Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Reminder: August 15th Deadline for Submissions to the Learning Curve

Partial text from a June 15th posting to the ASP listserv:

We are currently considering articles for the Summer/Fall 2018 issue, and we want to hear from you! We encourage both new and seasoned ASP professionals to submit their work.

We are particularly interested in submissions surrounding the theme of supporting diverse students. Do you have orientation, class, or workshop exercises that focus on creating an inclusive environment? Do you have techniques to support students on an individual basis? Do you have a unique way of collaborating with student groups to create a sense of belonging? Is there a subset of students you've identified and supported who are diverse in ways that people overlook? 

Please send your article submission to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com by no later than August 15, 2018. (Please do not send inquiries to the Gmail account, as it is not regularly monitored.) Attach your submission to your message as a Word file. Please do not send a hard-copy manuscript or paste a manuscript into the body of an email message.

Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate. Please include any references in a references list at the end of your manuscript, not in footnotes. (See articles in this issue for examples.)

We look forward to reading your work and learning from you!

Regards,

The Editors

DeShun Harris, Executive Editor*

Kevin Sherrill, Associate Editor

Christina Chong, Technology Editor

July 28, 2018 in Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2018

Reminder: August 1st Deadline for AALS 2019 Joint Section Workshop Proposals

Call for Proposals:  Joint Workshop 

AALS Sections on Academic Support (ASP) & the Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession

 January 2019 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA:  Thursday January 3, 2019, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Circling the Square: Fresh Partnerships to Understand Student Learning through Empirical Studies

Introduction. Academic support plays a critical role in promoting student success and learning, and empirical research into various learning processes can yield vital information to help all law faculty promote effective learning. The Section on Academic Support Programs and the Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession are joining forces to provide a three-hour workshop at the 2019 AALS annual meeting in order to help jump-start collaborative empirical research on understanding student learning and related issues. 

Design.  The Workshop will have two major components.  First, a plenary panel presentation will highlight current research based on empirical studies and address the need for additional research focused on specific issues arising in several key areas, such as 1) assessment of law school programs and courses; 2) design and evaluation of law school academic support programs; and 3) the design and evaluation of measures intended to improve bar exam success.  This will be followed by presenters from the Academic Support community, who will identify areas of need for future empirical research.  Next, the program will break into multiple concurrent small-group break-out sessions focused on specific areas for empirical study in the area of academic support.  Each group will brainstorm and identify potential partnerships for future research, engage in constructive feedback to those with ongoing research and those who are beginning to identify questions for further study.  We hope that this format will strengthen individual research proposals, create potential for collaborative or parallel work in different institutions, and bring together insights from across a wide spectrum of law faculty and professionals.

Depending on proposals received, we may modify the focus and format slightly.  At this point, we anticipate 15 minutes allocated to each plenary presenter and one hour for the concurrent break-out sessions, which may include one or more facilitators and/or presenters who will be grouped based on common themes of interest.  Depending on the nature and quality of proposals, we may seek to publish associated papers in a law review symposium issue.  All submissions will be subject to peer review by a program committee composed of those from the two sponsoring sections.

Call for Proposals.  Based on the above-described program design, we are seeking proposals in three different areas:

(1) For the first part of the plenary presentation, we are soliciting proposals focused on empirical research in one of the identified areas.  These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

(a) a title of your paper and/or presentation,

(b) a description of the objectives and/or outcomes of the research question you have pursued or are pursuing,

(c) a description of the empirical methods used,

(d) a statement of why your work would benefit from a collegial review process,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, if appropriate, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

 (2) For the second part of the plenary presentations, we are soliciting proposals that will identify and discuss areas of need for future research on issues relating to academic support. These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

 (a) a title of your presentation,

(b) a description of the objectives and/or outcomes of the research question you have pursued or are pursuing,

(c) a statement of why the research question presented would benefit from a collegial review process,

(d) an explanation about why the proposed research is important to academic support and/or legal education,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, if any, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

(3) For the concurrent sessions, we are soliciting proposals that will identify and discuss works in progress at any stage of research or thinking, with the goal of developing potential partnerships for future research and receiving constructive feedback and input on the ideas presented.  These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

(a) a title and/or description of your area of interest,

(b) an explanation about why the research question is important to academic support and/or legal education,

(c) a statement of why the research question presented would benefit from a collegial review process,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, if any, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

The planning committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas.  In addition, we welcome proposals from scholars and educators at all stages of research.  Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, August 1st, to Professor Raul Ruiz, Florida International University College of Law, rauruiz@fiu.edu .  If you have any questions, please email Professor Ruiz or call 305-348-7821.

