Monday, October 2, 2023

Ten Hours

I had a student ask for an appointment to come in and discuss their study strategies. In the email asking for the appointment, they wanted to know if I had time to meet and discuss their, “dismal (by choice) first-month performance.” Yes, I also read that more than a few times trying to decipher what it meant. I offered them a quick sliver of time that very day to come in and set up a longer appointment on a different day, but to hopefully get something jumpstarted in the interim.

They told me that in the first 4.5 weeks of law school, they had worked for about ten hours. Hmm, I asked, is that ten hours a day (troubling because that seems like too much) or a week (too little)? “Total.” I did not gasp out loud (and I am quite proud of that). I asked them if that included the legal writing assignment that had been due the past week, and they said it did, and in fact, they had spent almost two of those hours on the paper. Another deep breath for me…

I asked a series of follow-ups after that revelation:

  1. Are you doing the reading?: Sort-of-I am skimming the cases and then we talk about them in class.
  2. Are you taking good notes in class?: Not really-It just makes sense.
  3. Have you started outlining?: Outlining what?
  4. Are you quizzing yourself after class? No.

They asked me if they were doing it wrong and when I said that it seemed to be the wrong choice, they went on to tell me about their undergraduate career that included a prestigious scholarship given to a handful of exceptional students. They told me their undergraduate GPA and how they never really worked hard at academics. I believe it. They seemed quite intelligent and quick to catch on to things. I took another deep breath and told them that law school was going to come and bite them in the ass (yes, I am a crass girl from the Bronx) if they didn’t do the reading, take notes, do practice questions, and start outlining-like right now.  And, I added that my undergraduate GPA from the very same institution was also pretty good.[1]

I explained the Dunning-Kruger effect to them: “a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.[2]” I told them that finding out what you don’t know when it counts towards, or even accounts for the entirety of, a grade is risky, particularly in law school. In classes where there is only one assessment, you will have absolutely no idea whether you are doing it right until it is too late.

Here’s the thing though, I am not 100% certain they needed the standard “how to do law school” menu of tasks. This may not be how they learn best, but their current “method” didn’t seem conducive to the 3.0 GPA the student wanted to have by the end of 1L year in order to move into our hybrid JD program and take their final two years online. In all honesty, I was really alarmed at the idea that after this year, they might be totally remote and have no 3-D peer or faculty reminders that they are not doing the same work-either qualitatively or quantitatively until they face the bar. They seemed like an unconventional learner who was very smart and not yet excited by what they were studying. But that is an excuse that flies in 7th grade, and not before our Academic Standing Committee.

I didn’t sugarcoat my concern with this student. Gentle cajoling wasn’t going to be an effective process here. I straightforwardly laid out the unnecessary risks I believed they were taking and then sent them a series of Outlook meeting invitations to check in on their progress. We’ll see if they come to anything.

In the meantime, this kind of student prompts me to remind my doctrinal faculty colleagues that the old school one high-stakes summative assessment at the end of a semester is going to be the downfall of otherwise smart students. This will weed out students who need to have their ass (gently) handed to them early on in order to light a fire in them to get the work done as well as those who cannot genuinely succeed.  It is widening the net and letting otherwise good students fall through. We will ultimately lose students who will be world-changers this way. Is this coddling? In the first semester of law school, in particular, it is not. If our goal is bar passage, we need to make sure students can accurately self-assess by modeling what that looks like from day 1.

As for this student, while I am not absolutely sure they need to follow the regular path, I am certain that they will find the path they have taken thus far is unlikely to end in the place they hoped. I only hope I was persuasive in making that point.

(Liz Stillman)


[1] Normally, I would never, ever do that, but I got the very real sense that my perceived intelligence would be a factor in whether they deemed my admonitions credible.


October 2, 2023 in Exams - Studying, Learning Styles, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 25, 2023


Many of you probably received an email from AALS last week with a link (and “unique PIN”) to a “Faculty Survey.”  The email said,

The Association of American Law Schools is interested in your experiences as a law school faculty member. AALS wants to know more about you, your career trajectory, current workload, time allocation across your various responsibilities, and perceptions of tenure. We are asking you to take part in the American Law School Faculty Study…

The survey itself, being conducted by an outside vendor, (NORC) has the following preamble (again, the bold is in the original):

“This survey focuses on the experiences of individuals who currently serve in the position of law school tenured, tenure-track, long-term contract, clinical, or legal writing faculty.”

It is a well-established canon of construction that, “the expression of one thing implies the exclusion of others (expressio unius est exclusio alterius).”[1] So, the preamble alone should have made it clear to me that ASP and Bar Prep faculty members were not their intended audience-and yet, it was sent to all of us. If I had not checked off “long term contract,” my survey would have ended right there. Luckily, a colleague alerted me to this before I started, and I was able to voice my displeasure at being intentionally excluded as part of my response. Otherwise, I would have remained invisible.

As we know from the AASE Survey last year, not all of us could click on long term contract and avoid being entirely canceled from being considered faculty by an organization that our institutions are likely members of and actually has an Academic Support Section[2]. In fact, only 26% of AASE respondents are on multiyear contracts and 17% have presumptively renewable contracts. 47% of respondents are at-will employees and another 11% have year to year contracts.[3] This means that less than half of our ASP colleagues would be eligible to participate in this survey. Surely, our experiences are as relevant as other traditionally non-tenured faculty such as clinical and legal writing. While there has been progress in tenure for these other groups, ASP tenure (or tenure track) is currently unavailable to 92% of professionals who responded to our survey.[4]

My esteemed colleague, Matt Carluzzo, who is Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Success at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law responded to NORC with an email where he expressed his disappointment and went on to say, “[M]any law schools still see and accordingly treat ASP as an afterthought - something necessary, but still very ‘other’ … I was initially disappointed (though not surprised) when there was no "academic success/support" option listed on the opening page.  I was genuinely shocked, however, when upon selecting "Other," I was instantly directed to the curt, "Thank you for your time today" completion screen.  Apparently this survey is not for ASP professionals.  This is hard to interpret as anything other than yet another example of ASP being either unintentionally overlooked, or intentionally excluded…Your website says that AALS ‘hired NORC to learn more about law school faculty hiring, voting rights, tenure policies, and other key issues[5].’  In my opinion, this is a key issue that is blatantly overlooked and/or ignored.  Any doubt, disbelief, or resistance to this idea is contradicted by the old cliche: the proof is in the pudding.” I could not have said it better. We await a response from AALS, NORC, and perhaps even the AccessLex Institute (who was another sponsor of the survey).

