Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Muscle Learning: A Hypo a Day

That's my summary of a wonderful article sharing a helpful learning practice and the reasons behind it.  In the article, Prof. Dawn Young at the University of Idaho shares that "working a hypo a day can help you grow a gigantic analytical muscle" because the daily practice helps organize thoughts, see patterns, and learn exam analysis skills.  I wholeheartedly agree.  Here's the link for the details: Brunette, J, "3 Reasons a Hypo a Day will Keep Bad Grades Away," National Jurist (Nov. 30, 2022) (quoting and referencing Prof. Dawn Young).  (Scott Johns).

P.S. And, if you're in the midst of final exams, as many of you are at present, there's still ample time to start the habit, today.  In fact, starring at your outlines, trying to memorize them, is not near as useful as using your outlines to solve hypes and past final exam problems.  So take charge of your learning by courageously tackling and experiencing problems before you take on your remaining final exams.

December 7, 2022 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Learning Styles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

An important addition to the academic and bar support literature:

Joan Haworth, Shaping the Bar: The Future of Attorney Licensing (Stanford University Press 2022).

From the publisher:

In Shaping the Bar, Joan Howarth describes how the twin gatekeepers of the legal profession—law schools and licensers—are failing the public. Attorney licensing should be laser-focused on readiness to practice law with the minimum competence of a new attorney. According to Howarth, requirements today are both too difficult and too easy. Amid the crisis in unmet legal services, record numbers of law school graduates—disproportionately people of color—are failing bar exams that are not meaningful tests of competence to practice. At the same time, after seven years of higher education, hundreds of thousands of dollars of law school debt, two months of cramming legal rules, and success on a bar exam, a candidate can be licensed to practice law without ever having been in a law office or even seen a lawyer with a client.

Howarth makes the case that the licensing rituals familiar to generations of lawyers—unfocused law degrees and obsolete bar exams—are protecting members of the profession more than the public. Beyond explaining the failures of the current system, this book presents the latest research on competent lawyering and examples of better approaches. This book presents the path forward by means of licensing changes to protect the public while building an inclusive, diverse, competent, ethical profession.

Thoughtful and engaging, Shaping the Bar is both an authoritative account of attorney licensing and a pragmatic handbook for overdue equitable reform of a powerful profession.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

December 6, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

A new edition of the Journal of Legal Education, fresh off the presses.

JLE

November 29, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2022

Small Circles

After teaching three hours of orientation classes in the long, hot days of August, one of our new students asked me if they could meet with me. At this meeting, they told me that they were concerned about being in law school. Someone in another session had told all the students that it would be imperative for them to work together and make fast friends to be successful and had added that not doing so would likely lead to failure.

I guess this was an attempt to try to build community among the 400+ strangers who had gathered to start this journey together. It isn’t a bad idea-community is incredibly important to law school success- but this student is on the spectrum, and they were considering withdrawing from law school because they knew this kind of relationship building was not something they could do easily or quickly. They were terrified that they would not be successful because group work and friend-making would occupy as much, if not more, of their mental resources in law school than learning and studying…and law school is hard enough as it is. I sat and listened to this student and their thoughtful way of going about getting information before they made up their mind. They had come to see me because they thought I would listen and give them good advice and I was touched by their early trust. The more I listened, the more I became aware of what a wonderful student they would be. It would be a real shame for them to leave before even starting.

I’m not sure if ASP me or mom me answered their questions that day. I gave the student a rundown of how every school day might look (we looked at the schedule together) and how there isn’t much time to socialize and very few forced interactions (all the social events were entirely optional). We discussed how study groups are a choice and not a requirement.  While we aren’t exactly RuPaul’s Drag Race or America’s Next Top Model where the contestants "are not there to make friends," there was no need to spend an enormous amount of time finding their people and forming alliances. The student’s people were here-and would be here for the next three years. I advised them to trust what they know about themselves and let the relationships form organically. They decided to stay and give it a try.

They stopped by today to ask me a few questions about exams. They are happy. They are successful. They had just come from an executive board meeting of a club they had chosen to join. Mom me is very, very proud. ASP me is a tiny bit sad, but mainly thrilled that they will probably never need to see me again unless they choose to. I hope they do.

(Liz Stillman)

November 28, 2022 in Disability Matters, Diversity Issues, Encouragement & Inspiration, Orientation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Mark Your Calendar - ASP Presentations January 2023 at AALS Conference

AALS ASP Meeting 23 Highlights copy

November 22, 2022 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 21, 2022

Series Blog No 3 - Learning by Doing

In this continuing series (please send me your thoughts about the ups and downs and best practices for academic support programming), here's the latest installment from Prof. Jackie Rodgers, detailing strategies that one school faced in overcoming bar exam obstacles in 2015.  

As the article suggests, the law school focused on incorporating the cognitive science that serves as the foundation for meaningful and effective learning with holistic programming throughout the law school experience flowing into early bar prep opportunities.  I particularly found the appendices helpful with a snapshot chart of assignments for a 1L foundations course and an example of applied legal analysis in criminal law.

