Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Call for Proposals AALS 2017 Annual Meeting: The Arc of Your Career Programs

Call for Proposals: “The Arc of Your Career” Revisited
2017 Annual Meeting
January 3-7
San Francisco, California

Online submissions proposals due: March 30, 2016

After a first round of successful Arc of Career programs in New York, the AALS Task Force on Professional Development is again requesting proposals that address a broad spectrum of issues related to the professional careers of faculty and administrations for the 2017 AALS Annual Meeting to be held January 3-7, 2017, in San Francisco.

The AALS Task Force on Professional Development encourages Arc of Career proposals for creative and interactive sessions that may include (but are not limited to):
• Exploring alternative media, such as blogs, electronic postings, and social media, for projecting your intellectual voice
• Modes of engagement as a public intellectual
• Life stage theory and “editing” commitments
• Lateral moves
• Alternatives to traditional scholarship
• Public service
• Interdisciplinary collaboration
• Consulting, expert witness work, board appointments
• Retirement and other transitions
• Transitioning from academia: part-time teaching? Cold turkey? Other pursuits?
• Financial planning and budgeting
• Mindfulness, design thinking, and other ways of escaping the “law professor” mental box

Strong preference will be given to proposals that incorporate interactive experiences for the audience other than or in addition to Q and A. Preference will also be given to proposals:
• Submitted by collaborative groups spanning more than one law school;
• With an interdisciplinary element and/or suggestions of participants with perspectives from other disciplines. (Funds may be available for non-law school speakers);
• Reflecting diversity of schools and presenters (geographic, institutional rankings, race, gender, ideology, etc.)

Online submissions of Arc of Career Program proposals are due by March 30, 2016.
To view the complete Arc of Career request of proposal, click here: Call for Proposals
Click here for the online submission form: Submission Form

Questions may be directed to

The AALS Task Force on Professional Development:
Bennett Capers, Brooklyn Law School
Susan D. Carle, American University Washington College of Law, Chair
Sheila R. Foster, Fordham University School of Law
Shauna I. Marshall, University of California Hastings College of Law
Elizabeth E. Mertz, University of Wisconsin Law School
Carol A. Needham, Saint Louis University School of Law
Jason Palmer, Stetson University, College of Law
Barbara A. Schatz, Columbia University School of Law
Michael E. Waterstone, Loyola Law School

March 2, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Trigger Warnings and Microaggressions

The Section on Student Services had microagressions as the topic for its second panel at the January 2016 AALS Annual Meeting. In addition, one of the Hot Topic programs was on trigger warnings. (If you missed these sessions, AALS members can go to the AALS website and log in to view podcasts. On the members page, click events and conferences; go down to 2016 Annual Meeting which should take you to the program; click on podcasts at the top to get that viewing list.)

Both of these issues are much discussed currently in law schools. Here is an article discussing the issues from a broader higher education perspective in today's The Chronicle of Higher Education: Speaker-Beware.  (Amy Jarmon)

March 1, 2016 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 29, 2016

LSSSE Upcoming Report

Below is a press release from Aaron Taylor, Director of LSSE, regarding the upcoming report release:

