Tuesday, January 9, 2018
A quick check of SSRN reveals that eight new articles were posted in 2017 containing "academic support" or "bar exam" in their title, abstract, or keyword directory. Here is the list, in alphabetical order by first author:
The High Cost of Lowering the Bar. Number of pages: 16. Posted: 01 Jun 2017, Last Revised: 13 Oct 2017. Robert Anderson IV and Derek T. Muller. Pepperdine University School of Law and Pepperdine University - School of Law.
Giving Students a Seat at the Table: Using Team-Based Learning to 'Teach' Criminal Law. Number of pages: 5. Posted: 20 Dec 2017. Shawn Marie Boyne. Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
Using a Case-Progression Approach to Mapping Learning Outcomes and Developing Assessments. Number of pages: 56. Posted: 21 Apr 2017. Jeanette Buttrey, Laura Dannebohm, Vickie Eggers, Joni Larson, Mable Martin-Scott and Kimberly E. O’Leary. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Indiana Tech - Law School, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Indiana Institute of Technology - Indiana Tech Law School, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
The Perfect Practice Exam: The Skill of Legal Analysis. Carolina Academic Press (2017); ISBN: 978-1-63284-320-3. Number of pages: 44. Posted: 08 Aug 2017. Christina Shu Jien Chong. University of San Francisco School of Law
'They're Digging in the Wrong Place:' How Learning Outcomes Can Improve Bar Exams and Ensure Practice Ready Attorneys. Number of pages: 46. Posted: 19 Sep 2017, Last Revised: 02 Oct 2017. Debra Moss Curtis. Nova Southeastern University - Shepard Broad College of Law.
The Case for a Uniform Cut Score. Number of pages: 14. Posted: 01 Aug 2017, Last Revised: 15 Aug 2017. Joan W. Howarth. William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV; Michigan State University College of Law.
Exam-Writing Instruction in a Classroom Near You: Why it Should Be Done and How to Do it. Number of pages: 49. Posted: 24 Feb 2017. Joan Malmud Rocklin. University of Oregon.
Mismatch and Bar Passage: A School-Specific Analysis. UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-40. Number of pages: 16. Posted: 17 Oct 2017. Richard H. Sander and Robert Steinbuch. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law and University of Arkansas at Little Rock - William H. Bowen School of Law.
In addition to these academic support and bar exam-focused articles, 250 papers containing “legal education” as a keyword were also posted last year. The most downloaded legal education article, by far, was “A Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools” by Christopher J. Ryan Jr. (Vanderbilt) and Brian L. Frye (Kentucky). For one blogger’s list of the best legal education articles from 2017, click here. (Kirsha Trychta)
Monday, January 1, 2018
Our Law Professor Blog Network counterpart, Scott Fruehwald, at TaxProf Blog posted his list of the best legal education articles from 2017. As you'll see in the blogpost re-printed in its entirety below, several academic support professors made the list this year. Kudos to the ASP community! (Kirsha Trychta)
* * *
"Weekly Legal Education Roundup: The Best Legal Education Articles of 2017" by Scott Fruehwald
Because the week between Christmas and New Years is typically slow for legal education news, I am going to discuss the best legal education articles from 2017. Several articles in the past year showed the effectiveness of new approaches to legal education. There have also been several excellent articles this year on professional identity development. Finally, measuring outcomes was an important area of research in 2017.
- Louis D. Bilionis (Cincinnati), Bringing Purposefulness to the American Law School's Support of Professional Identity Formation. In February, the Holloran Center at the University of St. Thomas School of Law held a conference entitled The Next Steps of a Professional Formation Social Movement. In his contribution to the conference, Dean Bilionis declared that there needs to be a new mindset on the part of law schools, professors, and other law school professionals to properly help law students develop their professional identities.
- Hillary Burgess (Charlotte, Appalachian), Beyond Learning Objectives: Overview of The Taxonomy of Cognitive Legal Learning Objectives and Outcome Measurements. This is the best article I have seen on learning objectives, assessment objectives, and outcome measurements. Professor Burgess has adopted Bloom's Taxonomy to legal education.