In the meantime, I am convinced that when clicking “other” brings you to a dead end, it is not a good look for an organization that claims that their “...mission is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve our many communities–local, national, and international.[6]” I would also add that the introduction to the survey expresses AALS’s interest “in examining the work-life balance and career trajectories of law faculty.”[7] 

If the opinions of legal writing and clinical faculty merit consideration, ASP faculty opinions should not be overlooked and disregarded. While the doctrinal faculty that seem to be the target of this survey do not always know all that we do in ASP, they no doubt are glad it is done.  Their students certainly are. We should be seen and heard. We deserve-—no, wait—we have earned better.

If AALS truly wants to know more about the “career trajectories of law faculty,” why not study the folks who have nowhere to go but up?

(Liz Stillman)



[2] However, there were some issues about ASP’s inclusion at the AALS conference this past January as well, see,

[3] Please feel free to contact any of us who serve on the AASE Assessment Committee for the full survey report:

[4] See, note 3.




September 25, 2023 in Meetings, Professionalism, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight


1.  Cox, Prentiss (Minnesota), Kill 1L (SSRN, September 8, 2023).

From the abstract:

Law school education has been extensively studied for decades, but changes have been modest. This Article makes the case that fundamental law school reform will not occur until we abolish the central pillar on which it rests—the current conception of the first year of law school, the “1L” experience. Many studies of law school curricula and pedagogy are sharply critical of the education offered, but they pull a punch when it comes to 1L. This Article compares recent data on 1L curricula at almost every U. S. law school with ABA-required law school statements of learning outcomes. The comparison reveals two contrasts: the gap between what is promised students for their legal education and what 1L delivers; and the gap between what is promised students and the actual use of law by attorneys, judges and even law professors in the modern world. The Article proposes a new 1L curriculum that would engage students in the law used by courts and policymakers while decreasing the demands placed on law students by the repetitive, inefficient legacy 1L curriculum.

2. Simon, Diana (Arizona), Legal Education and Trigger Warnings: More Harm Than Good? (SSRN, August 8, 2023).  

From the abstract:

Should legal educators give trigger warnings and, in our zeal to protect students from potentially triggering content, are we doing them more harm than good? First, the author addresses the motivation for writing the article—to ensure that in making decisions relating to trigger warnings, instructors not only look to what educators have to say about trigger warnings but also look to what other disciplines have to say as well, including psychologists. Second, the term “trigger warning,” on the one hand, and the term “content warning,” on the other hand, will be addressed. Third, the pros and cons of warnings will be addressed from the perspective of educators in both college and law school. Fourth, the science behind the effectiveness of trigger warnings will be addressed, including their impact on student anxiety for students who do not suffer from PTSD and those that do, whether students who are given trigger warnings will avoid the material, and whether the type of warning given impacts the reaction of students. The article also discusses a survey explaining why professors do (or do not) give trigger warnings. The limitations and implications of these studies for law students will also be addressed. Finally, a proposal will be made that can help protect students while factoring in the science behind trigger warnings.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

September 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2023

Rainy Days and Mondays

It is gray and rainy here in Boston at the beginning of week three of law school classes. This weather seems appropriate for the shift in student mood judging from the meetings I have had with students so far today. They have many questions....

So, in keeping with my success syllabus, I have compiled a week by week list of answers to frequently asked questions:

  1. Week One:
    1. Yes, it is going to be a lot, but you can do it!
    2. My advice? Do your reading! Brief your cases! And don’t forget to do something fun every now and then.
  2. Week Two:
    1. Yes, the reading does seem to increase exponentially.
    2. No, I am not really using that word in the math sense, this is a math free zone.
    3. Yes, I know case briefing takes a while early on, but you will winnow it down from boxers to a thong shortly…and if not, come see me.
    4. Yes, that was an underwear reference.
  3. Week Three:
    1. No, the model penal code is not the law anywhere.
    2. Yes, I’ve heard of Pierson v. Post[1].
    3. Yes, you should start outlining now, oh, but you are only through half of mens rea and that is the only thing you have discussed in Crim? Hmm. Maybe wait until you finish.
    4. Yes, we have a whole website devoted to videos and other resources on how to outline, and,
    5. Yes, we are sending you about 1.3 million emails a week about that, so you should know about it, but here is the link if you haven’t seen our billboard…
  4. Week Four:
    1. No, we can not set up weekly two-hour meetings. Why? Um, because I have reached an age where I cannot commit to that much time for anything!?
    2. Yes, you should be outlining.
    3. Yes, we have a whole library full of study aids (on line and in person).
    4. Yes, you can still borrow mine (I finished law school, so I am not currently using it).
    5. Yes, I know that that class only has a final and no graded midterm.
    6. No, I don’t think that is a good idea.
  5. Week Five:
    1. Yes, all questions about homicide will involve someone being dead.
    2. Yes, there are many crimes under the umbrella term of homicide.
    3. No, I don’t find that dark and creepy.
    4. Yes, this is hard and I know you have more legal writing assignments due soon as well.

This is just a start.  In the next installment, we will provide answers to questions about midterms, hitting the wall, and why they are called number 2 pencils.

(Liz Stillman)


[1] But, interestingly, have never read it. My property professor started with INS v. AP and didn’t look back….

September 18, 2023 in Advice, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Assistant Dean of Academic Success at Baylor

Baylor Law School seeks a motivated and experienced candidate with excellent teaching and collaborative skills to lead our Academic Success Program. The ideal candidate will be a creative, organized, and compassionate leader who is eager to engage extensively with students from matriculation through their admission into the bar. This position is a full-time faculty, non-tenure-track lecturer position. The successful candidate should be available to start ideally no later than January 1, 2024, but the start date is negotiable. More information about the position is available at the following:

Baylor Law has a small student body and a collegial faculty deeply devoted to the mission of the Law School. Our primary focus is to train students to become practice-ready upon graduation.

September 17, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Director of Academic Success at Maine School of Law

THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE SCHOOL OF LAW, in the thriving and increasingly diverse coastal community of Portland, Maine, invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Success/Associate Professor of Law (Director). The Director is primarily responsible for overseeing and administering the Academic Success Program, which includes bar passage, as well as for teaching courses that help students to understand learning techniques and strategies, including those necessary for succeeding on the bar exam. The position of Director is a full-time faculty position within the School of Law, with rights comparable to tenured and tenure-track faculty. The start date is negotiable. Applicants must possess a J.D. degree or its equivalent, three years of relevant experience, effective oral and written communications, and a record or promise of successful teaching and student mentoring. Members of minority groups, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others whose background would contribute to the diversity of the Law School, are encouraged to apply. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their materials early. Application materials must be submitted through the University of Maine System’s Hire Touch portal: You may email any questions to [email protected]. 