On March 7, the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) will release its latest annual results: How a Decade of Debt Changed the Law Student Experience.  The report analyzes law student debt trends during the 10-year period, 2006 to 2015.  The report also explores the nature and sources of law student stress. An advanced copy of the report is attached to this email.  [Editor's Note: Not included here in the Blog posting because incompatible with Typepad. Check your inbox to see if you got a press release email with a copy.]
According to Aaron N. Taylor, director of LSSSE and assistant professor of law at Saint Louis University School of Law:
“While we are all well aware that law student debt has increased significantly over the past decade, this year’s LSSSE annual results provide a nuanced view of these trends.  Both the extent of the increases and the uneven manner in which they have been distributed among students are concerning.  The data strongly suggest that while law school is more expensive across-the-board, the bulk of the increased costs is being born by students in the least favorable positions to incur them.”  
Noteworthy findings from the report include:
Overall Debt Trends:
Over the 10-year timeframe, increasing proportions of LSSSE respondents reported expecting high law school debt.  In 2006, 32% of respondents expected to incur more than $100,000 in debt during their law school matriculation.  In 2015, that proportion was 44%.  (Page 10)
Debt and Institutional Sector:
In 2006, only 11% of LSSSE respondents attending public law schools expected debt of more than $100,000; by 2015, this proportion had almost tripled to 31%.  Among private school respondents, the proportion increased from 38% in 2006 to 50% in 2015. (Page 11)
Debt and Race:
In 2006, there were only marginal racial and ethnic differences in expectations of more than $100,000 in debt.  By 2015, 61% of black respondents and 56% of Latino respondents expected debt at this level, compared to about 40% of white and Asian respondents.  (Page 12)
Debt and LSAT score:
In 2006, 16% of respondents with the LSAT scores of 155 or below expected to owe more than $120,000—the same proportion as those with higher LSAT scores.  By 2015, however, the proportion for the 155-or-below group was 37%, almost double the 20% proportion of the higher-LSAT group.  (Page 13)
Debt and Satisfaction:
In each survey year, respondents who expected to owe more than $120,000 were noticeably less likely to respond favorably to LSSSE satisfaction questions.  In 2015, 79% of these respondents had favorable views of their law school experiences, compared to 88% of those expecting no debt. 
In 2015, 74% of respondents who expected to owe more than $120,000 stated they would attend the same law school again, compared to 87% of those expecting no debt.  This 13-percentage point difference was the largest among the survey years. (Page 15)
Law Student Stress:
About three-quarters of respondents reported that concerns about academic performance and academic workload were sources of high stress and anxiety.  More than half of respondents indicated that concerns about job prospects and finances (including student debt) were sources of high stress and anxiety.  (Page 17)
Higher expected debt was associated with higher stress and anxiety.  More than half of respondents who expected to owe more than $80,000 reported experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety during the school year, compared to 41% of those who expected no debt.  (Page 19)
In 2015, 70% of respondents who expected to owe more than $120,000 reported high levels of stress relating to finances and student loans, compared to only 9% of respondents expecting no debt.  (Page 19)
How a Decade of Debt Changed the Law Student Experience will be available for download on March 7 at  Questions and media requests should be forwarded to Aaron N. Taylor at
Aaron N. Taylor 
Assistant Professor of Law
Saint Louis University School of Law
Director, Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)
Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research

100 N. Tucker | Suite 950 | Saint Louis, MO 63101 

February 29, 2016 in Diversity Issues, Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Death of Justice Scalia and the Future of Affirmative Action

For those who are following the Fisher case, the following article from The Chronicle of Higher Education may be of interest: Antonin Scalia's Death Probably Won't Affect Fisher


February 28, 2016 in Diversity Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Save the Date for the NY Academic Support Workshop

Dear ASP friends;

We are pleased to announce this year’s full-day NY Academic Support Workshop, to be held from 9:30 to 5:30 at Brooklyn Law School on Friday, April 15. This will be a small and rather-intimate gathering of academic support professionals and colleagues actively working to learn from one another.

As is our usual practice, the afternoon sessions of the workshop will have an open agenda and room to include any subject of interest to those in attendance, while the morning sessions will be centered on a specific topic. For this year’s morning session we would like to concentrate on incorporating new (or newer) learning theories into our academic support work. What sorts of learning theories are especially exciting you right now? Do they affect what you teach? How you advise students to study or work? What insights into law school learning can we or should we derive from general learning theories and apply or adapt for law students? Any and all insights, discussions, ideas or presentations will be welcome.

One thing that makes all ASP gatherings exciting has always been our unique emphasis on interactions—ASP folks DO things together so that we can learn together. NY Workshop participants work with one another to develop or enhance our individual lessons, materials, presentations, or any other part of our professional endeavors. No one who comes is allowed to be a back-bencher. If you would like to attend, please let us know whether you want to share one of your own materials or ideas, lead a discussion on a topic we all wrestle with etc., or comment on ideas presented by other participants, or both. And please let us know whether you think your topic/question/issue/material/presentation lends itself to our morning’s theme or to the more open-ended part of our agenda. When we confirm who will attend and what specific questions the participants plan to address, we will send out a finalized workshop agenda.

RSVP to Kris and Linda, at addresses below and cc’d above

Since this is not a formal conference there is no fee to attend. We hope to see many of you soon!

Kris Franklin                         Linda Feldman
New York Law School         Brooklyn Law School

February 27, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 26, 2016

I Did Not Do Well Last Semester Because...

During the past few weeks, I have been meeting with our students who are on probation. As part of these meetings, we always discuss the students' initial thoughts on their performance. (We will do lots of more specific assessment, but I am interested in their reactions and perspectives shortly after getting their grades.) The responses tend to fall into several general categories; individual students may fall into several of these categories

1: Outside circumstances that impacted them. Examples in this category would be serious personal illness, death or serious illness in the family, victim of a serious crime, or sudden change in financial circumstances.

2: Circumstances during the final exam that impacted them. Examples in this category would be illness during the exam, panic attack during the exam, or computer crash and loss of answers.