- Jennifer M. Cooper (Tulane) & Regan A. R. Gerung (Wisconsin-Green Bay), Smarter Law Study Habits: An Empirical Analysis of Law Learning Strategies and Relationship with Law GPA. "Both legal educators and law students need to incorporate testing and formative assessment as a study and learning strategy to learn each new topic, not just exam prep. Self-testing and formative assessment are not only critical for success in law school, but help students develop successful learning strategies for the bar exam and as lifelong learners in law practice."
- Heather Field (Hastings), Fostering Ethical Professional Identity in Tax: Using the Traditional Tax Classroom. Professor Heather Field has written an excellent article that explains how to help future tax lawyers develop their professional identities.
- Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), The Next Steps of a Formation-of-Student-Professional Identity Social Movement: Building Bridges Among the Three Key Stakeholders – Faculty and Staff, Students, and Legal Employers and Clients. "The major challenge for this symposium on next steps for the formation-of-student-professional-identity social movement is how substantially to increase the number of law students nationally who experience required professional-identity curriculum."
- Peter H. Huang (Colorado), Adventures in Higher Education, Happiness, and Mindfulness. "This Article analyzes why law schools should teach law students about happiness and mindfulness. This Article discusses how to teach law students about happiness and mindfulness. Finally, this Article provides brief concluding thoughts about how law students can sustain happiness and mindfulness once they graduate from law school."
- Benjamin V. Madison III and Larry O. Natt Gantt, II (Regent), Self-Directedness and Professional Formation: Connecting Two Critical Concepts in Legal Education. "Students want meaningful employment. Nevertheless, many if not most have not recognized the need to make a plan to pursue such employment. Most students have not identified the areas of law that best match their strengths and values. Moreover, most students do not have an intentional plan for exploring roles in the legal profession that would match their strengths, values, and interests. . . The authors explore how law schools can help students in seeking their goal by cultivating self-direction and development of a plan to move toward their goal."
- Deborah Jones Merritt, Ruth Colker, Ellen E. Deason, Monte Smith and Abigail B. Shoben, Formative Assessments: A Law School Case Study. Students who chose formative feedback "achieved significantly higher grades on the final exam even though the assessment score did not factor into their course grade. Notably, students receiving this formative feedback also secured a significantly higher GPA in their other spring-semester classes. Both of these effects persisted after controlling for LSAT score, UGPA, gender, race, and fall-semester grades.
- Louis N. Schulze Jr. (FIU), Using Science to Build Better Learners: One School's Successful Efforts to Raise Its Bar Passage Rates in an Era of Decline. "In this essay, I discuss principles from the science of learning that law schools and students should embrace. In the context of the methods we have implemented at Florida International University College of Law, which had the highest bar passage rate in Florida for three consecutive exams, I detail the project of transforming the learning of law away from the ineffective methods of yore and towards effective strategies that can make a difference on student performance and bar passage."
- William M. Sullivan (lead author of Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law), Professional Formation as Social Movement. The Sullivan article may be the most important article on legal education I've read in the past few years. Its thesis is revolutionary: Law schools not only need to include professional identity formation in the curriculum, they need to frame the curriculum around it. This would indeed be a disruptive innovation, which would create a 21st-century approach to legal education.
- David I.C. Thomson (Denver) and Stephen Daniels (American Bar Foundation), If You Build it, They Will Come: What Students Say About Experiential Learning. "What we learned was that applicants chose Denver Law on several traditional factors (such as cost and location) but also strongly indicated that the experiential learning component was an important part of their decision."
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
If you're not responsible for grading exams, then you may find yourself with a few "free" days in December. If that's the case, then this might be a good time to create or revamp a brochure outlining your law school's academic support programs and services. The brochure can not only serve as a handout for students, but also remind your faculty colleagues of available resources. (See Amy Jarmon's 2007 blog post "Working with Faculty Colleagues.")
To get a jumpstart on the task, you are invited to use my school's brochure as a template: Download Academic Support Trifold Brochure Template. Although we used publishing software to create the original brochure, I've provided a Microsoft Word version here for ease of use. Of course, you'll need to swap out your school's particular program information, but I suspect that the big picture layout can remain the same for most schools. Your school's public relations or technology department may also be able to lend a helping hand with logos, branding, and formatting. (Kirsha Trychta)
Saturday, October 14, 2017
For our upcoming Winter issue, we are particularly interested in submissions surrounding the issue’s themes of academic advising, counseling, and troubleshooting performance issues our students' experience. Are you doing something innovative outside of the classroom that helps motivate a new generation of law students? Do you have classroom exercises that promote the positive effects of supportive peer groups? Do you use technology to facilitate difficult conversations with students who are performing at a level they find acceptable?