September 17, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Visiting Professor in Denver's Bar Success Program

A national leader in experiential legal education, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law features an outstanding student body, a community of nationally recognized scholar-teachers, an accomplished and highly professional staff, and over 15,000 alumni who have achieved careers of distinction in law, business, government, public interest, and other professional domains.
The Sturm College of Law is strongly committed to preparing its students and recent graduates to pass the bar examination. To this end, the Law School invests significantly in the quality of its incoming 1L classes; supports faculty-led programs focused on academic achievement and bar success; provides students with extensive, student-specific professional advising; and closely follows developments in licensing standards across the nation.

Position Summary

Beginning in fall 2023, catalyzed by a multiyear philanthropic investment, the Sturm College of Law plans to
(1) hire a full-time visiting faculty member at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or full Professor to serve as Assistant Director of its Bar Success Program; and (2) partner with a third-party bar preparation provider to furnish each of its roughly 750 students and recent graduates with complimentary third-party bar preparation materials designed to prepare them more effectively for the bar examination.

The Assistant Director will work with the Director of the Bar Success Program, the Director of the Academic Achievement Program, and the third-party bar preparation provider to (1) integrate internal bar-related training with third-party bar preparation materials provided to students and recent graduates; (2) collaborate with faculty members regarding the teaching of subjects and skills likely to be tested on the bar, including the forthcoming NextGen bar examination; (3) develop and teach programming designed to advance bar success; (4) analyze data related to bar passage and incorporate future refinements to the Bar Success Program based on empirical data; and (5) furnish bar-takers with individualized and effective advice about their professional licensure options.

The position is contemplated as a three-year appointment, with the possibility of conversion to a permanent position subject to successful performance and future budgetary conditions.

Essential Functions

  • Collaborate with the Director of the Bar Success Program, the Director of the Academic Achievement Program, and the third-party bar preparation provider to integrate internal bar-related training with third-party bar preparation materials.
  • Work with faculty members regarding the teaching of subjects and skills likely to be tested on the bar, including the forthcoming NextGen bar examination.
  • Develop and teach programming designed to advance bar success.
  • Analyze data related to bar passage and incorporate future refinements to the Bar Preparation Program based on empirical data.
  • Furnish bar-takers with individualized and effective advice about their professional licensure options.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • The ability to convey complex concepts in a clear and compelling fashion
  • The capacity to analyze data
  • Professionalism, sound judgment, and discretion
  • The demonstrated ability to work independently and with limited supervision
  • The ability to function in a high-paced, collaborative work environment
  • The ability to prioritize workload in an efficient and effective manner
  • The capacity to handle multiple tasks simultaneously under time constraints

Required Qualifications

  • A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school
  • Membership in the bar of one or more U.S. jurisdictions
  • An understanding of the current landscape of legal licensure
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience teaching law students and/or early-career lawyers
  • Experience with legal pedagogy

Work Schedule
While the University's administrative offices are open Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, faculty schedules vary from term to term and are based on courses taught, service commitments, and research agendas. The University's academic calendars are posted on the registrar's website (the law school is on a semester system and has a different academic calendar).

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) September 28, 2023.

Special Instructions
Candidates must apply online through to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Salary Grade Number:
The salary grade for the position is UC.

Salary Range:
The salary range for this position is $120,000-$125,000.

The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting. The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.

The University of Denver offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO pass. The University of Denver is a private institution that empowers students who want to make a difference. Learn more about the University of Denver.

Please include the following documents with your application:
1. Curriculum Vitae
2. Cover Letter

The University of Denver is an equal opportunity employer. The University of Denver prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age (40 years and over in the employment context), religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, veterans status, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance in any of the university's educational programs and activities, and in the employment (including application for employment) and admissions (including application for admission) context, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and any other federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. For the university's complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please see non‑discrimination‑statement.

Apply Here

September 17, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

It has been a big week in ASP scholarship.  During this time of momentous change in the realm of attorney licensure, the following articles construct nuanced theses about systemic flaws in our method of choosing who gets to be a lawyer and who does not.  Both are must-reads for the broad array of stakeholders in the justice system.

1.  Griggs, Marsha (St. Louis), Outsourcing Self-Regulation, __ Wash. and Lee L. Rev. __ (forthcoming, 2023).   

From the abstract:

Answerable only to the courts that have the sole authority to grant or withhold the right to practice law, lawyers operate under a system of self-regulation. The self-regulated legal profession staunchly resists external interference from the legislative and administrative branches of government. Yet, with the same fervor that the legal profession defies non-judicial oversight, it has subordinated itself to the controlling influence of a private corporate interest. By outsourcing the mechanisms that control admission to the bar, the legal profession has all but surrendered the most crucial component of its gatekeeping function to an industry that profits at the expense of those seeking entry.

The judicial outsourcing of the bar exam has privatized bar admission in ways that can be detrimental to the goal of public protection and damaging to those seeking licensure. The manner in which state courts have fostered privatized bar admission brings into question whether the delegation of judicial power is consistent with Constitutional prerogatives. This article applies the lenses of multiple political-economic theories to the normative framework of attorney self-regulation and bar admission. In so doing, it seeks to identify justifications for outsourcing an exclusive judicial power that is essential to the goals of self-regulation. This article ultimately questions whether the legal profession has surrendered, or will soon lose, the ability to regulate itself. The article concludes with multiple recommendations to reverse the directional flow of power in attorney licensure in a manner that will yield more transparency and public accountability.

2. Merritt, Deborah Jones (Ohio State), Curcio, Andrea Anne (Georgia State), and Kaufman, Eileen R. (Touro), Enhancing the Validity and Fairness of Lawyer Licensing: Empirical Evidence Supporting Innovative Pathways, __ Wash. U. J. L & Policy __ (forthcoming 2023).

From the abstract:

A two-day written bar exam cannot test a prospective lawyer’s ability to counsel clients, investigate facts, research novel issues, negotiate with adversaries, and perform other tasks that are essential for competent lawyering. The conventional exam has also become a test of resources, favoring candidates who can afford to buy commercial prep courses and devote 8-10 weeks to full-time study. Cognizant of these flaws, several states have begun exploring alternative approaches to licensing. Oregon has already implemented a small program that allows some law graduates to demonstrate their competence by practicing under the supervision of a licensed attorney and compiling portfolios of work product from that supervised practice. Candidates submit those portfolios, which include materials related to client counseling and negotiation, to bar examiners for independent assessment. Oregon’s Supreme Court is considering a proposal to expand this program, and other states are exploring similar approaches.