AALS Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession Program Committee:

AALS Section on Academic Support

Program Committee:

Louis Schulze, Chair

Raul Ruiz, Chair

Jennifer Gundlach

Melissa Berry

Neil W. Hamilton

Robert Coulthard

Victor David Quintanilla

Jamie Kleppetsch

 

Daniel M. Kocal

 

Zoe Niesel

 

Goldie Prichard

Empirical Study Section Chair: Judith Welch Wegner

ASP Section Chair: Staci P. Rucker

July 27, 2018 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student Services Position at Notre Dame

Position Information
Job Title Law Student Services Program Manager

Job Description The Law School’s Student Services, Program Manager provides leadership and strategic direction for a dynamic student life program that supports the intellectual, professional, and personal development of all students in the law school. This position focuses on all facets of the student experience, from orientation to commencement, and seeks to create an environment in which all students can thrive. The Program Manager develops programming initiatives that cultivate an inclusive student community; facilitates interaction and communication among students, faculty, and staff; coaches students to use University resources to their best advantage in order to maximize their educational and professional experiences while in law school; and supports and counsels students on the personal and academic issues they may face throughout law school so that they have the best legal education experience possible.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Provide counseling to students, particularly those with personal, academic, and medical issues, and provide referrals to University resources, including financial aid, medical, counseling, and psychological services. Coordinate with faculty regarding excused student absences. Collaborate with other offices and resources on campus to develop and deliver innovative programming for law students that enhances wellness, resilience, and professionalism. Address student conduct issues and advise students on Law School and University policies.
• Develop and implement processes for efficient administration of final exams. Collaborate with the University’s Office of Disability Services; advise students on requesting disability accommodations; and oversee accommodations for students with disabilities, working with the faculty to assure appropriate classroom and testing accommodations.
• Oversee budgets for all law student organizations, including law journals and moot court board. Develop appropriate guidelines and policies for student organizations. Provide training to student leaders to enhance their leadership skills and development, assure the highest quality programming by their organizations, and increase opportunities for all students to form meaningful social and professional connections around common interests.
• Develop and implement Law School orientation and welcome programming for new students. Coordinate with resources across campus to provide a holistic welcome to the University. Train current students and staff to support all orientation events.
• Oversee the academic support program. Develop programs to enhance the law school’s delivery of integrated personal, academic, and career advising to students in South Bend during study away (i.e., Chicago, Washington DC, London, and international exchange programs).
• Coordinate the Law School’s response to urgent student matters and crises. Serve on University committees and task forces as requested. Support commencement activities, working together with the Law School Registrar.
• Develop and oversee programming initiatives that cultivate an inclusive student community, in collaboration with other resources on campus supporting diversity and international students. Coordinate Law School response to student concerns relating to discrimination, including sexual harassment, violence, and abuse.
• Develop and implement programming to improve the financial literacy and debt awareness of law students, working together with administrators of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program.

Minimum Qualifications J.D.required.
5 to 6 years experience.
3-4 years working directly with students in a higher-education setting required. 3-4 years experience in the practice of law highly desirable.
(#LI-POST)

Preferred Qualifications

Special Instructions to Applicants

Department Dean's Office-Law School (33000)

Department Website law.nd.edu

Family / Sub-Family Student Svcs / Gnrl Stud Svcs Post Undrgrad

Career Stream/Level EIC 3 Specialist

Department Hiring Pay Range

Commensurate with experience

Pay ID Semi-Monthly

FLSA Status S1 - FT Exempt

Job Category Administrator/Professional

Job Type Full-time


Schedule: Days of Week & Hours

M-F 8 AM-5 PM
This position will require occasional work after hours and on weekends in support of student activities and exams.

Schedule: Hours/Week MF - 8 AM - 5 PM

Schedule: # of months 12 months

Posting Detail Information
The University of Notre Dame seeks to attract, develop, and retain the highest quality faculty, staff and administration. The University is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and is committed to building a culturally diverse workplace. We strongly encourage applications from female and minority candidates and others that will enhance our community. Moreover, Notre Dame prohibits discrimination against veterans or disabled qualified individuals, and requires affirmative action by covered contractors to employ and advance veterans and qualified individuals with disabilities in compliance with 41 CFR 60-741.5(a) and 41 CFR 60-300.5(a).
Posting Detail Information

Job Posting Date (Campus)

06/19/2018

Job Posting Date (Public) 06/19/2018

Job Closing Date 08/20/2018

Posting Type Open To All Applicants

Posting Number S18518 Advertising & Screening Information

Quick Link for Internal Postings

http://jobs.nd.edu/postings/13110

Supplemental Questions
Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).
Documents Needed to Apply
Required Documents
1. Resume/Curriculum Vitae
2. Cover Letter/Letter of Application
Optional Documents
1. Letter of Recommendation 1
2. Letter of Recommendation 2

July 27, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

“Drop The Mic” On The Bar Exam

In a few short hours, the bar exam will be over for some Bar Takers throughout the United States while others still have an additional day to go. When you exit the room it is time to “drop the mic” on the bar exam.

image from media.giphy.com

For those who do not know what “drop the mic” means, here goes:

It is a way of making a memorable or noteworthy ending or defeating someone or something by literally or fictionally dropping a microphone at the end of the performance, talk, or presentation. I would add: “because you completed this exam so it’s over.”

If you did your utmost, put forth your best effort, managed your stress, freaked out yet gathered yourself, and completed the exam; nothing else remains to be said or done and there is nothing you can say or do.  All you can do is wait for the results.  You have no further control over the situation.  I know, easier said than done!

