Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Do Law Students Dislike Group Work?

Group work is essential to graduate programs in business. Group work is a staple of medical school. But law students baulk at the idea of group work. This is a problem that has baffled me for years. We hear more and more about collaborative work as the cornerstone of students learning, and the need to teach law students how to work collaboratively. But professors who do require group work find that law students resist, fight, and malign collaborative projects. Why do law students hate group work?

1) We teach them that their grade is only as good as the person next to them.

Competition for grades starts the minute law students realize they are graded on a curve. Students begin to fear their peers, because they perceive their peers as their enemies, not as collaborators. Students who fear and mistrust they classmates are not going to put in extra effort to work together. They w fear that anyone who knows what they know will use it against them, either in preparing for a final exam, for personally, to hurt them in the future. Fear and mistrust are not the building blocks of collaboration.

2) We haven't dealt with our "free rider" problem.

I have colleagues who assign group projects, and I always hear about the "free rider" who manages (scams) his or her way into a hard-working group, only to receive a (high) grade based on the work of others. The students mistrust the free rider, but other than tattle to the teacher, there is little the group can do about a free rider. I have seen teachers try to deal with the free rider problem by requiring peers to assign grades to their partners, but this often results in gaming. Entire groups can game the grading by agreeing ahead of time what grades they will give each other, or individuals can game the system by agreeing to a group grade, and later giving their partners lower-than-promised grades in order to boost their personal standing in the class (yes, our students know the "prisoner's dilemma"). The only way to deal with the free rider problem is to require law students to work together on many projects over a long period of time, so "free riders" have to fear their own reputation. However, collaborative projects are pretty rare in law school, so a "free rider" doesn't need to fear that they will be ostracized from other groups if they manipulate the system.

3) We have not taught them HOW to work collaboratively, and they fear what they do not understand.
I loved group work when I was getting my MA in education. Early in my program, we were taught how to collaborate. Our professors explained the expectations of the program; teachers must collaborate, so collaboration was a part of what we needed to learn in order to be successful classroom teachers. The professors were very clear about their personal expectations for the class. Any one person could be asked to explain all of the project, at any time, so no one could be a "free rider" without risking their grade. Probably the most important lesson imparted in my program was that we were all in this together. My MA program stressed that all of us are representing the Neag School of Education, and one person who is a failure as a teacher represents our entire program. No one wanted our program to be anything less than excellent, so we wanted to shine. We worked together because we saw ourselves as members of a team, not competitors.


June 11, 2014 in Advice, Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Volunteer This Summer

Don’t’ have a summer job?  Consider becoming a volunteer.  If possible, it is preferred to find a volunteer position with a non-profit or agency to gain legal experience.  Even a few hours a week can be beneficial  and provides much needed help to the sponsoring entity.  Have a goal in mind for the volunteer experience.  Improve your writing, practice research skills,  or observe other lawyers in action.  Take this opportunity to network.   Ask questions, and ask for feedback on your assignments.  Students can contact their Career Services Office or Pro Bono office to learn of opportunities in their market.  Students can make a big difference with a small investment of their time and talents. (Bonnie Stepleton)

June 10, 2014 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Body Movin'

This is an interesting article from Wired on the effectiveness of lecture vs. active learning.  Basically, the upshot is that students in a lecture course are 1.5 times more likely to fail.  While the study only looked at STEM courses, the data is still interesting for law folks to consider when planning out their courses.

Active Learning 


(Alex Ruskell)

June 6, 2014 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How do I study for the bar exam?

Bar Review companies are specialists at delivering programs that give students a comprehensive view of the rules that will be tested on the bar exam.  However, bar review companies are not always experts on instructing students on the best ways to study that material.  I find that this disconnect contributes to some of the stress that accompanies bar preparation. 

“Studying” does not always come easily.  Some students have had mostly open book exams and/or papers in law school; while others never figured out the best way to study.  Thus, I have included a few ideas for bar students to explore as they consider how to study for the bar exam.