Please ensure that your articles are applicable to our wide readership. Principles that apply broadly — i.e., to all teaching or support program environments — are especially welcome. While we always want to be supportive of your work, we discourage articles that focus solely on advertising for an individual school’s program.
Please send your article submission to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com by no later than December 1, 2017. (Please do not send inquiries to the Gmail account, as it is not regularly monitored.) Attach your submission to your message as a Word file. Please do not send a hard-copy manuscript or paste a manuscript into the body of an email message.
Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate. Please include any references in a references list at the end of your manuscript, not in footnotes. (See articles in this issue for examples.)
We look forward to reading your work and learning from you!
Chelsea Baldwin, Executive Editor
DeShun Harris, Associate Editor
Christina Chong, Technology Editor
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Dear Friends & Colleagues:
On behalf of the editorial staff of The Learning Curve (Chelsea Baldwin, DeShun Harris, and Christina Chong), I'm pleased to announce this additional call for submissions for our upcoming Summer 2017 issue. The Learning Curve is a newsletter reporting on issues and ideas for the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Academic Support and the general law school academic & bar support community.
The deadline for this call is July 1, 2017. We are expecting to publish another general topic/theme issue.
As the final exam season has just begun to pass us, I'm sure this moment can give us pause on what innovative teaching methods, techniques, and/or experiences we might have come across this year. So if you have an idea, a lesson, or a perspective on ASP or bar teaching to share, please consider submitting to The Learning Curve. As examples of the types of articles we publish, I have attached this past Winter's edition. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate, and attached as a Word file. Please send your inquiries and submissions to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com.
Lastly, as our editorial terms have three-year expiration dates, the time has come for me to step down from The Learning Curve. It has been my pleasure to have served as the Executive Editor of the The Learning Curve in this past academic year, and to have served on the editorial board for the last three academic years. I hope that the articles we've published on ASP and bar support have continued to push law teaching forward and have served collectively as a supportive voice for our endeavors in the academy. I'd like to thank those wonderful authors who have published with us during those years, and the terrific colleagues who have worked with me on the board during that time. I hand off the Executive Editorship to Chelsea Baldwin, who will invariably keep that torch lit. Thank you all very, very much.
All the best,
Jeremiah A. Ho | 何嘉霖 | 助理教授
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Massachusetts School of Law
333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
508.985.1156 • email@example.com
- Co-Editor, Human Rights at Home Blog: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/human_rights/
- Executive Editor, The Learning Curve (AALS Section on Academic Support Newsletter)
- Contributing Faculty, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (ILTL)
- 2014 Recipient, "50 Under 50" Law Professors of Color (awarded by Lawyers of Color, Washington D.C.)
- View my TEDx-style talk at LegalED: https://vimeo.com/106427691
Sunday, April 16, 2017
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently included a series of articles for faculty on how to use their summers and how to make time to research or write. Obviously, most of us in ASP/bar prep work are on 12-month contracts, so summers are not totally free, dead periods. However, many of us (with the exception of bar support) have some quieter periods that could be used productively for the tasks we long to have time for during the academic semesters. One of the articles included tips from a series of scholars and might be helpful to ASPers who want to make time to research and write or to complete other projects: Making Time for Research and Writing. (Amy Jarmon)
Monday, February 6, 2017
Through The Learning Curve, we hope their works here can enrich all of our work in law teaching and support. And if you have something to contribute to the conversation, the submission deadline for next issue of The Learning Curve is March 15, 2017. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate, and attached as a Word file. Please send your submissions to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com.
The Winter 2017 issue of The Learning Curve is here: Download The Learning Curve (Winter 2017).
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Monday, October 17, 2016
Dear Friends & Colleagues:
On behalf of the editorial staff of The Learning Curve (Chelsea Baldwin, DeShun Harris, and Christina Chong), I'm pleased to announce this reminder call for submissions for our upcoming Winter issue.