3: Poor academic decisions throughout the semester. Examples in this category would be reading only when they knew they would be called on, taking the maximum number of absences, surfing the web in class, or depending on canned briefs/others' outlines/class scripts.

4:Poor exam preparation. Examples in this category would be cramming at the very end, outlining right before exams, completing no practice questions, or skipping the professor's exam review session.

5: Poor exam strategies during the exam. Examples in this category would be not reading the instructions ("do 3 of the 5 questions"), ignoring the allotted time for sections of the exam, not organizing answers before writing, including insufficient analysis, or spending time on rabbit trails.

6. Others at fault for the performance. Examples in this category would be the professor's exam was too hard, the exam covered material not discussed in class, my section was the hard section, or my study group was not good.

No doubt, I could come up with other categories or parse these categories differently. However, I think these six categories would cover most of what I have heard over the years. Here is my take on each of these categories in isolation:

Category 1: These types of circumstances are usually unavoidable or outside of the control of the student. They are the serious "life happens" category. It is easy to see how these circumstances would impact a student's ability to study and focus on law school. If the circumstances have resolved, then the student can focus on their studies more. If circumstances are ongoing, then the student needs referral to resources to help (examples, student health services, counseling center) and strategies to work within the life parameters they are faced with while in school. Some students decide to take a leave of absence and return after the circumstances have resolved themselves.

Category 2: These types of circumstances may be "one off" situations or they may have continuing implications. Referrals may be needed (example, to deal with panic attacks). Discussion about procedures to avoid the situation in the future may be needed (example, if you are unwell, request an exam reschedule under the school's procedure). Hopefully, many of these types of circumstances will not reoccur.

Categories 3 and 4: These types of circumstances can usually be addressed effectively through new study strategies. Motivation problems, procrastination, and life circumstances may be part of this category's impact on grades. If so, then those aspects will also need to be addressed.

Category 5: This type of problem can be addressed with specific exam-taking strategies. Strategies will vary somewhat depending on the type of exam (essay, short answer, multiple-choice, true-false, mixed). The problems are often correctable. Practicing the new strategies will be important to success.

Category 6: In many ways, this category of student explanations is the most troubling. If students are still at the stage of blaming others for their performance, they are not yet ready to work on strategies to improve their performance. Students need to get beyond disappointment, anger, embarrassment, and finger-pointing - the reasons for this category's viewpoint are varied. If they are going to take control of their academic performance and strive toward improvement through implementing new strategies, they need to get beyond the emotional reactions. It often takes several weeks to work with these students to get past their discontent and unwillingness to evaluate any personal responsibility for their performance.

Assistance to students will be most effective if the ASP and student efforts are part of a team approach. The student needs ASP support and input. But, ultimately, the student has to implement changes and do the work. Most students welcome being part of a team and will succeed. (Amy Jarmon)





February 26, 2016 in Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Director of Critical Skills and Academic Support Postion at Nova Southeastern

Nova Southeastern University
Position Description

Employee Details

Employee First Name:
Employee Last Name:

Position Information

Position Title Director, Critical Skills and Academic Support Program
Position Number 992657
Job Category: Exempt
Job Group: 106-Academic-Related Dir/Mgr
Center/Department Shepard Broad College of Law
Job Grade/Level: 91
Type of Shift: Non-Faculty Full time
Benefits Eligible: Reg FT w/Benefits
Pay Basis: Annually
Reports to: (TITLE) Dean, Shepard Broad College of Law
Reports to: (POSITION NUMBER) 992879

Primary Purpose:

The Director of Critical Skills and Academic Support administers and assesses the existing critical skills, academic support, and bar preparation programs, and executes strategies designed to strengthen academic success, focusing on initiatives to increase bar passage rates.
Essential Job Functions:

1. Administers all aspects of critical skills instruction, individual academic support services, and bar examination preparation for students and graduates, including teaching in and/or administering the relevant courses.

2. Develops programs, workshops and events that provide academic assistance for all students to improve foundational skills including logic, critical reading comprehension, essay writing, legal issue identification, and legal analysis skills.

3. Plans and organizes workshops designed to assist students as they develop and improve legal study and test-taking skills, bar application and admission process, and preparation to enter law practice.

4. Designs and implements assessment tools to identify "at-risk" students at each phase of their program participation to provide relevant remediation for each student to help improve retention and bar passage.

5. Designs and implements innovative academic and bar readiness programs.

6. Develops learning outcomes, exercises, and assessment tools designed to help students develop into self-regulated learners consistent with College of Law strategic goals, ABA accreditation, and SACS accreditation requirements.

7. Counsels and works with students in individual and small group sessions, and providing intensive support for graduates during the bar review period as they prepare for the bar exam.

