Monday, October 6, 2014

Reading in Print Helps with Comprehension

Recent studies show that reading is good for us and that reading in print is, well, even better.

To quote a recent, ahem – online publication – “reading in print helps with comprehension.”


So, what do these studies mean for law students? Law students might consider the following:

  1. In your Legal Research and Writing class, print out the sources, e.g., the cases and statutes, that are relevant to your assignments and that you will use to write those memos.
  2. Print out your notes and outlines – if you have typed them.  Put these materials in binders and read them from the printed page – not on the screen.
  3. Reconsider using textbooks in e-book format and favor print books.
  4. Build in time to read for relaxation – a print book, short story, or magazine –  of course.

(Myra Orlen)

October 6, 2014 in Advice, Exams - Studying, Reading, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Director of Bar Preparation Position at FIU

Job Description:

BRIEF SUMMARY: Reporting to the Assistant Dean for Academic Support and collaborating with other faculty and staff, the Director of Bar Support assists students and graduates as they prepare for the bar exam, both as they progress through the College of Law and after they graduate. The Director develops, implements, and coordinates school-wide initiatives to improve bar passage, including credit-bearing courses and workshops, as needed.


•  Implements, evaluates, and enhances existing bar-preparation services.

•  Teaches in the College of Law’s U.S. Law & Procedure class, a four-credit course designed to support students’ bar preparation. Also supervises adjunct instructors and guests involved in the course.

•  Improves and expands existing programs, including: providing a clearinghouse of bar preparation information; collaborating with commercial bar preparation companies to assist students with their bar preparation efforts; working with faculty to coordinate a mentor program to provide individual mentors to graduates preparing for the bar; tracking at-risk students’ preparation for the bar exam and performance on the exam; and providing resources for repeat bar exam takers.

•  Helps individual students and graduates develop and execute customized study plans and strategies for passing the bar exam.

•  Creates individual student plans of study after one-on-one meetings with all 2L, 3L, and 4L students.

•  Provides counseling and mentoring for students and graduates, starting in first semester 3L year.

•  Provides advice on course selection for bar preparation purposes.

•  Provides general assistance about bar application completion and character and fitness questions with the assistance of the Dean of Students.

•  Meets regularly with students and graduates who are preparing for the bar exam, reviews sample bar exam essays, and provides analysis and feedback to help them improve their skills.

•  Coordinates instruction and assessments for bar preparation course and provides feedback on student work product.

•  Analyzes bar exam results (including statistical analysis) and provides regular reports concerning results.

•  Provides bar-related information to faculty members regarding topics tested and recent bar exam questions in the faculty member’s area of teaching. Encourages and supports faculty development with respect to the bar exam.

•  Develops web page, social media, and other communications describing bar support program and services.

•  Stays abreast of bar exam developments in Florida and nationally and evaluates new developments in the delivery of bar support by law schools.

•  Regularly attends and develops relationships at regional and national bar support conferences, with efforts to develop a leadership role.

•  Secondarily participates in efforts to support all students’ law school success.

•  Performs other duties as assigned.

October 4, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Upcoming Conference - Watch for Future Registration Information

Engaging the Entire Class—Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning

Spring Conference 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The UCLA School of Law and the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (ILTL) are collaborating to present a one-day conference in Los Angeles on February 28, 2015. The conference theme is:  “Engaging the Entire Class—Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning.”

Conference Structure:  The conference will include an opening and closing led by ILTL Co-Directors and Consultants, and five workshop sessions. Each workshop session will be presented by a teacher featured in What the Best Law Teachers Do. 

Conference Presenters: Workshop presenters include:

  • Patti Alleva (University of North Dakota)
  • Steve Friedland (Elon University)
  • Steven Homer (University of New Mexico)
  • Nancy Levit (University of Missouri – Kansas City)
  • Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA)

By the end of the conference, participants will have concrete ideas for enhancing participation and inclusion in law school classrooms to take back to their students, colleagues, and institutions.


October 4, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Welcome Charles Splawn to ASP Work


Please welcome Charles "Chuck" Splawn as Academic and Bar Support Skills Instructor at Elon University School of Law. Chuck began his position in March 2014.  Here is some background information from Antonette Barilla, Director of Academic and Bar Support/Assistant Professor at Elon, to help you get to know him:

Charles Splawn was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in North Carolina. He is married to his lovely wife Allison, 29 years and counting.  He is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and his law career included general private practice, litigation management as in-house counsel for an insurance company, and corporate law involving mergers & acquisitions. 