This article provides the first empirical evidence that supervised practice offers a valid, feasible, and fair context for evaluating prospective lawyers’ competence. Oregon’s current program is too small to assess empirically, but two related programs in California offer a rich dataset about the potential for assessing prospective lawyers’ competence through supervised practice. Our analyses, which draw upon qualitative and quantitative data from more than four thousand law graduates and licensed lawyers in California, demonstrate that: (1) Licensing programs rooted in supervised practice allow states to assess a broader range of lawyering skills and doctrinal knowledge than can be assessed on a two-day, written exam. (2) Candidates readily find supervisors, and both parties reap many benefits from the program. (3) Supervised practice is fully accessible to first-generation candidates, candidates of color, women, and candidates who live with disabilities. In fact, women of color, men of color, and white women were significantly more likely than white men to take advantage of California’s supervised practice options. (4) Supervised practice licensing paths can expand access to justice by increasing the number of lawyers who work for legal services providers and in rural parts of a state.

Licensing paths rooted in supervised practice, in sum, are valid, feasible, and fair pathways that can protect the public better than a two-day written exam, make our profession more inclusive, and expand access to justice.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

September 12, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 11, 2023

Being Moved

I would be remiss if I did not start this entry by taking a moment to remember 9/11/2001 and everyone and everything we lost on that day. It was a day where the sky was impossibly blue. We lost so much: loved ones, security, peace, and years of reform on police profiling. We have tucked some of the new normal of the aftermath into our everyday jeans, but it changed us, and I am not sure I can even accurately remember some aspects of life before it as well as I can remember parts of that day that are as clear in my mind as the sky was that morning.

I spent some time over the last weekend on various sized boats that carried passengers and cars. On the larger ferry, we drove the car onto the boat and left it there--we put it in park, turned off the engine, locked it, and took a seat on the boat itself. It was clear to me that someone else was in charge of  moving us along and that was fine. On the smaller ferry, we just drove onto the boat and sat in the car. To be very clear, I am not a great boat person (I start feeling a bit queasy standing on a dock…), but I preferred the large ferry even though the ride was longer.

What I didn’t like about the small ferry, despite it being a much shorter journey, was the sense that everything about controlling the car was right there-the steering wheel, gas pedal, brakes-but I had no choice but to sit there while it seemed that the roadway was moving without any input from me. It freaked me out a bit to be in a car that was being moved when I had all the indicia of power to move it but could not engage them. Driving off the boat was also a strange feeling: now I did have control, but I wasn’t sure I knew the route once we hit land.

I wonder if our 1Ls feel this way.  I remember in my first year of law school often feeling like classes were moving forward but that I was not in charge of where they went, or how fast they’d go, and even when they would stop. And yet, at the end of the class, I’d have to immediately know where to go next or I’d cause a back-up.

First year classes seem to start so abruptly that even what is intended to be a gradual entry can seem like a full immersion that occurs before students are even aware that it is happening. As ASP faculty, we need to remember to tell students that this weird feeling of both being in and out of control is normal. Yes, they have done the reading and come to class ready to take great notes, but sometimes it is going to feel like you are just sitting there being moved along until you reach the shore and then, before you know it, you have to know where to go next with what you learned along the way. We need to acknowledge and reassure students that it (justifiably!) feels strange at the beginning--because it is.

We also need to assure students that they are not alone in feeling this way—and that after a few trips, they will feel like regular commuters. They will see the rhythm of classes and have a muscle memory of getting ready to enter and then leave the vessel. But, most importantly, we also need to tell students that if this unsettled feeling lingers for too long, ASP is a lifeline and that we will help them try to catch up rather than be left in the wake of a boat that is going to continue its set journey.

And yes, they may feel queasy for a bit, but that too will pass.

(Liz Stillman)

September 11, 2023 in Encouragement & Inspiration, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Statement from AASE Concerning the NextGen Bar Exam




The Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) has serious concerns about the prototype questions released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) for the NextGen bar exam scheduled to be administered in July 2026.

The NCBE’s Testing Task Force, in their final report released in April 2021, recommended less emphasis on memorized material and greater focus on lawyering skills to more reflect the practice of law. NextGen purportedly tests applicants on skills they actually need to be successful attorneys.  Unfortunately, the recently released exam structure and fourteen (14) questions do not fulfill that promise. 

Significant memorization will be required on the NextGen bar exam.  The NCBE outline displays some topics in each subject with a star and some without a star. The legend explaining the meaning of the star versus no star topics clearly shows that everything will need to be memorized.  “Topics without a star symbol – Topics without a star symbol may be tested with or without provision of legal resources. When these topics are tested without legal resources, the examinee is expected to rely on recalled knowledge and understanding that will enable the examinee to demonstrate recognition that the topic is at issue in the fact scenario.”  Since the language indicates non-starred areas may require memorized knowledge, applicants must memorize everything.

The July 11, 2023, and August 18, 2023, releases create additional uncertainty regarding the exam.  In the July release, the multiple-choice section of NextGen Bar was described as “Initially, many of these questions will closely resemble Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions; this will ensure stability between scores for the current and NextGen bar exams. In future administrations, the variety of multiple-choice question types will increase.”

The statement raises a significant concern.  Graduates will be preparing for an exam that is quite literally a moving target.  The NCBE provided no information about how the “variety of multiple-choice question types will increase.”  They only provided 14 questions to represent countless rules and skills.  Graduates and law schools do not know what that variety looks like, how significant is the increase in variety, and how it will impact studying.  In the August press release, the exam structure once again changed from previous announcements clearly illustrating the moving target.  For a high-stakes licensure exam, a moving target with so few examples released in advance is inappropriate.  Graduates have the right to know the exact make-up and nature of the exam they will take and have access to ample practice questions produced by the licensing authority.

AASE appreciates the NCBE attempting to modernize the bar exam to reflect the actual practice of law and decrease the disparate impact on certain populations.  While their goal is virtuous, the current prototypes fall short of satisfying the Testing Task Force’s recommendations.  AASE respectfully encourages all licensing agencies to fully analyze this assessment and consider whether alternative methods of licensure are more appropriate.

Issued: September 6, 2023

Direct inquiries concerning this statement to: Ashley M. London, President, or Steven Foster, Bar Advocacy Committee Chair.

September 6, 2023 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Another Low National MBE Mean

The NCBE released the national MBE mean on Thursday.  The press release is here.  The release highlights the improvement of .2 over last year, which is in a positive direction.  However, I fear too many state bar examiners continue to accept deflated MBE scores without questions.  From 2007-2015, 1 year had below a 142 national MBE mean on a July exam.  Since 2015, 1 year has a 142 or above, and that was 2020 when the NCBE contends the number of takers skewed the statistics.  As someone who taught bar preparation since 2008, I don't believe students now are significantly different than students pre-2015.  Even many of the "get off my lawn" aged professors think students are similar now to pre-2015.  What happened in 2015?  The NCBE added Civil Procedure to the MBE and scores haven't been the same.  With 8 years of deflated scores (with most schools increasing bar prep resources), the NCBE should probably start answering questions.  Bar examiners should step-up and ask questions when individuals' careers are impacted.  Here are a few questions I have (I tried to limit the list):

1.  How did the NCBE take cognitive load into account (ie - adding more material to study) when scaling the MBE in 2015?  (Their stock answer of students studied Civ Pro for essays is unacceptable because not all states tested Fed Civ Pro on essays and level of detail is different for MBE than essays).