8. Collaborates with commercial bar review programs, works with the alumni department on the alumni mentoring program, tracks at-risk students, develops assessment tools, and prepares bar exam statistics and reports.

9. Implements a program to track and report bar passage information and programming assessments with outcomes focused on improving existing programs.

10. Represents the College of Law at and participates in outside conferences and other events organized for and/or by bar preparation or academic support professionals.

11. Performs other duties as directed by the Dean.

Marginal Job Functions:

1. This position demands some work on evenings and weekends.

2. Ensures compliance with University policies and procedures, county, state, federal regulations and accreditation requirements.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

1. Superior writing, analytical, interpersonal, organizational, managerial, and communication skills required to work with a diverse student body.

2. Knowledge of legal theory and analysis necessary to succeed in law school and on the bar examination.

3. Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information in a responsible manner.

4. Demonstrated ability to lead a team and manage programs effectively and efficiently.

5. Flexible and team-orientated.

Required Education: Juris Doctorate

Required Experience:

  1. Minimum of three years education and law teaching experience, academic counseling, tutoring or experience in an academic success and bar preparation programs.

2. Demonstrated administrative and supervisory experience, and engaging presentation skills.

3. Experience with curriculum design, including an understanding of educational learning theory, best practices in teaching pedagogy, and individual learning styles.

4. Understanding of disability and multicultural issues, and ability to build rapport with students having academic challenges.

Preferred Qualifications:
1. Familiarity with outcomes based assessments.

2. Ability to think critically and innovatively about measuring student academic progress.

Is this a safety sensitive position (are applicants potentially subject to drug testing)?
Safety Sensitive Policy.

Does this position require a criminal background screening?


Budget Year: FY17

Job Description Disclaimer These statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required.

Commitment Principles:
ADA Addendum Nova Southeastern University is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and does not discriminate with regard to applicants or employees with disabilities, and will make reasonable accommodation when necessary.




February 25, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 8, 2016

How are things going with each course?

Now that you have had some time to settle into your courses, you can evaluate your plan of attack for each course. Here are some things that you want to consider:

• Re-read your syllabus yet again to make sure you understand everything that you need to know about the course: the learning objectives, suggested supplements, assignment details, deadlines.

• What amount of time do you need for really good class preparation in each course?

    Really good class preparation means that you are focused on learning and understanding the material and not just skimming it.
    Really good class preparation means that you are taking responsibility for learning and understanding the material and not expecting the professor to spoon-feed the information           to you as many undergraduate courses do.
    Class preparation can include a variety of tasks depending on the course; some of those tasks may be the following:
        Reading and briefing cases
        Reading articles
        Reading code/rule sections
        Answering questions at the end of chapters
        Answering study questions handed out by the professor
        Completing worksheets or problem sets
        Preparing practice-like documents (contracts, business plans, interrogatories, closing statements, wills, etc.)
    Class preparation should include answering the questions that you know your professor always asks every class period.
    Class preparation should include thinking about the material on two levels:
        In-depth understanding of the separate cases, articles, etc.
        Synthesis of how separate cases, articles, code sections, etc. work together and give meaning to the subtopic/topic
    Look ahead in your syllabus to see if future assignments will get longer and in your casebook to see if future topics look more difficult – plan accordingly for the time you need to add     for class preparation.

• What level of difficulty are you having with the course material at this point?

    If you are concerned about a course, talk to the professor about specific study strategies and supplements that might help you with the material.
    Evaluate how well you are understanding the course material.
    Look through your class notes and briefs to determine where you have gaps in your understanding.
    Determine how you will fill in any gaps: study aids, talking to the professor, talking to classmates, or other methods.
    Outline all of the material that has been covered so far and ask these questions:
        Does my outline just cover the gist of the material without any depth of understanding?
        Does my outline help me inter-relate cases/code/etc. into the subtopics and topics?
        Am I too bogged down in detail and irrelevant material?
        Will my outline help me solve new legal problems (example, fact scenarios) that I have never seen before?
    If you outline is incomplete and unrelated to problem-solving, fix the problems now.
    Plan on-going strategies that you can implement to improve your understanding for each course.

• What resources do you have for the course that will help you apply the material that you are learning throughout the semester as you review topics or subtopics? Remember to increase the difficulty of practice questions as you review topics more thoroughly.

    Study aids with practice questions
    CALI exercises
    Practice questions on the professor’s course website
    Problems or hypotheticals in the course materials
    For 1Ls, tutoring practice questions
    Draft-and-swap question opportunities with friends
    Exam database for your law school

• For paper courses, plan out your research and writing and begin tasks now rather than procrastinating.