To accommodate many of us who are working with students during midterms or giving/grading midterms, the deadline has been extended to Friday, November 4, 2016. As with the summer 2016 edition, we are expecting to publish another general topic/theme issue. If you have an idea, a lesson, or a perspective on ASP or bar teaching that you would like to showcase, please consider submitting to The Learning Curve. As examples of the types of articles we publish, I have attached this past summer's edition.
Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate, and attached as a Word file. Please send your submission to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com.
The Learning Curve is a newsletter reporting on issues and ideas for the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Academic Support and the general law school academic & bar support community.
Jeremiah A. Ho | 何嘉霖 | 助理教授
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Massachusetts School of Law
333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
508.985.1156 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, October 15, 2016
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
The Impact of Formative Assessment:
Emphasizing Outcome Measures in Legal Education
The University of Detroit Mercy Law Review is pleased to announce its annual academic Symposium to be held on March 3, 2017, at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. The Symposium will contemplate how the American Bar Association’s emphasis on outcome measures in its revised Standards for Approval will affect law students’ educational experience.
Specific topics may address, but are not limited to, the following issues:
- The Need for and Benefits of Incorporating Formative Assessments into the
The importance of self-regulated learning and qualitative feedback; the benefits of formative assessment versus using only summative assessment; the effect of
formative assessments on professors’ teaching experience.
- Methods for Incorporating Formative Assessments into the Classroom
The types of formative assessments that satisfy the ABA’s requirements; when qualitative feedback is most effective for student success; ways in which to
implement formative assessments to improve student learning.
- Measuring the Success of Formative Assessments
The methods by which law schools can conduct ongoing evaluation of the assessment methods to adequately “measure the degree to which students have
attained competency in the school’s learning outcomes” as required by the new ABA Standards.
The Law Review invites interested individuals to submit an abstract of 250-300 words that detail their proposed topic and presentation. Since the above list of topics is non-exhaustive, the University of Detroit Mercy Law Review encourages all interested parties to develop their own topic to present at the Symposium. Included with the abstract should be the author’s name, contact information, and a copy of their resume/curriculum vitae.
Abstracts should indicate whether the proposal is for presentation and publication or for presentation only. Although publication is not required to present at the Symposium, preference will be given to proposals that include a commitment to produce a publishable article for the Symposium edition of the Law Review (to be published Fall 2017).
The deadline for abstract submissions is October 31, 2016. Individuals selected to present at the Symposium will be contacted by November 14, 2016. Submissions, and any questions regarding the Symposium or the abstract process, should be directed to Law Review Symposium Director Erin Cobane at email@example.com.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Texas Academic Support and Legal Writing Scholars Colloquium
Location: Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth, Texas
Date: September 23, 2016
Although named the “Texas Academic Support and Legal Writing Scholars Colloquium," this gathering is open to legal writing and academic support faculty/instructors from anywhere to present works-in-progress across all disciplines within the law, doctrinal or pedagogical. Academic Support and Legal Writing faculty have complicated time commitments in our jobs, so we would like to create a forum to discuss our scholarship in light of our responsibilities that are somewhat different than from faculty members. The works presented can be in the very early stages to elicit comments for fully developing the project, to more complete articles for honing before publication. You can also participate without presenting if you like, to discuss your ideas informally with like minded colleagues during the breaks in the program.
Depending on the response, we will make every effort to create panels that share some common attributes. We would like to be able to distribute drafts, or even outlines of works in progress to the other members of the panel if possible.
The colloquium will be all day on Friday, September 23, 2016 at the Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth, TX. There is no fee to participate, but registration is required so that we may plan our panels, plan for lunch and other logistic needs. We are located in downtown Fort Worth, with a wide variety of hotel choices, and two fairly close airports that make travel here not terribly difficult (DFW, and DAL). The Sheraton Fort Worth is directly next door, the Omni a short walk across the Watergarden, the Hilton a few blocks away, a lovely independent called the Ashton is also walking distance,and there are some more budget minded offerings within a short drive.