2.  When more retakers took the July 2023 bar exam (press release indicates higher percentage), did that artificially decrease the scale for everyone?  

3.  How did the first-time takers compare to previous first-time takers (especially 2018 and 2019) on the anchor questions? 

4.  Is it possible this group of first-time takers performed as well as previous years but the NCBE's lack of accounting for a global pandemic continues to have residual effects on pass rates?

5.  Does the NCBE separate first-time takers and repeater takers performance on anchor questions to create the scale?

My questions may prove unhelpful or even misguided, but the NCBE's lack of transparency raises doubts about scoring.  I could be wrong that students now are just as qualified as previous years.  However, we don't have information to evaluate my questions.  State bar examiners also don't have information or aren't asking these questions.  Alumni lose tens of thousands of dollars in career earnings when not passing the first time.  With that much power over peoples' lives comes even greater responsibility to prove the process works.  We also  shouldn't be complacent waiting for NextGen.  Lets continually ask questions to protect our students and their dreams.

(Steven Foster)


September 3, 2023 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Assistant Dean for Academic Success at Elon

Elon is seeking an Assistant Dean of Academic Success.  The posting is here.  The Assistant Dean for Academic Success is responsible for the Law School’s academic success program including creating an environment for academic success, preparing students for success in law school and on the bar exam, and working with various constituencies contributing to the academic success of students at the law school.


• Leads a team that supports the mission of the Law School in its goal of academic excellence for all students.
• Develops and implements academic support and bar preparation programs that enhance each student’s level of achievement and that will result in improved academic performance and greater success on the bar exam.
• Works with many constituencies within and outside of the law school, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to create and implement a comprehensive academic and bar support program that is consistent with the needs of students and goals of the university and law school to create an environment for academic success.
• Thinks creatively and critically to identify factors that will contribute to enhancing success in areas of responsibility. This necessarily will require consideration of trends in academic support and bar preparation programs nationally as well as the use of data to identify and understand Elon Law specific factors that may influence and affect student academic performance and bar success.
• Communicates and works effectively with students, faculty, staff, alumni, advisory board members and any other internal or external constituency that may be of assistance in achieving improvements in student achievement as contemplated by the program.
• Teaches appropriate courses in the academic success program that contribute to developing useful and helpful skills and knowledge to enhance academic performance and bar success.

September 2, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

This article REALLY should not be overlooked:

J. Findley, et al., JD-Next: A Valid and Reliable Tool to Predict Diverse Students’ Success in Law School, 20 J. Empirical Legal Studies 134 (2023).

From the abstract:

Admissions tests have increasingly come under attack by those seeking to broaden access and
reduce disparities in higher education. Meanwhile, in other sectors there is a movement towards
“work-sample” or “proximal” testing. Especially for underrepresented students, the goal is to
measure not just the accumulated knowledge and skills that they would bring to a new academic
program, but also their ability to grow and learn through the program.

The JD-Next is a fully-online, non-credit, 7-10 week course to train potential JD students in case
reading and analysis skills, prior to their first year of law school. This study tests the validity and
reliability of the JD-Next exam as a potential admissions tool for juris doctor programs of
education. (In a companion article, we report on the efficacy of the course for preparing students
for law school.)

In 2019, we recruited a national sample of potential JD students, enriched for racial/ethnic
diversity, along with a sample of volunteers at one university (N=62). In 2020, we partnered with
17 law schools around the country to recruit a cohort of their incoming law students (N=238). At
the end of the course, students were incentivized to take and perform well on an exam that we
graded with a standardized methodology. We collected first-semester grades as an outcome
variable, and compared JD-Next exam properties to legacy exams now used by law schools (the
LSAT, including converted GRE scores).

We found that the JD-Next exam was a valid and reliable predictor of law school performance,
comparable to legacy exams. For schools ranked outside the top-50 we found that the legacy
exams lacked significant incremental validity in our sample, but the JD-Next exam provided a
significant advantage. We also replicated known, substantial racial and ethnic disparities on the
legacy exam scores, but estimate smaller, non-significant score disparities on the JD-Next exam.
Together this research suggests that, as an admissions tool, the JD-Next exam may reduce the risk
that capable students will be excluded from legal education and the legal profession.

The companion paper testing efficacy of the JD-Next program for improving law school grades is available at

This next piece sponsored  by the good folks at the Skynet Law Offices:

J. H. Choi and D.B. Schwarcz (Minnesota), AI Assistance in Legal Analysis: An Empirical Study (August 2023, ).

Can artificial intelligence (AI) augment human legal reasoning? To find out, we designed a novel experiment administering law school exams to students with and without access to GPT-4, the best-performing AI model currently available. We found that assistance from GPT-4 significantly enhanced performance on simple multiple-choice questions but not on complex essay questions. We also found that GPT-4’s impact depended heavily on the student’s starting skill level; students at the bottom of the class saw huge performance gains with AI assistance, while students at the top of the class saw performance declines. This suggests that AI may have an equalizing effect on the legal profession, mitigating inequalities between elite and nonelite lawyers.

In addition, we graded exams written by GPT-4 alone to compare it with humans alone and AI-assisted humans. We found that GPT-4’s performance varied substantially depending on prompting methodology. With basic prompts, GPT-4 was a mediocre student, but with optimal prompting it outperformed both the average student and the average student with access to AI. This finding has important implications for the future of work, hinting that it may become advantageous to entirely remove humans from the loop for certain tasks.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]



August 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 28, 2023


Have you ever used a navigator when you are driving? I am probably the user that navigator designers despise the most: I argue and don’t always listen to their advice--mainly because I do not have complete faith in them. I have a strange feud with one particular navigator that I swear is a trust exercise because it will take me to places I have never been to before (like someone’s backyard it seems), but when I make a mistake (or willfully disregard their advice), they just shut down altogether. I swear mine is just leading me to strange places and seeing if I trust them enough to get me out. I don’t and am thus abandoned.

We have noticed (actually, this has been an issue for a long while) that students are not engaging with our 1L study seminars or office hours. Some seem skeptical about them, and some are surprised to learn that these were even happening despite numerous weekly emails, announcements during orientation, and the billboard we erected near Fenway Park (okay, there was no billboard, but it isn’t a crazy idea…). By the time students come to see us, often they are already in some academic distress and likely behind in some aspect of successful “law studenting.” It is frustrating. We spend a lot of time developing and offering resources and yet students seem to want to follow their own path or are afraid to ask for and accept help.