    What deadlines are required by your professor: topic approval, paper outline, initial bibliography, drafts.
    Break down larger tasks into small steps so that you do not get overwhelmed.
    Set an artificial deadline two days before each deadline and work toward that earlier date. You will have more time for edits and rewrites if necessary rather than last-minute panic.

• Look ahead at your calendar and plan how you will get work done beforehand if you have weekends out-of-town, team or BOB competition weeks, or family events to attend.

Evaluate how well your plans are working periodically during the semester. Tweak or rework as needed. (Amy Jarmon)

February 8, 2016 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Linear or Non-Linear Storytelling

Lawyers are storytellers. Hat tip to Stephen Paskey, Legal Skills Faculty SUNY Buffalo, for mentioning this interesting article on the LRWPROF listserv: How the Brain Reacts to Scrambled Stories.

February 6, 2016 in Learning Styles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Call for Proposals for the AALS Section on Teaching Methods Program at AALS 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The AALS Teaching Methods Section plans to host an exciting program called “Reaching Students Effectively: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities in Legal Education” at the 2017 AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco (January 3-7, 2017). Here is our current vision of the program, followed by the call for proposals:

Reaching Students Effectively: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities in Legal Education
We are in the midst of a time of great change in legal education. We face new obstacles and new opportunities as we work to find the best means of engaging and teaching today’s law students. As part of this program, we will ask panelists to spotlight effective teaching methods for overcoming new challenges and embracing new opportunities in one or more of these topic areas:
1. Technology (whether used by students inside or outside of the classroom or by educators to teach inside or outside the classroom)

2. Student emotional intelligence or self-awareness

3. Student aptitude (particularly if perceived to be lower due to recent admissions trends)

4. Changing law market needs and demands (e.g., of prospective employers)

5. Developments in learning theory, research, and literature

We hope addressing these topics
will help to ignite a broader dialogue about the challenges and opportunities presented by teaching and learning inside and outside the modern law school classroom. By program’s end, attendants should have some concrete ideas for teaching in their own classes in new and inspiring ways.

The Call

We welcome one-page proposals that address effective teaching methods for overcoming new challenges and embracing new opportunities with respect to one or more of the topic areas, as posed by the program description above. In responding, please keep in mind:
• The proposal may address any law school substantive course area, but we hope for the audience (presumed to include educators that teach in a broad variety of course areas) to be able to relate the presented methods to their own classes.
• Proposals featuring any type of interactive learning exercise that will engage the audience — especially a method used by the presenter with her or his own students — will be greeted with heightened enthusiasm.
Please submit proposals to the Program Chair Professor Michael Bloom via email at by
March 1, 2016. The program committee looks forward to reviewing
your proposals
and to learning about your innovations and ideas for making legal education in the modern era come alive for our students.

Director, Transactional Lab & Clinic
Clinical Assistant Professor
Univ. of Michigan Law School

February 5, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Welcome Louisa Heiny to the ASP/Bar Prep Profession


Please join me welcoming Louisa Heiny to our community. Louisa began at University of Utah Law School in January 2016. Please take the time to chat with her when you see her at regional or AASE events!

Her faculty profile can be found here: Louisa Heiny. Below is a short introduction that she shared so all of you can get to know her:

I am an Associate Professor/ Lecturer at the University of Utah Law School. I teach Evidence, Judicial Process, and Legal Writing for Judicial Clerks. I've been teaching at Utah as an adjunct for since 2010, and before that was a Professor of Legal Writing at the University of Colorado Law School. I was hired full time in January to teach, develop ASP programs for upper-division and transfer students, and integrate those new programs into our existing 1L ASP and Bar prep programs.

February 4, 2016 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Welcome Nicole Lefton to ASP/Bar Prep

Nicole lefton photo

Please welcome Nicole Lefton who joined the Hofstra ASP/Bar Prep community in mid-January 2016. Please make a point of introducing yourselves to her at the next regional conference or AASE! Nicole shared the following information with us so you can get acquainted with her:

Nicole Lefton joins Hofstra as the Director of Academic Support and Bar Exam Preparation and a visiting professor. Prior to Hofstra, Nicole was the Senior Director of Academics at Kaplan Bar Review, where she worked for close to eight years. In addition, she taught Legal Writing and Lawyering Skills for several years to both JDs and International LL.M.s at Cardozo School of Law. Nicole graduated from Vassar College, and she received her JD from Cornell Law School. After graduating from Cornell, she joined the law firm of Rosenman & Colin as a real estate associate. She then joined Brownstone Publishers, a national, legal newsletter publisher, where she began as an editor and eventually became editor-in-chief. Nicole is admitted to the New York State Bar. She resides in New York City with her husband and two sons.



