Friday, May 4, 2018
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School invites applications for a position in the Office of Academic Achievement.
This position is a full-time, non-tenure track position that begins on August 1, 2018. This is a one year contract that may lead to successive short-term contracts.
To enhance the critical skills associated with law school success, the office of academic achievement (OAA) at AJMLS offers instruction in the form of one-on-one counseling, mandatory and non-mandatory workshops, group presentations and specialized course offerings to all enrolled students and graduates of AJMLS. Reporting directly to the Director of the program, the successful applicant should be able to:
- Help implement and manage all components of the academic support program at the Law School, which includes programming focused on preparing students for the bar exam.
- Teach academic workshops to students in the day and evening division on topics, such as briefing, course outlining, and exam performance.
- Provide learning strategies and techniques to enhance and leverage the academic skills that underline law school success.
- Work one-on-one with students in the day and evening division with focus on strengthening the academic skills of critical reading, briefing, outlining, and analysis. Individual counseling serves all students as well as students identified as academically at risk.
- Provide written, formative feedback to students on practice problems and/or exams.
- Help develop and assess the academic success program by collecting and maintaining data relevant to academic performance.
- Help develop personal action plans for students studying for law school exams and bar exams
- Identify students’ academic strengths and opportunities and assist in providing effective instruction to help leverage performance.
- Be interested, and stay current on, educational learning theory.
- Perform other duties as assigned by the Director of the program.
- Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, a law license, excellent academic credentials, and a demonstrated commitment to working with students to improve their academic performance.
- Preference will be given to applicants who have experience teaching in an academic success program.
Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, resume, writing sample and contact information for three references to: Sarah D. Murphy, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, 1422 West Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit application materials by May 20th, 2018. Salary will be based on experience.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is equal opportunity employers and does not discriminate in any of their programs or activities on the basis of race, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, marital status, age, disability, color, or religious belief.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
I, along with about 40 other bar-exam professionals, attended the inaugural AccessLex Bar Exam Research Forum in Washington, D.C. on April 26, 2018.
The morning began with a keynote address entitled "The Bar Exam and the Future of Legal Education" presented by Patricia D. White, Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law. Dean White outlined her role as the chair of a new 10-person Commission on the Future of Legal Education, an initiative of American Bar President Hilarie Bass. She explained that she and her fellow committee members intend to investigate: (1) the skill set needed to practice law, (2) access to justice issues, and (3) bar exam licensure requirements. Dean White then spoke about the potential causes for the "downturn" in nationwide MBE scores in 2014 and what it really means to be "minimally competent" to practice law. I found Dean White's presentation to be insightful, innovative, and inspiring. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak, I highly recommend it!
Rodney Fong, Associate Dean at The John Marshall Law School, spoke briefly about "Breaking Bar Pass Barriers Today" before we broke into our first of two working group sessions. Our task for the first working group session was to identify what research needs to be conducted to ensure that today's law students pass today's bar exams. The working groups suggested developing a database that includes detailed background information on each test taker, similar to the LSAC's handling of the LSAT; increasing collaboration between the ABA, NCBE, and the numerous state boards; and drawing upon other higher education disciplines and professional schools for guidance.
After lunch, Judith Welch Wegner, Professor Emerita and Dean Emerita of the University of North Carolina School of Law, discussed "The Future of the Bar Exam," focusing on what tomorrow's bar exam should look like and why. We then broken into our second working group session, with the goal of identifying what research needs to be conducted to produce the best new bar exam format by 2025. The working groups didn't hold back, offering suggestions ranging from administering sections of the bar exam after each year of law school to eliminating the exam entirely.
In short, AccessLex put together an extremely innovative and collaborative forum. With 40 key stakeholders in the same room (including representatives from the ABA and NCBE, law school deans, academic support professionals, statisticians, and higher education specialists), everyone was able to really dive deep into thoughtful discussions about how best to improve legal education generally, and the bar exam specifically. The program concluded with AccessLex inviting participants to apply for its inaugural Bar Success Research Grant. Initial letters of inquiry for the grant will be accepted during the month of May.
Monday, April 30, 2018
The best plans don’t always work out as intended. Trying something new with a course or activity may sound groundbreaking. However, the reality is sometimes it doesn’t work. Students may dislike the program and not engage in the work or the message doesn’t click with students. Our response to those difficulties can help train our students to overcome similar occurrences.
I had one of those groundbreaking failures this year. I planned to create super-learners. I completely agree with Louis Schultz’s arguments in his article and have implemented similar programs throughout my tenure at OCU. The art of learning can make a huge impact on students, and the earlier students understand how to learn, the better they can perform in school and on the bar. I took that idea a step further. I heard presentations and read articles about Millennial students. One tidbit I latched onto was the notion that Millennial’s won’t do what they are told “because I said so”, but they want more information for why they are told to do something. I knew I could provide them that information, so I started planning to assign learning articles.
I teach Legal Analysis to every 1L. I found good articles about spaced repetition, testing effect, reading on a screen, self-regulated learning, mindfulness, and growth mindset. I thought reading the articles combined with short discussions and activities related to those topics would produce better learners that remembered significantly more than ever before. I was wrong.
Students despised the new readings. To be fair, I chose longer articles that took a while to read. Legal Analysis is 1 credit hour and credit/no credit graded, so they felt the reading was disproportionate to those facts. My philosophy was the reading benefitted them and provided the why when I told them to start outlining early in the semester or study a certain way. However, the students were probably correct. The amount of reading was long, so many of them didn’t do it.
In essence, my new idea and integration failed. I am sure that happens to everyone. However, our response to our own failures is the best way to model improvement to our students. As a former type A law student who did well in law school, I don’t handle being wrong very well (or at all really). My frustration was that I knew the science, which is clear that certain activities are best for students. Anecdotally, I have seen our best students use these methods for years. From a learning science perspective, I did know more than most of the students, as do many of you. That knowledge doesn’t matter though if the students don’t receive or internalize it. Being substantively correct doesn’t help students succeed if they ignore the message. Frustration or complaints about students not showing up to sessions, doing the reading, or putting in the effort are legitimate, cathartic, and unproductive. If we want students to overcome their failures, creating a new solution can model that behavior.
