Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Director, Academic Achievement Program
In a surprise move, the National Conference of Bar Examiners has announced that Latin will be tested for the first time on the July 2016 MBE. A couple of representative questions have been released, with correct answers but no explanations:
1. Assiduus usus uni rei detius et ingenium et artem saepe vincit.
A. Sane, paululum linguae latinae dico.
B. Id legi modo hic modo illic.
C. Vero, latine loqui non est difficilissimum.
D. Heu, modo itera omnia quae mihi nunc nuper narravisti, sed nunc anglice.
2. Quidquid excusatio prandium pro.
A. Caveat emptor!
B. Vini vidi vici.
C. Vino veritas.
D. Caveat depascor!
3. Audaces fortuna iuvat.
A. Adversus solem ne loquitor.
B. Disputandi pruritus ecclesiarum scabies.
C. Corpora lente augescent cito extinguuntur.
D. Dura lex sed lex.
I'll be interested in learning how schools and their bar prep programs will react to this new development. I'm sure students will be perfectly fine with it.
Friday, March 27, 2015
CALL FOR CONFERENCE PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS: "Creating Excellence in Learning and Teaching for Today's Law Students"
October 2-3, 2015, Phoenix, AZ
ABSTRACTS DUE: July 15, 2015
Arizona Summit Law School (ASLS) will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary with a conference for legal educators, law students, the legal community, and anyone interested in legal education. The Conference will be opened by Professor Gerald Hess, a leading American scholar on legal education, and founder of the Institute for Law School Teaching at Gonzaga University School of Law. The Conference will include panels and workshops intended to address an array of challenges facing law schools in the early 21st Century.
TOPICS: Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Applying the latest teaching techniques, methods and technology in the classroom
- Integrating practice-ready skills with doctrinal teaching
- Teaching the underprepared student
- Keeping higher performing students engaged and challenged
- Teaching alternative and second career students
- Preparing students for the new legal marketplace
- Building an excellent academic support program
- Preparing students to serve underserved communities
PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE:
Select papers will be published in the Arizona Summit Law Review, ASLS's flagship publication, or Accord, the internet-based sub-journal of Arizona Summit Law Review. To submit a paper, please send the following information by July 15, 2015:
- Author(s) name, contact information, and school affiliation
- Author(s) CV
- Title of the proposed paper
- A brief description (500 words or less) of the paper
Participants will be notified of their selection by August 15, 2015. Please note that travel assistance is not available.
Please direct all questions and final submissions to the Conference Chair, Dr. Marren Sanders, at ASLSConference@azsummitlaw.edu
PRESENTATION PROPOSAL SUBMISSION PROCEDURE:
The Conference Committee welcomes proposals for 25-minute conference presentations or panel discussions, and anticipates a limited number of 50-minute slots as well. To submit a proposal, please send the following information by July 15, 2015:
- Presenter(s) name, contact information, and school affiliation
- Presenter(s) CV
- Title of the proposed presentation
- A brief (one paragraph) description of the presentation, including a description of the presentation format (lecture with Q&A, interactive, PowerPoint, etc.)
- A two-sentence summary of the presentation for the conference program, if accepted
- Length of presentation
- Technology needs for the presentation
Participants will be notified of their selection by August 15, 2015. Please note that travel assistance is not available.
Please direct all questions and final proposals to the Conference Chair, Dr. Marren Sanders, at ASLSConference@azsummitlaw.edu
MGO - via "The Faculty Lounge"
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
THE AVE MARIA SCHOOL OF LAW IN NAPLES FLORIDA invites applications for an Assistant Professor of Advanced Critical Thinking. The person in this position will teach academic success related courses and provide intensive academic counseling to students. This position requires the ability to identify students’ academic strengths and opportunities and to devise effective instructional approaches and counseling strategies to help students optimize their academic performance. The person in this position will have exceptional teaching and counseling skills, the ability to work effectively as part of a team, sound judgment, the ability to deal with sensitive situations using discretion, and the ability to foster close relationships with students, faculty, and staff.
PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Teach the Applied Critical Thinking and Legal Analysis class, a three-credit course designed to optimize students’ academic performance.
- Provide academic counseling to students and participate in efforts to support all students’ law school success.
- Create and deliver academic success presentations and workshops to groups of students.
- Prepare, administer, and provide in-depth feedback on practice exams and actual exams.
- Track students’ performance and maintain records and statistics concerning students’ progress.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
Qualified applicants will possess a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school, bar certification, relevant experience, and a strong dedication to student success. Previous experience teaching, tutoring, or providing academic counseling is a plus. Florida bar membership, practice experience, and a strong interest in the learning sciences are also helpful. Some evening and weekend work required
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and list of at least three professional references to HR@avemarialaw.edu.