In 2001 he fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a teacher by joining the faculty of the Legal Studies Department at Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC), in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  He was selected Professor of the Year at HGTC in May 2006 and served as President of Faculty Assembly at HGTC for the 2007-2008 Academic Year.  He is very excited to begin the next phase of his career by returning to the law school environment generally and by becoming part of the Elon Law family specifically.

Please make Chuck feel welcomed when you see him at a conference or workshop!




October 3, 2014 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You passed! You didn't pass. Strike that, reverse it.

Picture this:  Your new suit is pressed and ready, your parents have arrived from out of town, and your celebratory dinner reservation has been made.  Then, you get a call; one you could have never imagined receiving.  You thought you passed the bar exam (because you were on the pass list); but, the State Bar Commission tells you during that fateful phone call that there was an error.  (Insert menacing music here.)  Unfortunately, they deliver the news that there was a clerical error and that you actually did not pass the bar exam.  What???  How could this happen?

This is exactly what happened in Nebraska this week when three almost attorneys were called 24 hours before being sworn in and told that they fell just a few points short of passing the bar exam even though they were initially told that they had passed.  One phone call changed their life.  While I often remind students that this is just an exam, it is an exam that consumes extensive amounts of time, money, and willpower.  It is not an exam that anyone (other than a select few) wants to take over and over. 

Mistakes happen.  However, with high stakes testing such as the bar exam, shouldn't there be more stringent standards in place so that mistakes of this magnitude do not occur?  If our society relies on the bar exam to determine a lawyer's competency to practice law, are we not also allowed to require those who administer the bar exam to be competent?  With news such as this from Nebraska, we may need to start asking, who polices the gatekeepers?


Lisa Bove Young

October 2, 2014 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Multitasking: You Lose More Than You Gain

Multitasking is a way of life for those who’ve grown up in the digital era. You might be talking face-to-face with a friend but you are also texting or checking social media. Even those of us who grew up “b.c.” (before computers) now consider multitasking an essential skill. Why simply drive somewhere when you can drive and talk to someone on the phone? We are busy. We need to multitask. We are good at it. Well, we might not be as good as we think. Research shows that when people do several things at once, they do all of them worse than those who focus on one thing at a time. Multitaskers take longer to complete tasks, make more mistakes, and remember less. In addition, research into multitasking while learning shows that learners have gaps in knowledge, more shallow understanding of the material, and more difficulty transferring the learning to new contexts.

For many, multitasking has become such the norm that you don’t even think about it, you just do it. That’s the problem—you don’t think. However, take a minute to consider why you multitask. Is there an actual need for it? No. You do it because technology has made it possible, because you want to, because meetings/classes are boring, because you don’t want to wait. This is not to say that you shouldn’t watch tv while getting dressed in the morning. But do think twice before multitasking while preparing for and during class. You don’t need to check social media while reading cases. You don’t have to check fantasy football stats during class discussion. Although switching between these tasks may only add a time cost of less than a second, this adds up as you do it over and over again. Class requires focus and multitasking distracts your brain from fully engaging with the material.

The next time you go to class, put the phone on silent and put it away, turn off the internet or shut your lap top. Then focus on the professor and what is going on in the class. The first few minutes will be tough because your brain isn’t used to focusing on one task at a time. However, it won’t take long before your brain realizes it only has to do one thing. You will concentrate more deeply and learn so much more than your classmates who are busy tweeting how bored they are, checking fantasy football stats, and not picking up the exam tip the professor just gave. (KSK)

This idea for this post came from Sara Sampson, OSU Moritz College of Law’s Assistant Dean for Information Services. She made a short presentation on this topic at orientation and was so kind to share her notes and research. Thank you!

October 1, 2014 in Advice, Bar Exam Preparation, Exams - Studying, Reading, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Law School Exams: Call of the Question

A good piece of advice from academic support professionals and law professors for students taking law school exams is to begin with the “call of the question.”  Who is calling, and what do they want? 