Constant improvement is critical to success in law school and the practice of law. We all know that is true in Academic Support as well. New students, research, and technology make change inevitable. I will rely on much shorter articles or more excerpts next year to decrease the amount of reading. I will utilize more of the learning science during the spring after students receive a set of grades and realize they need help. My hope is to balance the need to convey the information with the willingness of students to acquire the information.
My planned changes will help the new group of 1Ls but also show the 2Ls that their opinion matters. I ask students every July to analyze their own BARBRI MBE report to find improvement areas before the bar. They are much more likely to follow that advice if they already saw me make changes based on their experience and suggestions. Modeling improvement can encourage others to also seek improvement, which can make a huge difference whether some students succeed.
Sunday, April 29, 2018
UC Irvine School of Law is seeking an Associate Director of Academic Skills. Please click the below link for the full position description and application information:
Even though we are filling a position in the Academic Skills department, we are very interested in applicants with experience teaching legal writing skills given the courses that our department teaches (e.g., Written Legal Analysis and Legal Analysis & Writing Practice).
If you have any questions about the position, please do not hesitate to contact me or Sue Kung, UCI’s Director of Academic Skills (email@example.com).
Academic Support Specialist, Academic Achievement & Bar Preparation
This is a fulltime staff position beginning June 16, 2018 or as negotiated. This appointment is for twelve months with renewable one year terms.
The Academic Support Specialist will report directly to the Director of the Academic Achievement & Bar Preparation Programs. The ideal candidate will provide academic support to law students, beginning in their first year, on study skills, exam strategies, time management techniques, and prepares students and graduates for the bar exam. The ideal candidate will teach skills courses, conduct workshops, and review and provide critical and constructive feedback on exercises and practice exams. The ideal candidate will also counsel students from diverse backgrounds.
- JD required.
Admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction in the United States and has been licensed to practiced law for a minimum of five years.
- Excellent and patient listener;
- Ability to interact with people from various backgrounds and cultures;
- Ability to keep information confidential;
- Creative and innovative problem solver;
- Optimistic and positive outlook;
- Ability to work collaboratively with members of a professional team;
- Effective verbal and written communication skills;
- Manage time efficiently to handle multiple tasks;
- Strong technology skills in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Previous academic support in higher education or legal writing experience a plus.
How to Apply
Submit (1) your cover letter summarizing your reasons for applying for this position and your qualifications, (2) your resume detailing relevant experience, and (3) a list of at least three references to: Rodney Fong, either by mail to The John Marshall Law School, Attn: Associate Dean Rodney Fong, 315 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, Illinois 60604 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salary: Based on experience.
Deadline: May 12, 2018
Questions should be directed to Associate Dean Rodney Fong at email@example.com or 312-427-2737 ext. 312.
The John Marshall Law School, finding any invidious discrimination inconsistent with the mission of free academic inquiry, does not discriminate in admission, services, or employment on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic characteristics, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Dear ASP colleagues,
On behalf of AASE, I would like to announce the nomination and election procedures for the Executive Board for the upcoming year. Please go to the Membership page of the AASE website and follow the Nomination link which can be found here: http://www.associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/membership.html. To nominate someone, you must be an AASE Member. If you are unsure whether you are an AASE member, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You many nominate only one person for each position, but you can nominate the same person for more than one position. Self-nominations are allowed.
Nominations are due by April 30, 2018. All nominees confirmed by the election committee (Russell McClain, Jamie Kleppetsch, and Betsy Six – the members of the Executive Board who are not eligible to run for an office) will be forwarded to the Executive Board. We will then circulate an online ballot. Voting will be open for one week leading up to the national conference and will close on May 22, 2018, the end of the first day of the national conference.
The AASE Executive Board meets or communicates on matters every month. Each Executive Board position has regular duties in addition to being assigned to serve as a liaison on committees and other tasks as needed. Candidates should be willing to thoroughly fulfill the time commitment required of the office for which they are nominated.
The positions that are open for election are President-Elect, Vice President of Diversity, Secretary, Treasurer, and the newly created position of Treasurer-Elect. As provided in the AASE Bylaws (relevant portion excerpted below), the Board voted to amend the Bylaws to add this additional Board position. The Treasurer-Elect will serve a two-year term – one year as Treasurer-Elect and one year as Treasurer. This will allow for a smoother transition to a new Treasurer, who must pay many of the expenses associated with the conference almost immediately after taking office. We plan to seek ratification of this Bylaw amendment at the annual business meeting, which will be held on the third day of the conference.
The President-Elect will serve a three-year term on the Board – one year as President-Elect, one year as President, and one year as Past President. All other positions will serve for one year. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Russell, or Jamie.
ARTICLE XIII: AMENDMENTS
- Amendment of Bylaws. These bylaws may be amended or repealed by either an affirmative vote of two thirds of the Board of Directors or by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members. The bylaws may not contain any provisions that would be inconsistent with law or the Articles of Incorporation.
Friday, April 27, 2018
Assistant Dean for Academic Success
Pepperdine University School of Law is seeking applicants for Assistant Dean for Academic Success.
Pepperdine Law is excited to be searching for the new leader for our academic success and bar prep programs. Historically, our program has been coordinated and staff by a variety of our full-time faculty members and student teaching fellows who each support and work in the program on a part-time basis. We are looking forward to hiring an enthusiastic and energetic candidate for this new Assistant Dean role and invite applications from the law school ASP and bar prep community. This is a great opportunity for an individual who wants to take charge of their own program in a highly supportive and entrepreneurial environment where student success in law school and on the bar exam are among the law school's highest priorities.
In most years, Pepperdine Law’s first-time bar takers consistently meet or surpass ABA law schools’ average pass rates on the CA Bar Exam. The law school is looking to develop even stronger academic success and bar support programs, and is seeking an enthusiastic and experienced Assistant Dean to lead its existing and evolving programs.
The Assistant Dean will coordinate, supervise, and teach in Pepperdine Law’s academic support and bar support programs. He or she will report to the Associate Dean for Student Success and will work collaboratively with faculty and other members of the law school administration.
The Assistant Dean’s primary responsibilities will include:
- Develop and manage academic and bar support programs, events, and outreach.
- Plan, coordinate, and teach the 1L Law Exam Workshop and an upper-division academic success course in the fall and spring semesters.
- Help plan, coordinate, and co-teach the 3L Bar Exam Workshop course in the fall and spring semesters.