  • Consider your learning style.  If you are visual, use flowcharts, diagrams, or pictures.  If you are aural, record yourself explaining the law and reciting the rules or talk out the material with a friend.  No matter what your learning style, align your learning preferences to your study methods.
  • Use your bar review materials.  Review the outlines, checklists, on-line programs, flashcards, and any other resources that your bar review provider includes with their program.  And, go one step further and specifically ask them how to best use those resources in light of your learning style or individual needs.
  • Quiz yourself.  The best way to see what you know and what you do not yet know is to quiz yourself. One way to do this is to carve out time to sit and write from memory everything you remember about a subject or component of a subject area.  Then assess your gaps in your knowledge.
  • Repetition.  It may seem like a waste of time, or a waste of paper, but repetition is a proven method to increase memory.  Whether it is repetitively writing the rules, speaking the rules, or listening to the rules, this method will help you grasp the vast amount of material tested on the bar exam.  Using spaced repetition (more in upcoming post), will greatly increase memory retention.
  •  Test yourself (different than quizzing yourself).  Essay writing and MBE practice are both forms of studying.  By placing yourself in a simulated testing situation, you will learn test taking techniques, but you will also learn the law as you work through the questions.  This type of active engagement with the material will help you learn and retain the rules.

Studying can happen in many different ways depending on one’s learning preferences and individual needs.  Discovering the most efficient and effective way to study is crucial to successful bar preparation.

(Lisa Bove Young)

June 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New AASE Leadership

I just came back from the AASE (Association of Academic Support Educators) conference in Indianpolis. For only our second national conference, it was excellent. Kudos go to Jennifer Carr of UNLV Law for leading us through our inaugural year. She now moves to Immediate Past President. Our new President of AASE will be Paula Manning of Western State Law School. Most, if not all, of you know Paula. She is a powerhouse, and I know we will have an amazing year with her at the helm. Our new President-Elect of AASE is Pavel Wonsowicz of UCLA Law. I don't know what to say about Pavel...but I will start with outstanding, hilarious, respected, dynamic, hilarious (because he is the funniest man in ASP, by far).  Our new secretary is Betsy Brand Six from Kansas Law. Betsy did a phenomenal job last year as chair of membership. I could not left the position of secretary in better hands. Lastly, Kris Franklin of New York Law School will be continuing on as treasurer of AASE.

Next year's conference will be in the Windy City, Chicago, at John Marshall Law School, and our host school representative will be Jamie Kleppetcshe. Jamie is a superstar (but we all know this because she was the program chair for this year's conference!) Myra Orlen and myself (Rebecca Flanagan) will be chairing the program committee for 2015, so please, start thinking of presentations!

Lastly, thank you SO much to McKinney School of Law and Carlota Toledo--we could not have done this without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


June 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bar Exam: Work Ethic

I teach a bar skills seminar.  The last class of the semester I reserve for a guest speaker - a graduate who took the most recent bar examination.  I chose the person I did this time because of his work ethic I observed during his bar study.  He had one study partner.  They had an express agreement to treat bar review like a job.  They showed up “for work” every day at 8:00 at the law school to study in a room they had reserved for the day.  My guest explained to my class that after checking in with each other they would go to their commercial bar review class. 

At this point, one of my students raised their hand and asked, “I heard that all that the bar review courses provide is a video lecture so why bother showing up to class?”  He had a good answer.  “Because then I was sure I would watch that video.  Coming to class each and every day made me accountable to myself and to my study partner.”  This got the class’ attention.  The students shifted in their seats.  My guest went on to describe how he brought his lunch every day to assure that he ate something healthy and affordable.  During lunch he and his study partner would review their flashcards.  “Tell me everything you know about X.” Then his partner would rattle off all the elements of X and if there were any gaps, they would note them and go over it again.  Once lunch was over, they would return to their reserved room and continue studying until 5:00.  Every day included multiple choice practice tests and essays.  They worked in extra MPTs as well.  My guest told the class that he studied 7-8 hours per day, every day including weekends.  By now you could hear a pin drop in the classroom.  Another student raised her hand and asked, “But, how did you find time to work?”  He answered, “I didn’t.”  After a beat he continued , “I didn’t work, I didn’t go to the gym (he was big into working out), I didn’t do anything but study. I wanted to be able to tell myself that I had done absolutely everything I possibly could.  If I didn’t pass I know it would not be because I didn’t work hard enough.”  So there it was. 