Series Blog Post - Learning in Doing throughout the Law School Experience (Southwestern)

In addition, here are the links for the previous posts:

Series Blog Post - Intro

Series Blog No. 1 - Diverse Approaches (ASU)

Series Blog No. 2 - Manifold Ways (FIU)

Please let me know if you'd like to contribute a post in this continuing series. I'd love to hear from you and I can be reached at: sjohns@law.du.edu. (Scott Johns)

 

 

 

November 21, 2022 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Playground

Isn’t it the way of the fall semester that September seems like it lasted for 8 weeks, October was about 2.5 weeks, and November 1st is when are standing at the top of a giant slide that ends in finals? I wandered into this playground in mid-August, and while it seemed to come both too fast and too slow, I am happy to see the ground come into view.

This semester has been wild.

Overwhelming.

Intense.

Busy.

Frustrating.

Joyful.

Fulfilling.

Fast.

I am grateful for the chance to hit stop for a few days later this week. I need the time to gather whatever resources I have left (or can conjure) before the building smells like stress in the upcoming weeks. I am thankful that I get to see more family than usual this year. I remain in awe of the ASP community and its generosity, kindness, and warmth.

I wish you all the best of times. May the ground beneath the end of your slide be soft when you land.

(Liz Stillman)

November 21, 2022 in Games, Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Manage Expectations

Almost everyone in my family is a massive sports fan.  College football Saturdays are a tradition, so we talk non-stop about the current rankings and debate the what-ifs.  A couple weeks ago after another fun Saturday, my 8-year old concluded Alabama football isn't very good this year.  While many people in Tuscaloosa might agree with him (and want to fire every coach on the team), the statement is absurd.  For non-college football readers, Alabama football has been the most dominant team over the past 15 years.  They expect to win every game.  My son made this pronouncement after they lost their second game this year.  They are still ranked in the top 10 out of 130 teams, which is extremely good.  However, since expectations required perfection, they fell short.

I want to remind all of us to manage our expectations going into the winter season.  For students taking exams, no one writes perfect exam answers.  Professors intentionally construct hard exams.  You will probably miss a few (or more) small nuances.  Everyone will.  You can also still be successful on the exam while missing those nuances.  Also, don't expect perfect grades.  I understand most law students obtained great undergraduate grades.  However, very few people graduate with all A's in law school.  My suggestion for exams is to focus on preparation.  Create a good plan that includes understanding the material, completing practice questions, and seeking feedback.

To our amazing future attorneys (February Bar takers), you will make mistakes.  No one answers every MBE question correct.  The vast majority of students don't start bar preparation with a passing score.  Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.  Work as hard as you can within your program, but also, give yourself grace.  When you miss an assignment, pick it up tomorrow.  It is easy to miss a day, but don't let it snowball to 2.

For my ASP colleagues, you can't be perfect.  You probably want to hold extra final exam workshops while meeting with every student who needs help and provide non-stop individual feedback.  Unfortunately, there isn't enough time in the day to do everything you want to do.  Your school probably asks you to do more than you can reasonably accomplish in 8-10 hours.  Give yourself grace if you can't get to everything.  Talk to a few faculty members for extra help providing feedback to students.  Encourage students to meet with their doctrinal professors.  Use time blocking strategies to focus on specific tasks long enough to mark things off your to-do list.  Lastly, walk through your law school and smile at students studying.  Your time is limited, but some students just need to see you pulling for them.  A smile could make their day.

The end of the semester is a sprint.  Most of us (students and professors) are in law school because we continually push ourselves beyond our limits.  While I encourage everyone to push yourself to new heights, I also want to remind you that you are Alabama football.  Very few people get an opportunity to go to law school (<2% of population), and even less are ASPers.  Don't expect perfection over the next couple weeks.  Instead, focus on studying or helping students each day.  Try to enjoy the spring through the next couple weeks.

(Steven Foster)

November 20, 2022 in Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

This week in academic and bar support scholarship:

1.  Jason Scott & Joshua Jackson (AccessLex Institue) What Is Quality? Advancing Value-Added Approaches to Assessing Law School Bar Exam Performance,  AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 22-04 (November 10, 2022).

From the abstract:

U.S. News & World Report rankings and tier groupings are often used as proxy measures of law school quality. But many of the factors that contribute to both law school outcomes and U.S. News rankings (e.g., undergraduate GPAs [UGPA], LSAT scores, admission rates) do not reflect the impact law schools have on student outcomes, such as bar passage and employment.

We propose a method for measuring institutional quality that is based on a school’s ability to improve its graduates’ likelihood of first-time bar passage while controlling for those students’ preadmission characteristics. Using a value-added modeling technique, we first isolate each law school’s expected bar performance for the 2013–2018 bar takers given those cohorts’ entering characteristics and the school’s attrition and transfer patterns, then identify the degree to which this prediction overperforms or underperforms the school’s actual bar performance.

Additionally, we utilize a bar pass differential rather than a school’s first-time bar pass rate, allowing us to account for variation between jurisdictions’ grading and cut scores. Finally, we provide a ranked list of law schools based on their added value for each entering cohort.