- Plan, coordinate, staff, teach workshops, and work directly with recent graduates in the summer bar support program.
- Train and supervise full-time and adjunct faculty and staff who work in the academic success and bar support programs.
- Compile, gather, and analyze data on all aspects of academic success and bar support programs to help inform and develop them, with a continuing goal of improving students’ success in law school and on the bar exam.
- Stay abreast and regularly inform the deans and faculty of best practices and trends in law school academic success and bar support programs.
- Together, with a team of part-time faculty and administrators, supervise and delegate administrative aspects of the academic success and bar support programs.
- Complete other duties as necessary to carry out above and related functions.
If you work at Pepperdine Law, you are at a place where:
- Dean Caron and the entire administrative leadership team are highly supportive of the law school's academic and bar preparation programs.
- The university and the law school encourages and supports entrepreneurship, vision, and a can-do attitude.
- And last, but certainly not least, the law school's location in beautiful Malibu, at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains and overlooking the Pacific Ocean, provides a wonderful backdrop to our daily work environment.
The successful candidate will have:
- Juris Doctor from an ABA-accredited law school required. California Bar strongly preferred.
- Experience with legal pedagogy and academic and bar support required.
- At least five years’ experience in a supervisory capacity preferred. An equivalent combination of education and experience may be substituted.
- Please introduce yourself by sending a cover letter, describing your interest in and qualifications for the position, salary requirements, and resume to Selina Brandt at email@example.com.
Anyone interested in either position should email a resume and cover letter to Dean Cara Foerst, Associate Dean for Academics:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 973-642-8506
Seton Hall Law School seeks to hire an Assistant Professor of Legal Practice and Assistant Director of Academic Success. This is a part-time position that involves teaching one section of Introduction to Lawyering and administering the Bar Exam Support section of the Academic Success program.
Teaching Introduction to Lawyering
The Assistant Director of Academic Success and Assistant Director of Legal Practice will teach one section in our innovative Introduction to Lawyering course. The Introduction to Lawyering course is a full-year six credit course. The course covers legal writing, legal research, client interviewing, client counseling, negotiation, oral argument, and professionalism. The course is taught by doctrinal and legal practice professors in a coordinated and collaborative manner. In teaching the course the faculty member will be responsible for the following:
- Teaching Introduction to Lawyering classes twice a week during weeks when classes are scheduled.
- Meeting with students in individual and joint conferences to discuss writing assignments and interactive skills exercises.
- Providing students with detailed written feedback on writing assignments and interactive skills exercises.
- Attending Introduction to Lawyering faculty meetings to prepare for upcoming classes and activities.
- Teaching several sessions at the Introduction to Lawyering Day at law school orientation.
- Meeting with students outside of class time and conferences as needed to discuss assignments and other law school topics.
- Working with the Director and other Lawyering faculty to create and revise the class exercises.
- Other assignments consistent with the needs of the program.
Assistant Director of Academic Support
In the role of Assistant Director of Academic Success reports directly to the Director of Academic Success and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Assistant Director is responsible for contributing to a positive student experience by providing academic and bar exam support services to current law students and recent graduates.
The Assistant Director provides high-level support to the Director on management, execution, and analysis of all academic support for bar exam preparation including programs, workshops, information sessions and other programming. The Director may be assigned to instruct in the academic support and bar preparation areas. Additionally, this position oversees confidential data for the Academic Success, Bar Exam Programs, and Bar Pass Rates.
The Assistant Director works in a collaborative relationship with all law school students, faculty and administrators and staff and actively participates in implementing procedures to enhance the overall effectiveness and efficiency of Academic Success and Bar Prep Programs. The ability to provide timely and accurate communication is essential. This position requires occasional attendance at on and off campus events during and outside normal business hours and presence at the Law School during the summer months while recent graduates are studying and preparing for the bar exam. Some travel may be required.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Aid in the development of the academic success program for students beyond their first year.
- Advise and work with students on all aspects of bar exam preparation.
- Host workshops on bar-exam related topics.
- Assist the Director of Academic Success with the administration of the Academic Success and Bar Exam programs, including but not limited to working with faculty and commercial bar prep companies.
- Provide one-on-one academic and personal counseling to J.D. students. Refer students to counseling resources when necessary. Maintain regular office hours. Provide academic skills tutoring and life coaching for students.
- Provide high-touch monitoring of and communication with recent graduates while they are studying and preparing for the bar exam.
- Manage confidential law school databases and processes relating to student academic information relating to student performance, bar pass statistical analysis, academic supervision, academic success, and other areas as needed.
- Perform administrative duties as necessary including managing budgets and costs, responding promptly to emails and phone calls, planning events and workshops, attending meetings within the department and law school.
- Keep current on latest trends and practices with bar exams, bar exam preparation, academic support and legal education.
- Attendance is expected at Orientation, Commencement and other Law School events. Presence in the building during the summer months in which recent graduates are studying and preparing for the bar exam.
Most weeks the person in this position will be expected to come to the law school at least three days a week to teach classes, meet with students and faculty and fulfill other responsibilities. However, some weeks will require a more substantial time commitment.
Qualifications: Seton Hall seeks individuals with stellar legal writing, interpersonal, and practice skills. Candidates must have 3-5 years of practice experience and excellent academic records. Teaching experience is preferred. Experience in higher education is a plus.
Teaching Introduction to Lawyering in Innovative Weekend Program
Seton Hall Law School is hiring a part-time adjunct professor to teach a section of Introduction to Lawyering in our innovative weekend law school program for the 2018-19 school year. The Introduction to Lawyering course is a full-year six credit course. The course covers legal writing, legal research, client interviewing, client counseling, negotiation, oral argument, and professionalism. The course is taught by doctrinal and legal practice professors in a coordinated and collaborative manner.
In the weekend program the Introduction to Lawyering course is taught as a hybrid live/on-line class. Two-thirds of the class is taught live on alternating weekends, and one-third on-line. Many of the formal on-line components of the class have been prepared already, so, although the faculty member will be responsible for teaching from those components, the professor will not be responsible for preparing most of the on-line features. However, the faculty member will have to use technology, such as Skype or Zoom, to communicate with students, and to teach parts of the course.