And they need this help because this is a place they haven’t visited before.

So, we decided to do what my (non-trust exercise) navigator does (at least three times during every excursion) and recalculated. This year we created a “Success Syllabus” for our 1L students and posted it on our Academic Support Canvas page. It takes students through the semester-week by week- and tells them what they should be doing during those weeks to be prepared for exams. I included their legal writing assignment due dates, calendar shifts (Monday schedule on a Tuesday for the win!) as well as any already knowable midterm dates. Basically, it tells students when to begin reading and briefing for classes (right now and all semester), outlining (in a few weeks), and practicing exam questions (a week or two after that). It also refers to outside resource lists that we created for each class 1Ls take based on a conducting a survey of 1L faculty members for their recommended study sources.  We added a bold, underlined caveat that anything their professors say to the contrary should take precedence (we are lawyers).

In the end, the route is pretty simple: Prepare for class, Engage in class, Review after class (by outlining), and Practice for exams (PERP), but gaining students’ trust to follow this itinerary is the hard work ahead. If anyone would like an electronic copy of our Success Syllabus, please email me: [email protected], but only if you believe that I know where I am going with it.

Happy fall semester everyone!

(Liz Stillman)

August 28, 2023 in Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Associate Professor of Academic Success at Southwestern

SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL in Los Angeles invites applications for full-time entry-level or experienced Associate Professors of Academic Success and Bar Preparation. These non-tenure-track positions can lead to a long-term contract. AS/BP faculty vote on virtually all issues in faculty meetings, serve on faculty committees, are eligible for summer research stipends, and those who are productive scholars are eligible to apply for sabbaticals.

AS/BP faculty work with students from pre-matriculation through the bar-study period. They teach our summer Bison Bootcamp program and serve as bar-study coaches for graduates. They teach the 1L Foundations of Law & Practice course, which instructs students about core law school skills, like reading cases and statutes, note-taking and classroom engagement, rule synthesis, outlining, and exam-taking techniques. They also teach upper-level courses, including Remedies, Multistate Bar Exam, and Cal Bar Writing. As we learn what will be covered on the new California Bar Examination, courses or course content may change.

We seek candidates who are passionate about teaching and can demonstrate success in the classroom, love working with students outside the classroom, and are willing to contribute to the campus community through committee and related service.

Subject to approval from the ABA, we plan to launch a mostly asynchronous online J.D. program (with full-time and part-time options) in Fall 2024, and we hope many faculty we will hire in the coming years will teach in that program.

Founded in 1911, Southwestern is an ABA-accredited, independent law school located in the center of Los Angeles. Our mission includes educating lawyers ready to serve clients, the profession, and our society with excellence, empowering students to reach their potential, cultivating inclusion and belonging, and shaping the law and public policy through teaching, scholarship, and service.

To apply, please send your CV, professional references, research agenda, and preferred areas of teaching via email to [email protected] and put “Faculty Application” in the email subject line. Review of applications and AALS FAR forms will begin in mid- August. Initial interviews will be held via Zoom, and callback interviews will be held in person.

August 27, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Associate Dean for Academic Success at Pittsburgh


The University of Pittsburgh School of Law invites applications for a full-time faculty position at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Legal Writing, with an administrative appointment as Associate Dean for Academic Success. This position is part of a system of contracts progressing to presumptively renewable long-term contracts, separate from the University’s tenure stream. However, applicants with tenure from another institution may be eligible for a tenured appointment. The position will begin summer 2024.

The successful applicant will serve as Pitt Law’s first Associate Dean for Academic Success, overseeing the implementation of innovative strategies and programs to enhance students’ academic performance in law school and increase their likelihood of success on the bar exam. In cooperation with other members of the law school administration and the faculty, the Associate Dean for Academic Success will also help to shape the future direction of the law school’s curriculum. The position will report directly to the Dean and will supervise the Director of Academic Success and Bar Exam Services (an existing staff position). The Associate Dean for Academic Success will also teach courses related to academic success, some or all of which may be writing courses.

Minimum requirements for the position include a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, excellent writing skills, an outstanding academic record, and professional experience in academic support as a counselor or teacher. Additional experience in bar exam preparation and familiarity with the NextGen bar exam are strongly preferred. The ideal candidate will be skilled at initiating and maintaining engagement with a diverse group of students, and open to input from students, administration, staff, and faculty.

Pittsburgh is consistently ranked among the most livable cities in the United States, offering 90 unique neighborhoods, a wide variety of cultural and recreational activities, and an affordable cost of living.  It boasts a vibrant modern economy, driven to a significant extent by Pitt and its neighbor, Carnegie Mellon University. The city is defined by its unique topography, including the three rivers and over 400 bridges. 

To apply, please provide a letter of interest, resume, and list of three references addressed to Professor Ben Bratman, Chair, Appointments Committee, at [email protected]. Write “Academic Success Faculty Application” in the subject line of the email. Applicants are strongly urged to submit by September 8, 2023, after which the committee will begin reviewing applications.

The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer (EEO/M/F/Vets/ Disabled). In furtherance of our strong institutional commitment to a diverse faculty, we particularly welcome applications from minorities, women, and others who would add diversity to our faculty.  Recruitment is subject to approval by the University’s Provost. 

August 27, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


Yesterday we dropped our youngest child off at college. We have done this twice before and it does not get any easier. By the time we drove away in our huge rental minivan, I was sore, dehydrated, and a little dazed. The bicycle, giant duffle bags, small bits of furniture, tea bags, contact lenses, monitor, coffee maker, bedding, bathroom supplies, and my son had all been unpacked. The giant car and I were both similarly empty. The van was delightfully air-conditioned after a day of admiring the view from the 4th floor dorm room on a very muggy day in Dutchess County, NY and that was very comforting.  During this long day, there were many activities for students and parents. We wandered the lush, verdant campus (it seemed even larger in the heat) and listened to administrators tell us that they will challenge, transform, and take care of our children. I think we all chose to 100% believe it in that humid and emotionally fraught moment. It was a lot. I’m feeling the aftermath physically and spiritually this morning.