2.  Jeffrey A. Parness (Northern Illinois), Civil Procedure and the New Bar Exam, 94 Univ. of Colorado L. Rev. Online Forum (Forthcoming 2022).

Per the abstract:

In 2022 the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) issued its “Content Scope Outlines” for public comment, soliciting input on “significant oversights.” The outlines were designed to inform the public “of the scope of the topics to be assessed in the eight Foundational Concepts and Principles (FCP) and the scope of the lawyering tasks to be assessed in the seven Foundational Skills (FS) on the next generation of the bar exam.” One of the eight FCP was “Civil Procedure” (including constitutional protections and proceedings before administrative agencies).

This comment addresses some “significant oversights” on the topic of civil procedure. In doing so, it recognizes that basic law school federal civil procedure courses will need alteration if law schools wish to prepare students for a revised exam.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

November 15, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 7, 2022

Midterms and Midterms

After last week’s onslaught of students with legal writing questions (and some tears), I was hoping to be less busy this week. Yet, this morning I received several requests for appointments from students who just got back their first midterms as 1Ls, so a calmer week is not in the cards here. I have to admit that I spent some quality time this morning trying to decipher why a doctrinal professor wrote question marks on some parts of an exam answer, but check marks on others. I did this without a grading rubric to look at-and to be honest, it was, at best, purely speculative. So here are some things you can do with students when discussing their midterms that does not involve the use of a crystal ball or calling your psychic friends (you can save these resources for determining what might be on the final…):

  1. Send the student from whence they came: not to their parents, but to the professor who placed the check and question marks on the exam. They might know what they meant-and most likely have a better idea than you do. Or even the TA, who most likely speaks the professor’s language fluently. Tell them to ask for the rubric-or even to just see it.
  2. Remind students about IRAC. Sometimes the reason a student got a B- on an exam that the rest of study group got an A on is (hypothetically) because they didn’t outline any rules upfront but rather let them accumulate throughout the answer.
  3. Remind students that we are not mind readers. Yes, your professor knows the rules they are testing, but no, they don’t know what you know unless you tell them. So, tell them, even it is seems obvious, or they think it should “go without saying.” Nothing should go without saying.
  4. A corollary of the prior rule is do not leave any analysis in your head. Yes, the answer is clear sometimes, but again, explaining why it is clear is where the points come from. The journey > destination.
  5. Be sure to tell students that midterm exams are a gift. A midterm means that the stakes are lower than just having a final for the entire assessment of the course and understanding what your professor is looking for is a huge amount of helpful information. This also makes the doctrinal professors who give them (and grade them!) incentive to continue this important practice.
  6. Be sure to remind students where they can find practice essay and multiple-choice questions. Law School exam success is like getting to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice! A reminder of where the exam helpful resources are is always helpful. We have a hidden place on our law library website that is honestly full of great resources, but finding it is a little like looking for the room of requirement in Harry Potter. Since everyone needs these resources, be sure to share the links you know about with students!

As to the other midterms, please go vote. Or be proud that you already have.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Martin Luther King, Jr

(Liz Stillman)

November 7, 2022 in Current Affairs, Exams - Studying, Exams - Theory, News, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Director of Bar Exam Success at Elon

Elon is seeking a Director of its Bar Exam Success program.  You can find the posting here.

Position Summary Information
Summary of Position
Elon Law School’s Office of Academic Success programming is premised on the idea that instruction in the basic skills needed to navigate law school, coupled with individualized feedback and support, can significantly enhance students’ academic and life-long success. The Director works with students seeking to improve academic performance and supports the administrative components of the program. The Director also performs other functions essential to promoting student success in law school and furthering the success and growth of the institution.
Education Requirements
The Candidate must have a J.D. or degree from an ABA-approved law school. Successful completion of a bar exam and a member in good standing of the bar. Experience in academic and bar support work and a record of academic success. Superior written and oral communication skills. Enthusiasm for working with students and the ability to work with diverse populations of students, faculty and administrators. Experience with online teaching.
Degree/Major J.D.
Length of Experience
The Candidate must have 2-4 years of relevant experience, with preference given to applicants who have experience in developing and directing academic support programs.
Supervisory Experience No
Supervisory Experience Detail
This position has supervisor responsibilitites.
Special Skills or Experience
• Designing and teaching the required Bar Exam Foundations course.
• Supporting the Associate Dean in the collection and assessment of bar performance data; evaluating related statistics to share with faculty and the administration.
• Managing the Mentoring Program for first time and repeat bar takers.
• Managing post-graduation bar programing.
• Managing 2L Bar Edge.
• Developing programs to support students/graduates of color and first generation.
• Working with students individually.
• Teaching courses in the OAS curriculum live, synchronous or asynchronous.
• Recruit members of the Law School faculty and staff as needed to participate in teaching and mentoring.
• Collaborate with the Associate Dean and the Director of Academic Success Programs in designing courses and programs and maximizing the use of resources.
• Service on Law School committees and attendance at faculty meetings.