In teaching the course the faculty member will be responsible for the following:
- Teaching a three and a half hour Introduction to Lawyering class session every other week for 8 weeks during each semester;
- Meeting with students during the evenings in individual and joint conferences, both in person and on-line, to discuss writing assignments and interactive skills exercises;
- Providing students with detailed written feedback on writing assignments and interactive skills exercises;
- Attending Introduction to Lawyering faculty meetings to prepare for upcoming classes and activities;
- Teaching several sessions at the Introduction to Lawyering Day at law school orientation;
- Meeting with students outside of class time and conferences as needed, both in person and on-line, to discuss assignments and other law school topics;
- Developing class plans and exercises with the other Lawyering professors, and
- Other assignments consistent with the needs of the program.
The faculty member is required to come to the law school for the weekend class sessions, which are tentatively scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. every other Saturday, and to meet with students either on-line or in person most weeks. This will require additional availability either on weekends or at night, as most weekend students work full-time. Some weeks and weekends will require a more substantial time commitment, and some will be lighter depending on where the students are in the curriculum. The position begins in August 2018.
Qualifications: Seton Hall seeks individuals with stellar legal writing, interpersonal, and practice skills, along with experience and comfort with on-line technology such as Blackboard, Skype, or Zoom. Candidates must have 3-5 years of practice experience and excellent academic records. Teaching experience is preferred.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Having just returned from a bar exam conference, I am struck by how little we know about what actually correlates to success on the bar exam. Nevertheless, for our students, it is common to jump to the conclusion that bar exam results are "preordained" based on a complex mathematical formula consisting of primarily (or indeed solely) LGPA and LSAT scores. In other words, those that pass have high numbers; those that don't, don't.
Interestingly, in our attempt to reduce the complexity of life experiences to numbers, there are always what we refer to as "outliers." People that pass (or fail) regardless of LGPA and LSAT scores. I sometimes wonder whether we are all outliers because even the best of statistical models fails to accurately predict bar passage results for our students. And, that brings me to the field of human performance.
You see, according to writer Alex Hutchinson, early on in the field of sports-based human performance, "[p]hysiologists pieced together an impressively detailed picture of the factors that - in theory - dictate our ultimate capacity [in terms of predicting athletic success]....There was one problem with this approach: It couldn't predict who would win an athletic contest....Clearly, something was missing from the 'human machine' picture of athletic limits." Alex Hutchison, The Mental Tricks of Athletic Endurance, Wall Street Journal (February 2, 2018), available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mental-tricks-of-athletic-endurance. That something tends to be not easily reducible to biological measurement; it tends to be what some refer to colloquially as "head games."
In other words, in an athletic competition, your body is sending signals to your brain about the current physiological state of your body, i.e., whether you are running of out of energy, or dehydrated, or overheated, etc. As interpreted by your brain, those signals then become self-fulfilling; they can serve to limit our endurance and our perseverance such that they become a barrier to improving our athletic performance. However, psychologists have begun to explore the power of motivational self-talk to reinterpret those signals so that they do not in fact have such determinative power over athletic performance. According to Dr. Hutchinson, it seems that positive self-talk can boost performance beyond what we think is possible based merely on the internal signaling of our biological markers.
That raises an interesting question with respect to bar passage. We often hear people analogize that passing the bar requires preparation akin to preparing for a marathon. As such, there's a case to be made that it might not be true that LGPA and LSAT are the major determinant signals as to who passes the bar exam. Indeed, it is much more nuanced and complex; otherwise, why have a bar exam at all if results are preordained by past testing results in the form of LGPA and LSAT scores?
Well, to be frank, we have a bar exam precisely because we know that LGPA and LSAT scores do not determine bar pass results. And, as in athletic competitions, I have a hunch that one's self-talk has much to do with one's success in overcoming the nagging self-doubts that are common to most of us ("I don't fit in the law; I can't pass the bar exam; there's way too much to learn to pass the bar; I just don't have the time needed to pass the bar; I wasn't much of a success in law school so I'm not going to be successful on the bar exam; etc."). Although there is no "magic cure-all," and of course LGPA and LSAT scores indicate something, it is important to recall that "something" doesn't mean "everything."
And, that's where we come in. Our bar exam destiny is not predetermined. It is something that we can positively and concretely influence and improve by acting upon positive self-talk as we work - problem by problem and question by question - to train ourselves for success on the bar exam. Those two things go hand-in-hand - "practice and talk" and "talk and practice." So, whether you are preparing yourself for final exams or getting ready to study for the bar exam, pay attention to your self-talk. Indeed, ask yourself today "What am I telling myself and is it really true or not?" (Scott Johns).
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
As my students transition into exam study mode and I start to close out all of the activities of this academic year, I have started to reflect on my accomplishments and goals. Reflection of this depth does not happen very often but I have a present awareness as I prepare for my series highlighting veteran members of our Academic Support (ASP) community. Last May, I sent a number of individuals who I consider veterans (10 years or more doing ASP work) a list of questions to guide what I wanted to know about them. I did provide some flexibility but most answered all of the questions. As I approach the ten-year mark as an academic support professional and about the thirteenth year if we count law school and graduate school, I am even more curious about what everyone has to share.
I never understood what people meant when they would say they looked up and ten years had flown by. Now I do because it is happening to me. I believe that this is a great time to reflect on where I am, whether it is what I envisioned for myself, what things are working well, what things are not working so well, and where I see myself in the years to come. It is a great time to have new or modified aspirations. This is certainly something everyone should consider whether a few months into ASP work or several years in. I have decided to borrow from my student affairs and career services colleagues, specifically what they tell students to consider as they try to navigate a professional career. It is unlikely that I will share all of my personal reflections but I will list some of the questions they tell students to consider but I will also list some of the questions I would ask students in my past life as a diversity and academic advising professional.
• What do I need from my career? (what role it plays in my life)
• What makes me feel truly fulfilled? (how do I measure success)
• What do I know about myself that helps me make good career decisions?
• What is important to me based on my personal values and beliefs?
• What do I know about my personality and style?
B. Skills Assessment
• What skills, experiences, and knowledge have I acquired?
• What skills, experiences, and knowledge would I like to acquire?
• What responsibilities do I have/have I had?
• What have I achieved?
• What are my strengths?
• What have been the highlights of my career and life to date?
C. Set Goals & Plan
• Are my talents being used and developed? If not, look for opportunities that allow you to use or develop the talents you have.