Ave Maria School of Law is an Equal Opportunity Employer that values diversity, and strongly encourages applications from persons of diverse backgrounds willing to support the institutional mission.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Hat tip to Katherine Silver Kelly for sharing the link to this post on the Summer 2014 bar exam results. This article is a must read for anyone interested in the decline in the MBE scores from the July 2014 bar exam. Deborah Merritt, on the Law School Cafe blog, explains the scoring process of the MBE and shows how the ExamSoft debacle could have caused bar results to suffer in more ways than one.
Friday, March 20, 2015
The New York Times has addressed some of the recent (and not so recent) criticisms regarding the Summer 2014 bar examination results in their article, Bar Exam, the Standard to Become a Lawyer, Comes Under Fire. While this article does not unearth new information for many of us, it does legitimize the problem. Because, as we know, there is a problem. The NCBE essentially has a monopoly on bar licensure. They have moved from releasing a limited amount of data to an almost complete lack of transparency. Without this crucial data there is no accountability, which leads to less confidence in the examination and what it purports to assess. This lack of confidence is highlighted in the Times piece and has been echoed in a similar fashion since the summer results were released.
In order to validate the bar exam as a viable assessment tool, the released score results should be detailed, transparent, and effectively communicated. At this point, it appears that complete transparency is the only way to restore credibility in the bar exam and the work of the NCBE.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
How Do You Solve a Problem Like “Whatever?”
I am a new ASPer; I joined Valparaiso Law School just a few months ago. I was nervous about getting started in a new field. My nerves were not related to lower bass passage numbers; I have faith those numbers will improve in time. I was nervous because I knew I was going to have to wage war with a self-defeating mindset that is too common among current law students.
That particular mindset is summed up in one word: “whatever.” Oftentimes that word is used in the phrase, “whatever happens, happens.” It is a simple phrase with a loaded message. Yes, I agree, whatever happens does indeed happen; very few would people challenge that assertion for its truth. However, “whatever happens, happens” is a terrible mindset during law school, and especially during your bar exam preparation period.
It is clear that many students are entering law school and bar prep already prepared for the possibility of failing. The “whatever” that happens just might be failure, especially if a student is underprepared and lacking basic study skills. As an ASP professional, I push for students to disallow that possibility. I explain to students that I locked myself in my parent’s garage during bar prep and studied to a point that probably would have even made the formidable Paula Franzese unhappy.
I am not saying that we should preach to students, but we should encourage a different mindset. We can’t allow students to think, “whatever happens, happens,” anymore. We have to motivate our students to adopt a mindset to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
As an ASP professional, I meet with students every day who have joined the “whatever happens” mindset, students who are preparing for the negative, whether it is exam failure or bar failure. I am pushing them to embrace the “whatever it takes” mindset. It is easy to just do “whatever.” It requires bravery and discipline to do whatever it takes (to succeed!)
The motivational solution is not to accept “whatever happens, happens,” but to force your desired outcome by doing absolutely whatever it takes to make it happen. Unfortunately, it is not easy to make this concept stick or to present it in a way that is truly memorable.
However, I always like to remind students of the three distinct types of people taking exams. First, is the person who gives it a try, and when they fail, they can say, “Hey, at least I tried.” Second, is the person who gives it their best shot, and when they fail, they can say, “Hey, at least I gave it my best shot.”
Chad Houston, Valparaiso Law ASP
Monday, March 9, 2015
USC Professor Ned Snow has released two Property Law apps you might find helpful for your students:
The first app is called Property Law Made Simple. It provides the black-letter rules of Property, with examples and explanations to illustrate each concept. The app also provides 50 MBE-style practice problems, with detailed explanations for each problem. Perfect for learning, reviewing, or mastering 1L Property. Covers most topics (except future interests). It's available on iTunes and Google Play for$0.99.
The second app is called Future Interests Made Simple. It teaches Estates, Future Interests, and the Rule Against Perpetuities. Many examples and explanations illustrate each estate and interest. This app provides 60 practice problems with detailed explanations. It's available on iTunes and Google Play for $2.99.
Friday, March 6, 2015
We are pleased to announce this year’s full-day NY Academic Support Workshop, to be held from 9:30 to 5:30 at New York Law School on Friday, April 17. As usual, 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 working with law students who have recently been placed on academic supervision or probation. How do we best help these students? What unique problems do they face? What sorts of pedagogies help them become motivated and effective learners? 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 interaction – 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 issues, ideas, etc., comment on ones brought 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since this is not a formal conference there is no fee to attend. We hope to see many of you soon!