His method for passing the bar was basically working hard.  I felt a twinge of guilt in the moment.  Inside my head I said “Well, that goes against all I’ve been telling students about work life balance for their entire law school careers.”  After more reflection, I think he is onto something.  He looked at bar study from a long range perspective.  Bar review would be 8 weeks long.  He mentally made space in his life to do what he felt needed to be done.  He trusted his instincts.  For him at least, working harder was working smarter. (Bonnie Stepleton)

June 3, 2014 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

USC Gould School of Law Dean of Students Position

Position Vacancy



USC Law School seeks applicants for the position of dean of students.  The law school – located just south of downtown Los Angeles on the main USC campus – has always been a small and collegial institution.  Our entering JD classes typically are under 200 students.

The dean of students oversees core aspects of student services, including student affairs, financial aid, registration and records, and the office of public service.  In addition to managing these functions, the dean of students provides students with personal and academic counseling and collaborates with other law school offices, especially admissions, careers services, international programs, academic support, and the academic dean.  The dean of students sits ex officio on the academic affairs committee.

The successful candidate will possess a collaborative working style and proven ability to manage an office.  A JD degree and prior experience in higher education, especially in counseling students, are strongly preferred.

USC values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity in employment.

To apply for this position, follow this link:

For additional information, contact Professor Scott Altman:




June 1, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 26, 2014

One of Many Firsts…The First Day of Bar Prep

We have all experienced many firsts: our first day of school, first car, first date, first victory, first defeat, first kiss, first heartbreak, and first day of law school (maybe not in that order).  Today, you will experience another common first…the first day of bar review (cue Beethoven’s 5th). 

No matter which bar review course you are taking, the first day of bar review is overwhelming.  There are new books, new terms and acronyms, and so much new information.  To say that this first day of bar prep is overwhelming is truly an understatement.  Instead of going under-prepared and leaving in a catatonic state, here are a few suggestions to make this monumental first not only tolerable, but also productive and meaningful:

  • If you have received a box of books or binders, envelopes filled with paperwork, or links via email, open them and read them PRIOR to attending your first bar review class.
  • Start your bar review routine off right: Get a good night’s sleep before your first day, chose a wake-up time that will get you to your class with time to spare, and eat a nutritious breakfast. 
  • Be comfortable, but look presentable.  You do not want someone to think you raided Barry Manilow’s wardrobe.  
  • Pack energy boosting snacks: pick your protein (nuts, yogurt, cheese, hummus, freeze dried ice cream, hardboiled egg…).  You need to stay awake and feel energized. 
  • Bring a notebook to take notes and a hardcopy calendar or planner.  You do not need your computer.
  • Pray, meditate, practice yoga, or adopt another ritual that will help keep you centered.  You must find a way to stay motivated, focused, and positive.  Bar prep will wear on your psyche; thus, you must approach it with a clear plan and an open mind.

Above all, take your first day of bar prep seriously.  If you underestimate the importance of this first day, you may miss valuable information and set yourself on a path toward failure.  Instead, approach the first day in earnest.  Show up physically and mentally and set yourself up for bar exam success. 


May 26, 2014 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss

Some students have engaged in early bar preparation prior to law school graduation, while others have chosen to focus their efforts on other tasks during their last year of law school.  While I strongly advocate for the notion of “the earlier the better” for bar prep, many decide to live solely in the present and avoid the bar exam until it is imminent.  "Ignorance is bliss"after all. 

This sentiment brings to mind Thomas Gray’s poem Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College, a personal  reflection on the bliss of youth and the worries and trials that lie ahead in adulthood.  Law school is by no means paradise, but it invokes “wild wit, invention ever-new” much more than preparing for the bar exam.  Unfortunately, preparing for the bar exam feels much more like "comfortless despair." 

Thus, I encourage students to take time now at the close of their legal education to reflect on their successes, their challenges, and the fun times that they had as a law student.  This provides closure to their law school experience and helps invigorate their ambition to succeed on the bar exam. And, since the "folly" of bar review will be upon them next week, I hope they have one last weekend of pure, unrestrained bliss.


May 23, 2014 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LSAC Settles Dispute over LSAT

This week, the Justice Department filed a landmark consent decree to settle claims that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) practices violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Many of us work with students who may have been affected by LSAC’s “flagging” practice, which identifies applicants who received extra time on the LSAT.  This decision not only helps to remedy past discrimination, but also helps ensure that applicants with disabilities are protected in the future.  This excerpt taken from the Department of Justice webpage lists the details of the agreement.

