Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Call for Articles for the Winter Issue of The Learning Curve

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!

Regards,

The Editors

Chelsea Baldwin, Executive Editor

DeShun Harris, Associate Editor

Christina Chong, Technology Editor

October 14, 2017 in Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Think Twice Before Banning Laptops: A Note on Accommodations and Diverse Thinking and Learning

Pause keyboard

I mentioned in last week’s blog about my inability to remain focused on our law school's voluntary pre-orientation program for incoming 1Ls due to events related Charlottesville. As I continue my efforts to remain focused, I’ll try to spend a few minutes talking about a topic that many of you likely discuss with your students, either during a similar orientation or pre-orientation program or in workshops or individual conferences: whether students should handwrite their notes or take them on a laptop.

The use of laptops in class rightfully generates much discussion on faculty and ASP mailing lists, particularly at the start of the semester. The discussion has even entered the Twitter realm (for example, here and here; H/T Prof. Ellie Margolis and Prof. Katherine Kelly).

I know there is a lot research and concerns out there relating to laptop use and taking notes. For instance: (1) students may often find it difficult to follow classroom dialogue while trying to type everything down that is discussed in class; and (2) there are potential distractions related to laptop use in class—both for the student doing something that he/she should not be doing on the laptop and for those students sitting near this student.

I don’t necessarily disagree with the research and concerns. I understand that laptops can create tempting distractions for our students.  And I agree that we don’t want students “zoned out” from using laptops in our classes.  But, we should also not want to “zone out” students who may need to use a laptop in class as a critical learning tool for them.

So, I want to caution folks before they decide to ban laptops entirely in the classroom. I want folks to remember that banning laptops may create a situation where students with an accommodation for a learning disability are forced to disclose that they have a learning disability.  This forced disclosure may not be an issue for some students—they may not complain or make much of the ban, or they might not care that they are the only student in a 70+ class who has his/her laptop out in a no-laptop use classroom. So, a complete laptop ban may not be that much of an issue for some students.  But, it could still be an issue. 

If you are a strong proponent for absolutely no laptop use in class, perhaps your student affairs office might be able to not place students who have laptop use as an accommodation in your class. Of course, this recommendation may only work if you happen to teach a course that is also offered during the same semester by a faculty member who does not have a laptop ban.

Perhaps, someone like a student affairs or ASP professional may have a chat with those students who are disengaged in the classroom to see what may be contributing to the disengagement. Is it solely the laptop? Or, as those of us in the law school ASP world know, are there other academic or non-academic factors that may be impacting the student’s ability to “follow along in class”? Are the students distracted by a laptop disengaged because the laptop is in front of them? Or, is something happening outside of the classroom that may be motivating the student to disengage on the laptop? Could it be easier for a student who is having a challenging time in law school to disengage, rather than continuing to try and fail?

One more recommendation if you are a strong proponent for absolutely no laptop use in class: maybe, reconsider why you have the no laptop policy in the first place.

Do we assume that students who handwrite their notes never disengage? Or, can a student on a social media account be just as "zoned out" as someone daydreaming or drawing an elaborate doodle on his/her notebook paper?

Do we assume that someone who has a laptop will automatically be programmed to type everything down verbatim in class and, thus, not follow along in the classroom dialogue? Do we assume that someone who is handwriting his/her notes will not automatically try to write everything (or as much) down in class and, thus, will follow along in the classroom dialogue?  I suspect we have had many students in our classrooms who prove and disprove both assumptions.

Do we assume that those students who are using a laptop are naturally worse note-takers—that they have not developed or cannot develop with guidance (from great ASP folks, like us!) effective methods for taking notes in a law school class? Do we assume that those students who handwrite their notes all have developed the proper method for effective and efficient ways to take notes in a law school class? Again, I suspect we have had many students in our classrooms who prove and disprove both assumptions. 

And, finally, are we even aware of, or do we automatically discount, the various computer applications out there that might be geared for diverse learning styles or that might help keep our students’ notes better organized?

We often try to train our law students on flexible thinking—that there may often not just be a black or white answer to things in the law; that there, frustratingly, is often a large shade of gray in the law; that the answer to many questions in the law may often be “It depends.”