Searchin' in the sun for another overload
I hear you singin' in the wire, I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line
And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain
And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line" -- Wichita Lineman, written by Jimmy Webb
Monday, March 2, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Call for Proposals
AALS Section on Academic Support
January 2016 Annual Meeting in New York, New York
Raising the Bar
As law schools react to a changing bar exam landscape, many schools have adapted new and different programming to meet the current needs of students. Bar exam support and preparation is no longer something that begins post-graduation, and its influence can be felt from admissions through curriculum planning and beyond. This program will explore how schools strive to stay ahead of trends, analyze data and out-perform their predictors in order to help their students succeed on the exam.
Topics might include, but are not limited to: statistical analysis of bar exam data and results; innovative programs for preparing students for the bar exam; curricular changes based on exam results and preparation; criteria for selecting students to participate in bar preparation programming and identifying at-risk students.
Preference will be given to presentations designed to engage the workshop audience, so proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the methods to be employed. Individuals as well as groups are invited to propose topics. The Committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas. Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community.
Proposals must include the following information:
1. A title for your presentation.
2. A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.
3. A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.
4. The amount of time requested for your presentation. No single presenter should exceed 45 minutes in total. Presentations as short as 15 minutes are welcomed.
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. (The Committee is interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)
8. Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).
9. Any articles or books that you have published that relate to your proposed presentation.
10. Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your presentation will provide.
Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, March 25th at 5pm to Danielle Kocal, Pace Law School, email@example.com. If you have any questions, please email Danielle Kocal or call 914-422-4108.
The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:
Danielle Kocal, Chair
Goldie Pritchard, Past Chair
ASP Section Chair: Lisa Young
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH
OFFICIAL JOB TITLE:
Director of Bar Success
Academic and Student Affairs
School of Law
Director of Teaching and Learning Methods
May supervise student employees and provide functional supervision of clerical/administrative staff.
SUMMARY PURPOSE OF POSITION: The Director of Bar Success will work with the Director of Teaching and Learning Methods, as well as faculty and staff, including the Director of Graduate Academic Resources and Legal Writing Center, to assist students and graduates as they prepare for the bar exam, both as they progress through Law School and after they graduate. Develops, coordinates, and implements school-wide initiatives to improve bar passage, including joint workshops and courses, and meetings with students, graduates, Academic Success professionals and faculty.
EXAMPLES OF PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
Previous (one year or more) experience teaching.
Evening and weekend work will be required. Travel will be required.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:
Masters in Education (or related degree)
Experience teaching law students, including experience during law school
Bar support work at a Law School
Note: Other job related duties and responsibilities may be assigned and/or the job description changed periodically to reflect changing organization needs.
Note: All position descriptions need to be completed and approved before recruiting activities begin. All updated or revised administrative position descriptions must be approved by the appropriate Vice Chancellor/designee and the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources/designee. All new administrative position descriptions must be approved by the Vice Chancellor/designee, Associate Vice Chancellor for Affirmative Action/designee and Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources/designee. If applicable, the Office of Human Resources will provide notice to and consult with the union representative. February 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
The Legal Skills Prof Blog recently posted this reference to a short piece on acronyms. I agree that acronyms and other abbreviations can cause confusion, ruin the flow of an essay, and cause the reader frustration. The article suggests a few useful guidelines on when to use them and when to avoid them. I have even had one bar examiner tell me to instruct students that their bar exam essays should not read like a text message. In an acronym, twitter/text, abbreviation heavy culture, this is a good reminder. Thus, I advise my students that when they are in doubt, they should write it out.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Assistant Dean of Law Student Affairs
St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, seeks an Assistant Dean of Law Student Affairs. The position reports to the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. The Assistant Dean of Law Student Affairs is a senior administrator of the Law School whose primary responsibilities focus on the academic, intellectual, psychological, and personal aspects of student life at the law school. This position will be responsible for managing all aspects of student life in the law school, including promoting student engagement in law school life, supervising law student activities and organizations, developing new organizations that promote service and professionalism, coordinating professional and social opportunities to engage law students in university life and to encourage law students to develop and maintain a professional manner and demeanor. The Assistant Dean must also have a commitment to leadership in a Catholic and Marianist institution, which fosters quality education in a family spirit; to pursue service, justice and peace and prepare for adaptation and change, while encouraging each person in their own way in their formation in faith.
Applications can be found at http://stmarytx.applicantpro.com/jobs/. Along with the employment application please submit (1) letter of application addressing interest in position, (2) curriculum vita, (3) official graduate transcript confirming the Juris Doctor degree, (4) three letters of reference. For further inquiries, please contact Victoria Mather, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will begin on February 9, 2015 through March 10, 2015.
