Saturday, June 30, 2018

Assistant Director Position at Charleston


Assistant Director for Academic and Bar Success

Department: Academic Affairs

Status: Full-time, 12-month, staff level

Reports to: Assistant Dean for Academic and Bar Success

FLSA: Exempt

The Charleston School of Law is looking for someone enthusiastic about student success. The ideal candidate will have experience teaching in a law school, managing people and schedules, and working in a team to help guide students in their pursuits of academic and professional achievement.


The Assistant Director for Academic and Bar Success is a full-time, staff-level position. The Assistant Director will work alongside the Assistant Dean for Academic Success and Bar Passage in all aspects of the Charleston School of Law’s Academic Development programs The position will primarily focus on helping students get a strong start by working with 1Ls and 2Ls, but the ideal candidate will also have experience working with bar exam takers. Job duties include but are not limited to:

- Aid in development of a workshop series for 1L students to build skills for academic success

- Help students acclimate to law school through one-on-one meetings; special focus on students deemed at risk

- Manage peer-to-peer (fellow) academic success program

- Teach established Academic and Legal Skills curriculum

- Provide assistance for Bar Exam test takers (after graduation); may require weekend and after-hours work

The Assistant Director for Academic and Bar Success must be able to work with current law school faculty and staff in the continued development and implementation of programs used to enhance student academic and bar success. Preference will be given to applicants who have experience teaching in law school, specifically in an academic or bar success program.


Applicant must possess a J.D. degree with a record of high academic achievement from an ABA-accredited law school. Requires admission to the bar in at least one U.S. jurisdiction and a demonstrated commitment to working with students, inside and outside the classroom, to improve their academic performance. Ideally, applicant will have passed a bar exam that includes the MPT. Applicant must have excellent writing, speaking, interpersonal and organizational skills.


To perform this job successfully, the applicant must be able to perform each function satisfactorily. The requirements and responsibilities listed above are representative of the knowledge, skill and ability required to perform the tasks. The Charleston School of Law is and Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in any of their activities or programs on the basis of: race, color, sex, gender, age, pregnancy, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, military status, or any other classes protected by law.

Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to: Shera Silvis, Director of Human Resources, PO Box 535, Charleston, SC 29403 or via email to [email protected]. Please submit application materials no later than July 30, 2018. Salary estimated at $60,000+ (based on experience, negotiable) plus benefits.

June 30, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Associate Director Position at Thomas Jefferson

 JOB TITLE: Associate Director of Academic Success & Bar Preparation

DEPARTMENT: Academic Success & Bar Preparation

REPORTS TO: Directors of Academic Success & Bar Preparation


POSITION STATUS: Full-time, Exempt

GENERAL SUMMARY DESCRIPTION: Reporting to the Directors of Academic Success & Bar Preparation, the Associate Director of Academic Success & Bar Preparation (“Associate Director”) is responsible for helping coordinate and supervise integrated academic success and bar support programs for students at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The successful candidate will help support law school students and graduates to succeed in law school and as they prepare for their bar examinations, including by teaching bar-related and academic success courses. The Associate Director will also provide assistance with and will monitor learning outcomes, academic performance, academic support and bar preparation activities to all students, and will participate in other student retention activities.


 Work collaboratively with Directors of Academic Success & Bar Preparation, the Vice Dean or Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the faculty to assess and address the current needs for academic success and bar-related programming and support.

 Work with the Directors of Academic Success & Bar Preparation and other department members to administer the integrated academic success and bar preparation program for current students and bar-takers, including by teaching classes; providing one-on-one and small group tutoring; developing and teaching workshops; providing support and guidance to the advanced student mentors and Learning Assistants; and completing other tasks as assigned.

 Teach sections of bar-related and academic success skills courses as needed (including fall, spring, and summer).

 Work collaboratively to tailor programming including courses and workshops to meet the needs of students and bar-takers each term (fall, spring and summer, including the February and July bar cycles).

 Collaborate to design, develop, and implement the Continuing Bar Candidates Program and the Commercial Bar Support Program.

 Provide structured writing, organizational, and analytical assistance to current students and recent graduates, including through workshops and presentations.

 Participate in the presentation of academic success program activities beginning with Week One, the student orientation program.

 Provide administrative support to the Academic Success & Bar Preparation department as needed.

 Help to track and report information regarding bar passage and programming assessments and evaluations.

 Provide support and academic advice and counseling to students and recent graduates.