Perhaps, we can practice a little of what we preach. Just because we may not be able to take effective notes using a laptop in a law school classroom doesn’t mean our students are unable to take effective notes on a laptop in class. And just because we may not have needed a laptop to succeed in law school doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else could not succeed in law school by using one. Some students may actually need the laptop to help them succeed. And a “black" or "white" law might actually say that they are entitled to use a laptop in class. (OJ Salinas)

August 21, 2017 in Advice, Current Affairs, Disability Matters, Diversity Issues, Exams - Studying, Exams - Theory, Learning Styles, Miscellany, Orientation, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Is good spelling a lost art?

BBC News recently ran an article on the importance of good spelling. Many of the points relate to law students and lawyers as well as the general public and businesses. The article is here.

August 20, 2017 in Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Reminder: Deadline for Learning Curve Submissions is July 1

Dear Friends & Colleagues:

We're working on the summer issue of The Learning Curve and would like a couple more articles. Please let this email serve as a reminder that the submission deadline for potential inclusion in this issue is July 1, 2017

We are expecting to publish another general topic/theme issue; however, there have been a lot of new faces joining us in the field and I am confident they'd appreciate some lessons learned from people who now have a year or three in the field under their belts. Additionally, if you have an idea, a lesson, or a perspective on ASP or bar teaching to share, please consider submitting it to The Learning Curve. 

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.   

Please join me in thanking Jeremiah Ho for his years of service toThe Learning Curve. On behalf of the current Board of Editors, we appreciate guidance he provided in shepherding last year's issues through the publication process. 

We look forward to sharing some great ideas with you in the coming issue!

All the best,

Chelsea 

--

Chelsea M. Baldwin

Director of Academic Success

William S. Boyd School of Law

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box 451003

Las Vegas, NV 89154-1003

(702)895-2433

June 23, 2017 in Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Do you have trouble finding time to research, write, or complete projects?

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)

April 16, 2017 in Miscellany, Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

One Thing Can Improve Students' Grades in All Their Courses!

Simply amazing!

As reported in "Above the Law," there is one thing that we can do to improve our students' grades in all their courses this academic term.  

In her post about the article "The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance,"  Kathryn Rubio summarizes the research of Daniel Schwarcz and Dion Farganis that demonstrates that law students that have just one teacher...in just one course...who provide individualized feedback within that course...improve grades for their students...across all courses, even controlling for LSAT and UGPA:  http://abovethelaw.com/2016/05/one-thing-can-improve-all-your-law-school-grades/ 

Here's the proof (or, for those of you that are trial attorneys, the empirical evidence):  The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance

For us, this is incredible news…because…we can make that difference for our students - across all their courses - by integrating individualized feedback through our own courses and programs.

Wow…that's the power of one!  (Scott Johns).

 

August 18, 2016 in Advice, Exams - Studying, Learning Styles, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Are you a current or aspiring ASP writer?

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 dharris@tamu.edu 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.

James McGrath 
Professor of Law & Director of Academic Support and Bar Services

Texas A&M University School of Law
1515 Commerce Street 
Fort Worth, TX 76102 
(817) 212-3954

jmcgrath@tamu.edu

July 17, 2016 in Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Welcome to The Indigo Book

Hat tip to Louisa Heiny, S. J. Quinney College of Law, for the announcement that the new open source volume for legal citation has gone live. The link is here: The Indigo Book.

April 26, 2016 in Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Learning Curve- Call for Submissions

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 youngl@seattleu.edu. 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!

Sincerely,

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)

October 28, 2015 in Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Call for Proposals: LWI One-Day Legal Writing Conferences

Twelve law schools across the country are hosting LWI One-Day Legal Writing Conferences on one of the first two weekends in December. The Conferences are hosted by schools in every region of the country. They are great opportunities for first-time presenters as well as the seasoned legal writing, lawyering skills, and academic support professionals. Many locations include Academic Support as part of their theme: collaborating with ASP, preparing the academically unprepared law student, meeting the needs of different learners, and integrating legal writing and academic success, to name a few.

For more information about attending or presenting, please use the following link:

https://my.lls.edu/legalwritinginstituteonedayworkshops

The link includes information about the schools hosting, the themes for each school's conference, the date and the site coordinators.

