Monday, October 20, 2014

Conference: Hybrid Learning & Flipped Classroom Principles in Academic Support

Hybrid Learning & Flipped Classroom Principles in Academic Support

New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) Annual Conference

December 8, 2014   at Suffolk University Law School

 10:00 - 2:45

Morning Workshop: Sara Smith, Instructional Designer

Working Lunch

Afternoon - Presentation of Scholarly Works in Progress:

Dyane O'Leary, Suffolk University School of Law: Flipped out & Blended in: Calling Attention to Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Kristin Pawlawski, Florida Coastal School of Law: -- A Recognition of Digital Media's Influence on the Millenial Generation and the Need for Tech-Savvy Teaching Models to he employed in Higher Ed Institutions.

Tshaka Randall, Florida A&M University college of Law: Using an Online Learning Management System to Provide Feedback Opportunities Through Peer-and-Self-Assessment.

NECASP Business Meeting to be held from 2:45 - 3:15 (Open to all Attendees)

Registration Deadline: November 17, 2014:

Registration fee of $25.00 - To register send fee (check payable to the New England Consortiumof Academic Support Professionals) to Kandace J. Kukas, Assistant Dean & Director of Bar Passage, Western New England University School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01119.

Include your name, title, school, address, and email. 

  (Myra Orlen)

October 20, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Law School Action Comics #7


(Alex Ruskell)

October 19, 2014 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Welcome Mary Ann Becker to the ASP Community


Please welcome Mary Ann Becker!  Mary Ann is the Associate Director of Writing Programs and Academic Support at Loyola Unviersity Chicago School of Law.  Thank you to Jennifer Brendel, the Director, for providing more information on Mary Ann:

Before joining Loyola’s faculty as the Associate Director of Writing Programs and Academic Support, Mary Ann Becker taught legal research and writing to first, second, and third year students at DePaul University College of Law for seven years.  She had also acted as the interim assistant director of the legal writing program at DePaul and was a member of Board of Editors for The Second Draft.  Before teaching, she worked as a litigation attorney in Chicago.  She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in French language and literature and she earned her J.D. from DePaul University.  Though new to academic support, she will be presenting an article she wrote at Duquesne’s December 6 conference, Teaching the Academically Underprepared Law Student, and she looks forward to meeting many of you soon!

Mary Ann's faculty profile can be found here: Mary Ann Becker.  Please welcome her when you see her at a conference or workshop.

October 17, 2014 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 16, 2014


There are several new books on the market for Academic Support Professionals and for law students.  In a series of posts, I will review a few of those books and some of the tried and true ones that I often turn to when I am in need of some words of wisdom or professional guidance.

First, I am reviewing a book published last year by the American Bar Association, PASS THE BAR EXAM written by Professor Sara J. Berman.  This book provides a step by step guide for individuals embarking on their journey to pass the bar examination.  Not only does this book provide crucial details about the bar exam, it guides readers to understand who they are learners and thinkers.  It offers interactive questions, quizzes, and exercises to increase thoughtful reflection and a deeper awareness of the motivational factors required for successful bar passage.  One highlight for Professors and Academic Support Educators is that the Teacher’s Edition provides many useful tools that can be integrated into Bar Support Classes and Programs.

Professor Berman’s two decades of experience is illuminated in this text and the teacher’s manual.  This resource can help make studying for the bar exam more manageable and less stressful.   If you are thinking about starting a Bar Support Program at your law school, if you are a student seeking a framework for bar strategy and success, or a Professor who wants to integrate more bar support into your curriculum, this book is a great place to begin.



October 16, 2014 in Bar Exam Preparation, Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Test-Taking Strategies: Mid-terms and Beyond

Mid October means time for mid-terms. In addition to preparing for the substance, you should also prepare for the exam experience. Here are a few tips for getting and staying focused during an exam.

  • Before the      exam begins: Sit calmly and do not think about anything or anyone      else. Listen carefully to instructions. Do not worry about any other part      of the exam. Focus solely on what is right in front of you. Take      it one step at a time.
  • When the exam      begins: Look at the first question and take a second to      remind yourself that you can do this. Start smoothly, work efficiently,      and remain focused and calm.
  • If you get      stuck: Take a breath and take it one step at a time. (1) Identify      the issue. This will help you regain your composure and lead you back to      the process of thinking like a lawyer. (2) Look at the facts,      starting with the nouns: identify parties and legal relationships. Then      look at the verbs: what are the parties doing? Identify acts or omissions.      Next, look at the adjectives and adverbs, dates and sequence of events. Your      professor included them for a reason. Identify the connection to the nouns      and verbs. (3) Develop a rule using legal terms like reasonable,      intentional, foreseeable, exceeds the scope, etc. (4) Stay calm and      continue to work through the question.
  • After the exam      is over:Put it      behind you. You did the best you could and (over)thinking about perceived      mistakes or perfection only leads to a false sense of performance. Don’t      discuss it with your classmates. This is the cardinal rule of exams. Invariably      someone will bring up an issue that you didn’t see (or vice versa) and you      won’t be able to stop thinking about it and will convince yourself that      you bombed the test. If someone asks you how you did, just respond with, “I      did the best I could.”