Friday, February 20, 2015
To paraphrase the late, great Romantic poet Joey Ramone, "technology did a job on me, now I am a real sickie …"
A very nice and very lost old woman with a pie showed up on my doorstep at 8 p.m. last night. Unfortunately, the pie was meant for the occupants of another house on a nearby street. She asked me where the street was, and, as I considered the ethics of grabbing the pie and slamming my door, I gave her some vague directions. Mainly, I pointed and said, "It's kinda over there." In my mind, I was picturing the street that was one street over and perpendicular to my front door. The old woman disappeared into the night. I went inside and ate two Entenmann's chocolate donuts (the rich man's Hostess!) and watched my son play either a freeform jazz version of "Baba O'Reilly" or "Hot Cross Buns" on his clarinet.
The next morning on the way to school, I realized the street the old woman was looking for was actually the street behind my house. I have lived here for three years, and I know of the existence of the street, that friends of mine live on it, and that it is somewhere in my neighborhood, but I was wrong about where it actually sat.
Now, I may simply be a clueless bozo, and I realize that any success I have ever had was because of my staggering good looks, but I started wondering about why I didn't actually have my neighborhood (or city for that matter) mapped out in my head by street names. I can get anyone anywhere in Columbia as long as I am driving, but if someone asks me to explain HOW to drive somewhere, I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it.
Street names seem like a basic piece of information I should know -- clearly, they represent the physical structure of the world around me and are meant to provide points for my memory to grab onto -- but I don't know them.
In the past couple of years, I have had more than one conversation with a law student where I have asked, "And who is your professor for ….." More times than I would've thought, they actually didn't know the professor's name. At first, I found this completely mind-boggling, and then I started thinking about my problem with streets.
The thing is, with GPS and Googlemaps and my phone I have no reason to learn street names, and that technology has basically made me stop paying attention so I never learn them.
I think the same thing has happened with our students, but over a longer period, and without a B.T. ("Before Tech") Era where they had to rely on their own memory to get places or know things. Tech has made a lot of memorization absolutely unnecessary. During the old days, for many classes, at the end of the day I probably didn't HAVE to know my professors' names -- I knew where the class was, I knew the class hour, and I was studying the material so I could handle myself if called on -- but, because I was used to having to memorize things like streets and state capitals, my brain naturally picked up the professor's name and threw it in Ye Olde Memory Hole.
With the amazing amount of computing power sitting in all of our pockets, memorization is pretty much as dead as disco. If I want to know a state capital or how many hits Ted Williams had, I can immediately look it up on my phone. For the digital natives we are currently teaching, they had a schooling where it was basically unnecessary to ever memorize anything. I think in many ways their brains are not used to having to memorize and "know" things to be able to use the information, so many of them don't naturally grab pieces of information by default.
So, when I have a student in trouble, I counsel them to memorize law the old fashioned way -- by memorizing their outline, putting it aside, and then writing it out, by hand, on a yellow legal pad. I'm not a big fan of turning them to online types of techniques, like apps or sites with flashcards or what not. As much as I can, I want to get the computer out of it, because I feel like that caused the problem in the first place.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
In a lot of respects, Legal Writers have struggled with (and sometimes overcome) the professional challenges many ASPers face. Professor Ralph Brill brings some of these to light in his response to a University's President's Frank Look at Law Schools. Professor Brill's response also briefly touches on the disparate impact to women when Legal Writing, and I submit ASP, is undervalued. Similarly, Professor Flanagan highlighted sexism in a blog post early this year. It is hard to believe that these are issues we are still grappling with in 2015.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Law students spend hours and hours studying. A 60 hour week is the norm. The law school study standard is 3 hours of prep for every hour of class. This means actual study time, not time spent in the library. You may think you are productive but are you? Of those 4 hours you spent in the library last night, how much of that time was spent on actual studying? One way to measure it is to track your “billable hours.” Make note of the time you start studying and use the timer on your phone to track how long you are on task. Stop the timer every time you stop studying. Even if it’s just a few seconds, stop the timer. How many times did you stop to read a text, send a text, check twitter feed or facebook updates, talk to someone, get up and stretch, re-organize your materials? This adds up and you are probably not as productive as you think. Once you realize how much time you waste, use the timer to keep you focused. If you plan on studying for 3 hours, you know that reading and responding to a text means stopping the timer and 3 hours can turn into 4 or 5. Would you rather spend that time at your desk or in the library, or would you rather spend it doing something you enjoy? The choice is yours. (KSK)