This afternoon, I will teach the first ASP orientation class for one section of our fabulous 1Ls[1]. They started orientation yesterday and will have events throughout the week to get them ready for being a 1L. I will try to cram all the necessary academic support information into their heads over the next two days that I have the privilege of teaching them, but I think my experience yesterday will remind me of a few things as I move forward:

  1. The energy of new students is something that should be harnessed- it is clean and renewable.
  2. These new students are likely to believe very word you say because this is a scary time of transition. It is scary even if you were born thinking you want to be a lawyer. I will choose my words carefully. I don’t want some glib thing I uttered in orientation to be the voice in their heads for the next 3-4 years. If they are going to channel me throughout law school[2], I am hoping it will be something profound (or more likely comforting, because have you met me?).
  3. These students do not know their way around--physically or culturally. I know the law school is in one building but giving directions (and signage--yay for signage!) will really help. And some patience on my part in answering the questions outside my “jurisdiction” will be key (even if it is just who else they should ask besides me).
  4. This is still a social situation, and even though everyone is an “adult”, for some students, meeting 400+ new people will be overwhelming. I will remember to remind students about the sessions where they will be in smaller groups during the week. I will try to build community in our time together.
  5. Our students are likely tired, sore, and maybe a little sad today too. Some have moved large geographical distances, and some have moved large mental distances to be here. That is hard.

As we all head off to orient our students,[3] let’s remember that they are feeling all the feels this week and sometimes the best we can do is tell them, over and over, that we truly want them to succeed and exactly how to find us later on.

And yes, if you see me this week, I do need a hug.

(Liz Stillman)


[1] We have an accelerated program that started in May and teaching those students was also extremely fabulous.

[2] And that is a big “if.”

[3] Yes, I am always tempted to put a google satellite picture of our building on a slide with a big red x that says, “you are here” and drop the mic, but I feel that this may be too minimalist.

August 22, 2023 in Orientation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

Good morning, 

Another installment of ABSSS:

Scott, Jason M., et al (AccessLex), Putting the Bar Exam to the Test: An Examination of the Predictive Validity of Bar Exam Outcomes on Lawyering Effectiveness, AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 23-03 (2023).

From the abstract:

How well does bar exam performance, on the whole, predict lawyering effectiveness? Is performance on some components of the bar exam more predictive? The current study, the first of its kind to measure the relationship between bar exam scores and a new lawyer’s effectiveness, evaluates these questions by combining three unique datasets—bar results from the State Bar of Nevada, a survey of recently admitted lawyers, and a survey of supervisors, peers, and judges who were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of recently-admitted lawyers. We find that performance on both the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) and essay components of the Nevada Bar have little relationship with the assessed lawyering effectiveness of new lawyers, calling into question the usefulness of these tests.

H.A. Lloyd (Wake Forest), Langdell and the Eclipse of Character, 85 Pitt. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2023):

From the abstract:

Christopher Columbus Langdell has not only damaged the study of law with his three follies: his legal formalism, his redacted appellate case method, and his notion that legal practice taints the professor of law. His three follies have also impaired character development critical for legal actors. This Article focuses on four such critical character traits and virtues impaired by Langdell: (i) imagination, (ii) empathy, (ii) balance, and (iv) integrity. Readers wishing to explore virtues beyond those addressed in this Article might note my earlier examination of the role of virtue in good legal analysis found here.

This Article also calls out potential character issues with two professor types inspired by Langdell: (v) the hazing professor who confuses intellectual rigor with intense discomfort and who uses the redacted appellate case method to inflict such discomfort at the expense of better pedagogy, and (vi) the professor without substantial practice experience who is substantially paid to teach what she has never practiced.

[h/t TaxProfBlog]

[Posted by Louis Schulze. FIU Law]

August 22, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Childcare Assistance for Bar Takers: Impactful Opportunities to Assist

When it comes to taking the bar exam, it seems that the primary resource concerns expressed by various stakeholders involve time, money, materials, and dedicated study spaces. However, other impactful factors are important to consider alongside these items, including the impact of working while studying, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and other life quality factors.

One factor that has been on my radar recently is the apparent lack of available resources for childcare assistance for bar takers. Although we often take into consideration the aforementioned factors, the impact of a lack of childcare assistance is one that unfortunately often gets overlooked. However, the time, attention, money, and energy that goes into the care of children, especially young children, can be especially taxing on bar takers who are already strained in terms of resources, therefore it is an important area to address.

In order to assist Academic Support Professionals and other stakeholders in the legal education community, I wanted to share how I was able to assist a bar taker in securing childcare assistance resources in my state (Georgia), and then also wanted to provide you with eight tips you can share with your bar takers to assist them in finding resources to assist them post-graduation while studying for the bar exam.

Childcare Assistance Resources in Georgia: The Georgia CAPS Program

The Georgia Childcare and Parent Services (‘Georgia CAPS’ or ‘CAPS’) program provides financial assistance to eligible families to help with the cost of child care. In assisting bar takers with access to the resources of this program, we had to generally follow the below steps (please note that specific identifying information and other narrative modifications have been made to protect bar takers' identities and for illustrative-ease purposes regarding the general processes and procedures).

  1. Determine Eligibility:

Eligibility for the Georgia CAPS program is based on factors such as income, family size, work, or education status. We researched specific eligibility criteria on the Georgia CAPS website and by contacting the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). The bar taker also had to complete a PreApplication Screener.

  1. Apply for Assistance:

Once we were confident in eligibility, it was time to apply for childcare assistance through the Georgia CAPS program. Our bar taker needed to fill out the application which can be obtained online through the Georgia CAPS website or at local CAPS offices. A Georgia Gateway account was required.

  1. Submit Required Documents:

The application process typically requires individuals to submit various documents to verify eligibility, such as income documentation, proof of work or education, and information about family size. It is imperative to provide all the necessary documents along with an application.

CRITICAL MOMENT: Our bar taker was no longer enrolled in law school, and this is where the snag in the process typically occurs. However, the eligibility requirements specifically list “State-Approved Activities” which includes online coursework in pursuit of vocational goals, so the critical part of this process was getting a commercial bar prep course approved to satisfy the proof of education requirement. We worked with a commercial bar prep provider to have them provide the documentation to the state regarding the course hour requirements weekly, and the state approved this for educational/vocational purposes. Voila, we were on the way!

  1. Attend an Interview (If Required):

Depending on a bar taker’s situation and the local Georgia CAPS office requirements, the bar taker in Georgia may be required to attend an interview to further discuss eligibility and childcare needs. This was not required in our circumstances.

  1. Receive Approval and Voucher:

Once our application was approved, we received notice of eligibility along with a childcare assistance voucher. The voucher can be used to access childcare services from approved providers participating in the Georgia CAPS program, so the next step was our bar taker choosing an approved provider.

  1. Choose an Approved Provider:

Our bar taker then had to research and select an approved childcare provider who participates in the Georgia CAPS program. The provider must be licensed or exempt from licensure and willing to accept CAPS payments, and our bar taker was able to select one that the bar taker was comfortable with and felt was trustworthy.