Concern that you failed, anger at yourself for forgetting to write something in an essay answer, upset about one or more questions you think you marked incorrectly, reliving bar preparation, beating yourself up, being overly worried about what others wrote, etc. What will such reflection do for you? While it is perfectly normal to have all these latent feelings, you may wish to ask yourself how do they benefit you. My advice is to face all of these emotions then take a break, rehabilitate your social life, and look ahead. Enjoy life until you are notified of the final results. Inevitably, you will panic again around the time results are to be posted but let’s take things one step at a time. (Goldie Pritchard)

July 25, 2018 in Advice, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sights & Sounds at the Bar Exam

Today is the Bar Exam.  Like many other academic support professors, I travel to the bar exam testing site with the graduates to lend logistical support and emotional support.  Much like the movie Groundhog Day, where I'm Bill Murray, the experience is novel to the applicants, but rather predictable for me.  This year, like prior years, I expect to see applicants: 

Smiling, both genuinely and veiled 

Crying

Laughing, sometimes involuntarily due to exhaustion

Hugging (lots of hugging!)

Pacing and tapping their feet nervously

Exercising (i.e. jumping jacks, sit-ups) in the hallway around 3:30 p.m.

Sharing Tums and Advil freely 

Forgetting their ID or admission ticket

Loosing their ID or admission ticket (So far, I've tracked down lost IDs in the parking lot, at a gas station in another state(!), inside the testing site, and in a hotel room.  Once, I even had a new ID printed at the DMV at 8:00 a.m. on the second day of the exam.)

Isolating themselves in every nook and cranny of the testing site during the registration and breaks

Carrying around plastic bags containing "authorized items"

Tossing book bags and lunch bags into a "secure" pile in the corner of the hotel lobby

Sporting lucky charm shirts and sweaters

and laser focused.

But, unlike Bill Murray's character in the movie, I don't want to wake up to a new day.  I love my bar exam Groundhog Day experience, year after year.  I'm thrilled to be a part of one of the most memorable days in a J.D. graduate's life.  Good luck everyone! (Kirsha Trychta)

July 24, 2018 in Bar Exams, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Planning for the Fall

July is almost over.  The hard work over the summer comes to an end, which means, it is time to ramp up for the fall semester!  As one chapter closes, I will usher in a new 1L class and begin bar prep with the rising 3Ls.  I must have ignored the post from a few weeks ago about taking a break.

The last few days have not felt like the end of summer in Oklahoma with a triple digit heat index every day, but I consider the bar exam the end of summer.  I will teach legal analysis to all the entering 1Ls and also a year-long bar prep class to rising 3Ls.  This will be my 4th year teaching legal analysis and my 10th year teaching a version of the 3L bar class.  After that many years, the easy route is to pull last year’s syllabi, change the dates, and post it for students.  However, I encourage everyone to consider adding something new.

Adding new items to a course or program seems daunting.  There are always more pieces than originally considered.  Between meetings, normal preparations, and taking a breath before the semester begins, adding something new seems difficult.  I have a couple suggestions that may help all of us do a little more this year.

  1. Schedule time for new ideas. We implore our students to schedule everything.  I encourage all of us to do the same.  Block out 30 minutes to an hour each day prior to school beginning.  Use that time to implement 1-2 new ideas.
  1. Look back through AASE materials. The great ideas from AASE get lost in the summer shuffle sometimes.  Make a deliberate effort to look at those materials for new ideas.
  1. Check your sticky notes. This may be more for me, but when I think of new ideas, I write them down on sticky notes on my desk.  Looking through those may jog your memory of what to do.  I also write down activities that didn’t work as well or slight modifications needed for class.  Keeping a running list is helpful because remembering the next year is difficult.
  1. Choose something small. You don’t have to transform your class, workshops, or department in 1 semester.  Most of us tell students to get gradually better through practice.  1% better every day makes a huge different in the long run.  The same is true for our courses and workshops.  A little better each time will make a huge impact.

The last few weeks before classes begin is normally a mad dash to get everything ready.  Try to spend a little time adding a few new ideas to make the coming year just a little better.  Enjoy the next few weeks.

(Steven Foster) 

July 23, 2018 in Program Evaluation, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Are you considering an ASP course? There's a book for that.

Periodically the ASP Listserv hosts questions from law schools that are considering having an ASP course. Sometimes the questions focus on courses for first-year students; sometimes upper-division students are the focus. A wonderful resource as you work on your academic success course is Kris Franklin's Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Academic Success Classes (Wolters Kluwer, 2015). Kris Franklin is well-known in the ASP community and serves as Professor of Law, Director of Academic Initiatives, and Co-Director of the Initiative for Excellence in Law Teaching at New York Law School.

This short and readable volume will guide you from "soup to nuts" in the design process for your course. The book clearly recognizes that there is no "one size fits all" and looks at issues to consider and potential topics and skills to incorporate. The volume includes eight main parts: Type of Course, Materials and Texts, Beginning Your Course, Teaching Legal Reasoning, Academic Skills, Developing Teaching and Learning Exercises, Feedback and Grading, and Wrapping up Your Course.