For those interested in submitting a presentation proposal, it also includes an area to submit proposals and to rank the sites in order of your preference to participate. Proposals are due by Thursday, September 17, 2015 10:00 PM PST.

After you submit a proposal the information will be compiled and distributed to the site coordinators. The site coordinators will then invite those whose proposals fit well within their schedule to participate. 

If you don't want to present but are interested in attending, registration will open soon after the proposal submission process is complete.

​Send any questions about the link or proposal submission process to archerc@lls.edu, and questions about the specific locations to the site coordinators. 

This is a great opportunity for ASP professionals to learn, share, and collaborate with colleagues at different schools across the county. I encourage you to consider submitting a presentation proposal.

(KSK)

August 25, 2015 in Meetings, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Nix the Acronyms

The Legal Skills Prof Blog recently posted this reference to a short piece on acronyms. I agree that acronyms and other abbreviations can cause confusion, ruin the flow of an essay, and cause the reader frustration. The article suggests a few useful guidelines on when to use them and when to avoid them. I have even had one bar examiner tell me to instruct students that their bar exam essays should not read like a text message. In an acronym, twitter/text, abbreviation heavy culture, this is a good reminder. Thus, I advise my students that when they are in doubt, they should write it out.

(LBY)

February 23, 2015 in Advice, Bar Exam Preparation, Miscellany, Teaching Tips, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 12, 2015

If you can't say it, it does not exist.

When it comes to legal writing, "if you cannot say it, it does not exist." 

While attending the 2015 meeting of the American Association of Law Schools, I had the opportunity to attend the Blackwell Reception.  The Blackwell Reception is put on by the Legal Writing Institute and the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

At the 2015 Blackwell Reception, these organizations presented two awards:

The Blackwell Award went to Helene Shapo.

The Golden Pen Award went to the Honorable Michael Ponsor, Judge  for the United States District court for the Western District of Massachusetts.

So, finally -- the significance of the title of this blog post:  "If you cannot say it, it does not exist."  Judge Ponsor made this statement as he accepted his award and, not surprisingly, received much applause from the roomful of legal writing professors.  Judge Ponsor's statement goes well beyond the confines of legal research and writing classes. 

Even if this bloger did not do double duty in both Academic Support and Legal Writing and even if this blogger did not work at a law school in Western Massachusetts (where Judge Ponsor is a welcome and respected speaker) his statement would be worthy of this blog.  The statement applies to every aspect of a law student's journey toward success in law school and in law practice.  As law professors, law students, or lawyers, if we cannot explain or articulate our analysis, that analysis does not exist.  I have already used Judge Ponsor's statement -- in the first class of my upper level course.

Have a great Spring Semester!

 

(MGO)

 

January 12, 2015 in Advice, Meetings, Writing | 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, August 23, 2014

Jr. Faculty Scholarship Exchange--Oct. 17, 2014

August 18, 2014

Dear colleagues:

As the summer wanes and we move into the fall semester, the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth School of Law wishes to invite you to our Second Annual Junior Faculty Scholarship Exchange. This is an opportunity for junior faculty in the New England region to gather together to discuss works in progress, finished papers, research interests, and to network with peers from other institutions. Our hope is to provide a local forum for legal scholars to develop their ideas and scholarship with input and constructive criticism from fellow law teachers. This event is especially aimed at faculty with seven, or fewer, years of law teaching experience.

We are hosting this conference at the UMass Club, located in the heart of Boston’s financial district, on the 33rd floor of 225 Franklin Street. The venue is close to South Station, and the red and orange lines of the MBTA, several parking garages and local hotels. A hot buffet lunch, with morning and afternoon snack services will be provided. For directions, see: http://www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/University-of-Massachusetts-Club/About-the-Club/Directions-Hours.

Please consider joining us for this event by marking your calendar for Friday, October 17th, 2014, from 10 to 4. Seating will be limited. To register for the Junior Faculty Scholarship Exchange, send me an email at sclough@umassd.edu. Kindly include a short abstract of the work you wish to share with our group. We will confirm your registration for the event. Once we achieve capacity, we will need to decline further registrations . As this event is being underwritten by the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth School of Law there is no registration fee. Attendees will need to assume responsibility for their personal travel or lodging expenses.