• Identify and exploit opportunities that address gaps in knowledge, ability, and growth.
• Select worthwhile but realistic goals.
• Consider steps you need to follow to accomplish my goals.
• Be flexible.
• Consider what will keep me motivated to achieve my goals.
I am certain that there are more sophisticated assessments and questions available but this is somewhere to start and verbalizing or writing these things down can be powerful. Also, if you have a person who helped you along the way as an ASP professional and who you trust, use them as a sounding board. Moreover, if you know of an ASP veteran that you would like to see spotlighted, please email me their name and school and I might be able to highlight them. (Goldie Pritchard)
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
This is the third post in the "Good Litigating is Good Teaching" series.
Part Three: Mastering Your Case-in-Chief
After the jury is empaneled and the opening statements have concluded, it's time to present your case-in-chief. Here are some tips for creating an active, engaging, and positive learning environment.
Customize the Presentation
A trial attorney knows that the same direct-examination or cross-examination techniques will not be successful in every trial. Rather counsel must adjust her presentation to the particular case, defendant, facts, geographic location, and judge, as well as a host of other variables. Once the attorney is fully versed in both the law and the facts, she will be able to readily adapt her direct or cross-examination during the trial.
A professor should adapt his classroom presentation to the particular topic du jour, the unique strengths (or, possibly, weaknesses) of the student selected for “the hot seat,” and the level of interest exhibited by the class as a whole. There are times when a traditional Socratic method (or precise cross-exam) will work best. At other times, however, a visual aid would better serve to expedite or drive home the point; meanwhile a broad, open-ended question typically reserved for direct examination may generate a wonderfully unscripted class discussion.
Move Around the Room
Classrooms and courtrooms both possess an innate hierarchy in their physical design. Attorneys and professors are given free reign of the room, while jurors and students are relegated to a fixed assigned seat for the duration. Effective trial attorneys tend to use the entire courtroom, moving around the room deliberately for both dramatic effect and to lessen juror boredom. Professors should likewise explore teaching from the back of the classroom, or consciously walking from the left side of the room to the right side of the room as they transition from one topic to the next. Both jurors and students respond to these visual, non-verbal transitional cues.
Address the Inconsistencies Head-on
Researchers have suggested that judges “should consider sequencing the trial testimony so that opposing experts testify back to back.”1 The same could be said for law professors presenting majority-minority splits. When two cases or policy arguments appear to stand in direct contrast with one another, professors should plan to discuss both during the same class session, or in back-to-back class sessions. Encourage the students to acknowledge the inconsistency, evaluate the pros and cons of each position, and then identify the stronger argument.
Encourage Active Note Taking
The single area in which the classroom seems to be outperforming the courtroom is note-taking and questioning. Until recently, jurors were not permitted to take notes or ask questions. Conversely, students have historically been expected to take notes. With that said, the professor cannot rely on students to always reduce the most important concepts to writing. If a professor absolutely wants a student to have a particular point in their notes, then the professor should consider providing that information directly to the student. This can be accomplished by providing a fill-in-the-blank lecture handout, writing the information on the whiteboard, or incorporating the information into a demonstrative exhibit. More on demonstrative exhibits later.
And, Finally, Prepare for the Unexpected
Attorneys are keenly aware that the client, the judge, the jurors, and opposing counsel will be scrutinizing every word and every action taken during the trial. Consequently, attorneys try to prepare for every reasonable variation or scenario which could occur during the trial. What if Witness A recants or Exhibit B is not admitted? What if the client insists on testifying, despite my advice? Will the jury understand topic C, if presented by Witness D? When should I call Witness E? And so on. An informal study—conducted by students participating in a law school investigations course—further supports the notion that preparedness is the single most important factor contributing to attorney effectiveness.2
The professor should similarly prepare for the unexpected, and, to the extent possible, plan his presentation around the known and anticipated variables. Students (like jurors) are skeptical. The professor should ask himself: how do I best convey my message to this skeptical bunch? Do the students need to learn about topic X before we discuss topic Y? Which student will be called upon to discuss case Z? Is a demonstration or exhibit required to better illustrate the point?
 Julianna C. Chomos, et. al., Increasing Juror Satisfaction: A Call to Action for Judges and Researchers, 59 Drake L. Rev. 701, 721 (2011).
 In Spring 2014, a handful of Duquesne University School of Law students who were enrolled in a Fact Investigations course conducted research aimed at uncovering which Pittsburgh-based criminal defense attorneys were the most "effective." Their research suggested that attorney preparedness was the most important factor contributing to an attorney's perceived effectiveness. The project was inspired by Ronald F. Wright & Ralph A. Peeples, Criminal Defense Lawyer Moneyball: A Demonstration Project, 70 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. (Spring 2013).
Monday, April 23, 2018
Graduation is right around the corner. Party planning has begun, and thoughts of bar prep are put off until after enjoying the festivities. Senioritis is at an all-time high. 3-4 years of exhaustion is taking a toll. I completely understand the feelings, but I also warn 3Ls, don’t get too complacent. Finish strong on this set of finals.
Last week was the last class ever with all my 3Ls. I congratulate them and discuss our last few practice problems for the semester. One of my most important messages during class is to finish strong on finals. Don’t get complacent on the last few tests.
Students realize going through all but one set of finals means they should be able to pass the last few. I agree. They obviously have the skills to succeed. However, complacency, or focusing too much on party planning, could lead to a lack of preparation. Don’t let the excitement or exhaustion take over.
The last set of finals is still important for a number of reasons. The most obvious is most students need the credits to graduate. Don’t fail a class due to lack of preparation. At many schools, the scholastic achievements (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) are awarded after the last set of grades. Ignoring finals can have an impact on those awards. Lastly, you will need some of the information from your finals for the bar. Studying for finals helps retain bar exam information. If you are taking bar subjects, which hopefully you are taking a few, this is built in bar prep. Time spent during reading week learning Secured Transactions is time you can spend taking extra MBE questions during bar prep. Preparing for this set of finals is still important.