 Enforce campus policies regarding commercial bar preparation access to Thomas Jefferson School of Law, as applicable.

 Participate in committees as assigned by the Vice Dean or Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

 Oversee student workers as needed.

 Represent the law school at and participate in outside conferences and other events organized for and/or by academic support or bar preparation professionals, as applicable.


 J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school and a proven record of academic achievement during law school.

 Admission to a state bar in the United States, California (or another popular state for graduates) highly preferred.

 At least 2 years of experience practicing law or delivering writing or other instruction in an academic institution, law firm, or commercial bar prep company.

 Familiarity with bar-tested subjects and bar exam format.

 Proficiency with Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

 Prior experience with academic support and bar preparation strongly preferred.

 Experience with curriculum design, including an understanding of educational learning theory, best practices in teaching pedagogy, and individual learning styles preferred.

 Experience teaching writing and/or working with students for whom English is their second language preferred.

 Experience with assessment and with data collection preferred.

 Familiarity with online technology preferred.

 The ability to think imaginatively and critically about techniques to improve our law students’ academic development and bar passage, and to design, implement and manage innovative programs to assist adult learners in reaching their potential.

 The ability to work well with a diverse student body, including having a cultural awareness of different learning styles.

 Strong teaching, interpersonal and counseling skills.

 Ability to work collaboratively with faculty and staff.

 Ability to manage multiple priorities under deadlines.

 Ability to work effectively in a team-based approach to course design and implementation.


 Able to sit or stand, type, read or write for extended periods of time.

 Able to handle high level of stress in a useful, constructive manner.

 Able to lift/carry materials and publications up to 20 pounds.

 Able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation.


 Full time position, Monday through Friday, includes teaching evenings. Some weekends will be necessary.


To apply for the position, applicants should submit a resume accompanied by a cover letter to [email protected].

The ideal candidate will be comfortable working on  both ASP and the bar-side as this is an integrated department and team members teach across the bar prep and ASP curriculum. 

June 30, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Call for Proposals for 2019 AALS Joint Section Workshop

Call for Proposals:  Joint Workshop

AALS Sections on Academic Support (ASP) & the Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession

January 2019 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA:  Thursday January 3, 2019, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

 Circling the Square: Fresh Partnerships to Understand Student Learning through Empirical Studies

Introduction. Academic support plays a critical role in promoting student success and learning, and empirical research into various learning processes can yield vital information to help all law faculty promote effective learning. The Section on Academic Support Programs and the Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession are joining forces to provide a three-hour workshop at the 2019 AALS annual meeting in order to help jump-start collaborative empirical research on understanding student learning and related issues.

Design.  The Workshop will have two major components.  First, a plenary panel presentation will highlight current research based on empirical studies and address the need for additional research focused on specific issues arising in several key areas, such as 1) assessment of law school programs and courses; 2) design and evaluation of law school academic support programs; and 3) the design and evaluation of measures intended to improve bar exam success.  This will be followed by presenters from the Academic Support community, who will identify areas of need for future empirical research.  Next, the program will break into multiple concurrent small-group break-out sessions focused on specific areas for empirical study in the area of academic support.  Each group will brainstorm and identify potential partnerships for future research, engage in constructive feedback to those with ongoing research and those who are beginning to identify questions for further study.  We hope that this format will strengthen individual research proposals, create potential for collaborative or parallel work in different institutions, and bring together insights from across a wide spectrum of law faculty and professionals.

Depending on proposals received, we may modify the focus and format slightly.  At this point, we anticipate 15 minutes allocated to each plenary presenter and one hour for the concurrent break-out sessions, which may include one or more facilitators and/or presenters who will be grouped based on common themes of interest.  Depending on the nature and quality of proposals, we may seek to publish associated papers in a law review symposium issue.  All submissions will be subject to peer review by a program committee composed of those from the two sponsoring sections.