            Under the consent decree, LSAC has agreed to:

  • put a permanent end to the practice of flagging the LSAT score reports of individuals with disabilities who take the LSAT with the common testing accommodation of extended time;
  • pay $7.73 million to be allocated for a civil penalty, compensation to individuals named in the United States’ and other plaintiffs’ complaints, and a nationwide victims’ compensation fund;
  • streamline its evaluation of requests for testing accommodations by automatically granting most testing accommodations that a candidate can show s/he has previously received for a standardized exam related to post-secondary admissions (such as the SAT, ACT or GED, among others); and
  • implement additional best practices for reviewing and evaluating testing accommodation requests as recommended by a panel of experts (to be created by the parties). 


May 21, 2014 in Current Affairs, Disability Matters | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Add It Up

Could a horrifying February Bar pass rate actually signal an effective Bar Prep Program?

Imagine having roughly 100 students each year in a law school class.  Let's say 50 students pass the July Bar for a 50 percent bar pass rate.  The school decides to hire an ASP person to start a bar pass program.

The ASP person starts some type of Bar Prep.  The following February (this school has no Feb grads), the 50 past failers take the exam and 30 pass for a 60 percent pass rate -- so things are improving.  Importantly, those 30 new passers were students who only failed by a small margin, so the Bar Prep program's help was the real turning point.  The remaing 20 failers plan to take July.  In my imaginary jurisdiction, people can and will take the bar exam as many times as it takes to pass.  

The next July 85 out of 120 pass -- a 71 percent pass rate.  The following February 25 out of the remaining 35 pass -- again 71.

The ASP person is getting more experienced, receiving more faculty and student buy-in with the higher rates, and getting more comfortable with that state's exam, so the next July 90 of 110 pass (80 percent!) -- but only 10 out of 20 pass in February -- with a 50 percent February pass rate, things seem to be moving in the wrong direction .   Notably, with the new and improved program, there are very few close failers left in February and the returning failers seem to be getting deeper and deeper in a test-taking hole.  The school runs some statistics, and it seems that 10 of these students cannot pass the bar no matter what the school tries to do to help them.  In fact, being burned out on the entire law school thing, these 10 fail to ever respond to offers of help.  

The next July 92 out of 110 pass  -- but only 8 out of 18 in February-- a pass rate of 44 percent.  

The next July 95 out of 110 pass -- but only 5 out of 15 in February--a pass rate of 33 percent ... and so on and so forth.

At the end of the day, I don't think a school's bar pass rate is particularly useful in evaluating either the school or its ASP Program -- but, as a thought experiment, I thought it was interesting to note that July success may actually correlate with February failure.  (Alex Ruskell)



May 20, 2014 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Reminder about Call for Papers for AALS Section on Academic Support - Deadline August 15th

As you plan your summer writing, remember the call of papers by the Section on Academic Support for our fourth speaker at the AALS Annual Meeting in January 2015.  The call for papers deadline for submission of your paper is 5:00 p.m. Friday, August 15, 2014.  The full announcement is below.


Call for Papers

AALS Section on Academic Support

January 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.


ASP a Roadmap at the Crossroad: How Academic Support Will Meet Today’s Varied Challenges


This year, the Academic Support Program Committee opted to have a call for papers and one speaker will be selected from the call.  From isolated academic support efforts to more formalized multifaceted programs, academic support has fundamentally changed itself and legal education over the years.  In light of shrinking budgets, disappearing positions, smaller applicant pools, changing profiles of incoming students, and media attacks on legal education, academic support programs face newer and varied challenges. We seek papers highlighting innovative methods, programs, or ideas related to these challenges.


Topics might include, but are not limited to, efficient and effective ways to:  collaborate with faculty; manage limited human and financial resources; attract and retain students; provide resources for students with learning and other disabilities; and create programming for diverse populations to address any social isolation and/or bridge any skills deficiencies.


As the deadline for program proposals was April 1, 2014, our list of program proposal speakers will be forthcoming.  The selected paper speaker will join those speakers as one of the presenters.  There is no formal requirement as to length of the abstract and paper submission.  Preference will be given to papers that offer novel scholarly insights on the panel topic.  A paper may have already been accepted for publication as long as it will not be published prior to the Annual Meeting.  The Section does not have plans to publish the papers, so individual presenters are free to seek their own publishing opportunities.


Papers must include the following information:

1.  A title for your paper.

2.  An abstract of your paper.

3.  A final draft of your paper.

4.  The amount of time requested for your presentation. No single presenter should exceed 30 minutes in total.  [Deleted statement about shorter presentations because paper speaker should be given at least 30 minutes.]