I understand the reality of the last set of finals and the fun that ensues. I highly encourage everyone to safely enjoy an amazing accomplishment. The amount of people that have the ability to obtain a J.D. is miniscule. Walking across the stage is a moment to cherish. Just make sure that walking across the stage is the last thing to get the J.D., not an extra class after grades come out. Prepare well now to enjoy the ceremony later.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) has indicated that the national average MBE multiple-choice scaled score for the February 2018 bar exam declined once again. As illustrated in the chart below, the MBE score has declined from near-term highs of 138 to 132.8 in just the span of a few short years.
According to the NCBE, "[r]epeat test takers comprised about 70% of those who sat in February 2018 and had an average score of 132.0, a 1.7-point decrease compared to February 2017. This result drove the change in the overall February 2018 MBE mean." http://www.ncbex.org/news/repeat-test-taker-scores-drive-february-2018-average-mbe-score-decline/.
In contrast, the NCBE reports that the February 2018 average MBE score for first-time takers remained relatively flat, 135.0 for February 2018 first-time takers as compared to 135.3 for February 2017 first-time takers. There have been several changes to the MBE exam over the last few years. In February 2015, the NCBE added another subject to the scope of the multiple-choice exam with the addition of Federal Civil Procedure. And, in February 2017, the NCBE changed the number of pre-test (otherwise known as experimental) questions from 10 to 25, resulting in the 200 point scaled score calculated out of a total of 175 graded questions rather than previous MBE exams which graded 190 questions. In addition, for the February 2018 MBE exam, the scope of Property Law was expanded to include some new sub-topics.
For those of you taking the July 2018 exam, there are several take-aways. First, the MBE exam is a difficult exam. Second, you can't learn to pass the exam without practicing the exam. Third, statistics don't determine your destiny; rather, your destiny is in your hands, in short, it's in the reading, the analyzing, and the practicing of multiple-choice questions that can make a real positive difference for your own individual score. So, please don't fret. It's not impossible...at all.
Finally, let me be frank. In my own case, as I work through practice MBE questions, I am NEVER confident that I am getting the answers correct. And, that is REALLY frustrating. In fact, when I get a question right, I am glad but often surprised. So, I try to NOT be confident that I have chosen the correct answer but rather be CONFIDENT that I am reading CAREFULLY and that I am METHODICALLY puzzling through the answer choices to step-by-step eliminate incorrect choices to help me better get to the correct answers.
So, for those of you taking the bar exam this summer, take it slow and steady. Ponder over every multiple-choice question you can. Eliminate obviously wrong choices. And, you might even keep a daily journal of your multiple-choice progress, perhaps by simply creating a spreadsheet of the issues tested, the rules used, and a few helpful tips as reminders of what to be on the lookout for as you approach your bar exam this summer. In short, make it your aim to be a problem-solver learner. (Scott Johns).
From the Co-Chairs of the AASE Assessment Committee:
If you are the ASP/Bar Preparation person(s) who is completing the AASE survey for your law school, the new deadline for completion of the survey is 11:59 p.m. on April 30, 2018. The contact person(s) at each law school that has not already completed the survey will be receiving notification of the new deadline.
We realize that the survey is lengthy, but we are gathering more comprehensive data than can be collected in the frequent, ad hoc ASP listserv surveys. After the completion of data analysis, a summary report will provide academic and bar support professionals with the aggregate results. For the first time, you will be able to support your efforts on behalf of students with comprehensive data on trends and best practices.
Your law school’s participation in the survey is vital! Thank you ahead for your time in answering the survey questions. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Amy L. Jarmon, Co-Chair AASE Assessment Committee, at email@example.com or (806) 834-6385.
Karen M. Harkins, Co-Chair AASE Assessment Committee, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Amy L. Jarmon, Co-Chair AASE Assessment Committee, Texas Tech School of Law
The AASE Assessment Committee members for 2017-2018 are: Christine Church (WMU-Cooley), Katherine Silver Kelly (Ohio State), Angela Lechleiter (Louisville), Amy Newcombe (Seton Hall), Zoe Niesel (St Mary’s), Heidi Ramos-Zimmerman (Southern Illinois), Preyal Shah (UNT-Dallas), Dena Sobol (Mitchell Hamline), Kathryn Thompson (Roger Williams), Natasha Varyani (Boston University), and Judith Wegner (UNC). The AASE Assessment Committee members for 2016-2017 were: Joe Brennan (Vermont Law School), Katherine Brokaw (Emory), Matthew Carluzzo (Villanova), Michele Cooley (IUPUI), Dorie Evensen (Penn State), Zoe Niesel (St Mary’s), John Tsiforas (Hofstra), and Jane Winn (Washington).
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
This week marks our last full week of classes. I have my last scheduled meetings with students and say goodbye to many of the 3Ls, as this will be the very last time I will interact with them in this capacity. These final meetings typically signify moments of nostalgia for 3Ls, many of whom did not believe they would make it to this point, completion (almost) of their law degree. I also use this time to wrap-up a number of programs and to thank and bid farewell to the teaching assistants hired through my program. Obviously, this is a week filled with goodbyes even though I will see most of these students throughout the exam period and/or at graduation. It is important to reflect on experiences and the law school journey, to keep things in perspective, and to take stock of accomplishments. Otherwise, students tend to focus on the work rather than the successes achieved over the past few weeks, months, and years. It is also timely for me to reflect on my own experiences of the year.
I remind each 3L that this is our final formal meeting. Some were anticipating this meeting while others were intensely focused on the task at hand and did not even remember. We collectively reminisce our first meeting which typically occurred sometime during their 1L year. We highlight some of the challenges they encountered and overcame, including a few seemingly impossible goals now achieved. I congratulate them on their hard work, determination, and achievements. I wish them further success as they move ahead and remind them that the same hard work and determination can be applied to their preparation to sit for the bar exam. The students thank me for the help throughout the years that enabled them to tackle various tasks. Usually, the students do not appear emotional at this time but some do at commencement.
I recently sat down with one of my TA’s during our weekly session and realized again that despite sharing information, through multiple mediums, about all of the services and programs my office offers, students only focus on what they need at the moment and forget or overlook everything else. This TA is well aware of the teaching assistant program because she used it as a 1L and became a TA but she was unaware of many other programs despite the fact that we went over this information during TA orientation. This semester, this TA helped me critique student essays so we interact weekly to discuss student progress, upcoming assignments, and general concerns. I was behind responding to a few of her email messages so we discussed the content in person. Whenever we discuss the program or event that captured my attention this or that week, she always says: “I had no idea you did X.” or “That is an amazing resource for students.” or “Your office does so much.” She then asks additional questions and I always smile. If anything, this reinforces a fundamental reason why I need student support, students get to know me and they provide free advertising for my office to other students.