November 6, 2022 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Colorado Supreme Court Amends Bar Exam Passing Score

This past week the Colorado Supreme Court adopted a new Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) score that is more in line with the majority of jurisdictions. The previous minimum passing score was 276. The new cut score will be 270 starting with the February 2023 UBE. The decision is not retroactive, either for new Colorado UBE takers or for transfers into Colorado.  Here's the link for the details along with a report from the State of Oregon about cut score calculus:

https://www.courts.state.co.us/Media/release.cfm?id=2019

Note: The map below still shows CO as 276 rather than 270 but the table is correct. https://www.ncbex.org/exams/ube/score-portability/minimum-scores/

 

Map

November 5, 2022 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals Request for Proposals

NECASP IS HAVING THEIR ANNUAL ONE DAY CONFERENCE  (VIA ZOOM) ON DECEMBER 9TH, 2022. Below is their request for proposals:

RFP Deadline Extended to November 8

Request for Proposals: Presentations and Scholarly “Works in Progress” New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) Conference Friday, December 9, 2022, 10am-3pm ET via Zoom Hosted by the Suffolk University Law School (Zoom link to follow)

NECASP will be holding its annual one-day conference online this December. Our topic this year is “Strengthening Our Core: Attaining Equity for Academic Support and Bar Professionals.” We will gather online to share and explore ideas with ASP colleagues on issues surrounding the attempts towards attaining parity in status in academia for ASP and Bar Professionals.

We welcome a broad range of proposals –from presenters in the New England Region and beyond –and at various stages of completion –from idea to fruition. Please note that we may ask you to co-present with other ASP colleagues depending on the number of proposals selected.

If you wish to present, the proposal process is as follows:

  1. Submit your proposal by 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, via email to Philip Kaplan at pkaplan@suffolk.edu
  2. Proposals may be submitted as a Word document or as a PDF 3. Proposals must include the following:    

            a. Name and title of presenter

            b. Law School

            c. Address, email address, and telephone number for presenter

            d. Title

            e. If a scholarly work in progress, an abstract no more than 500 words

            f. Media or computer presentation needs

4. As noted above, proposals are due on November 8, 2022. The NECASP Board will review the proposals and reply to each by November 17, 2022.

If you have any questions about your proposal, please do not hesitate to contact one of us, and we look forward to seeing you at our conference!

2022-23 NECASP Board Members:

Chair: Phil Kaplan, Associate Professor of Academic Support Suffolk University, pkaplan@suffolk.edu

Vice-Chair: Brittany Raposa, Associate Director & Professor of Bar Support Roger Williams School of Law, braposa@rwu.edu

Treasurer: Danielle Kocal, Director of Academic Success The Elizabeth Haub School of Law / Pace University, dkocal@law.pace.edu

Secretary: Erica Sylvia, Assistant Director of Bar Success & Adjunct Professor of Law University of Massachusetts School of Law, erica.sylvia@umassd.edu

(Liz Stillman)

November 2, 2022 in Meetings, Miscellany, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

1.    Kris Franklin (New York Law School), Meditations on Teaching What Isn't, 66 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 47 (2022).

From the abstract:

Lawyers reason from facts, but we also reason from absence.

The lack of something we might logically expect to be found, but has not been, may be highly and suggestively meaningful. In a culture infused with matters of race and not-infrequently affected by racism, what "is not there" will often be things that especially intersect with the lives of people of color.

This essay explores the teaching of absence as a form of logical thinking. In so doing, it surveys a wide array of examples in various core legal subjects that may point to the omission of diverse perspectives. The article provides law faculty and students with samples of ways to make more visible that which is currently not seen.

2.  Jeffrey A. Parness (Northern Illinois), Civil Procedure and the New Bar Exam, 94 Univ. of Colorado L. Rev. Online Forum (Forthcoming 2022)

From the abstract:

In 2022 the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) issued its “Content Scope Outlines” for public comment, soliciting input on “significant oversights.” The outlines were designed to inform the public “of the scope of the topics to be assessed in the eight Foundational Concepts and Principles (FCP) and the scope of the lawyering tasks to be assessed in the seven Foundational Skills (FS) on the next generation of the bar exam.” One of the eight FCP was “Civil Procedure” (including constitutional protections and proceedings before administrative agencies).

This comment addresses some “significant oversights” on the topic of civil procedure. In doing so, it recognizes that basic law school federal civil procedure courses will need alteration if law schools wish to prepare students for a revised exam.

One major problem with the FCP on Civil Procedure is that it generally follows the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and some related federal statutes which, as written, do not reflect the realities of federal district court civil practices (putting aside the ever-increasing multidistrict cases and reviews of administrative agency adjudications). A second significant problem is that there is no recognition of how one state court’s civil practices differ from federal civil practices and from other state practices, excepting the brief nods to “state courts’ general jurisdiction, as distinct from federal courts’ limited jurisdiction” and to “specialty state courts such as probate courts.” “Newly licensed” attorneys will likely begin, and undertake most, if not all of their civil case practices in state courts, tribunals, commissions, and agencies. The “Next Gen” Bar Exam should reflect this reality.

