor listserv for suggesting an article by Susan Bryant on five habits for building cross-cultural competency in lawyers: Cross-Cultural Competency.

June 6, 2017 in Miscellany, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Difficulty Reading - It May Be a Rare Vision Problem

Louis Sirico has had a recent post on the Legal Skills Prof Blog about a former law student whose vision problem caused reading difficulties. The happy ending includes a correct diagnosis years later and a new type of corrective glasses. The post can be found here.

June 5, 2017 in Disability Matters, Miscellany, Reading | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Has Memorial Day become just a day off?

Let's face it, we all appreciate a day off from work - especially because many of us are grading right now and have grades due this week. Swimming pools opened in most communities on this past weekend and backyard barbecues will be prolific today. Fewer communities still have parades. And fewer American flags seem to festoon our homes and streets than in past decades.

We do not want to forget the meaning behind this day. It is held in memory of those who have died defending our freedoms as Americans.

In 2000 President Clinton issued a memorandum to heads of Executive Departments and Agencies asking that each unit take part in:

"Encouraging individual department and agency personnel, and Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all."

Although I hope we enjoy our day off, I also hope we will take a few moments to remember the significance of the day. The rule of law has been protected through the sacrifice of many who have gone before us. (Amy Jarmon)

May 29, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)