All the very best to the 3Ls on the last lap of their law school experience and thank you to all of the teaching assistants who help academic support professionals maximize their reach. (Goldie Pritchard)
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
This is the second post in the "Good Litigating is Good Teaching" series.
Part Two: Getting A Good Start
For an easier and more internally consistent reading experience, I will use female pronouns (“she,” “her”) to refer to trial counsel and male pronouns (“he,” “his”) to refer to professors.
Voir Dire the Jury
A trial attorney spends a fair amount of energy (and sometimes money) contemplating the type of jurors that would be best for her case. This pre-trial preparation is then followed by a well-choreographed discussion with the prospective juror.1 Recognizing the potential benefit, trial counsel routinely invests time getting to know her jurors, even though the juror will likely only serve on the case for a few days. Conversely, a professor knows, at the outset, that he will be with his students for at least one semester, if not the entire academic year. Yet the professor routinely knows less about his students than trial counsel knows about her jurors. The professor should voir dire his students in order to get to know them, and then tailor his classroom presentation to his audience. Are the students primarily visual, aural, read/write, or kinesthetic learners?2 Why have the students enrolled in the course? What do the students hope to learn during the semester?
Clearly Explain the Day-to-Day Logistics
Once selected to serve, jurors want to know, at the outset, the day-to-day logistics of jury service. For example, jurors routinely stress about where to park, if they will be paid for their service, and whether they are really qualified to serve?3 Students, likewise, stress about the logistics of the course. Students want to know how many pages they will be expected to read each week, the professor’s office hours, and the method(s) of assessment. A comprehensive syllabus and overview of the professor’s expectations—at the very beginning of the course—eliminates most of these common student stressors. A syllabus that merely lists the chapters that will be covered during the semester is woefully insufficient. The student should be apprised of every aspect of the course.4
Give an Opening Statement that Outlines the Basics
“Often, jurors know very little about the law [or facts] relevant to a case prior to the end of the trial….”5 Acknowledging that jury instructions are not typically given until the end of a trial, a trial attorney will frequently use her opening statement to explain not only legal concepts and terms of art, but also factual locations and the relationships of the parties to ensure that the jury has a basic understanding of the case. Moreover, some judges provide jurors with basic information about the facts and relevant legal background at the start of the trial to further educate the jurors.6
A professor, likewise, should not assume that his students understand the basics about legal theory, politics, world geography, or current events. The professor should begin the class discussion by laying the groundwork to ensure that the student has a baseline understanding of the topic, and then providing the student with an easily understood statement of the rule, a.k.a. “the black letter law.” Admittedly, some law professors will scoff at the notion of “spoon-feeding” the students the law, but much of the literature suggests that providing this basic framework allows the student to more quickly and effectively dive deeper into thoughtful analysis.
 For a discussion on best practices during voir dire, see Michael J. Ahlen, Voir Dire: What Can I Ask and What Can I Say?, 72 N.D.L.Rev. 631 (1996).
 The VARK learning styles questionnaire assists learners by identifying their learning style preferences: Visual, Aural, Read/Write, or Kinesthetic. See http://vark-learn.com/
 Julianna C. Chomos, et. al, Increasing Juror Satisfaction: A Call to Action for Judges and Researchers, 59 Drake L. Rev. 707 (2011).
 See Nira Hativa, Teaching Large Law Classes Well: An Outsider's View, 50 J. Legal Educ. 95 (2000).
 Increasing Juror Satisfaction at 719.
 Increasing Juror Satisfaction at 719-720.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Have you ever had a long, hard day and come home to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream? I hope that isn’t just me. I will eat the entire pint despite the fact that I am trying to eat healthier and exercise more. Something about the end of the day makes eating grilled meat with green vegetables difficult. Five Guys Burgers is just more appealing, and the research gives me an excuse for why I keep stopping at the wrong place.
Willpower research helps us understand the best time to complete tasks and when we are more likely to succumb to temptation. Studies show that taxing intellectual endeavors requiring focus and willpower drain our energy to resist later temptations. Participants are more likely to eat a donut, cookie, or treat after a difficult task. Positive interactions during the difficult task can help retain some willpower. Understanding the research can help our students accomplishment more by using the right times of the day for studying.
The studies explain many student habits during law school. Law school classes are taxing endeavors. At the end of the day, most students are exhausted. The exhaustion leads to decreased willpower which makes it easy to stop studying, fail to complete readings, not complete practice questions, and focus more on electronics than law school. Students are behaving in predictable ways even though we continually tell them to add the extra work. Many students don’t have the willpower to complete what is already assigned, much less additional exercises.
My schedule during law school made completing tasks much easier. Before law school began, I made the choice to put studying as my top priority. I hadn’t made that choice in undergrad, so I knew I needed to make a change. My philosophy was to treat law school like a job. I arrived on campus for my first class and continued focusing on law school until I left. I read for the following days between classes and limited my lunch break to approximately 45 minutes. After my last class, I stayed on campus and read instead of going home. I left once I completed all my work. My routine and location made completing everything easier. I also completed all my assignments in a reasonable amount of time. I didn’t need tons of extra willpower because I created a good routine. Due to that plan, I can count on one hand the amount of class readings I missed in 3 years of law school. Good plans use willpower efficiently.
I urge students to follow a similar approach. Taking long breaks and saving reading to the end of the day makes completing work difficult. Class interactions are draining. The intellectual rigor of law school takes a toll. Being at home and exhausted makes it easy to go to the couch or surf the internet instead of finishing readings. Most people’s willpower in the evening is so low that failure to complete everything is inevitable. We all know that once you don’t complete an assignment, catching back up is difficult. Being behind leads to stress, and law school becomes unbearable. The stress decreases willpower leading to more uncompleted assignments. The cycle can be devastating. Creating a schedule is good, but being intentional with when tasks are scheduled can increase the likelihood of getting all the work done. Don’t merely create a plan. Create a good plan to efficiently use willpower to increase the chances of accomplishing all the tasks.