To register for the colloquium, email Deshun Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1, 2016. In the email, please include the title of your presentation topic (if you have one), your school name, previous publications/presentations, and your title. Please also let us know of any food or other accommodations that we can make to enhance your visit. Additionally, please note whether you will be attending the September 22, 2016 evening reception. Presenters are encouraged to submit a summary or draft paper two weeks prior to the colloquium (September 9) to ensure adequate time for review by panel members.
Professor of Law & Director of Academic Support and Bar Services
Texas A&M University School of Law
1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
As the academic year draws to a close, I would like to congratulate all of us who have completed another year of teaching and supporting our law students. I am pleased to announce a call for submissions for the summer 2016 edition of The Learning Curve, the academic support newsletter for AALS.
We are witnessing an exciting time for law schools. The legal profession is changing. Technology is reshaping teaching and learning. The law student market is becoming ever so more consumer-driven. All of these shifts have implications on our teaching and the reshaping of programs for legal education at law schools nationwide. We would love to hear from you and to help showcase the creative hard work of your teaching and support of our students. Consider writing a short article for The Learning Curve to share your ideas on law teaching and support.
The Learning Curve is a newsletter reporting on issues and ideas for the Association of American Law Schools Section on Academic Support and the general law school academic support community. It shares teaching ideas and early research projects by academic support professionals, bar support professionals, and the law teaching community at large.
Please send your submission to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com by no later than May 15, 2016. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate, and attached as a Word file. Attached is our most current Winter 2016 issue for reference. We hope to hear from you!
The Learning Curve
Jeremiah A. Ho | 何嘉霖 | 助理教授http://ssrn.com/author=1345542Assistant Professor of LawUniversity of Massachusetts School of Law333 Faunce Corner RoadNorth Dartmouth, MA 02747508.985.1156 • email@example.com
Saturday, January 30, 2016
The ABA recently established new objectives for legal education. The new Standard 302 requires schools to establish “learning outcomes” for competency in substantive and procedural law. Standard 304 establishes a requirement for simulation or experiential learning in and outside of clinic work/courses. Standard 314 requires an institutional commitment to “Assessment of Student Learning." Standard 314 specifically states: “A law school shall apply a variety of formative and summative assessment methods across the curriculum to provide meaningful feedback to students.”
The Teaching Methods Newsletter would like to feature your new ideas for implementing Standards, 302, 304, and 314, in order to engage all members of the Academy in thinking about methods to fulfill these new ABA requirements.
To that end, we invite law professors over the entire spectrum of law course offerings to submit a 500-word description of any of the following techniques you are currently using in your class(es) or plan to include in the next academic year:
1. Your method of establishing and implementing learning outcomes for your class in order to meet Standard 302;
2. Your new ideas for simulation or experiential learning activities to meet Standard 304; and
3. Your ideas for assessing student learning in your class to meet Standard 314.
As part of the description of the technique, please provide details as to how the technique specifically fulfills the ABA requirements.
Submissions must not have been previously published in a prior periodical or journal or already accepted for publication.
Selected submissions will be published along with a short biography, photo, and your contact information. Along with your submission, please include a photo, the name of the class in which you use or plan to use the teaching or assessment technique, and your biographical information. Our goal is that law faculty interested in your technique will contact you directly for more information and advice on implementation.
Please send your submissions here:
The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 28, 2016.
Feel free to contact Secretary Rory Bahadur (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Executive Committee Member Kim Holst (email@example.com) with any questions about submitting to the Section on Teaching Methods Newsletter.
Rory Bahadur, Secretary
Kim Holst, Executive Committee Member,
AALS Section on Teaching Methods
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
The Learning Curve is the official publication of the AALS Section on Academic Support and is published twice yearly, once in the summer and once in the winter. We currently are considering articles for the Winter 2016 issue, and we want to hear from you! We encourage both new and seasoned ASP professionals to submit their work.
We are particularly interested in submissions surrounding the issue’s theme of using ASP to increase student engagement. How do you motivate students? Are you integrating ASP throughout the curriculum to offer engaging opportunities for students? Are you involved with assessment at your institution and have tools to share with your colleagues that will enhance engagement? Do you creatively use social media platforms to reach students? Please ensure that your articles are applicable to our wide readership. Principles that apply broadly- i.e., to all teaching or support program environments are especially welcome. While we always want to be supportive of your work, we discourage articles that focus solely on advertising for an individual school’s program.