Although the book is designed to be used in tandem with Strategies and Techniques of Law School Teaching by Howard E. Katz and Kevin Francis O'Neill, it is a very useful stand alone volume. A selected bibliography and an appendix of sample course sequences add to its value. (Amy Jarmon)

 

 

 

July 22, 2018 in Books, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

White Paper on Distance Learning in Legal Education

Hat tip to Jennifer Cooper (Tulane Law School teacher in the MJ Labor & Employment Law program) for reminding ASP listserv readers about the white paper from the Working Group for Distance Learning in Legal Education. The white paper is hosted by CALI as an ebook at https://www.cali.org/books/distance-learning-legal-education-design-delivery-and-recommended-practices.

July 21, 2018 in Books, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 20, 2018

Has your school completed the AASE survey yet? Reminder: August 10th deadline

Law school contacts who have not completed the survey for AASE yet for their law schools were emailed in June with the information on the restructuring of the survey to make it easier to complete and on the new deadline. The new deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, August 10, 2018 – please use 2017-2018 information still.

If you were previously contacted during April to fill out the survey and did not have time to do so, please check your inbox (and junk mail folder) for the email about the survey that was sent during June.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Amy L. Jarmon at amy.jarmon@ttu.edu.

Best regards,

Amy L. Jarmon, Co-Chair AASE Assessment Committee, Texas Tech School of Law

Karen M. Harkins, Co-Chair AASE Assessment Committee, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

July 20, 2018 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Final Weekend Bar Exam Preparations for Your Bar Exam!

Attention Bar Takers:

Here's a couple of short winning tips for your final weekend flight plan checks as you prepare for success on your bar exam next week! 

I. Focus on a Winning Attitude:

First, remind yourself right now why you can pass the bar exam...because, after all, you've been trained as an attorney.  

That's right.  Boldy recognize that out of all of the people in the world, you are one of the very few who have earned a law degree.  Yep...YOU'VE earned your law degree, having successfully demonstrated that YOU know how to solve legal problems.  That doesn't mean that you know it all (nor that you need to know it all for your bar exam).  But, you do know how to read and ponder and analyze and write and communicate as an attorney because you've been trained - for over the course of three years - to think and, more significantly, be an attorney.  

So, as Professor Chad Noreuil says, look forward to your bar exam next week as a "get-to" opportunity rather than a "got-to" threat. That's because this is YOUR moment to show YOUR state Supreme Court that YOU are professionally-trained attorney.

II.  Rehearsing Your Lines:

Second, keep your focus on positive learning throughout this weekend as you...

DANCE

&

TALK

&

VISUALIZE

&

ACT OUT

 &

REHEARSE

&

PRACTICE

YOUR BIG PICTURE RULES FOR YOUR BAR EXAM NEXT WEEK!

In other words, don't think of memorization as dry and dusty work.  

Rather, consider memorization as theatre work.  

Just like actors, carry your script (your study tool) with you in hand, personally by your side, ready to swing into your eyesight, as you walk through the major issues and rules for each subject. Move swiftly. Your goal on Saturday is to work through each subject in well under an hour or much less. Then, do the same for each subject on Sunday.

Here's a Tip - Less is More! 

Stick with talking, singing, or acting out only the big picture rules.  Don't dive deep.  In other words, just state the rule for burglary but don't practice the definitions for each of the elements.  Then, do it again...quicker.  On Sunday, grab those study tools and once again work through each subject - one at a time - with freedom and abandon to peek at your study tools.  

The Memory Power of Peeking!  

Too many people don't want to peek.  But here's the secret to memorization (based on the famous saying that a "peek is worth a thousand words").  

When we peek, we visually see where the rule is on our study tool and how it is organized and positioned.  As the learning scientists indicate, we tend to comprehend (a.k.a., remember) things better when we see them in text (whether in our set of notecards or outlines or posters) because the visual position of the words creates meaning for us.  And, memorization is just about creating memories with your study tools. So, be a memory creator this weekend. 

Finally, I would be remise if I didn't talk about Monday (also known as the "day before the exam").  

If you can't help yourself, feel free to review your study tools.  But, most certainly don't do any more practice problems.  And, definitely don't work on memorizing your study tools.  Just skim through them.

And, if at all possible, take the day off.  I mean the whole day.  From start to finish.  

Recognize that brainwork - just like exercise in preparation for a marathon - requires rest and relaxation time the day before a big event in order to rejuvenate and refresh.  

So, be extra kind to yourself, my dear doctor of jurisprudence, and splurge with some good old fashioned R&R.  And, good luck on your bar exam next week! (Scott Johns)

July 19, 2018 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

When It’s Time To Say NO To The Bar Exam

      At this time, I see or hear from many panicked soon-to-be Bar Takers communicating their intent not to sit for the bar exam because they just do not feel prepared. It is unusual for me to have a conversation about skipping the bar exam with a soon-to-be Bar Taker I genuinely believe is unprepared or might not be able to manage the pressures of the bar exam. Usually, students who are so mentally paralyzed by the thought of sitting for the exam are not known to articulate their intent. Instead, they simply do not show for the exam, something I hear after the fact, or I notice once bar results are posted.