Call for Proposals.  Based on the above-described program design, we are seeking proposals in three different areas:

(1) For the first part of the plenary presentation, we are soliciting proposals focused on empirical research in one of the identified areas.  These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

(a) a title of your paper and/or presentation,

(b) a description of the objectives and/or outcomes of the research question you have pursued or are pursuing,

(c) a description of the empirical methods used,

(d) a statement of why your work would benefit from a collegial review process,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, if appropriate, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

 (2) For the second part of the plenary presentations, we are soliciting proposals that will identify and discuss areas of need for future research on issues relating to academic support. These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

(a) a title of your presentation,

(b) a description of the objectives and/or outcomes of the research question you have pursued or are pursuing,

(c) a statement of why the research question presented would benefit from a collegial review process,

(d) an explanation about why the proposed research is important to academic support and/or legal education,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, if any, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

(3) For the concurrent sessions, we are soliciting proposals that will identify and discuss works in progress at any stage of research or thinking, with the goal of developing potential partnerships for future research and receiving constructive feedback and input on the ideas presented.  These proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and contain the following:

(a) a title and/or description of your area of interest,

(b) an explanation about why the research question is important to academic support and/or legal education,

(c) a statement of why the research question presented would benefit from a collegial review process,

(e) a summary of the presentation methods to be used,

(f) an attached abstract and draft of a current paper on the subject, or an explanation of the stage of your research process, if any, and

(g) an attached curriculum vitae and a brief bio explaining any teaching or scholarly expertise or experience in the area of your presentation.

The planning committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas.  In addition, we welcome proposals from scholars and educators at all stages of research.  Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, August 1st, to Professor Raul Ruiz, Florida International University College of Law, [email protected] .  If you have any questions, please email Professor Ruiz or call 305-348-7821.

AALS Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession Program Committee:

AALS Section on Academic Support

Program Committee:

Louis Schulze, Chair

Raul Ruiz, Chair

Jennifer Gundlach

Melissa Berry

Neil W. Hamilton

Robert Coulthard

Victor David Quintanilla

Jamie Kleppetsch


Daniel M. Kocal


Zoe Niesel


Goldie Prichard

Empirical Study Section Chair: Judith Welch Wegner

ASP Section Chair: Staci P. Rucker

June 29, 2018 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hot Tips for Cool Learning - Based on the Latest Empirical Research

It's sweltering in much of the USA.  And, the heat is only getting hotter for the many recent law school grads preparing for next month's bar exam.  

So, I thought I'd offer a few "hot" tips on how to enhance one's learning this summer based on a recently published study entitled:  "Smarter Law School Habits: An Empirical Analysis of Law Learning Strategies and Relationship with LGPA," by Jennifer Cooper, adjunct professor at Tulane University,

As detailed in the article statistically analyzing study tactics and learning, Professor Cooper found that two particular study strategies are positively correlated with law school grades.  

The first is elaboration, i.e, explaining confusing concepts to others.  So, be a talker this summer as you prepare for your bar exam.  In short, be a your teacher!

The second is the use of practice questions to learn.  So, grab hold of every opportunity you have this summer to learn by doing.  Take every mock bar exam you can.  Work through every bar exam practice problem available.  Be tenacious in your practice.  Learn by doing!

Finally, as documented by Professor Cooper, beware of reading and re-reading.  It might make you feel like you are learning, but there is little learning going on...until you put down the book and start working on problems for yourself.  And, that particularly makes sense with the bar exam...because...the bar exam is testing the "practice of law" not the "theory behind the law."  

So, throughout this summer, focus less on reading and more on active learning - through lots and lots of practice problems and self-taught elaboration to explain the legal principles and concepts - as you prepare for success on your bar exam next month.  (Scott Johns).


June 28, 2018 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Exams - Studying, Exams - Theory, Learning Styles, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Checkpoints for the Fast-Approaching Bar Exam

      This one is for the “Bar Studiers”! The bar exam is a little less than a month away so it is time for soon-to-be “Bar Takers” to evaluate where they are with their bar preparation and how they feel about the fast-approaching exam. At this time, some “Bar Studiers” have completed a simulated Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) while others anticipate this experience in the near future. All “Bar Studiers” must consider what to do with the feedback from this simulated MBE and assess the overall experience. While “Bar Studiers” tend to focus on the overall score and where they stand in relation to others, it is equally important to assess issues such as: the environmental conditions under which they took the MBE, whether they completed each 100 question set in one sitting, whether they completed the simulated MBE under timed circumstances, whether they completed the simulated MBE at all, their ability to implement their approach to MBE questions and their overall plan of attack, how fatigued and focused they were throughout the practice, and how fatigued they were after the process, etc. are just a few things to consider. Self-evaluation in various areas mentioned above and beyond can be helpful to strategize for future performance when it counts.