Feel free to forward this invitation to a junior faculty member that you believe may be interested.  If this is information that you would prefer not to receive, please let us know and we will take you off of our list. If you have any immediate questions or concerns please call us at (509)985-1121, and ask to speak with Emma or me. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Spencer E. Clough

Associate Dean/Director of the Law Library

The University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth School of Law


 

August 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Meetings, Miscellany, News, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Learning Curve Call for Submissions

Dear colleagues, 

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) 

 

August 20, 2014 in Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Can Your Students Cursive?

I was surprised several years ago when I discovered that many of my law students can only print.  They are unable to write in cursive (or longhand as some of us also remember it being called).  Some explained that their elementary/middle/high schools had never taught them cursive writing at all.  Others stated that they had learned it at some point but had little experience writing in cursive now.

In catching up on some back The Chronicle of Higher Education articles, I came across an article by Valerie Hotchkiss about the implications of another non-cursive generation and what the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign is doing to combat the loss of cursive: Cursive Is an Endangered Species.  (Amy Jarmon)

August 15, 2014 in Miscellany, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lessons Learned: When ASPer's Write for Law Reviews

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 9, 2014 in Advice, Publishing, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Done is better than perfect

I am in the middle (or actually, the middle of the end) of writing my first law review article in 7 years. It has been a monumental task, starting with the fact that I am terribly out of practice. The Bluebook has changed since the last time I published in a law review (and I wasn't great at Bluebooking to begin with!) I have only had a month of solid writing time, although I have been researching and writing piecemeal for almost a year. To get inspired this morning, because I am so tantalizingly close to the end, but just so burnt out and exhausted, I read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed comparing writing to running. I am a long distance runner, primarily at the 10k to half-marathon length, so I thought the article could help inspire me. And she did have some good advice.

Done is better than perfect. As I write, I think about all the connections I should be making. However, I don't have the time to write the article of my dreams, I have to finish. And done is better than perfect. I think this also applies to bar takers. So many high-achieving students get stuck during bar prep because they have trained themselves to be perfect. On law school exams, aiming for perfect is important if you want to be in the top of your class. But for bar prep, just getting the work done is more important than perfect. You can't be perfect when you have so many subjects to cover, and so little time.

Writing and running each require one small step. An article doesn't come out whole in a day or a week. Neither does bar prep. Each are about taking one small step, then another, and so on. Because if you look at the project, the race, or the bar exam, as one giant  monolith, you will never get started. And you have to get started. And you have to keep going when you only have 4 pages of a 30 page article, or you have only read one subject in a 15 subject outline, or you have run one mile, and have 12.1 more to go.

So with that, I need to get back to writing. I am working on one of my last sections, a section that is dear to my heart--ASP. And then I need to write my conclusions. Wish me luck. And to all of you working on the bar exam, good luck to you, too. I hope to see fellow ASPers at LWI next week.

(RCF)

 

 

June 28, 2014 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Miscellany, Sports, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 16, 2014

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

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

 

Call for Papers

AALS Section on Academic Support

January 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Papers must include the following information:

1.  A title for your paper.

2.  An abstract of your paper.

3.  A final draft of your paper.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:

Goldie Pritchard, Chair

Robin Boyle Laisure

Robert Coulthard

Steven Foster

Lyndsay Garmond

DeShun Harris

Danielle Kocal

Haley Meade

Maysa Nichter

Brendon Taga

ASP Section Chair:  Amy Jarmon

 

 

June 16, 2014 in Meetings, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blank Generation

Many students have problems with outlining an answer before writing it on the exam.  When all you hear is typing fingers around you, taking the time to outline your answer might seem like a luxury you don't have time for.

Consequently, I have students make a short "attack" outline to use during the exam (if it is open book), and ask them to set up that outline in something of a fill-in-the-blank format.  

For example, the attack breakdown for adverse possession might look something like this:

Adverse Possesssion 

Hostile --

Exclusive --

Open and Notorious --

Continuous --

Actual --

On the exam, once the student recognizes that a question is asking about adverse possession, he or she can simply fill in the relevant facts on the attack outline and then write the exam answer.  Especially for the weakest students, who might have timing issues and tend to leave out elements and specific facts, such an attack outline can be invaluable.

(Alex Ruskell)

March 21, 2014 in Advice, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)