      Typically, individuals who have endured life, personal, financial, work, and/or health challenges throughout bar review are not the ones looking to postpone the bar exam. Based on my communications throughout bar review with persons in this category, I find that they have already wrestled with feelings of unpreparedness throughout the summer and they have continuously adjusted and readjusted their schedules to ensure bar review progress. When past soon-to-be Bar Takers have opted not to sit for the bar exam, it has occurred very early in the process, around the first few weeks of bar review. Whenever the option was exercised later in the bar review process, it was due to familial, personal, health-related, or other emergencies. As a rule of thumb, whenever the decision not to sit for the bar exam is made, we immediately and honestly consider individual situations, explore implications of the decision, and start to discuss a plan for moving forward.

      Experiencing acute levels of stress a week before the bar exam is a normal occurrence but when it becomes debilitating, then it is a critical challenge. Stress is an unavoidable aspect of the bar preparation process but it should motivate, not dominate. Recently, I observed that a larger number of soon-to-be Bar Takers have difficulty managing stress. Some who were able to navigate stress throughout law school are now experiencing difficulties preparing for the bar exam. The bar exam is a beast they are unable to tame and might need additional resources or medication to cope with the high levels of anxiety and its impact on their preparation. Addressing concerns early, if at all possible, can have a positive impact on managing stress and anxiety during bar preparation.

image from media.giphy.com

      If you are contemplating postponing the bar exam, there is no formula you can use to guarantee success on the bar exam.  I am well aware that there are percentages of bar review completion, percentages one should attain on the MBE, scores on the essays and MPTs that help set goals and gauge current performance but these are no guarantee.  Quality over quantity, self-awareness of individual needs and making adjustments, and a positive and forward-looking attitude are key.  It is also important to assess where you are and whether you covered all of the substantive material, whether you have an awareness (general knowledge and familiarity) or whether you understand (deeper knowledge and ability to explain and write) concepts and ideas.  Assess whether you completed a majority of the assigned essays, MPTs, and MBEs but more importantly ask whether you are driven by fear or do you really not know the information.  A more poignant question to ask is whether waiting longer, studying longer, and taking the exam later is the best option for you.  Develop a plan.

      In my experience, some students simply need more time to adjust to bar preparation, to the pace of bar review, to process the information, to dissect answers, and to revisit material. Some students just need more time to adjust to the whole idea of the bar exam and its implications on their lives.  These may be valid reasons that should not simply be used as an excuse.  Furthermore, over-studying and complacency are things an individual who postpones the bar exam needs to contemplate.  Be comfortable with your decision and move forward. (Goldie Pritchard)

July 18, 2018 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Big Brother, Bar Exam Edition

This past week, I uncharacteristically watched a lot of reality television show competitions—mostly, Big Brother and Project Runway. Somewhere around hour six of my binge, I had a revelation. Bar exam studiers could learn a few things from the contestants on reality TV game shows.  Both reality TV competitions and the bar exam studiers cram a lot of learning and formative assessment opportunities into a very short period of time.  Those who learn and adjust succeed. 

  1. Figure out which character you are.

Many reality TV contestants fit one of a few well-defined molds.  For example, there is:

  • The Leader – This person believes in themselves, even when others do not.  They possess a confidence that is objectively justified.  In Big Brother terms, this is called “The Rachel.”  Everyone loves (and loves to hate) Rachel.  This person will go quite far in the game.  
  • The Crier – This person cries, a lot. But have no fear.  They will make it to the final found.  They possess the substantive skills to succeed, and will succeed so long as they can focus on the task at hand.
  • The Floater – This person fails to commit to any particular side. When presented with a hypothetical, they waffle.  But, as Rachel Reilly of Big Brother’s Season 12 famously said “Floaters, you better grab a life vest.”  If these folks pick a horse, then they undoubtedly survive another week.
  • The Fainter – This person doesn’t take care of themselves. This person fails to get good sleep, eat well, or manage their stress.  They will eventually faint due to exhaustion.  This person can be successful if they regroup and care for themselves, properly.
  • The Middle - This person is typically forgettable on reality TV.  They don't win challenges, and they don't come in last place either.  They don't cause drama; instead they just put their head down and play the game.  This person will do just fine--even if no one is watching.  
  • The Weak Link – This person fails to win any challenges. This person is constantly placed “on the chopping block” because of their sub-par performances.  This person is legitimately at-risk.

Bar exam studiers are no different.  The key to success is to recognize the role you are playing and adjust accordingly.  Just like on Big Brother, leaders, criers, floaters, middlers, and even fainters can succeed with the proper planning.  Simply be self-aware and thoughtful about how you want the season to progress.    

  1. Learn to cut off the outside world.

Everyone on reality competitions is isolated from the outside world.  The competitors do not have access to social media or the internet.  They rarely speak to loved ones.  They live in a bubble.  While I do not recommend such an existence for most people, most days.  For law students studying for the bar exam, it is a potentially glorious plan.  For optimal success, most studiers should stay singularly focused on their task – the bar exam.  Forget about Facebook, Google, and Big Brother.  I promise you, the internet will still exist in August.  So, until then, just put up an “out of office” message and get studying!