5.  A detailed description of both the substantive content and the techniques to be employed, if any, to engage the audience.

6.  Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employother technology.

7.  A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, national or regional ASP or writing conferences, or other academic conferences.

8. A list of your published scholarly articles or books within the last three years.

9.  Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).

10. Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your paper presentation will provide.


Please submit your paper by Friday, August 15, 2014 at 5pm to Goldie Pritchard, Michigan State University College of Law,  If you have questions, please email Goldie Pritchard or call at 517.432.6881.

The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:

Goldie Pritchard, Chair

Robin Boyle Laisure

Robert Coulthard

Steven Foster

Lyndsay Garmond

DeShun Harris

Danielle Kocal

Haley Meade

Maysa Nichter

Brendon Taga

ASP Section Chair:  Amy Jarmon


May 19, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Please Update your information on the Law School Academic Success Project Website

The following post to the ASP listserv is from O. J. Salinas requesting your help in updating our directory information on the Law School Academic Success Project Website:

Good morning, fellow ASP-ers!  We hope you have had a great semester. 

As the academic year comes to a close, we were hoping to ask for a little favor to assist us in continuing to streamline the Law School Academic Success Project website ( Often times, some of us change schools or our professional titles change.  We would like to make sure that the information that we have listed in our directory is correct.  If your information needs updating or your law school’s information needs updating, please forward that information to O.J. Salinas (  We will work on making the appropriate corrections.

Here are a few suggestions that can help us update our directory:

1.     For those of you who have access to the website and have your contact information listed in the website directory, please review your information in the directory for any corrections.  If your information needs updating, please forward that information to O.J. Salinas (

2.     While you are reviewing your information to ensure that it is correct, please also review the information for your law school (you can search the directory by your name or your school).  If the directory lists individuals who are no longer affiliated with your school, please let us know.  When colleagues leave their schools, we often do not get notification.  Likewise, if you have a new ASP colleague who has joined your school (and this colleague wants access to the website), please let us know as well.  You can forward changes to the directory information for your law school to O.J. Salinas (

3.     Finally, remember that gaining access to the LSASP website does not automatically mean that you will be included in the directory.  Some of you may have access to the website, but your contact information is not listed in the website directory.  If you want to be listed in our directory, please email O.J. Salinas (  In your email, include what information you want listed with your name for the directory.  Generally, this information includes your law school, your title, and your contact information.  If you want your picture included, please include a headshot photograph as well. 

Thank you all for helping us continue to update the website.  We think that the website has some wonderful resources for the ASP community.  We hope to be able to make further enhancements in the future.  Enjoy the rest of the day, and have a great weekend!


- O.J. Salinas

On behalf of the LSASP Website Committee

Oscar J. Salinas, J.D., M.A. (Counseling)
Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
University of North Carolina School of Law
4090 Van Hecke-Wettach Hall
919-962-1277 (fax)


May 18, 2014 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Assistant Dean of Graduate Legal Studies Position at Cornell

Although not an ASP position, I thought the following position may be of interest to some of our colleagues since it has ASPish dimensions:

The Assistant Dean of Graduate Legal Studies is responsible for providing overall leadership for the Law School's Graduate Legal Studies Program, and for the ongoing development, planning, management and assessment of the program. The Assistant Dean reports to and coordinates with the Associate Dean for International Affairs. In addition, he or she works closely with the Graduate and International Faculty Committee and the faculty Director of Graduate Legal Studies. The Assistant Dean serves as the primary career counsellor and academic advisor for the graduate students. In addition, he or she is responsible for overseeing the following matters related to the Law School's graduate students: immigration and visas; fellowship awards; the university's graduate school program; and the New York Bar. Finally, the new Assistant Dean will be responsible for transitioning LL.M and J.S.D. admissions into the Graduate Legal Studies Program office. As a part of this transition, and going forward, the position will require domestic and international travel for meetings and recruitment.


JOB QUALIFICATIONS:  A JD (or equivalent degree) is required and further graduate degree in law is preferred. In addition, the successful applicant must have at least 3 - 5 years of relevant experience. The successful applicant will also have a demonstrated aptitude for working well with a diverse and engaged international student body, as well as with staff and faculty; strong communication and leadership skills; be self-motivated and seek opportunities for learning; be flexible, open and receptive to new ideas and approaches to the program; and show initiative in his or her approach to leadership and program development.


PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: LLM or other graduate degree in law; at least 5-7 years of previous experience in law school administration or student services, plus previous experience with international students and programs; fluency in a second language; and membership in the New York Bar.


For a full description and to apply on line, please see:  Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery and engagement. Located in Ithaca, NY, Cornell's far-flung global presence includes the medical college's campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City. Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University's heritage. We're an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.

May 17, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Assistant Director of Bar Programs and Academic Development Position at Touro



Assistant Director of Bar Programs and Academic Development


Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center is accepting applications for the position of Assistant Director of Bar Programs and Academic Development.  This position is a 12-month position and reports to the Director of Academic Development and Bar Programs. 

The Assistant Director of Bar Programs and Academic Development assists the Director of Academic Development and Bar Programs in all aspects of Touro’s Academic Support Programs and bar preparation programs with a specific concentration on bar programs. 


 ALS Practicum:  teach a fall section and one or more spring sections of Touro’s bar preparation seminar course.

Legal Foundations:  teach two sections of this first-semester, first year course.

 One-on-one tutoring for at-risk students: Weekly one-on-one bar tutoring sessions in the seven weeks before the bar exam for eligible February and July bar takers.  In addition, work with approximately 10 students to prepare for the July bar from May-July; work with approximately 5 students for the February bar.

Teach MPT component for Legal Analysis I and/or II classes

Supplemental bar counseling:  One-on-one counseling for “at risk” students in the semester before graduation.

·         Provide supplementary bar prep workshops:

o   Informational workshops on bar review courses

o   Getting a “jump start” on bar prep

o   What to expect in bar review and how to prepare financially, emotionally, and scholastically

o   Substantive bar preparation sessions --- targeted subjects


 Individual bar assistance:Provide individual assistance to all students who seek bar services, including re-takers as well as first-time takers, and LL.M. students. 

·         Administrative functions:

o   For bar tutoring programs: identify eligible students; invite and sign-up students; in consultation with the Director, assign students to tutors; provide materials and oversight to tutors; follow-up with surveys to tutors and students

o   Provide administrative oversight for bar workshops and programs

o   Provide administrative oversight for bar diagnostic programs


Future programs.  Provide assistance in preparing students for bar passage as programs are implemented.




Applicants must possess a J.D. degree with a record of high academic achievement from an ABA-accredited law school for this full-time position.  The ideal candidate should possess excellent writing, speaking, and organizational skills as well as a demonstrated commitment to bar passage and academic support. Strong interpersonal communications skills are essential. Experience in bar preparation and academic support at the law school level is required.  Evening and some weekend work is required. 


Application Procedure

Please send a cover letter and your resume to:  The subject line of your email should read:  Assistant Director of Bar Programs and Academic Development. 


Application Deadline:  June 15 with rolling application review.


Touro Law Center is located in Central Islip, on the south shore of Long Island, an hour from New York City. Fifty full-time law faculty members provide a practice-oriented educational curriculum to approximately 700 students in both full-time day and part-time evening programs. Visit http://www.tourolaw.edufor more information about Touro Law Center.


Touro College is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity. Our practices and employment decisions regarding employment, hiring, assignment, promotion, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment are not to be based on an employee's race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, military discharge status, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic predisposition, housing status, or any other protected status, in accordance with applicable law. Our policies are in conformance with Title IX, 1972 Education Amendments


May 16, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Academic Success Counselor Position at Valparaiso

Job Description

Valparaiso University Law School invites applicants for the position of Academic Success Counselor.


Valparaiso University Law School is located in northwest Indiana and is part of a residential community with excellent public schools and other resources.  It is approximately ten miles from Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as well as one hour from downtown Chicago.


The law school is an integral part of Valparaiso University, a Lutheran affiliated institution founded in 1859 and known for its outstanding liberal arts education and professional programs.  For more information about Valparaiso University Law School, see


Valparaiso University is looking for an Academic Success Counselor.  The duties of the position include, but are not limited to, teaching academic study skills to currently enrolled Valparaiso University law students, counseling students on academic and bar exam success skills and attorney licensing requirements, and advising graduates studying for the bar examination.



Responsibilities Include:


·         Assists in counseling and advising new students, students on academic probation, students "at risk", and any other student seeking to improve academic performance and/or other academic issues including course scheduling, social influences, etc.  Assist students in developing individualized learning plans and monitor progress throughout the semester.