February 3, 2016 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Call for Submissions to the Newsletter for the AALS Teaching Methods Section

The ABA recently established new objectives for legal education. The new Standard 302 requires schools to establish “learning outcomes” for competency in substantive and procedural law. Standard 304 establishes a requirement for simulation or experiential learning in and outside of clinic work/courses. Standard 314 requires an institutional commitment to “Assessment of Student Learning." Standard 314 specifically states: “A law school shall apply a variety of formative and summative assessment methods across the curriculum to provide meaningful feedback to students.”

The Teaching Methods Newsletter would like to feature your new ideas for implementing Standards, 302, 304, and 314, in order to engage all members of the Academy in thinking about methods to fulfill these new ABA requirements.

To that end, we invite law professors over the entire spectrum of law course offerings to submit a 500-word description of any of the following techniques you are currently using in your class(es) or plan to include in the next academic year:

1. Your method of establishing and implementing learning outcomes for your class in order to meet Standard 302;
2. Your new ideas for simulation or experiential learning activities to meet Standard 304; and
3. Your ideas for assessing student learning in your class to meet Standard 314.

As part of the description of the technique, please provide details as to how the technique specifically fulfills the ABA requirements.

Submissions must not have been previously published in a prior periodical or journal or already accepted for publication.

Selected submissions will be published along with a short biography, photo, and your contact information. Along with your submission, please include a photo, the name of the class in which you use or plan to use the teaching or assessment technique, and your biographical information. Our goal is that law faculty interested in your technique will contact you directly for more information and advice on implementation.

Please send your submissions here:

The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 28, 2016.

Feel free to contact Secretary Rory Bahadur ( or Executive Committee Member Kim Holst ( with any questions about submitting to the Section on Teaching Methods Newsletter.

Thank you!
Rory Bahadur, Secretary
Kim Holst, Executive Committee Member,
AALS Section on Teaching Methods

January 30, 2016 in Publishing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Are You New to ASP/Bar Prep Work?

If you have joined the law school ASP/Bar Prep profession since May 2015 and would like to be introduced here on the Blog for the first time, please send an email to Amy Jarmon (Texas Tech) at with the following information:

  • Your name (and nickname if you don't use your given name)
  • Your title and law school
  • When you began your position
  • A brief paragraph with background information (degrees, work experience, interest areas).
  • A link to your faculty profile on your law school's website (if you have a profile).
  • A SMALL jpeg photo (if your faculty profile does not include one).

Introduction postings will be included on the Blog over the next few weeks. Welcome! We hope to see you at upcoming workshops and AASE conference. (Amy Jarmon)

January 29, 2016 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Schedule for ILTL Conference at BU in April


I am pleased to provide the conference schedule for “Responding to the New ABA Standards: Best Practices in Outcomes Assessment,” which the Boston University School of Law and the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning are co-sponsoring. The schedule is attached and also copied below. The conference will take place on Saturday, April 2, at the Boston University School of Law. It will include a presentation on the new standards by Bill Adams, Deputy Managing Director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and workshops led by legal educators who specialize in the area of assessment. There is an opening reception on the evening of Friday, April 1.

We are excited about this conference and hope to see you there; register soon and reserve your spot! You can find a link to the registration process at


Kelly S. Terry | Associate Professor of Law
Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning
Director, Externship Programs & Pro Bono Opportunities
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
William H. Bowen School of Law
1201 McMath Avenue | Little Rock, AR | 72202
Tel. 501.324.9946 |

Conference Schedule
April 1-2, 2016
Boston University School of Law
Friday, April 1, 2016
4:30—7:00 p.m. Registration

5:00—7:00 p.m. Welcome Reception

Saturday, April 2, 2016
8:00—8:30 a.m. Registration & Breakfast

8:30—8:50 a.m. Dean’s Welcome & Conference Opening—Dean Maureen O’Rourke & ILTL Co-Directors

8:50—9:00 a.m. Break

9:00—10:00 a.m. The New ABA Standards on Outcomes Assessment—William E. (Bill) Adams, Jr., Deputy Managing Director, ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

10:00—10:15 a.m. Break

10:15—11:15 a.m. Identifying and Creating Institutional Outcomes—Emily Grant & Sandra Simpson

11:15—11:30 a.m. Break

11:30—12:30 p.m. Translating Outcomes Into Competencies and Rubrics—Lindsey Gustafson, Peggy Maisel, & Kelly Terry

12:30—1:30 p.m. Lunch

1:30—2:30 p.m. Curriculum Mapping—Lindsey Gustafson, Peggy Maisel, & Kelly Terry

2:30—2:45 p.m. Break

2:45—3:45 p.m. Evaluating Attainment of Outcomes and Creating an Assessment Plan—Michael Hunter Schwartz, Katharine Silbaugh, & Sophie Sparrow

3:50—4:20 p.m. Closing—Emily Grant, Sandra Simpson, & Kelly Terry

January 28, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Designing Your Game Plan for a New Semester

Spring semester is a new beginning. You can repeat the strategies that worked. You can modify strategies that need some tweaking. You can implement new strategies to replace bad strategies. Now is your opportunity to make changes where needed!