  1. Develop a “showmance.”

On reality competitions, “showmances” and “bromances” are common.  Showmances are formed when two contestants bond together—sometimes romantically—during the show’s short production.  Two challengers lend support to one another for the purposes of mutual success in the competition.  While showmances are sometimes mocked by the viewing audience, they do offer numerous strategical benefits to the competitors.  Similarly, when studying for the bar exam, forming a deep, mutually beneficial relationship with another bar studier is advisable.  The two studiers can help keep each other on task, and offer a sounding board for test-taking ideas and substantive rules.  In short, look for a friend or significant other with which to commiserate and cerebrate. 

Best of luck competitors! (Kirsha Trychta)

July 17, 2018 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Television | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Last Week of Studying

This is the last lap, final stretch, 4th quarter, and any other sports metaphor that indicates you are almost finished!  Everyone is burned out now.  Use the last week to practice and get mentally ready.

Most students have 1 of 2 feelings right now.  Half my students want another 2 weeks to study the material.  The other half want to take it right now.  Those are normal feelings.  Either way, take a deep breath and proceed to put in one more week of quality effort.

Here are my few tips for the last week:

  1. Spend time practicing. I talk to students each summer who think they need to memorize just a little more law.  I understand the feeling, but no one can memorize all the material for the exam.  Keep doing MBE questions each day to maintain scores, and also, look through essays.  My suggestion is to write out an essay answer for each subject.  After that, issue spot and read the model answer for a handful more.
  1. Get your body on the exam schedule. I suggest waking up at the exact time when you will wake up on exam day.  Get ready just like the exam and eat food at the break times of the exam.  Getting a good body rhythm can make a huge difference.  You don’t want your brain to be used to waking up at 10am if the essays start at 9am.  Don’t miss points trying to wake up.
  1. Tell yourself every morning, “I will pass the bar next week!” Write notes on mirrors, refrigerators, or anywhere else you will ready daily.  High self-confidence can increase scores by a handful of points.  I see scores right above and right below the pass line every summer.  A handful of points makes a huge difference.
  1. Lastly, don’t study past noon the day before the exam. My suggestion is to take the whole day off.  Enjoy time outside or a bad movie.  The mental recharge is better than the last few hours of studying.

The marathon is almost over.  Keep up the hard work for one more week.

(Steven Foster)

July 16, 2018 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Don't Forget: Extension of the AASE Survey Deadline to August 10th

Law school contacts who have not completed the survey for AASE yet for their law schools were emailed in June with the information on the restructuring of the survey to make it easier to complete and on the new deadline. The new deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, August 10, 2018 – please use 2017-2018 information still.

If you were previously contacted during April to fill out the survey and did not have time to do so, please check your inbox (and junk mail folder) for the email about the survey that was sent during June.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Amy L. Jarmon at amy.jarmon@ttu.edu.

Best regards,

Amy L. Jarmon, Co-Chair AASE Assessment Committee, Texas Tech School of Law

Karen M. Harkins, Co-Chair AASE Assessment Committee, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

July 15, 2018 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reminder August 1st Deadline for AALS 2019 Joint Section Workshop Proposals

Call for Proposals:  Joint Workshop 

AALS Sections on Academic Support (ASP) & the Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession

 January 2019 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA:  Thursday January 3, 2019, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Circling the Square: Fresh Partnerships to Understand Student Learning through Empirical Studies

Introduction. Academic support plays a critical role in promoting student success and learning, and empirical research into various learning processes can yield vital information to help all law faculty promote effective learning. The Section on Academic Support Programs and the Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession are joining forces to provide a three-hour workshop at the 2019 AALS annual meeting in order to help jump-start collaborative empirical research on understanding student learning and related issues. 

Design.  The Workshop will have two major components.  First, a plenary panel presentation will highlight current research based on empirical studies and address the need for additional research focused on specific issues arising in several key areas, such as 1) assessment of law school programs and courses; 2) design and evaluation of law school academic support programs; and 3) the design and evaluation of measures intended to improve bar exam success.  This will be followed by presenters from the Academic Support community, who will identify areas of need for future empirical research.  Next, the program will break into multiple concurrent small-group break-out sessions focused on specific areas for empirical study in the area of academic support.  Each group will brainstorm and identify potential partnerships for future research, engage in constructive feedback to those with ongoing research and those who are beginning to identify questions for further study.  We hope that this format will strengthen individual research proposals, create potential for collaborative or parallel work in different institutions, and bring together insights from across a wide spectrum of law faculty and professionals.

Depending on proposals received, we may modify the focus and format slightly.  At this point, we anticipate 15 minutes allocated to each plenary presenter and one hour for the concurrent break-out sessions, which may include one or more facilitators and/or presenters who will be grouped based on common themes of interest.  Depending on the nature and quality of proposals, we may seek to publish associated papers in a law review symposium issue.  All submissions will be subject to peer review by a program committee composed of those from the two sponsoring sections.