The call of the question is the question part of the essay exam.  This sounds like nonsense.  Why not just read the question from start to finish?  The reason to read the call of the question first is to have a road map of where you are asked to go when reading the fact pattern.  The call of the question can generally be found at the bottom of the essay.  One example of a call of the question is, “Discuss the potential causes of action against Defendant and his defenses.”  This is an open ended or “issue spotting” type question.  Another style is an “issue spotted” question like, “You are the prosecutor in this case.  Can Joe be convicted of burglary under the statute?”  This question is asking you to analyze only one issue, that is burglary from the viewpoint of the prosecutor.  By reading the call of the question first you will be able to narrow the issues to those the professor wants you to address, thus improving your performance. (Bonnie Stepleton)


September 30, 2014 in Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ASP Position at Howard University School of Law

Hello all --
Howard University School of Law is looking for a Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation.  The job description is attached.
To apply Contact:  
Dean Danielle Holley-Walker, 202-806-8000
Associate Dean Lisa Crooms-Robinson,, 202-806-8003
Responsible for the overall academic mission of the law school by developing and implementing a formal academic success and bar preparation program that encourages a high level of academic performance for all students.
Manages all part-time workers and volunteers in relation to the academic success and bar preparation program.
Internal contacts include administrators, faculty, students and staff. External contacts include alumni, visitors, general public, and members and officials of professional legal organizations, University officials, and any other law affiliated institutions and agencies.
Design and develop an academic success curriculum which will include emphasis on developing analytical and writing skills, time management, and other skills that will assist law students in achieving a high level of academic experience.
Identify, develop, and assess the essential skills law school students need to achieve academic success, with a focus on critical reading, legal analysis and writing.
Initiate strategies to work with students identified for inclusion in program to communicate the benefits of participation into the program.
Assess the academic support program and make periodic reports to the administration and faculty on the program progression and outcomes for review and revisions as may be deemed necessary.
Implement and provide oversight for the School of Law bar preparation program to include identifying at risk 3L students, working with vendors of commercial bar courses, and providing one-on-one tutoring for students who are studying for the bar exam.  The Director will work with the Bar Task Force during this process.
Analyze bar exam results of students and develop lectures, writing tutorials, or any other programs to address weaknesses in student bar performance.
In conjunction with other units of the University, including the Office of Institutional Assessment and Evaluation, determine how to best access and utilize University resources and expertise around learning, assessment and professional licensure.
Respond to requests for information from students and faculty and provide written inquiries, supervise and/or perform statistical research for completion of reports, and other analytical data as requested or needed.
Performs any other duties as may be assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Dean.
Comprehensive knowledge of the principles, practices, methodologies and techniques involved in academic success and bar preparation in a law school.
Demonstrate prior success in this area through direct academic support experience or through relevant practical experience in private practice or public sector work.
Must possess a strong academic record that demonstrates potential for successfully leading a law school academic success and bar preparation program.
Excellent communications skills with competence in both oral and written English.
Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to exercise a high degree of accuracy, diplomacy, and confidentiality.
Knowledge of personal computers and accompanying word processing, database, spreadsheet and presentation software.
Ability to exercise sound judgment in handling competing demands.
Ability to work cooperatively with individuals and organizations both internal and external to the University, including students from various backgrounds.
Ability to provide counseling and advisement to students in an expeditious and courteous manner.
Ability to interact with others using judgment and decorum and to relate effectively with the law school faculty and legal community.
Ability to interpret and apply policies, rules and regulations accurately and to exercise independent judgment consistent with University policies and other governing regulations.
Ability to handle tasks independently and to assist in other areas as necessary.
Ability to maintain harmonious working relationship with staff, students, faculty, University officials and the general public.
J.D. or equivalent degree from an ABA approved law school and be a licensed attorney in good standing. Two to four years of relevant experience, with preference given to applicants who have experience in developing and directing academic support programs and bar preparation design and implementation.
Note: This position description should not be construed to imply that these requirements are the exclusive standards of the position. Incumbents will follow any other instructions, and perform any other related duties, as may be required. The university has the right to revise this position description at any time. This position description is not be construed as a contract for employment.

September 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Time Management and Legal Research and Writing

Time management and doctrinal classes can be challenging enough.  However, when Legal Research and Writing assignments are thrown into the mix, your schedule can get even more challenging. 

First, create a weekly schedule as a way to effectively manage your time. Start by penciling in your classes; then add work hours, if any, and regular appointments. Next block out study times for each class (4-5 hours for every hour that you are in class).  Remember to add breaks -- every now and then.  Do not try to study for hours on end -- without breaks of, say 10-15 minutes, after 60-90 minutes of study. 