Go into the mid-term ready to handle the substance, manage your time, and keep your cool. If you can do this, you will surely succeed. (KSK)

October 15, 2014 in Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Taking Control over Exam Study

We have just passed the halfway point in our semester.  Up until now, most students have been focused on daily survival and have not thought much about their exams.  Now is the time for them to allot time for exam study as well as for daily class preparation.

Why become a two-task law student?  Most semesters are 14-15 weeks long.  To try to learn that amount of material closer to the end of the semester is a daunting task.  By spreading exam study over a longer period, students gain several advantages:

  1. Deeper understanding of the material - how it works rather than just rote memory
  2. Greater retention - multiple reviews create long-term memory
  3. More practice question time - monitoring what one really knows and can apply
  4. More exam-taking experience - practice questions allow exam strategies to become auto-pilot rather than uncomfortable

There are several things that law students can do to take control over their exam study.  First, they can compile their current knowledge about each course exam.  That knowledge may come from the syllabus, the professor's comments in class, or other sources. 

Categories of information might include: question formats, open- or closed-book, length of the exam, any topics excluded from the exam, a practice database provided by the professor, or suggested supplements.  After indicating what they already know, they can determine what additional information they want to find out over the remainder of the semester.

Here is an example format that could be used for each course:



Course #1: Torts

At least 3 long fact-pattern essay questions

At least 25 multiple-choice questions

Partially open book

Prof recommends CALI lessons

Practice essay questions on prof's course website


 Prof will tell us more about any material not on the exam two weeks beforehand

No information yet on what partially open book means

Second, students can compile the list of topics and subtopics that require study for the exam.  For courses in which they have the entire semester's syllabus, the list can be completed through the end of the semester.  For courses in which they get the syllabus in chunks, the list can be completed through the current chunk and expanded in future weeks.

By completing this step, students are less likely to underestimate the amount of information that will be on the exam.  By breaking the topics into subtopics, students can focus on learning small chunks when they have time instead of waiting to find huge blocks of time (as in "It will take me all weekend to learn negligence.")

Here is an example format that could be used for each course:

Course: ____Torts________ TOPICS AND SUBTOPICS ON EXAM






  • Intent
  • Intentional Tort of Battery
  • Intentional Tort of Assault
  • Intentional Tort of False Imprisonment
  • Intentional Tort of Trespass to Land
  • Intentional Tort of Trespass to Chattels
  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • Defenses

By looking carefully at their weekly schedules, they can often carve out pockets of time for exam review that they thought did not exist. 

  • Is their reading and briefing taking less time now for a particular course because they are more efficient?
  • Are they sleeping in on the weekends when they could capture 1 or 2 hours of exam review time?
  • Do they waste blocks of time on digital distractions such as email, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.?
  • Can they spend 1 hour instead of 2 hours at the gym? 
  • Could they study until 7 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday night rather than knocking off at 3 p.m.?

By making a schedule of those captured times, students are more likely to follow through on their exam review:











8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

8:30 - 10:00 p.m.

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

3:00 - 6:00 p.m.

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

3:00 - 7:00 p.m.




Students gain more control when they garner information about their exams, list exactly what to study, and capture wasted time from their schedules for exam review.  As they begin to see progress - even in small steps on their topic/subtopic list - they can gain confidence.  As they highlight their progress on exam subtopics and keep to their time commitments for review, they will feel more positive about the upcoming end of classes and exam period. (Amy Jarmon)

 Taking Control: 1. Information
 2. Content 3. Time

October 10, 2014 in Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Start spreading the news: The UBE in NY

New York is considering the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination.  That is one sentence I did not imagine that I would be writing in 2014.  But, it is true.  NY may be the 15th state to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam.  The New York State Board of Law Examiners (SBLE) has recommended to the New York Court of Appeals that the current bar examination be replaced with the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) beginning with the July 2015 administration.  This news made me wonder, “What are the benefits of the UBE and why would a state like New York want to adopt it?”

The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) to test the knowledge and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate prior to becoming licensed to practice law. It is comprised of six Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) essays, two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) tasks, and the Multistate Bar Examination(MBE). It is uniformly administered, graded, and scored by user jurisdictions and results in a portable score that can be used by applicants who seek admission in jurisdictions that accept UBE scores. 