·         Tracks the academic progress of "at-risk" and academic probation students through detailed note taking.


·         Designs lesson plans and present workshops, tutorials, and programs on topics such as analytical skills, learning styles, time management skills, case briefing, note taking, outlining, exam preparation, and exam taking.  Evaluate the success of these programs through student evaluations and other means.


·         In conjunction with the Directors of Academic Success, directs the Dean's Fellow's program.  Recruits, trains, and supervises the Dean's fellows.  Evaluates the success of the program through student evaluations and other means.


·         Assists students in reviewing answers to practice exams and provides advice regarding exam strategy, including bar exam essays and strategies.


·         Assists the Directors in maintaining the Academic Success website.


·         Assist in bar exam coaching.


·         Perform all other duties assigned by the Directors of Academic Success.



Successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to cultural diversity and the ability to work with individuals or groups from diverse backgrounds.


Employment at Valparaiso University will require a criminal background check.



To be considered for this position you must upload:

·         Cover letter

·         Resume

·         List of 3 professional references

·         Answer all the application questions



Please address cover letter to:

Deondra Devitt, Assistant Director, Human Resource Generalist
Valparaiso University, School of Law
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Required Skills

·         Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills

·         Ability to establish and maintain positive working relationships with faculty, staff, law school affiliates and guests

·         Ability to use initiative and independent judgment withing established policy and procedural guidelines

·         Ability to handle and keep confidential a variety of different student questions and concerns

Required Experience

·         J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school with a strong academic record is required

·         1 to 3 years of legal experience is preferred

·         At least one (1) year of academic experience in either law school teaching, counseling, or bar exam tutoring is preferred

·         Must be a member of a state bar who has successfully completed a bar examination

·         Strong academic and professional qualifications, as well as a demonstrated interest in teaching students with diverse backgrounds

Job Location

Valparaiso, Indiana, United States

Position Type


May 15, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Director of Bar Programs Position at California Western

California Western School of Law

Director of Bar Programs

California Western School of Law seeks applicants for the Director of Bar Programs.  In conjunction with the Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement, the Director of Bar Programs is responsible for the California Western bar review program, which includes 2L, 3L and graduate components.  The Director staffs and teaches in bar preparation programs for second and third year law students, coordinates the post-graduate program, and assists students studying for the California bar examination. To be effective, the Director must stay abreast of developments in the California bar exam; develop and maintain a high level of knowledge about academic support and bar preparation programs; measure the effectiveness of the bar programs, and supervise small group instructors.  The Director also advises the faculty and administration as to all bar preparation matters and makes periodic reports about bar passage.

Qualifications:  (1) a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school with a record of academic success; (2) at least five years of law teaching experience, preferably in a bar preparation program; (3) strong skills in course planning, classroom presentation, formative and summative assessment, as well as the ability to counsel and tutor individual students; (4) superior written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills; (5) the ability to think imaginatively and critically about how to measurably improve law student bar performance and to design, implement, and manage programs to promote that development; (6) good organization, judgment, and flexibility; and (7) a demonstrated ability and interest in working collaboratively with a diverse population of students, faculty and staff.  Experience working with SPSS or similar statistical analysis software is preferred.

Applicants must submit: (1) a cover letter describing their qualifications and salary requirements; and (2) a resume to Human Resources ( Salary will be commensurate with experience, and the position includes a competitive benefits package.  Applications will be accepted through June 13, 2014.  The preferred start date is July 1, 2014.

California Western is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. Founded in 1924, California Western ( is a private, independent law school located in downtown San Diego, California that is celebrating 90 years of excellence.  It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. 


May 14, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Staying on Track for Week Two of Exams

I find that a lot of students have motivation and tiredness problems during the second week of exams.  They are almost done, but their energy is flagging.  Here are some tips for making the last week of exams less stressful:

It is not unusual to feel your motivation slipping if you have already had several exams or turned in several papers.  Try some of the following if you are feeling unmotivated:

  • Break large tasks down into smaller pieces that can be focused on one step at a time.  Getting started is the hard part usually.  Examples would be:
  1. It is easier to get motivated to study one sub-topic in your outline than to study the            entire topic.
  2. It is easier to agree to do 5 multiple-choice questions than to complete 15 of them.
  3. It is easier to spend 10 minutes on flashcards than 30 minutes.
  4. It is easier to decide to write 1 page of a paper than to complete it in one go.
  • Give yourself rewards for staying on task.  Each person has different rewards that appeal; find the ones that work for you.
  1. For a small task, take a 10-minute break or get a cup of tea or walk around the law school a few times.
  2. For a medium-sized task, take a 30-minute break or make a phone call to a friend or get a snack.
  3. For a large task, take 1-2 hours off or read several chapters in a fluff novel or watch a movie.