Please send your submission to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com by no later than October 30, 2015. Attach it to your message as a Word file. Please do not send a hard-copy manuscript or paste a manuscript into the body of an email message. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate. Our publishing software does not sup-port footnotes that run with text, so please include any references in a “References and Further Reading” list at the end of your manuscript. (Please see the articles in this issue for examples.)
For more information, you may contact Lisa Young at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send inquiries to the Gmail account, as it is not regularly monitored.
We look forward to reading your work and learning from you!
The Learning Curve Editors
Lisa Young, Seattle University School of Law (Executive Editor)
Jeremiah Ho, UMass Dartmouth (Associate Editor)
Chelsea Baldwin, Oklahoma City University (Assistant Editor)
Saturday, January 31, 2015
This is my very short list of tips for ASPer's looking to publish in the February 2015 cycle. I also put this out on the listserv (thank you Courtney Lee for starting the thread!)
As someone who just went through this process for the first time in August, these are my lessons-learned:
1) Let it go. Don't sit on your work. It will never be perfect.
2) Make sure you have a beautifully drafted cover letter, a perfect, typo-free abstract, and the best (not perfect) version of your paper when you are ready to send on to ExpressO and Scholastica. Check, double-check, and triple-check that the attached version is NOT the one with editing mark-ups (it's difficult to turn off editing mark-ups on a Mac).
3) It's all about the marketing. Don't be afraid to reach out to law reviews, explaining to them why your article is a perfect fit for their journal. Make your case.
4) Once you have a contract in hand, make sure you retain the rights to post on SSRN and Digital Commons.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The Learning Curve is the official publication of the AALS Section on Academic Support. It is published twice yearly, once in the summer and once in the winter. As shared in the summer issue last month (also attached again here), the Editors are considering articles for the upcoming winter issue. We are particularly interested in submissions surrounding the new issue’s themes of incorporating experiential learning into programs and meeting the needs of law students in the "new normal." Are you doing something innovative in your classroom that helps motivate a new generation of law students? Do you have a fresh take on technology or what it means to be "ASPish" in these changing times? Do you have proven exercises and assessment tools from which your colleagues might benefit?
Please send your submission as an attached Word document to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com by no later than October 1, 2014. (Please do not send inquiries to the Gmail account, as it is not regularly monitored.) Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length. If light references are appropriate, please include them in a references list at the end of your manuscript, as opposed to using footnotes. (For examples, please see the attached issue.)
We encourage both new and seasoned ASP (and ASP-friendly) professionals to submit their work. Please ensure that your articles are applicable to our wide readership. Principles that apply broadly — i.e., to all teaching or support program environments — are especially welcome. While we always want to be supportive of your work, we discourage articles that focus on advertising for an individual school’s program.
We wish you all the best as you begin a new academic year, and we look forward to reading your work and learning from you!
--The Learning Curve Editors
Courtney Lee, Pacific McGeorge (Executive Editor)
Lisa Young, Seattle (Associate Editor)
Jeremiah Ho, UMass Dartmouth (Assistant Editor)
Saturday, August 9, 2014
I just had my first article accepted (yeah!) and while it is still fresh in my mind, I figure I would give some advice about publishing. I felt like I was lost in the woods; while most law professors worked on a law review in law school, have mentors and peers with vast publishing experience, and/or spent time as a VAP, I did not. I have wonderful, amazing mentors in Judith Wegner, RuthAnn McKinney, and Kris Franklin, but I did not have the day-to-day, hands-on contact with mentors that many doctrinal professors have when they are writing (all three women living several hundred miles from me). This is not because I don't have wonderful people at my school; it's that I was so busy with ASP, that I did not have much time to interact and chat about writing with my UMass colleagues. I know many people in ASP have the same experience.
1) Find some good, highly critical scholars who will review your article. God bless Judith Wegner and Kris Franklin, who read and commented extensively on my article. Don't be sensitive. Look for critical reviewers who will tell you exactly where the article has issues. As my dean says, "when you are in the weeds," it's very difficult to spot big-picture problems with your argument.
Also, find some really strong grammarians to proofread your article. It's amazing what you can miss when you have read your article everyday, for 45 days, 15 hours each day.