When a law school graduate takes the UBE, they can use their UBE score to apply to other UBE jurisdictions for bar licensure.  The following jurisdictions have adopted the UBE: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Colorado; Idaho; Minnesota; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; New Hampshire; North Dakota; Utah; Washington; and Wyoming.  With New York possibly on board and other states considering it, the UBE is beginning to look more like a national exam. 

Since many law students do not yet know where they would like to practice law, the portability of an applicant’s UBE score allows for more flexibility and mobility.  Law graduates can take the UBE in any UBE jurisdiction and use their score to apply to as many UBE State Bar Associations as they would like.  Instead of sitting for another bar exam, UBE licensed graduates can bypass a second test and apply directly for additional bar licenses with their UBE score.

However, other state specific requirements may also be required.  For example, New York has proposed adding an additional New York specific one hour, 50 question, multiple choice test that would be given on the second day of the UBE.  In order to practice in NY, an applicant would need to pass the UBE, with a score of 266, and score at least 60% on the state specific exam. 

Avoiding a second bar exam is wise since bar exams are costly, excruciatingly difficult, and very time consuming.  Taking the bar exam once is enough!  The Uniform Bar Examination has many benefits- from portable scores, to multijurisdictional practice, to greater employment options.  Having the UBE take a bite out of The Big Apple is a huge move in the right direction for this generation of law graduates.   

If you would like to learn more about the Uniform Bar Examination, please visit The National Conference of Bar Examiners web-page at  If you would like to comment on New York’s proposal to adopt the UBE, you can e-mail your comments to: or write to: Diane Bosse, Chair, New York State Board of Law Examiners, Corporate Plaza, Building 3, 254 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY 12203-5195. Submissions will be accepted until November 7, 2014.




October 9, 2014 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Director of Academic Achievement Position at Savannah Law School

Savannah Law School has an exciting and challenging opportunity for an outgoing, organized and energetic person to serve as Director of Academic Achievement.  The Director of Academic Achievement will facilitate the development of programs and workshops to assist students with their transition to law school, employ academic resource tools and exercises for skills assessment, and promote successful completion of the J. D. program. Teaching assignment includes all P.A.S.S (Professional and Academic Success Seminar) classes, the Advanced Analytical Methods course, and an Advanced Bar Skills course to prepare students to sit for the bar exam.  A key responsibility will be to maintain an interactive web-based informational site, including the academic TWEN site.  This position also assists the Vice Dean of the Campus with modifying existing academic program offerings to make them more accessible for students.

The ideal candidate will have a J.D. from an accredited institution and at least 3 years of successful experience in law teaching with a focus on legal writing and analysis.  Preference will be given to candidates with law school academic support and bar preparation experience. 

SLS is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, marital status, age, disability, color, or religious belief.  Salary will be competitive based on experience.  Interested candidates may submit their letter of interest, along with a current professional resume and the names of three references, to:

Savannah Law School

Attn: Rose Anne Nespica

          Vice Dean

          516 Drayton Street

          Savannah, Georgia 31401



October 8, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Assistant Director for Academic Achievement Position at Cal Western

Assistant Director for Academic Achievement

California Western School of Law


Summary Description:

Under the general direction of the Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement, the Assistant Director of Academic Achievement provides academic support to law students, particularly those at academic risk.  The Assistant Director is primarily responsible for supervising the tutoring program, presenting skills workshops, and working with first-year students who are facing academic difficulty.  The Assistant Director teaches the Academic Achievement Workshop for second-year students and assists alumni who are studying for the California bar exam.


Juris Doctor Degree from an ABA-accredited law school; successful passage of California Bar exam; at least one year of law teaching experience in an academic support or bar preparation program.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Individual must be a self-starter, able to prioritize and complete multiple tasks of varying complexity and urgency in a timely and efficient manner.  The individual must have a firm commitment to provide exemplary services in a demanding and challenging environment.  The individual must demonstrate poise, tactfulness, diplomacy and professionalism when dealing with staff, faculty, students and outside constituents. Must demonstrate a passion for working with students and have a track record of developing robust relationships with students. Experience in course planning, classroom presentations, and one-on-one tutoring is a plus.  Experience in learning theories and effective pedagogy, including formative and summative assessment a plus. Knowledge of California Civil Procedure a plus.  Must have ability to speak effectively to groups.

Must be able to maintain confidentiality.  Must understand confidentiality of student information in accordance with FERPA regulations as well as school policies, and other State and Federal laws.  Must be creative and flexible in order to effectively manage student needs on an individual and group basis.  Demonstrated ability and interest in working with a highly diverse student population are required.

Application Deadline:

October 24, 2014, or until filled

Start Date:

Ideally December 2014 to facilitate transition into the spring trimester

Send materials to:

E-mail: // ATTN: Rikki S. Ueda, Esq., Vice President of Human Resources


October 7, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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

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)

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)

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)