Next, look at your Legal Research and Writing Syllabus- note the deadlines for major writing assignments and work backward from those deadlines.  When will you complete your draft?  When will you outline the assignment?  When will you finish the bulk of the required research?  Add these tasks to your weekly schedule to maximize the likelihood that you will not be doing the bulk of the work the day before the assignment is due.   Try to leave time to print out your draft and set it aside for a while (24 hours is a good goal) -- before your final proofread and edit.

If you stray from your weekly schedule once or twice, do not discard the schedule.  Instead, try to get back on the schedule.  Last - but not least - remember to include time for exercise and enjoyment.

(Myra Orlen)

September 29, 2014 in Advice, Study Tips - General, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Director of Academic Excellence Position at WVU

Job Description: Director of Academic Excellence

West Virginia University College of law invites applications for the position of Director of the Academic Excellence Center ( The Academic Excellence Center seeks to enhance the academic performance of law students and to help them thrive at every stage of their law school career and beyond. The Director of the Center works closely with students and faculty to achieve this goal, supporting its mission through a variety of activities, including the Fall & Spring Study Session Programs; one-on-one student counseling; Academic Excellence Fridays (open academic skills workshops); a for-credit bar preparation course for 3Ls; an immersive summer law institute for undergraduates thinking about law school; and a variety of other activities designed to strengthen analytical and test-taking skills.

Qualified applicants should have an outstanding academic record in law school; legal practice experience; teaching experience or superb potential for teaching effectively. The applicant should also be an admitted member of the bar of any state and have a demonstrated ability to establish and maintain a positive working relationship with entities outside the law school, including the State Board of Law Examiners and commercial bar preparation vendors. A degree in education or counseling and experience in working with a wide variety of students, including those with learning disabilities and mental health issues, is an advantage, but not required.  In addition, a deep interest in current research about how adults learn best would be ideal.

This is a full-time, ten-month position with the opportunity to rise through the ranks of Teaching Assistant Professor, Teaching Associate Professor, and Teaching Professor.  The Director of Academic Excellence will be a full-time faculty member entitled to vote and participate in faculty governance in all matters except promotion and tenure decisions regarding faculty members on the tenure track.  This is an exciting time to join the WVU College of Law, which is in the final phase of an extensive renovation that will include a prominent Academic Services Center that features the Office of Academic Excellence. The College of Law recognizes that the Center is an essential resource for helping each student reach his or her maximum potential, and the work of the Academic Excellence Director is highly valued.

 WVU Law is committed to building a multicultural and inclusive work force that includes diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, military service, disabilities, social background, and experience. Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. WVU Law has established  a place among the nation’s leading public law schools. WVU Law was recently ranked 15th best in the country in public interest law; 16th best-value law school in preLaw Magazine; and in the top 100 (rank 83) by U.S. News and World Report. WVU Law also received the excellence in Pro Bono Award from Super Lawyer Magazine in 2012 for its outstanding clinical law program. Our core values include excellence in scholarship, teaching and service, close student/faculty interaction, diversity and inclusivity, respectful/professional behavior, community, and justice. Founded in 1878, and member of the Association of American Law schools (1914) and accredited by the American Bar Association (1924), WVU Law is the sole law school serving West Virginia, but attracts many students from other states and countries. WVU Law is located in Morgantown, a vibrant university community ranked one of the top small cities in the country. Faculty and students enjoy the convenience of a small city combined with the cultural opportunities of a metropolitan area. West Virginia’s beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities are easily accessible from Morgantown, as are the cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Please address letters to Appointments Committee Co-Chair Robert Bastress c/o Toni Sebree, West Virginia University College of Law, P.O. Box 6130, Morgantown, WV 26506-6130.