2) Go to LWI or AALS sessions on publishing. I attended Katherine Vukadin's session at LWI, and it was invaluable. If you can get your hands on her handout from LWI, do it! I used her suggestions as a guide when I wrote my abstract and cover letter, and her marketing advice was 100%, spot-on perfect (in fact, I think I am getting publishing in one of my first choice law reviews because I sent a marketing letter directly to the editors).
3) Do NOT switch computers between finishing your draft and submitting. If you have a perfect, proofread, spell-checked, and double-checked article ready to submit, submit it from that computer. And be absolutely, 100% certain that you are either submitting via PDF, or you have turned off comments and highlighting (if they are not turned off, you can save a "clean" copy, yet attach a copy with highlights and comments.) Be very, very careful submitting via Expresso and Scholastica. You can't recall a submission (because you submitted the wrong version, found an error, etc.) unless you plan on withdrawing and paying again.Trust me, these issues caused me huge headaches.
4) Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Yes, it could always be better. Yes, you could spend more time on it. But sometimes, you just need to let it go.
5) If you are writing a pedagogy piece, find some trusted advisers to help you choose a placement. I went with a specialty journal that focuses on my topic (BYU Journal of Education and Law) despite having offers from some very well-ranked general law reviews. I knew that my audience was different from the audience for most law review articles, so I chose a placement that would draw readers and scholars interested in legal education.
Lastly, if you are like me, and terrified of Bluebooking, (because I did not have law review experience from law school) BE NOT AFRAID. Seriously, Bluebooking is about 1/10th as difficult as a law professor than it was when you were a law student. Once I got the hang of it (and it did take a week or so of correcting, and correcting again) it was not difficult, just tedious. I would advise against using a student research assistant to do your Bluebooking if you are afraid to do it yourself. You need to have the confidence to check your article before you submit, and you can't do that if you are relying, completely, on the skill and knowledge of a student worker.
And good luck! I hope to see many more ASPer's writing and publishing. (RCF)
Saturday, August 2, 2014
My article is due to go out to law reviews on Friday. I have learned many, many things while writing the article, but the most important lesson learned is about teaching. Specifically, the process of submitting my piece to outside reviewers has given me renewed insight into what our students experience when they receive feedback. I know the research on students and feedback. However, it is completely different to experience getting feedback. If you have been in ASP for a while, you probably haven't received feedback since law school. Getting feedback is very tough. To write something, to spend weeks and months preparing, and then weeks and months writing, is emotionally draining and personally exhausting. You cannot help but feel that your admittedly flawed, incomplete article is a part of yourself. But then you have to let it go out to reviewers. If you are lucky, you will have tough, critical reviewers who are willing to tell you everything that is wrong with the piece, so that you can make it better before the submission process. I have been blessed with some really tough reviewers, and my piece is immeasurably better because they spent hours telling me just what is wrong with my flawed, incomplete article. I am confident that what goes out on Friday morning is no longer flawed or incomplete, but a fully-realized articulation of a problem. And it is better, stronger, and complete because of the feedback I received from outside reviewers.
The process of receiving feedback has reminded me how tough it is on our students. They spend all semester struggling with the material, and then they are judged on their learning just once or twice a semester. They cannot help but feel like they are being personally judged, evaluated, and measured. Part of our job is to help our students see that critical feedback is not meant to measure failures and self-worth, but to show them how to be stronger, better, and smarter. It is a part of the "invisible curriculum" of law schools (to use a Carnegie term) that criticism will produce stronger lawyers. We need to make that visible to students; we need to explain that we give them critical feedback because we believe they can be smarter, stronger, better thinkers and writers.