Beyond reflections on the FCP topic of civil procedure, this comment illustrates how that topic could be utilized in “integrated exam questions.” The Testing Task Force of the NCBE (TTF) recommended in April 2021 that “an integrated exam permits use of scenarios that are representative of real-world types of legal problems” that newly-licensed lawyers encounter in practice. Such an exam is quite distinct from an exam containing “discrete components comprised of stand-alone terms.” In an integrated exam, more than one FCP (e.g., civil procedure, contract, evidence, torts and constitutional law) could be assessed together with more than one FS (e.g., issue spotting, negotiation, client management and legal writing).

The American Bar Association and others have urged that lawyers be trained to be practice-ready. The NCBE seeks a new bar exam that better assures entry-level lawyers do not face “serious consequences” due to lack of “knowledge” of common topics. A reformulation of the civil procedure portion of the bar exam should reflect more everyday issues arising in civil litigation, whether or not addressed in federal rules, statutes, or precedents. Reforms should go beyond recognizing “specialty courts such as probate courts.” A new exam should reflect the reality that civil cases are chiefly resolved outside of federal district courts. Many civil cases are resolved in general jurisdiction state courts, in governmental adjudicatory bodies originating outside of constitutional judicial articles including commissions, tribunals and agencies, and in private dispute resolution forums as under the Federal Arbitration Act. A revised bar exam should reflect these realities.

(Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law)

 

November 1, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Manifold Ways of Reaching Law Students - A Blog Post by Louis Schulze (FIU)

In late August, ASU Law Professor Charles Calleros wrote a guest post calling for essay submissions describing different law schools’ academic support programs.

As described before, the purpose of this project is to assemble a number of those descriptions to demonstrate the many ways law schools can commit to their students’ success by investing genuinely and substantially in a robust academic support program. A Short Series of Blogs.  He noted that future contributions to this project would include guest posts by Jacquelyn Rogers (Southwestern) and Louis Schulze (FIU), and he invited others to contribute towards a larger piece. Those interested in contributing to the project should send a draft to me at sjohns@law.du.edu

In the meantime, Louis Schulze’s description essay can be found HERE.

October 28, 2022 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 24, 2022

Spooky Season

Here are some reasons why this is, in fact, the scariest time of year for all the folks haunting the hall at a Law School:

  1. Bar results- have come out (or are coming out soon). Sigh. It is usually a roller coaster of: “wow, I am so happy for you,” followed by a dip into, “let’s get organized for February….” For some ASP folks, this is an annual employment evaluation. I have written about how unfair this is in the past. It is still terrifying. 
  2. Midterms -both the elections and the exams. This is likely the first exam our students will encounter and it will blow them away regardless of the warning and advice we have given them. The exams will be, despite our spoilers about them, truly unexpected. Like the elections, I guess we need to wait and see where the blame will fall on those…
  3. The loss of focus/motivation- first year students have forgotten why they wanted to be lawyers and have hit a wall in terms of their ability to focus on the material or the light at the end of this tunnel.
  4. The loss of sunlight- I did remind myself in late June to relish the days where the sun seemed to set after 9:00 p.m., and then, of course, didn’t. I miss it now though-and the darkness early in the morning doesn’t help either. Also, this is going to get worse before it gets better. And colder. And snowy….(if you are from a place where the cold/wet/snow thing does not happen, you may sit there smugly, but I don’t want to hear about it.)
  5. The way time speeds up- Thanksgiving is in a month. A month. How was the month of September over 3 years long and October is just a blink?
  6. Bugs- COVID, flu, malaise, colds. My personal favorite is when a maskless student comes right up to me before, during, or after class and tells me they are not feeling well. If I could back up and disappear into the whiteboard, or even scale the walls like Spiderman, I would….
  7. Mental Health- see numbers 3, 4 (ok, all of them) above as contributing factors. This is the time of year when already existing (and new) symptoms of mental health ailments surface. No one currently in law school has had a smooth course of education over the past years, and a return to normal-ish processes is a lot for everyone, but we should be taking strong precautions to preserve mental health similar to the way we protect ourselves from item 6 above.
  8. Everything everywhere all at once- (not the movie) see items 1-7 above and add: commuting, family stuff, over-extension (I see you my ASP friends), exhaustion, grading, etc. etc. etc.

I’d love to say that candy is our salvation here, but alas my primary care physician says that is not true. But what does she know-she’s only a doctor…

(Liz Stillman)

October 24, 2022 in Bar Exams, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Theory, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Assistant Director of Academic Achievement at Chapman

Chapman is hiring an Assistant Director of Academic Achievement!  This is an entry-level position ideal for someone with 0-2 years of experience.  More information and the application can be found at https://chapman.peopleadmin.com/postings/28850.