September 27, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Director of Bar Preparation and Support Position at NCCU

Job Posting - Director of Bar Preparation and Support at NCCU School of Law

North Carolina Central University School of Law is in the process of hiring a director of bar preparation and support.  Information about the position is below.  Please forward this e-mail to anyone who might be interested,  All inquiries should be sent to Professor Kia Vernon at


North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law seeks applications for the position of Director of Bar Preparation and Support. The successful candidate will be appointed to a 12-month, full-time, non-tenure track, renewable contract position.   NCCU is a historically Black university located in Durham, North Carolina.  The University offers traditional undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences and select pre-professional, professional and graduate programs.  The School of Law has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for its affordability and its clinical programs.  More information about NCCU School of Law is available at

The School of Law’s mission has long been to provide an education and a voice to the underserved.    As a school of opportunity, NCCU School of Law works to maximize the potential of students who often come from populations that are underrepresented in the legal field.  For those reasons, we look forward to welcoming applications from those who are particularly eager to work with our diverse and unique student body.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The duties of the Director of Bar Preparation and Support include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementing, evaluating and enhancing the School of Law’s current bar preparation program, including, but not limited to organizing the summer and winter programs, reviewing written submissions from students and offering feedback.
  • Expanding existing programs by providing a clearinghouse of bar preparation materials, collaborating with commercial bar preparation companies to assist students with their bar preparation efforts, coordinating a mentor program to provide assistance to graduates preparing for the bar, tracking at-risk students’ preparation for the bar exam and providing resources for repeat bar takers.
  • Researching and developing innovative programs which incorporate research and statistical information to increase bar passage rates.
  • Working with individual students to develop and execute customized study plans and strategies for passing the bar exam.
  • Providing individual and group feedback and strategies to enhance writing and analytical skills.
  • Mentoring and counseling students and graduates from first year through post bar exam.
  • Teaching sections of the School of Law’s bar preparation courses.
  • Providing supplementary bar preparation workshops.
  • Tracking the results of the School of Law’s bar examination applicants.
  • Partnering with the School of Law’s Academic Support Unit and serving as an ex officio member of the School of Law’s Bar Enhancement and Retention Committee and the School of Law’s Academic Outcomes Committee to identify and aid students who may be at an increased risk for unsuccessful performance.
  • Providing a resource and information database for faculty who seek to incorporate bar examination material into their doctrinal teachings and research.
  • Collaborating with the faculty and administration at the School of Law to develop and implement new components of the bar preparation program.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • A juris doctor degree from an ABA accredited institution.
  • A member in good standing with a state bar, preferably the North Carolina State Bar.
  • An outstanding law school academic record.
  • One year experience working with bar preparation programs that would suggest fitness to provide creative direction in a burgeoning and developing program.
  • Experience in course development and delivery.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bar support work at a law school.
  • Proven success in raising bar pass rate at a law school.
  • Experience working with the North Carolina bar exam.

  • Previous experience directing a bar exam program either in a law school or for a commercial provider.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required:

  • Excellent interpersonal, organization, analytical and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to develop and manage higher educational programs.
  • Knowledge of academic programs pertaining to law school students.
  • Knowledge of and ability to perform research and statistical analysis.
  • Ability to work independently and be a self-starter with demonstrated initiative.
  • Able to relate to students, faculty, University personnel, and external constituents.
  • Ability to follow through.

Application Procedure:

In addition to the North Carolina State Application, please submit a cover letter, resume, transcript, student evaluations (2 most recent years, if applicable), and three professional reference letters to Professor Kia Vernon ( Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and continue until the position is filled. Successful completion of a criminal background check is required for final candidates. NCCU is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to providing career opportunities to all people, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. The North Carolina State Application can be found on the NCCU website (


September 27, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Working with Each Individual Student's Choices

I really enjoy my students.  It is a privilege to help them reach their academic potential.  With new strategies, encouragement, and regular support many of the students who were struggling can make a major turn-around.  When they stop by or email me to tell me about the high grade on a midterm, a positive critique on a paper, their first B grades in law school, and other triumphs, I share their joy. 

Each student is unique in the combination of learning styles, personal and academic challenges, course difficulties, and more.  Although there are strategies that work for most students, those strategies may not be a match with others. 

I discuss with my students that the materials that I give them will pull together strategies that have worked for many students - strategies that are based on memory and learning theory as well as other research.  I explain the reasons for the strategies and their relevance to grades, future bar passage, and ultimately to practice.  I also encourage them that if the strategies do not work for them as individuals that we need to explore what strategies will work for them.  We can work as a team to modify approaches or brainstorm new approaches that will work.

Most students are eager to become more successful learners.  They readily become part of the team to improve their academics.  They want to learn more deeply, to improve their skills, and to improve their later performance on the bar exam and in practice.  The meetings become a dialogue seeking the strategies that work best for them as individuals.  We discuss, tweak, and brainstorm together.