Willpower is a newly researched topic. The research can lay the foundation for how we schedule our day. We should encourage everyone to create schedules that are realistic and maximize study time when we are most motivated. Everyone will learn and retain more when studying at optimal times.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Professor and Director
of Academic Success
Capital University Law School seeks to hire a full time Professor and Director of Academic Success. This is a full-time faculty position eligible for a long-term contract status. The Director will support the Law School’s overall academic mission to provide access and opportunity to student populations that have been underrepresented in the legal profession. The Director will develop and implement academic success programming to improve students’ academic preparedness and performance. Responsibilities include working in collaboration with deans, the director of the bar services, and faculty to develop and implement academic success curriculum focused on analytical skill development, class and exam preparation strategies, writing and time management skills.
- Develop, implement, and manage all components of academic success programs of the Law School.
- Coordinate and hold individual student meetings and workshops to improve students’ study, writing, time-management and test-taking skills.
- Develop assessment tools to evaluate each component of the academic success programs including those participating and/or teaching in the program.
- Provide general counseling to students regarding the academic rigors of legal study.
- Meet with students to review work when appropriate, provide one-on-one assistance for students with academic deficiencies, and academic advising. Refer students to other law school personnel or departments where appropriate.
- Integrate, where appropriate, technology into the academic success programs offerings.
- Develop and maintain and academic success web page with information and resources available to all students.
- Juris Doctor (J.D.). Previous teaching experience, particularly in a law school setting, is preferred.
- Excellent skills in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Outlook.
- Strong skills in the areas of organization, planning, interpersonal relations, oral and written communications, and customer service are necessary.
Capital University is committed to increasing the diversity of the Capital community and curriculum. This commitment includes Capital’s dedication to the development of faculty and staff who are committed to inclusive practices in teaching, learning, working and all other campus and community interactions. Candidates who can contribute to that goal are particularly encouraged to apply.
Application Process: Interested candidates should send: 1) a curriculum vitae, 2) names and addresses of three references, and 3) a letter of interest.
Please send application materials to Debbie Scott, Executive Administrative Assistant, Dean's Office, Capital University Law School, 303 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215 or via email DScott2@law.capital.edu
Friday, April 13, 2018
Congratulations to Kirsha Trychta for being awarded a Top Ten Blog Post from Texas Bar Today for her first post in a series on Good Litigating is Good Teaching. You can read her introduction post here in case you missed it this week: Good Litigating is Good Teaching - Introduction.
Thursday, April 12, 2018
I'm a clipper. That's right. I keep an assortment of articles that intrigue me and then I return to them periodically to reflect on what I have learned. One article caught my attention today...and...just in the nick of time. You see, I'm just plain tired out. Perhaps you are too, trying to do too much and to be too much. Just spread out too thin to make much of a difference in the world, it seems.
So with classes starting to come to a close for many of us and our law students, I thought I'd take a pause to reflect on some principles that might help me become better at being better. Here's what I mean by that. Rather than being better at doing things, perhaps I might become better at being, in short, at being human. I love that word "being" because it deals with the "hear and now" rather than the tomorrows. It's loaded with action...in the present moment. So, what action did I take that helped me get back to the present today?
Well, I've been carrying around an article that I clipped out dealing with New Year's Resolutions. With so much stress right now as I try to finish teaching my courses, preparing for finals, and getting ready for the summer bar passage season, I thought that now was the perfect time to reflect on what I had learned about being a better person from an article entitled "Set the Bar High for Your 2018 Resolutions" by Jason Zweig (Wall Street Journal dated December 30-31, 2017), available at: https://blogs.wsj.com/lessismore Here are some of the quotes:
- "Talk less; listen more." Unfortunately, much of the time, I'm talking but not listening. I love the advice here because it helps remind me to appreciate the other person, to value the other person, to embrace the other person. On a personal note, within the world of academic support, I find that I am often too quick to provide solutions before I've yet to even understand the problem. So, this is great advice when working with students too.
- "Learn something interesting every day." That's right; be curious. As I drove to school today, I was passed by a school bus. That's right - a school bus. Yes, I am a slow driver (at least usually when I'm headed to work; much faster when I'm headed home!). As the bus passed me by, I happened to notice something strange about the school bus. It was from a public school that was named something like "The School for Expeditionary Learning." That got me thinking. Perhaps that's the way that I might better describe the learning process with my students. Be courageous in your learning. Be daring in your learning. Be expeditionary in your learning.
- "Get home 15 minutes earlier. It will make you 15 minutes more efficient the next day." To be honest, I'm not quite sure I understand this advice. But, here's my take nonetheless. Much of my day is hurried and busy because I let it be that way. Take for instance email and messaging. Rather than disabling notifications, I just keep getting these pop-up alerts, right from the get-go of my day, taking me off message from what my first priorities ought to be. So, here's my take on this quote. Disable notifications. Only look at email in the middle of the day after I've already worked on the big tasks at hand. Don't let the little things get in the way of doing the great things each day.
- "Stop walking with your phone in your hand all of the time. Look up and see how beautiful and strange the world is." I did one better, at least I think so. I am practicing leaving my phone in my car while at work. That's because I find that even if I just carry my phone with me I feel drawn to it. So, I make it unavailable to me in order that I can't fall prey to its tantalizing alerts and beeps that so often distractingly beckon for my attention.
- "Introduce yourself to all the people at your job [school] whom you see every day but haven't met yet." As a corollary to no. 4 above (leaving your phone behind while at school), you'll have a lot more time to actually take note of the people around you. So, share a smile with them. Look one another in the eyes. Maybe even say a friendly word or two. You see, I suspect that one of the loneliest places in the world is right in the midst of the crowd, especially a law school crowd. If true, there are many people all around us that are yearning for a place of fellowship, a place of relational togetherness, a place to belong. That's definitely me. So, rather than wait for others to say hello, I thought I'd just take the initiative and extend a friendly greeting to those I know...and those I don't too. The more the merrier!
With all of the stresses and strains of our busy law school lives, I was so glad that I happened to clip this article. It reminded me that often its the little things of the here and now that are really the great things. Unfortunately, so often I have it backwards. I'm busy, so busy that I don't have time to do anything meaningful at all. So, I took a brief pause today to remind myself of what it means to be a human being in relationship with others. That sure looks much more exciting that staring yet again at my phone. So, have fun smiling...and being too! (Scott Johns).