Job Description Summary
The Assistant/Associate Director of Academic Achievement will have the responsibility of working with the Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement (“Assistant Dean”) and the Associate Dean of Academic Achievement and Bar Preparation (“Associate Dean”) to implement a holistic, comprehensive program of academic support and bar preparation that encompasses law students’ entire academic experience at the Law School, from Orientation through the Bar Exam. The Academic Achievement Program helps students develop the skills necessary for success in law school, on the bar exam, and ultimately into practice, and consists of teaching courses and workshops, as well as working individually with students. This is a full-time, year-round (12 month) administrative position.
Responsibilities
ACADEMIC YEAR DUTIES (generally spring and fall semesters) WORKSHOPS/COURSES/CLASSES
    • In conjunction with the Assistant Dean, conduct workshops/classes in the Academic Support Program and Orientation.
    • Teach courses covering both skills and substance as assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, provide feedback for coursework, and prepare for class. Course load will include up to one fall semester course and one spring semester course per academic year. 
    • Assist the Assistant Dean in implementing the Academic Fellows program, including coordinating fellow selection and conducting trainings for the fellows. 
INDIVIDUALIZED WORK WITH STUDENTSDEVELOPMENT OF CULTURE OF ASSESSMENTOTHER DUTIES:
  • Work with students to: help students problem solve issues regarding legal analysis, stress and time management, class preparation and participation, and exam preparation and performance; diagnose writing and analysis problems affecting academic performance by identifying the misunderstanding or habit that causes the student to engage in ineffective writing or analysis; and prescribe solutions that identify what steps the students can take to improve academic performance; 
  • Meet in-person regularly with students who are at-risk, on probation, or otherwise having academic difficulty, require written assignments of them, and provide thorough written feedback on such practice exams in terms of both structure and substance (copies of which feedback should be retained to develop data on student challenges for reporting to the Assistant Dean); 
  • Work with Assistant Dean to identify students of greatest need. Conduct outreach to and prioritize direct services to those students. 
  • Track various types of data to assess student progress including but not limited to student engagement, what the student worked on in individual meetings, and assess growth. Regularly review data and student progress with Assistant Dean and develop strategies to improve student outcomes. 
  • Develop a culture among 1L students and 2L students of regularly writing practice exams before taking actual exams, and supplying such practice exams and thorough written feedback on such practice exams in terms of both structure and substance; and 
  • Assist the Associate Dean with the Bar Preparation Program as he or she directs. 

SUMMER DUTIES (generally from graduation in May through August) ASSIST IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL BAR PREP PROGRAM/REVISE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT PROGRAM
  • Participate in critiquing essays as part of the Supplemental Bar Prep Program, in the number and type the Associate Dean shall direct; and
  • Assist in revising segments and components of the Supplemental Bar Prep Program at the direction of the Associate Dean.
  • Revise and improve, as needed, the various programs and processes identified in “academic year responsibilities” (Items 1-9) above at the direction of- and in consultation with- the Assistant Dean.
  • Engage in professional development and continue developing understanding and implementation of best practices in academic success.
Required Qualifications
  • Juris Doctor with a high level of academic achievement from an ABA-accredited law school; must be a member in good standing of any bar in the United States. Must have passed the bar exam on the first attempt.
  • At the Assistant level: (A) A minimum of three (3) years’ post law-school experience, including legal practice, judicial clerkship, teaching in higher education, or any combination thereof. (B) Must demonstrate transferable knowledge and skills if recent employment is not directly related to this position.
  • Significant knowledge of the substantive law tested on California Bar Examination.
  • Ability to engage and motivate students individually and in small- and large- groups.
  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information appropriately.
  • Demonstrate excellent judgment and professionalism at all times.
  • Excellent problem-solving and organizational skills; ability to prioritize multiple and competing demands and complete duties in a timely manner.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and interpersonal skills to convey complex legal concepts and teach effective study skills and strategies for academic achievement and bar exam success to a diverse population of students.
  • Ability to perform successfully and with composure and tact in a demanding environment.
  • Ability to be discrete and maintain confidentiality at all times, handling student information and sensitive matters while complying with FERPA regulations.
  • Ability to support a diverse population of students, develop a good rapport with students, and engage students in candid discussions about various aspects of their academic performance and bar exam preparation.
Desired Qualifications  
Special Instructions to Applicants
Applicants for Staff and Administrator positions must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis. Chapman University does not sponsor applicants for Staff and Administrator positions for work visas.

The offer of employment is contingent upon satisfactory completion and outcomes of a criminal background screening, and returning to the Office of Human Resources a signed original acceptance of the Chapman University Agreement to Arbitrate.

October 23, 2022 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Tenure-Track Position at Widener University Delaware Law School

Widener University Delaware Law School is excited to welcome applications to join our full-time, tenure-track faculty, beginning the 2023-24 academic year, primarily in the areas of Torts, Criminal Law and Procedure, and Evidence, with the possibility for contributing to our programs in Legal Methods, Academic Success, and other areas of interest.  

 Applicants are invited to apply at //widener.edu/jobsApplications will be considered on a rolling basis (we encourage applications by November 1, 2022). Widener University embraces diversity in its faculty, students, and staff. We welcome applications from those who would add to the diversity of our academic community. Please contact Professor James R. May, Appointments Committee Chair, jrmay@widener.edu, with any questions. 