If you are a long-term ASPer, try writing an article for a law review. It may not help you in your professional evaluations, you may not need it for tenure, but you should do it because it will make you a better teacher. Reading about feedback is not the same as receiving feedback. Write because it will help you understand your students.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
The Fourth "Colonial Frontier" Legal Writing Conference — Saturday, December 6, 2014
Hosted by: The Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Conference Theme: Teaching the Academically Underprepared Law Student
For generations, college and law school educators have often voiced the belief that their students are not as prepared as they used to be. Although some educators may disagree about whether there really has been a change in students since the apocryphal “good old days,” there is a growing body of scholarship suggesting that 21st Century college graduates and law students lack the critical thinking skills necessary for law study and that as educators we are facing new challenges in teaching these students. See e.g. Richard Arum & Josipa Roksa, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning On College Campuses (2011); Susan Stuart & Ruth Vance, Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight: The Academically Underprepared Law Student & Legal Education Reform, 48 Val. L. Rev. 1 (forthcoming 2013), available at http://works.bepress.com/ruth_vance/1 (the theme of this conference is based on this article’s title). Scholars and other commentators have pointed to many causes for the real (and perhaps perceived) problems that new law students have coping with the demands of academic and professional training. These causes include the declining quality of pre-college schooling and a focus on standardized testing, lowered expectations at the undergraduate level, a decrease in the numbers and “quality” of incoming law students, the generational characteristics of current law students, the effects on student learning from psychological problems such as anxiety disorders, the deleterious influence of the Internet and computer technology, and more. This conference will offer attendees an opportunity to hear from others who are interested in these questions, and, hopefully, learn how to better teach current law students or change the current educational environment.
We invite proposals from educators who want to speak to these issues. The Duquesne Law Review, which has published papers from two previous Colonial Frontier conferences, plans to devote space in its Spring 2015 symposium issue to papers from the conference.
We welcome proposals for 30-minute and 50-minute presentations on these topics, by individuals or panels. Proposals for presentations should be sent as an e-mail file attachment in MS Word to Professor Jan Levine at email@example.com by June 2, 2014. He will confirm receipt of all submissions. Proposals for presentations should be 1000 to 2000 words long, and should denote the topic to be addressed, the amount of time sought for the presentation, any special technological needs for the session, the presenter’s background and institutional affiliation, and contact information. Proposals should note whether the presenter intends to submit an article to the Duquesne Law Review, based on the presentation. Proposals by co-presenters are welcome. Proposals will be reviewed by Professors Julia Glencer, Jan Levine, Ann Schiavone, and Tara Willke of the Duquesne University School of Law, and by the editorial staff of the Duquesne Law Review.
Proposals for presentations will be accepted by June 15, 2014. Full drafts of related articles will be due by September 5, 2014; within a month of that date the Duquesne Law Review will determine which of those articles it wishes to publish; and final versions of articles will be due by January 12, 2015.
The attendance fee for the conference will be $50 for non-presenters. Duquesne will provide free on-site parking to conference attendees. The conference will begin 9:00 a.m. with a welcoming breakfast and reception at the Duquesne University School of Law, followed by two hours of presentations. We will provide a catered, on-campus lunch, followed by 90 additional minutes of presentations, ending at approximately 3:00 p.m. We will then host a closing reception in the “Bridget and Alfred Pelaez Legal Writing Center,” the home of Duquesne’s LRW program.
Pittsburgh is an easy drive or short flight from many cities. To accommodate persons wishing to stay over in Pittsburgh on Friday or Saturday evenings, Duquesne will arrange for a block of discounted rooms at a downtown hotel adjacent to campus, within walking distance of the law school and downtown Pittsburgh. We will also provide attendees with information about the Pittsburgh area’s attractions, including our architectural treasures, museums, art collections, shopping, and world-championship sports teams.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
A friend of mine named Dr. Arne Pilniok is a German law professor who teaches at The Department of Law at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Dr. Pilniok edits a new, German, peer-edited law journal focusing on legal education, and he has asked me to share a solicitation of articles.
The journal is looking for articles by US law teachers focusing on teaching methods and on ways to make legal education more practice focused. The first issue of the journal appeared this quarter; it is published by a well-respected German publisher called Nomos. The journal is called "Zeitschrift für die Didaktik der Rechtswissenschaft" (ZDRW), and it will be published four times a year. The journal does have a website, www.zdrw.nomos.de, but, unfortunately, it is only in German. Of course, articles authored by US law teachers will be published in English.
This fall, I published a short piece that Dr. Piniok edited for a book also published by Nomos; the experience of working with Dr. Pilniok was great.
Here is Dr. Pilniok's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions for me, feel free to reply to me privately.
Michael Hunter Schwartz | Dean and Professor of Law
UALR William H. Bowen School of Law
(o) 501.324.9450 | (f) 501.324.9433