Here are some things you want to consider:

  • Start a serious study routine now. Too many students waste the first half or two-thirds of the semester before they get down to consistent hard work.
  • Prepare for class with your focus on learning and understanding. Doing time over pages is not learning. Understanding before class has real advantages:
  1. You can follow the discussion better and not wonder what is going on.
  2. You can answer questions better if called on by the professor.
  3. You can take better notes because you know what you already have in class preparation materials (briefs, worksheets, problem sets, etc.).
  4. You can ask questions that you know are relevant and important because you know more about the material.
  • Review before you walk into class to allow yourself to have seen the material twice. If the topic is a continuing one, read the notes from the prior class to gain context.
  • Review your class notes after each class for 15 minutes some time during the same day to reorganize, fill in gaps, add examples, note down questions to ask, and summarize the essential take-away points.
  • Outline each week for each exam course. You will gain insights and context more quickly. You will be outlining while material is still fresh. You will build your master study document easily and be able to start exam review.
  • Distribute your learning throughout the semester. That is, front-load exam study rather than wait to cram. Here are four reasons for doing this:
  1. You will recall, understand, and apply information more easily if you have seen it multiple times during review throughout the semester.
  2. Long-term memory is built over time and allows you to retrieve information later (on the exam, during an advanced course, bar review, or practice).
  3. Cramming equals mere brain dump without any longevity of memory; you will need to relearn everything later.
  4. You will decrease your stress if you spread exam learning over 15 weeks (the usual semester length) rather than a few weeks at the end.
  • Include multiple levels of review in your weekly schedule to front-load exam study:
  1. Prevent forgetting 80% of what you learn within 2 weeks: Read your outline front to back page each week to keep everything fresh.
  2. Intensely review sections of your outline for deep understanding: grapple with the concepts; synthesize those concepts; know how to use them to solve new legal problems.
  3. Apply the material on as many practice questions as possible. Choose questions similar to the exam if you know the type of exam. Practice does make perfect.
  4. Spend time on memory drills to learn the black letter law over time, so it comes to you quickly through repetitive study.
  • Get assistance early and often. Ask your professors questions. Get feedback on practice questions if possible. Read study supplements if needed. Visit with the academic support professional at your school.
  • Adopt a mindset that you can improve! Last semester was last semester. Focus on what you can do this semester.

You have more control over your semester and exams than you realize! You need to use learning and memory to advantage. Take charge of your semester from the beginning rather than dawdling. Go for it! (Amy Jarmon)

January 27, 2016 in Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some Tips for Reviewing Exams from the Fall Semester

Now is a good time to contact your professors to review any fall semester exams about which you had concerns. If you received a C+ grade or below in a course, you should definitely consider reviewing the exam.

  • Many of the exam-taking skills for law school translate from one course to later courses even though the course material is very different.
  • An exam review can highlight study strategies that were successful prior to the exam as well as indicate study strategies that need modification or abandonment.
  • An exam review will allow you to track what you did well during the actual exam and want to continue doing on future exams.
  • An exam review will allow you to track what you had problems with during the actual exam and want to improve on for future exams.
  • Exam reviews for several courses may indicate patterns of success or error that you have repeated across exams.
  • Here are two handouts that can assist you in what to look for when you do your exam reviews.The first handout is for fact-pattern essay (also relevant for the most part to short-answer): Download Patterns to Look for and Questions to Ask When Evaluating Fact The second handout is for multiple-choice questions (also relevant for the most part to true-false): Download Patterns to Look for and Questions to Ask When Evaluating Multiple These handouts suggest questions that can help you analyze your exam performance more thoroughly.
  • Professors vary in how they complete exam reviews. Here are some variations that you may encounter: a) The professor may conduct exam reviews for students who email with a request, may have a sign-up sheet on the professor’s office door, or may announce some other mechanism. b)The professor may first schedule appointments with students with the lowest grades, then move to the next level of grades for appointments, and so forth. c)The professor may have the student review the exam individually (and possibly the grading rubric or sample exam answers) before meeting with the professor. d)The professor may instead have the student come for the meeting and review the exam together.
  • Make sure that you take careful notes during your exam review so that you will know what areas you want to continue doing well and what areas you want to improve on for future exams.
  • After your exam reviews, evaluate what you have found out. Look for any patterns across exams and courses. Make a plan for your future exam study and exam-taking.
  • If you are unsure what strategies may help you for your specific problem areas, make an appointment to talk with the academic support professional at your law school.