One challenge to a team effort is that some students are resistant to any change in their study habits even when their grades indicate that their past strategies have not been successful.  Change is frightening when the consequence of not making grades is dismissal from law school.  Change is stressful when they are struggling with the first bad grades in a lifetime and silently question whether  other law students are smarter.  Change is very uncomfortable when old habits feel so safe in comparison to new techniques. 

With these students, I discuss strategies that will move their studies closer to success within their limited comfort with change.  As they see positive results with small steps, they are often willing to try additional small changes.  Unfortunately, because they limit the number and range of strategies, they often also limit their academic improvement compared to other students who are open to change.

Another challenge to a team effort is that some students are not invested in their academics to a level that allows them to live up to their true academic potential.  For a few, the reality is that responsibilities and circumstances outside of law school limit their time for studying.  Examples of these aspects would be care for elderly parents, serious medical illness in the family, personal illness, or financial problems.  For other students, the extra hours that law school requires to get high grades does not seem worth the effort.  They are content with studying enough hours to keep their grades above the academic standards but not more than that amount. 

With these students, I work together to get more results from the time invested.  Where time is being consumed by study methods that get little oomph, it can be boosted by more effective strategies.  Often undergraduate study methods can be modified for law study to get more traction. These students can still improve some - though again the reality is that their improvement is likely to be less than students who have more hours to invest in effective study.

Throughout the process, I try to encourage students, to read between the lines as to what is going on with them, and to be supportive.  Each student has to make a decision as to what strategies are feasible to implement within the personal framework of that student.  The individual's parameters will determine the student's overall success in academics.  I can be a guide and a partner in the process.  The student has to make the final choices as to time and effort.  I have to respect their choices even when I recognize that they will not meet their full academic potential.  (Amy Jarmon)        




September 26, 2014 in Learning Styles, Miscellany, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Quick Web and App Tips from Students

The following web sites and applications have been suggested by law students to help other law students:

  • Flashcard Machine: website and app that allow the making of flashcards, random sort, and temporary removal from the deck (
  • Quizlet: website and apps for flashcards, fill-in-the-blank, and essay questions; can share with others (
  • SelfControl: Mac app for blocking websites, e-mail, and internet for set time period (
  • Chrome Nanny: a Google Chrome extension to block time-wasting websites
  • Facebook Nanny: another Google Chrome extension to block your Facebook access unless you have a notifications
  • Blotter: app for Mac users for desktop time management schedule

If you have apps and websites that are your favorites, please send me an e-mail with the heading "Apps and Websites" at so that I may share them with our readers.  (Amy Jarmon)


September 25, 2014 in Exams - Studying, Miscellany, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reminder: October 1st Deadline for Nominations for the AALS Academic Support Section Award


The Awards Committee for the AALS Section on Academic Support is soliciting nominations for our section award.  The Association of American Law Schools Section on Academic Support’s Award will be presented at the January 2015 AALS meeting and will be awarded to an outstanding member of the ASP community.  Please review the eligibility and criteria information below and send nominations directly to Awards Committee Chair, Joyce Savio Herleth via email The deadline to submit nominations is October 1, 2014 at 5pm PDT.  For a nomination to be considered, it must include (at a minimum) a one to two paragraph explanation of why the nominee is deserving of the award.  Only AALS ASP Section members may make nominations, but all those within the ASP community may be nominated.  Membership in the section is free and can be processed within minutes at AALS Section Membership.  For detailed instructions on how to become a member, please view this page:

Eligibility and Criteria for Selection.  The eligible nominees for the Award will be Section members and any other individuals who have made significant or long-term contributions to the development of the field of law student academic support.  All legal educators, regardless of the nature or longevity of their appointment or position, who have at some point in their careers worked part-time or full-time in academic support are eligible for the Award.  The Award will be granted to recognize those who have made such contributions through any combination of the following activities:  assumption of leadership roles in the ASP community; support to and mentoring of colleagues; service to institutions, including but not limited to schools, the ASP Section, and to other organizations; expansion of legal opportunities to traditionally underserved segments of society; teaching and presenting; and scholarship, both traditional and creative. 

Law schools, institutions, or organizations cannot receive an award.  Prior year or current year Section officers are excluded from being selected as an award winner.