  1. Provide Ongoing Eligibility Documentation:

After receiving childcare assistance through the Georgia CAPS program, our bar taker was required to provide ongoing documentation to ensure their continued eligibility. This could potentially include updates on the bar taker’s coursework progress, education status, employment, and any income changes.

  1. Celebrate Success: It’s always important to celebrate success in helping! Our bar taker was able to complete the process and obtain childcare assistance in the state of Georgia for the full cycle of bar study. This greatly assisted this individual with being able to dedicate study time, and attention, as well as provided the ability to balance financial resources to ensure the taker was in the best position for success on the bar exam.

It is very likely that your state also offers similar opportunities for assistance, and by partnering with your bar vendors to provide documentation and evidentiary support of your bar takers’ programs and time requirements, you will very likely be able to help similarly-situated individuals who need assistance during this critical time.

Eight Tips for Bar Takers Seeking Childcare Assistance

Remember, getting childcare assistance while taking the bar exam will depend on the specific programs and resources offered by the state in which you are taking the exam. Each state will have different options and eligibility criteria. Here are eight tips you can pass on to your bar takers to explore childcare assistance options:

  1. Check the State Bar Association Website: Start by visiting the website of the state's bar association. Look for information on any childcare assistance programs they may offer for bar exam takers. Make sure to carefully review bar exam dates and to think carefully about what childcare coverage and assistance you may need.
  1. Contact the State Bar Association: If you cannot find specific information on the website, reach out to the state bar association directly via phone or email. Inquire about any available childcare assistance programs or resources for bar exam takers.
  1. Inquire with Law Schools and Universities: Law schools in the state where you are taking the bar exam may have programs or services to support their graduates during the exam period. Contact the law schools in the area and ask if they offer any childcare assistance for bar exam takers. Although bar takers often consult their law schools, it is important to utilize all potential resources, so conduct a broad search.
  1. Government Assistance Programs: Check with local government agencies or social service organizations to see if there are any childcare subsidies or assistance programs available to individuals in your situation.
  1. Scholarships or Grants: Some states or organizations may offer scholarships or grants to help cover childcare expenses for individuals taking the bar exam. Look for any relevant opportunities that you might be eligible for.
  1. Law Firm Support: If you are currently employed by a law firm, inquire about any policies or programs they have in place to support employees taking the bar exam, including childcare assistance.
  1. Online Communities and Forums: Join online forums or social media groups related to law students or bar exam takers. Other individuals who have gone through similar situations may be able to provide advice and guidance on finding childcare assistance.
  1. Plan in Advance: It is essential to start researching childcare assistance options early in your bar exam preparation. Some programs may have limited funding or availability, so planning will increase your chances of securing support. It will also help you in considering budgets in terms of financial resources and your valuable study time.

Remember that childcare assistance programs may vary significantly from state to state and may be subject to budget limitations, vocational and educational requirements, and other limiting factors. It is essential to be proactive in your search for support and explore all available resources in your area. Additionally, be prepared to provide the necessary documentation and meet any eligibility requirements to qualify for childcare assistance programs.

(Scot Goins - Guest Blogger)

August 20, 2023 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Director of Academic Excellence at Wake Forest

Wake Forest School of Law seeks a Director of Academic Excellence and Bar Support.  The posting is here.  The Director is responsible for the oversight and implementation of academic success and bar support programs and initiatives in support of strong educational and bar examination outcomes. Using a data-driven approach and continuous improvement mindset, the Director will set goals and measure outcomes, develop plans, and engage students to help improve their ability to succeed in their academic program, as well as recent graduates in their preparation for the bar examination.

Job Description

Essential Functions:

Academic Excellence:

  • Manage and implement all major support services related to academic excellence and academic support.
  • Develop and implement programming, including workshops, information sessions, and training on academic skills and general topics such as reading and briefing cases, time management, class preparation and participation, and exam strategies.
  • Provide academic support counseling for all students who have self-engaged, who have been identified as at-risk through data analysis, or have been referred through regular, one-on-one appointments.
  • Administer Academic Excellence Program (AEP) for first-year law students, identifying best practices and seeking ways to improve offerings.
  • Teach one section of Critical Academic Skills Enhancement (CASE) course each Spring semester for students who require additional academic support, recruit and supervise additional instructor (if a second section is needed).
  • Explore and implement innovative approaches to academic support, reviewing data and best industry best practices, revising programming and support mechanisms to meet support demands.
  • Work with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs to identify and support struggling or at-risk students.

Bar Support:

  • Coordination and implementation of all major services related to bar examination support, with emphasis on continuous improvement of first-time and ultimate bar passage rates.
  • Develop and implement programming including workshops, information sessions, and training on various topics for students and recent graduates such as bar examination and MPRE applications, Character & Fitness, commonly tested legal subjects, and MBE strategies.
  • Teach the Applied Legal Concepts course each Spring semester.
  • Track bar examination taker study progress using data and predictive analytics, identifying at-risk takers and providing encouragement and support.
  • Provide law school leadership team with regular updates on bar taker engagement and leverage former student relationships for motivational outreach.
  • Coordinate July North Carolina bar examination support efforts in Raleigh
    (e.g., lunch, staff greeters, etc.).
  • Explore and implement innovative approaches to bar exam support, reviewing data and revising programming and support mechanisms to meet support demands. 
  • Lead school efforts to understand the NextGen bar exam, work with faculty and staff to recommend changes/additions to curriculum to address NextGen bar exam.


  • Lead data coordination and tracking for ABA Bar Passage Reporting purposes, ensuring data integrity and accuracy for all first time and recent bar takers.
  • Work with Academic Affairs and Student Affairs to ensure ABA Bar Passage Report is accurate and submitted timely.
  • Identify opportunities to visualize and report progress in academic excellence and bar support.

Additional Job Description

Other Functions:

  • Manage Academic Success and Bar Support Budget.
  • Supervise Teaching Assistants for Academic Engagement Program.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Education, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

Juris Doctor degree with at least three years of successful student programming administration, teaching, or a combination thereof, in law schools. Superior writing and oral communication skills. The ability to deliver difficult news and manage difficult conversations. Must be able to work independently and as a member of a team, including interface with all faculty, staff, students, and senior administrators.

Superior judgment, high resilience and energy, strong emotional intelligence, compassion and positivity, innovation, and a continuous improvement mindset. Serving as a community model the successful candidate will have sophistication in academic best practices, understanding of the state of the legal profession and law pedagogy.

Proficiency with technology and software navigation, and the ability to learn new technology.

Time Type Requirement

Full time


Note to Applicant:

This position profile identifies the key responsibilities and expectations for performance. It cannot encompass all specific job tasks that an employee may be required to perform. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and perform job-related duties as may be reasonably assigned by his/her supervi

August 19, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)