      At this time, some “Bar Studiers” have completed a half or full day of essays and Multistate Performance Tests (MPTs). Here again, all must consider what to do with the feedback and assess the overall experience. Furthermore, “Bar Studiers” tend to focus on the overall score but it is just as important to assess other things namely, the environment where they completed the essays and MPTs, whether they completed them under time constraints, whether they completed them at all, their ability to implement their essay and MPT strategies, their ability to process the feedback and make adjustments, their ability to implement the feedback on future practice and the bar exam, their ability to assess what is realistically possible to complete within the time constraints, their organization, their ability to self- critique their answers, their ability to select new sub-topics to review, and how fatigued they were after completing the essays and MPTs particularly if they had a full day practice. These are just a few things to consider.

      This might also be a great time to assess proficiency and comfort level with the various subjects tested on the bar exam. Assess ability to recall distinctions between state and MBE topics if applicable. It is helpful to have a scale or category system and use that to determine how much time to spend reviewing and memorizing various areas of law. “Bar Studiers” should use their time efficiently rather than simply review information that they already know or have a significant level of mastery of. It is likely that what “Bar Studiers” avoid will be on their exam so why not face it now so they can succeed when it counts.

      Finally, “Bar Studiers” might want to take some steps to plan for the week of the bar exam and the weeks leading up to it. They should ensure that they include various wellness checkpoints so they are physically and as mentally prepared as one can be for the bar exam. “Bar Studiers” should pay attention to food intake, how much sleep they get, and how rested they are going into the exam. Associate with human beings but avoid those studying for the bar exam if it will be detrimental to a “Bar Studier’s” well-being but keep in mind that on exam day, it is inevitable that one will be around others and subjected to what they say or do so now is the time to determine how to cope. Plan a weekly lunch or dinner or simply some TV vegging time. Help you help yourself. (Goldie Pritchard)

June 27, 2018 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maximizing the Financial Aid SAP Contract

Did you know that every student who is (a) receiving federal financial aid and (b) placed on academic probation must have a Satisfactory Academic Progress plan (or SAP) if they wish to continue receiving federal financial aid? 

Students must “meet the basic eligibility criteria, make satisfactory academic progress, and fill out the FAFSA form every year” to qualify for federal financial aid.  In order to make satisfactory academic progress, the student must “make good enough grades, and complete enough classes (credits, hours, etc.), to keep moving toward successfully completing [their] degree or certificate in a time period that’s acceptable to [the] school.”  To see one school’s policy click here.  If a student fails to meet certain academic benchmarks, then the student will likely have to enter into an academic success contract with their institution in order to maintain federal financial aid.

A typical SAP plan will detail the circumstances that caused the student to experience academic difficulty and the steps the students has taken (or will take) to ensure that they have the best chance for academic success moving forward.  Here’s a straightforward example: a student who qualified for testing accommodations all through their undergraduate education does not apply for testing accommodations as a first-year law student, and then the student performs poorly on their first-year exams, and is placed on academic probation.  That student's academic success plan would likely require the student to apply for testing accommodations before midterm examinations in the upcoming term. 

A few weeks ago—following a change in personnel and university policy—our law school had the occasion to revisit our policies and procedures associated with our SAP plans.  We quickly realized that we were not maximizing the opportunity presented before us.  The financial aid contract could be used as a vehicle to, um…, strong-arm the very bottom of the class into participating in several academic success programs.  Let me explain. 

I frequently recommend that probationers enroll in my 2L multistate performance test workshop course to not only get a jumpstart on bar preparation, but also to revisit some fundamental legal analysis and writing skills in a small enrollment class setting.  Under our Course Catalog, however, I cannot require it; students on academic probation are not required to, or prohibited from, enrolling in any particular courses.  But, students on probation are required to get my signature on their SAP contract in order to reinstate their federal financial aid.  With the administration’s blessing, I turned what was previously a “please sign this” interaction into a meaningful academic intervention.  (Incidentally, the literature suggests that the U.S. Department of Education actually intended to create meaningful academic interventions.)  Most recently, I met with several rising 2L students and each one voluntarily agreed, in writing, to my recommendations.  If the student did not like a particular recommendation (e,.g. enrolling in the performance test course), then I worked with the student to find a suitable alternative to build those same legal writing skills, (e.g. attending a set number of Writing Center workshops during the semester).     

Admittedly, a better long-term solution would be to adopt large-scale curriculum change and create permanent academic policies with regard to students who are placed on academic probation.  But, that type of change takes time, resources, and political campaigning.  In the meantime, I can use the financial aid forms as a mechanism to achieve many of my ASP-programmatic goals. 