Call for Proposals.  Based on the above-described program design, we are seeking proposals in three different areas:

(1) For the first part of the plenary presentation, we are soliciting proposals focused on empirical research in one of the identified areas.  These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

(a) a title of your paper and/or presentation,

(b) a description of the objectives and/or outcomes of the research question you have pursued or are pursuing,

(c) a description of the empirical methods used,

(d) a statement of why your work would benefit from a collegial review process,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, if appropriate, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

 (2) For the second part of the plenary presentations, we are soliciting proposals that will identify and discuss areas of need for future research on issues relating to academic support. These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

 (a) a title of your presentation,

(b) a description of the objectives and/or outcomes of the research question you have pursued or are pursuing,

(c) a statement of why the research question presented would benefit from a collegial review process,

(d) an explanation about why the proposed research is important to academic support and/or legal education,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, if any, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

(3) For the concurrent sessions, we are soliciting proposals that will identify and discuss works in progress at any stage of research or thinking, with the goal of developing potential partnerships for future research and receiving constructive feedback and input on the ideas presented.  These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

(a) a title and/or description of your area of interest,

(b) an explanation about why the research question is important to academic support and/or legal education,

(c) a statement of why the research question presented would benefit from a collegial review process,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, if any, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

The planning committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas.  In addition, we welcome proposals from scholars and educators at all stages of research.  Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, August 1st, to Professor Raul Ruiz, Florida International University College of Law, rauruiz@fiu.edu .  If you have any questions, please email Professor Ruiz or call 305-348-7821.

AALS Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession Program Committee:

AALS Section on Academic Support

Program Committee:

Louis Schulze, Chair

Raul Ruiz, Chair

Jennifer Gundlach

Melissa Berry

Neil W. Hamilton

Robert Coulthard

Victor David Quintanilla

Jamie Kleppetsch

 

Daniel M. Kocal

 

Zoe Niesel

 

Goldie Prichard

Empirical Study Section Chair: Judith Welch Wegner

ASP Section Chair: Staci P. Rucker

July 15, 2018 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Some Miscellaneous Resources

Over the semester, I collect resource suggestions from law students, faculty members, ASP colleagues, and my browsing of the Internet. Here are some apps and websites that may be helpful to you or your students:

Procrastination Killer https://procrastination-killer.en.softonic.com/ - a free software that uses the 10 minutes of focused work - 2 minutes of break time repeated 5 times an hour to produce 1 hour's focused work; the task does not have to be completed in 10 minutes and can be spread over time to accommodate longer tasks; knowing one has to focus for only 10 minutes will (at least in theory) get the procrastinator working; the hope is that regular use of the app will change the procrastinator's habits, and the person will no longer take breaks every 10 minutes

Rescue Time https://www.rescuetime.com - the free lite version tracks time in websites and apps, allows you to set goals, issues weekly email reports on your website/app time; keeps a 3-month report history; for the premium paid version with a free 14-day trial you gain: tracking of time away from the computer; blocking of distracting websites; alerts on achieving daily goals; more reports and filters, and unlimited report history

Freedom https://freedom.to - blocks apps and websites; can sync across devices; one-month, yearly, and forever pricing levels

Planner Pad Organizers https://plannerpads.com/organizers - suggested to me by Kathy Thompson at Roger Williams; this weekly planner has pages divided into a top categorize section to list everything that needs to be done during the week in categories of your choosing, a prioritize section to distribute those tasks across daily lists, and a schedule section that looks like a regular daily planner calendar where you enter task time each day interspersed with your appointment/meeting slots; the planner also has monthly and yearly sections and other features for notes, expenses, and contacts.

Sleep Cycle https://sleepcycle.com - suggested by a student; this app monitors your sleep cycles during the night and then uses an alarm that "snoozes" over a 30-minute period to wake you before your set alarm time; the "how it works" page on the website explains the reasoning behind the app and how to use it correctly

If you have apps and websites that you recommend for resources, please send me suggestions. (Amy Jarmon)

 

 

July 14, 2018 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Director Position at University of South Dakota available for January 2019 or later start date

Director of Academic and Bar Support
University of South Dakota School of Law
Vermillion, SD

University of South Dakota School of Law seeks a Director of Academic Support and Bar Preparation. The position is relatively new and the Director will have an opportunity to shape the program. This is a twelve-month/annual appointment, and the Director will hold the faculty title of Instructor, Lecturer, or Senior Lecturer, dependent on qualifications.

The duties of the Director will include: (1) developing and implementing academic support programming for 1Ls and 2Ls, particularly at-risk students; (2) developing and implementing bar exam preparation programming for 3Ls; (3) collaboration with faculty and staff; (4) collecting data regarding academic success and bar passage rates; (5) drafting reports, as necessary, regarding student performance; (6) counseling related to academic performance; (7) advising and assisting students in the bar application process; (8) assisting repeat bar examinees; and (9) performing other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications: The successful candidate must have a JD and be admitted to a bar in a US jurisdiction. He or she must also have excellent written and oral communication skills, as well as strong interpersonal skills.

Preferred Qualifications: (1) At least one year of teaching experience acquired in an academic support program at an ABA-accredited school. (2) Prior experience in educational analytics or a BS or MS in education is valuable. (3) One year of experience in the practice of law.

Inquiries about the position may be directed to: Tiffany C. Graham, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, University of South Dakota School of Law, 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069; email Tiffany.Graham@usd.edu; or telephone 605-677-5393.

Applicants must apply online at http://yourfuture.sdbor.edu/postings/12010. For application assistance or accommodation, call 605-677-5671. Open until filled.