It is not unusual to be getting tired if you have already had several exams.  Try some of the following if that is how you feel:

  • Take short breaks every 60 - 90 minutes if you are having trouble staying focused.
  • Eat breakfast to give your body fuel in the morning; even a piece of fruit, yoghurt, or toast can make a difference.
  • Take time for a healthy lunch so that you can refuel; try to avoid junk food if you can.
  • Carry some healthy energy snacks in your backpack to boost your energy when it drops in the afternoon: apples, nuts, small boxes of raisins, granola bars.
  • If you nap, make it for ½ hour or less; long naps tend to make you groggy and disrupt your sleep cycle when you go to bed at night.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep per night to recharge your batteries for this week.

Feeling stressed or sluggish?  Add exercise back into your week if you have let your usual routine slip.  Exercise is one of the best ways to defuse stress, raise your sagging spirits, and sleep better at night.  Even 30 minutes will help you feel more energized and calm.

Lift your spirits by looking ahead.  Plan two or three fun things for after exams are over.  If you have some things to look forward to, it is easier to grit your teeth and get on with what you have to do right now.

Get a pep talk to keep yourself going.  Phone your friends or family for encouragement.  Talk to someone who believes in you.  Shamelessly ask for affirmation! (Amy Jarmon)




May 13, 2014 in Exams - Studying, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hand in Glove

The Atlantic reports on a recent study showing handwritten notes are more effective:


Taking Notes by Hand.


(Alex Ruskell)

May 12, 2014 in Advice, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Who are we? A Question for ASPer's

In light of the upcoming AASE conference in Indianapolis, members of the planning committees and e-board have been circling a number of latent questions. As a member of the e-board, I thought I would put some of these questions on the blog (however, I want to stress that I am speaking solely for myself, and NOT the e-board or AASE.) I think it is valuable to think about who we are, where we are going, and what we want, as a profession.

1) Do we want to be more like "regular" (tenure-track) faculty? What are the benefits to "achieving" this status? Are there drawbacks that we have not considered? Do we want the pressure of "publish or perish" when our jobs include so many year-round responsibilities? Do non-tenure track ASPer's feel the pressure to publish?  Have ASPer's found it difficult to be placed in law reviews? Do ASPer's get support (mentoring, guidance, as well as financial support) from their institutions when they choose to write? How can ASPer's receive more support for writing and publishing?

2) Do we want to be more like legal writing or clinical, faculty? How many of us are ASP/legal writing already? How many of us switched from legal writing to ASP (or vice versa)? How are we like legal writing? Are we like legal writing?

3) As an organization, do we want to be more like LWI? Or do we want our focus to be smaller, more intimate?  LWI is a huge organization because most law school have several legal writing instructors, but only one or two ASP professionals. Are there benefits to growing our organization? Are there specific challenges if we grow too fast?

4) In light of the financial problems facing many, if not most, law schools, should we spend more time discussing the realities of job loss, pay cuts, and declining enrollment? Should we spend more time discussing the pressures facing ASP?

5) The "average" incoming law student now has a lower LSAT than the "average" student in prior incoming classes. Should ASP be in conversation about the trends in admission? How can be be more engaged in the conversation about trends in admission? Implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, we are held responsible for student outcomes, so our livelihoods are connected to these trends. How should we address these trends if we are not responsible for admissions?

6) Is bar prep a natural part of academic success? Or is bar prep a unique partner with ASP, a partnership that shares some similarities, but also differences? How many ASPer's have bar prep responsibilities? Is bar prep combined with ASP out of convenience, necessity, or is it an accident of institutional planning?

7) How do we constrain "job creep" at a time of institutional downsizing? How amny ASPer's feel like their job is on the line if they say no to additional repsonsibilities without additional compensation? Is it fair to expect additional compensation when so many law school graduates cannot find jobs in law?

(Again, I want to stress that I am speaking solely for myself, and NOT the e-board or AASE.)


May 10, 2014 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)