October 22, 2022 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

This week's scholarship impacting those in the academic and bar support field:

1. Kathryn Hobbis (J.D. 2022, Georgetown), Note, Zoom School of Law?, 34 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1025 (2021):

From the conclusion:

The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed the inconsistencies in the ABA standards for law school accreditation. Currently, J.D. students are not able to earn their degree through fully virtual classes. Students can earn some credits through distance education, but not enough to complete their degree. There has been a push to reopen primary and secondary schools closed due to the pandemic because of the benefits in person schooling provides to those students. Those benefits do not translate to the law school context because the services do not exist for law students. Engagement and attendance gaps and the digital divide are creating a situation where not all virtual primary and secondary schools are the same. High income students are receiving a better education and low-income students are falling even further behind. These concerns do not translate well to law schools because students are choosing to attend law school and would be engaged and could use student loans to bridge the digital divide. The current ABA policy is in direct conflict with other ABA standards that allow for virtual education for LL.M students and Continuing Legal Education credits. Due to the pandemic, law schools have been to grant more credits for distance education credits suggesting that the ABA believes that they are a viable way for students to learn. This double standard should be changed to create uniformity among ABA guidelines. 

The ABA, state bar associations, and law schools will have to work together should this proposal be implemented to create successful fully virtual J.D. programs. Schools will need to share best practices and other success strategies to ensure that students who are taking classes solely online are still receiving a highquality education. After adopting this program, the ABA will need to advocate for schools to implement fully virtual programs to make sure that this change is not moot. Adoption of this proposal will remove some inconsistencies in the ABA accreditation standards.

H/t TaxProfBlog

2.  Janet Thompson Jackson (Washburn), Wellness and Law: Reforming Legal Education to Support Student Wellness, 65 How. L. J. 45 (2021).

From the abstract:

No one goes to law school with the expectation that their mental health and overall well-being will be significantly compromised during those three years. But, for a substantial number of law students, it is. It does not have to be this way.

This is not a typical law review article. It cannot afford to be. Most law students begin law school as reasonably happy and well-adjusted people. We must ask, what is it about law school that contributes to the disproportionate decline in student wellness? The answer to that question is complex because many of the very factors that make good lawyers also contribute to their mental health challenges.

This paper contains a blueprint, borne out of experience, of how to reimagine legal education with a focus on wellness. This goes beyond a general call to action, but rather presents concrete actions that faculty, law administrators, and students themselves can take to effectively manage the stresses inherent in law school and the legal profession. These changes will be long-term and will profoundly impact the well-being of not only legal practitioners, but the very practice of law itself. There will be resistance, but making this transition is crucial. We know that when law students first enter law school their psychological profile is similar to that of the general public, but their depression rates increase drastically across three years of legal education. Lawyers have the dubious distinction of being the most frequently depressed professionals in the U.S., and the legal profession ranks among the highest in incidence of suicide by occupation.

Two recent and major events have exacerbated this already dire landscape of wellness dysfunction: COVID-19 and widespread protests associated with the quest for racial justice. For students who managed their addiction recovery or mental health challenges in part by having the structure and accountability of a classroom setting and nearby counseling services, social distancing threatens those means of coping. Then the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others ignited a wave protests that likely caused some law students to experience race-based and other types of trauma. The absence of a culture of wellness in law schools may lead law students to endure these added traumas in silence.

As other movements have found national and global recognition recently, it is time for a wellness crusade in legal education. Just as movements have galvanized the public to demand action on issues of racial injustice, gender equality, and climate change, so the legal profession must take steps to comprehensively address the wellness crisis spanning the lecture halls to practice. Just as America must be willing to undergo an honest reckoning and radical reforms in order to evolve into a more just and equitable society, law schools and the legal profession must undergo foundational changes in order to graduate healthy and whole students. The reforms outlined in this article not only reimagine the law school experience for thousands of law students, but they would, over time, lead to a qualitative change in the delivery of legal services themselves. The legal profession, indeed our lives, literally depend on it.

H/t TaxProfBlog

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law)

 

October 18, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Associate Dean of Academic Success and Bar Preparation at Southwestern

 Associate Dean of Academic Success and Bar Preparation 

Southwestern Law School seeks a dynamic, experienced candidate with excellent teaching and collaborative skills to lead our Academic Success and Bar Preparation Department. The ideal candidate will be a creative, organized, compassionate team leader who has passed the California bar examination, is committed to Southwestern’s mission, and is eager to engage with students from their admission into our school through their admission into the bar. 

This position is a full-time faculty position, non-tenure-track, with voting rights and faculty governance opportunities. The successful candidate will be offered a five-year renewable contract. The Associate Dean will report to the Vice Dean but have direct access to the President and Dean. 

Southwestern Law School has four distinct J.D. programs: a traditional, three-year day program; a part-time, four-year hybrid evening program; a four-year part-time day program designed specifically for individuals with caretaking responsibilities; and an accelerated two-year program. The Academic Success and Bar Preparation team works across all programs. 