Joyce Savio Herleth
Director of Academic Support

Saint Louis University School of Law
100 North Tucker Blvd.

St. Louis, MO  63101-1930 
(314) 977-7247

September 24, 2014 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Procrastination 101

You don’t procrastinate. You perform better under pressure. This may be true but it is more likely how you justify putting things off.  Admit it, just a few weeks ago you told yourself that you were going to stay on top of thing this semester. Law student: start outlining early and be prepared for every class. Professor: get the whole semester planned before classes begin, work on your article every week without fail. You would make no excuses. Then you got busy and more important things came up: moot court try-outs/practice, organizing an event for some organization (of which you are probably the president), your friend’s birthday (you only turn 23 once). Admit it, you procrastinate. Everyone procrastinates sometimes but it should not be the norm. Procrastination may be something you do (or avoid doing) but it should not define you. We procrastinate for many reasons: daunting task, fear of failure, too many options. Whatever the reason, procrastinating actually increases your stress and only puts off the inevitable. Now that you’ve admitted you procrastinate, it’s time to do something about it.

Begin with identifying why you avoid starting a task and address it: break a daunting project into smaller tasks, allow yourself to make a few mistakes along the way, list the cons of waiting until the last minute and the benefits of starting early. The hardest part is turning your aspirations into actions. Identify a positive attribute that describes you and use that to define your actions then pick a start date and hold yourself accountable (arrange to meet a classmate and work together, set up a meeting with your professor to ask questions or get feedback, block out the time on your calendar so you can’t fill it with other things). Take it one day at a time and take back the control. Don’t wait until tomorrow, stop procrastinating today. (KSK)

September 24, 2014 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Being Called on in Class

By now students may have been called on to speak in class.  Some professors cold call, while others announce who will be on panel in advance.  In either case, being relaxed and alert in class is important.  For those who are subject to cold calling, the act of random calling in and of itself can cause anxiety.  Rather than anticipating the discussion, students worry about hearing their name and not knowing the “answer.”  

 Some strategies for being called on in class are:

If a you are called on in class and freeze, take a deep breath in and out through your nose.  What seems like an eternity to you will only be a couple of seconds, as perceived by others. This will give you time to center your thoughts and gain control of your voice. 

Before it is your turn to be on panel, or before you choose to volunteer, listen to what the professor asks.  Pay attention to what other students say and what the professor’s follow up questions are.  You should try and answer the question silently in your mind and compare how well you do. 

If you book brief, be sure to write meaningful phrases in the margins.  Do not simply write “issue” next to where the issue is in the case.  Write out what might be used as a prompt to remember what the issue was, and therefore be able to speak about it aloud.  Develop a coding system for identifying where in the case the issue is I = issue, then write the phrases.   

Regardless of how prepared you feel to speak, you should speak clearly and loudly enough for the class to hear.

If you are in a study group, members can practice being on panel with each other.  This benefits both the student who will be called on in class as well as the others who must know enough about the topic to ask questions, and follow up questions as a professor would. 

The professional competency of thinking on one’s feet is developed over time by these experiences.  Take advantage of the opportunity, it does get better with practice.  (Bonnie Stepleton)

September 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Reminder - opportunity to present your ASP works-in-progress in Boston on December 8th


The New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals is holding its December conference at Suffolk University Law School on December 8th.

Request for Proposals

Presentation of Scholarly Works in Progress

NECASP has designated time for the presentation of scholarly works in progress at its December conference on Hybrid Learning and Flipped Classroom Principles.  The subject of the work to be presented must be related to Law School Academic Support or Bar Study/Passage.

If you wish to present a “work in progress” the proposal process is as follows:

  1. Submit your proposal by September 26, 2014, via email to .
  2. Proposals may be submitted as a Word document or as a PDF
  3. Proposals must include the following:
    1. Name and title, of presenter
    2. Law School
    3. Address, Email address, and telephone number
    4. Title of work in progress to be presented
    5. Abstract of your scholarly work in progress, no more than 500 words
    6. Statement regarding the status of the work; i.e., whether in outline form, early draft, or near completion).
    7. Media or computer presentation needs.
    8. As noted above, proposals are due on September 26, 2014.  The NECASP Board will review the proposals and reply to each by October 3, 2014.