All students can improve their grades by implementing new study strategies and new test-taking strategies. Take advantage of professor feedback to make informed decisions instead of just randomly trying new strategies. (Amy Jarmon)


January 26, 2016 in Exams - Studying, Exams - Theory, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Inquiries About Signing Up for the ASP Listserv

For those of you who are new professionals in ASP/bar prep at your law schools, signing up for the ASP Listserv is done in the following manner. These instructions were sent to me by Stephen Sowle at Chicago Kent (he runs the listserv) in August 2015. If you run into problems after you have tried to subscribe, I would suggest that you contact him for assistance at (Amy Jarmon)

To sign up for the ASP listserv, follow these steps:
Address email to
No subject
In the body of the message enter: subscribe ASP-L your_first_name your_last_name title school_name
your_first_name is your first name,
your_last_name is your last name
title and school_name are optional


January 17, 2016 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Get Involved with the AALS Section on Academic Support

Are you looking for ways to give back to the profession? Do you want to meet more colleagues? Do you want to have an impact at a national level? Now is the time to sign up for committees for the 2016 - 2017 AALS rotation.

To volunteer to be on a committee, you need to be a faculty member or professional at a AALS member school. Not sure if your law school is a member school? Check the membership list here: AALS Member Schools.

As soon as possible, please email the Section Chair to indicate your interest in participating on a specific committee: Lisa Young (Seattle) at

The following are brief descriptions of the committees:

Awards Committee: The Section on Academic Support has the choice to present an award at the annual meeting to a member of the profession who has made outstanding contributions to ASP. The Committee decides each year whether or not the award process should be undertaken that year. If the Committee plans to present an award, it follows the processes for nomination and selection in the Section's Bylaws. Both the Section's Executive Committee and AALS must concur with the selection for the award to be presented.

Bar Passage Committee: This committee considers a wide range of issues related to bar preparation and the bar exam itself.

Learning Curve Committee: This committee publishes two electronic issues of the Learning Curve each year. The committee determines issue themes (where appropriate), solicits articles, selects articles, acts as editorial staff, and undertakes oversight of the actual publication of the issues.

Nominations Committee: Each year the committee undertakes the nomination process to select a slate of officers/board members to be presented to the membership at the annual meeting. The nominations/selection process is covered by the Section's Bylaws as well as the Section's 2014 Executive Committee Recommendations.

Program Committee: This committee is responsible for deciding the program topic in line with the AALS annual meeting theme, advertising the calls for proposals for program sessions/papers, reading all submitted proposals, selecting the proposals to be included, holding teleconferences with the selected speakers, and handling the program tasks at the annual meeting.

Status Committee: This new committee grew out of a discussion at this year's business meeting. The committee will look at the status issues that ASP/bar prep professionals have within the legal academy. There will likely be contacts with our counterparts in the legal-writing/LWI/ALWD and clinical areas regarding their status history and strategies that they used to address status issues. 

Website Committee: The Section is responsible for the Law School Academic Success Project website that is supported financially by LSAC and is under the AALS umbrella. The website has content for law school professionals interested in ASP and students. Work is needed to update the website: directory information, lessons in a box, other content.

January 16, 2016 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 15, 2016

AALS Section on Academic Support Executive Committee 2016 - 2017

Thank you to everyone who attended the Section on Academic Support business meeting at a very early 7:00 a.m. on Saturday to vote on the slate of officers/board members. The following is the list of the Executive Committee members for the January 2016 - January 2017 rotation.

    Chair: Lisa Young (Seattle)

    Chair-Elect: Corie Rosen Felder (Colorado)

    Secretary: Danielle Bifulci Kocal (Pace)

    Treasurer: Staci Rucker (Dayton)

    Immediate Past Chair: Amy L. Jarmon (Texas Tech U)

    Board Member (term expires January 2017): Scott Johns (Denver)

    Board Member (term expires January 2017): Jamie Kleppetsch (John Marshall)

    Board Member (term expires January 2018): Twinette Johnson (Southern Illinois)

    Board Member (term expires January 2018): Philip Kaplan (Suffolk)

Congratulations to everyone! Thank you for your service to the profession.


January 15, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)