The law school is located in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, in the historic Bullocks Wilshire building. We have returned to in-person instruction and work, although employees have some flexibility to work remotely. 

The successful candidate must be available to start no later than July 1, 2023. 

Position Overview 

The Associate Dean for Academic Success and Bar Preparation provides overall leadership and management for all aspects of the Academic Success and Bar Preparation Department. The department develops and delivers programs that promote students’ academic success from pre- matriculation through bar admission. As a department head, the Associate Dean supervises other program faculty and staff and ensures that the team provides equitable and excellent service to Southwestern’s diverse community of students, staff, faculty, and alumni. 

Reporting to the Vice Dean, the Associate Dean will work closely with members of the law school leadership, staff, faculty, and committees to envision, design, manage, and implement programming to support the school’s teaching and learning goals. The Associate Dean will draw on experience, research, analysis of the law school’s needs, and national best practices to coordinate existing programs and create new programming to support teaching and learning at Southwestern Law School. 

Core Responsibilities: Programming and Teaching 

 Develop and implement a cohesive and comprehensive curriculum to help transition students into law school, promote their academic success, and prepare them to pass the bar exam and become successful legal professionals. 

 Research and implement the most current best practices for academic success skills and bar preparation.

 Develop data-driven mechanisms for evaluating the success of students and program goals.

 Regularly review Southwestern’s academic and bar support programs and courses and make recommendations to the faculty and administration to enhance the learning experience for students.

 Teach in the program.

Leadership and Administration 

 Work closely with law school leaders, faculty, and departments to promote the development of students as effective, empowered, and reflective learners and legal professionals.

 Work closely with other departments, including but not limited to the Dean of Students Office, Student Affairs, Admissions, and Career Services Office.

 Meet regularly with student support leaders to promote a culture of academic excellence.

 Stay well-informed about changes and trends in legal education and bar admission and make recommendations to the faculty and administration based on these changes.

 Oversee data gathering and analysis related to bar passage for long-term assessment.

 Complete the annual ABA Bar Passage Questionnaire and other bar passage surveys.

 Manage the program budget.

 Attend and participate in faculty and department head meetings.

 Serve on faculty committees that seek to advance the goals of Southwestern and the Academic Success and Bar Preparation programs and courses.

Team Management 

 Supervise Academic Success and Bar Preparation team.

 Maintain a flow of information to promote a cohesive department environment, which includes regular individual and team-wide meetings.

 Develop personal growth opportunities for members of the team and take other steps to promote retention.

 

Minimum Job Requirements 

 J.D. from an ABA-approved law school; strong academic credentials.

 Admitted to the bar in at least one jurisdiction (license may be inactive but must be eligible for immediate conversion to active status).

 Passed the California bar examination.

 Significant knowledge of the substantive law tested on the California Bar Examination.

 Familiarity with the current format of the California Bar Examination and major bar preparation companies.

 At least two years working as a practicing attorney in any field is preferred.

 At least five years of prior law school teaching experience in or related to academic support or bar preparation is preferred.

 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required or Preferred: 

 Significant knowledge of the law school curriculum and best practices for law teaching.

 Superior written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.

 An understanding of the dynamics of diversity and accessibility (including first- generation college graduates) in higher education and a demonstrated ability to incorporate this understanding into their work.

 Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with a diverse population of students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

 Ability to foster a cooperative work environment, employee development, and performance management skills.

 Demonstrated ability to think creatively and critically about techniques to improve law students’ academic development and to design, implement, and manage innovative programs to promote that development.

 Demonstrated ability to handle confidential information, exhibit good judgment, and exemplify customer service in working with students, faculty, and staff.

 Ability to manage multiple competing priorities and meet firm deadlines.

 Accuracy and meticulous attention to detail.

 Highly organized with excellent time-management skills.

 Excellent critical thinking and listening skills.

 Ability to apply creative problem-solving skills to develop solutions within established policies, guidelines, accreditation standards, and applicable law.

 Knowledge of advising, coaching, and counseling techniques.

 Technology fluency; knowledge and experience working with Microsoft Office, Canvas or another learning management system, Zoom, and social media.

 A self-starter and demonstrated work ethic.

 Ability to function independently with minimal oversight.

 Demonstrated commitment to holistic education and wellness.

 Flexibility to work in person and online, in the evenings, and sometimes on weekends.

 Experience working with statistics and data is a plus.

 Prior experience directing or serving as an associate director of an academic support or bar preparation program is a plus.

 Prior budget experience is a plus.

To Apply 

For full consideration, interested individuals should apply by submitting a resume or curriculum vitae and cover letter connecting their experience to the job responsibilities to academicadmin@swlaw.edu. Our review of candidate materials will be on a rolling basis. 

Southwestern Law School does not discriminate based on race (including hairstyle and hair texture), color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age (40 and over), disability (mental or physical), medical condition, citizenship status, veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law in its programs and activities. We strongly encourage women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with disabilities, and all qualified persons to apply for this position. 

October 16, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)