    (Myra Orlen)

September 22, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Welcome Kandace Kukas to Western New England School of Law


Please welcome Kandace Kukas to ASP work at Western New England.  Her faculty profile can be found on the faculty page at WNE at Faculty Profiles WNE - Kandace Kukas.  Here is a short bio for her:

Kandace Kukas is the new Assistant Dean and Director of Bar Admission Programs at Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Kandace started July 1st and jumped right in to working with the class of 2014.  She is responsible for creating a comprehensive bar admission program working with the entire School of Law community.  For the previous 17 years she worked in test preparation and the last 9 in bar review. 

When you see Kandace at a workshop or conference, please give her a warm welcome to our ASP community.  (Amy Jarmon)


September 19, 2014 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are you an ASP professional who wants to become a member of the ASP listserv?

ASP professionals working at law schools can sign up for the academic support listserv.  Members of the listserv can post resources for others and post questions to solicit colleagues' advice.  Thank you to Louis Schulze for sending the instructions to share with those who are not currently on the listserv:

To sign up for the ASP listserv, follow these steps:  

Address email to

No subject

In the body of the message enter:  subscribe list_name your_first_name your_last_name title school_name


list_name is the name of the list you wish to subscribe to,

your_first_name is your first name,

your_last_name is your last name

title and school_name are optional

If this does not result in a subscription email in one week, people should contact Lawrence Adameic at


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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reading cases and preparing for exams


Most of you are well within your first month of law school and may have had your first quiz or a writing assignment which may have made you question your decision to be in law school.   It’s understandable but don’t be too hard on yourself.  Keep in mind that if you already had all of the answers, then you wouldn’t be in law school.  You are here to learn, so be open to letting others (your professors, administrators, upper class men) help you navigate this new path.   Below are a few tips on navigating your new path.

1)       I’m sure that many of you have been told that it’s important to be active readers in law school and not just passively read the cases.   In case you’re still trying to figure out what that means, here are a few suggestions to help become an active reader.  Read with a purpose.  Know why you are reading a particular case and how it fits within the big picture.  You may want to consult the table of contents or the course syllabus to figure out what topic or issue the case will address.   Once you have an idea of what to look for in a case, you may consider referring to an outside source (a study aid) to gain some general knowledge about the term.   As you read your cases, keep the issue at the forefront of your mind to anchor your thinking.   Ask yourself as you read the case, what does this case tell me about this issue (the anchor)? Is the court explaining the issue? Is it dividing the issue into elements or explaining one of the elements?  Try to figure out what the court is doing? Is it creating a new rule, rejecting an old rule or explaining or redefining an existing rule?[1]

2)      If you have an upcoming quiz or test, I would strongly suggest that you test your understanding of concepts you covered in class prior to taking the quiz.  There are several ways to test your knowledge.  For example, after you’ve read a series of cases on a particular rule, try to create your own hypothetical to explain how a rule or element is applied.  Include a sentence or two on the relevant facts to aid in your explanation and note which facts trigger each issue or element.  Also, you can use study aids such as Examples and Explanations to find practice questions on a discrete topic.   The point is you should not enter any quiz, assessment, or exam without having tested your understanding of the material and without having completed at least one or two practice questions.

3)      After you’ve taken a quiz or exam, you must review your exam.  If you are not happy with the grade that you received, you must make an appointment to review your answers with your professors.  Before going to your professor’s office, I would caution you to review your answers first.  Otherwise, you run the risk of not getting the most out of your meeting.  Review your notes and your outline and determine for yourself where the weak areas are or what you could have strengthened.  Then take your assessment to your professor and ask for her opinion on your work.   

4)      Finally, another way to work on developing a deeper understanding of the material is to talk it out with others.  If you are not a study group person, consider a study buddy.  There is value in discussing difficult concepts with your colleagues.   Your classmate may have picked up on something in the case that you missed or may be able to explain the rule to you in a way you hadn’t considered or vice versa.  Also, you are more likely to notice gaps in your knowledge when you discuss cases and rules with your colleagues.   Lastly, there is safety in numbers.  If you and your study buddy or study group don’t understand a particular rule you can make an appointment with the professor together and support each other.  You don’t have to go at it alone.


Happy studying! (LMV)

[1] For more tips on case reading  and genral study advice see Ruta K. Stropus and Charlotte D. Taylor, Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School (Carolina Academic Press 2001)

September 16, 2014 in Advice, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)