Diversity and inclusiveness are values that are embraced and practiced at the University of South Dakota. Candidates who support these values are encouraged to apply. EEO/AA

 

July 13, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I Am Here For That But…Wow

As we enter the final days of bar preparation, emotions run very high. Students who appeared to manage stress well are falling apart and the realization that the bar exam marks the end of their education career engenders fears of “adulting”. Other fears, concerns, and physical manifestations also seem to permeate day to day bar preparation. As a Bar Support office, we are keenly aware of student panic and stress about the bar exam and are equally sensitive to both expected and unexpected personal and other concerns. Below are a few issues students can contend with:

Family and friends interfere. Well-intentioned family members and friends think this is an ideal time to conduct internet searches about the bar exam and share all of the scary details they uncover with the person studying for the bar exam. Shared information relates to bar pass rates, horror stories about preparing for the exam, and countless comments from students on various blogs and discussion groups. Some students studying for the bar exam are able to dismiss this information while others obsess over it and are derailed. This usually leads to mornings spent dispelling myths, putting information in context, and/or reminding individuals studying for the bar exam that they still have control over their fate. Moreover, if family and friends are a source of stress and panic then this probably is the time to stay away from them but also tell them what you need and don’t need.

My body hates me. I have to admit that lately, I have heard many gruesome stories about physical manifestations of stress and negative physical reactions to food. I will not share all of these here but students should be aware of what is going on with them physically. Certain ailments or discomforts might require you to take immediate action, others might require you to live with them until the exam is over, and yet others may only be address after the bar exam.

I hate you right now. As individual meetings with students end and we complete the final essays, mini-Multistate Bar Exams, or Multistate Performance Tests together, I try to select areas or things that particular students have expressed challenges with. A few students I have worked with throughout most of their law school careers often say: “no disrespect but I hate you right now.” I laugh and usually say: “I am here for that.” If our goal is to make weaknesses strengths then I will prey on all of the student’s weaknesses because it is possible that those very things will appear on the bar exam. It is also a good time to discuss how to manage areas of limited or no knowledge but still be able to focus enough and move on to the questions they are confident in.

Unconquerable fatigue. I hear more and more about chronic fatigue, sleep/rest that does not seem to result in refreshing energy, and insomnia all this results in lack of focus, feeling overwhelmed, and inability to be efficient or effective in completing tasks. Students appreciate when I affirm the difficulty of getting true rest and acknowledge productivity challenges but I also remind students that they are not alone. Students cannot perform to their optimal ability until they rest. I admonish them to tap into all the knowledge stored up and to do this, they might want to get some rest now because the day before the bar exam might be a significant challenge.

Every challenge makes you stronger! (Goldie Pritchard)

 

July 11, 2018 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Packing Checklist for the Bar Exam

With two weeks left until the bar exam, it is time to start getting your "game day" materials together.  I've created a packing checklist template to help you get started.  (See one sample below)  To begin, Download Bar Exam Day Packing Checklist.  Then compare my list to the official rules provided to you by your selected jurisdiction and make adjustments to the chart, if necessary.  Once the list is complete and accurate, start packing.  Make sure to double check everything before you actually leave for the exam.  If you are in doubt about something, bring it and leave it in your (or a friend's) car.  You can always return to your car later, if needed.  (Kirsha Trychta)

Bar Exam Day Packing Checklist
 

July 10, 2018 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 9, 2018

2 Weeks Left of Studying for Bar Exam

Bar Prep is in the stretch run.  The finish line is near.  Congratulate yourself for making it this far.  You only have 2 weeks left!

I know most students are burned out by now.  However, don’t let that feeling take over.  Work hard for the next couple weeks to fully prepare for the exam.  You can still get more points the next couple weeks. 

Don’t worry if you get tired.  Everyone is exhausted at this point.  Stay positive the last couple weeks.  Positive thinking will help you learn the material better and is the only way you can beat the stress of the last few weeks.  Everyone is stressed right now, and you are not alone.

In the last couple weeks, I have a few suggestions:

  1. Take a break this week.  You need to take it.  Your brain cannot go non-stop for 14 straight days and retain everything.  You need to relax so that your brain will catch up to all the studying.
  1. These last couple weeks focus on memorizing the law and practicing questions.  You will study each subject 2-3 times in the last couple weeks.  Memorize as much law as possible, and then, do practice essay questions.  Also, keep doing practice MBE questions to increase your score through the exam.  You want to peak on exam day, so continue to improve up to the exam.
  1. Switch study methods every 45 minutes to an hour. Doing one thing for too long gets boring and retention decreases.  Passively reading an outline for 3-4 hours won’t work.  Memorize for 45 minutes.  Do a set of MBE questions.  Spend time reviewing the questions.  Memorize more material, etc.  Active engagement of the material is critical, especially the last couple weeks.
  1. Lastly, know you can do this. This is a hard exam, but you have a JD, which is a huge accomplishment.  Tell yourself every morning, “I will pass the bar in 2 weeks!” 

The marathon is almost over.  Keep up the hard work through the end of the exam.

(Steven Foster)

July 9, 2018 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)