(Kirsha Trychta)

June 27, 2018 in Advice, Miscellany, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Follow Our Own Advice by Taking a Break

Bar prep is turning the corner into the last few weeks.  Most of us are telling our students to work hard, but also, make sure to take breaks.  When finals roll around, we encourage sleep, eating healthy, and resting enough to be mentally fresh for exams.  So, how many of you follow that advice throughout the year?

I completely understand the need to get everything done and help everyone.  There is always another great idea to implement or another student meeting to take.  We all have more to do than enough time in the day.  We could all do so much more with just a little more time.  However, the reality is we aren’t immune to exhaustion or sleep deprivation.  What affects our students during the bar and finals affects our ability to help students during those times.  Maximize your helping potential by also taking care of yourself.

I suggest my students schedule breaks both throughout the day and at least 1 full day during the weekend.  I would suggest the same to all of you.  Make sure that you take a mental break every hour.  Have a quality non-law related lunch at least 3 days a week.  Leave the office at a reasonable time to get home and recharge.  If your status allows, make sure to take at least a week off at some point during the year.  Every mental break makes a difference.

Most of you know this is necessary, but won't take the time due to feeling overwhelmed.  I understand.  I am not the best at breaks either.  I worked on this blog post multiple times late at night after my kids went to bed and after grading bar essays.  However, this is something the vast majority of us must get better at.  For our students, they finish law school in 3 years or bar prep in 10 weeks.  If this is our career, then we don’t have the easy to identify date for a break.  Cancun or the Rocky Mountains aren’t 10 weeks away.  Europe isn’t a goal to attain in 3 years.  As soon as 1 class finishes for us, the next one begins.  The next bar exam is right around the corner.  It is easy for us to ignore our own mental care.

Just like we tell our students, you will be your best when mentally fresh.  You can help more students with regular breaks and rest.  All of you are doing great work.  Keep the energy up to make a difference for many years.

(Steven Foster)

June 25, 2018 in Advice, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Director/Assistant Professor Position at La Verne

La Verne College of Law is posting the position for Director of the Center for Academic & Bar Readiness and Assistant Professor. There is a lot of opportunity for creative innovation in teaching and learning as well as program development. The salary for this position is competitive for the Southern California Region. Please hit the link below if you are interested in applying.

June 24, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Atlanta's John Marshall Position in the Office of Academic Achievement

 Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School invites applications for a position in the Office of Academic Achievement.

This position is a full-time, non-tenure track position that begins on August 1, 2018. This is a one year contract that may lead to successive short-term contracts.


To enhance the critical skills associated with law school success, the office of academic achievement (OAA) at AJMLS offers instruction in the form of one-on-one counseling, mandatory and non-mandatory workshops, group presentations and specialized course offerings to all enrolled students and graduates of AJMLS. Reporting directly to the Director of the program, the successful applicant should be able to:

 Help implement and manage all components of the academic support program at the Law School, which includes programming focused on preparing students for the bar exam.

 Teach academic workshops to students in the day and evening division on topics, such as briefing, course outlining, and exam performance.

 Provide learning strategies and techniques to enhance and leverage the academic skills that underline law school success.

 Work one-on-one with students in the day and evening division with focus on strengthening the academic skills of critical reading, briefing, outlining, and analysis. Individual counseling serves all students as well as students identified as academically at risk.

 Provide written, formative feedback to students on practice problems and/or exams.

 Help develop and assess the academic success program by collecting and maintaining data relevant to academic performance.

 Help develop personal action plans for students studying for law school exams and bar exams

 Identify students’ academic strengths and opportunities and assist in providing effective instruction to help leverage performance.

 Be interested, and stay current on, educational learning theory.

 Perform other duties as assigned by the Director of the program.


 Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, a law license, excellent academic credentials, and a demonstrated commitment to working with students to improve their academic performance.

 Preference will be given to applicants who have experience teaching in an academic success program.

Application Information:

Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, resume, writing sample and contact information for three references to: Sarah D. Murphy, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, 1422 West Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 or via email to [email protected]. Salary will be based on experience.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is equal opportunity employers and does not discriminate in any of their programs or activities on the basis of race, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, marital status, age, disability, color, or religious belief

June 23, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 22, 2018

John Marshall Law School in Chicago Director Position

Job Description - Director, Academic Achievement & Bar Preparation

The John Marshall Law School, located in Chicago, is seeking an experienced Director for its Academic Achievement & Bar Preparation Program. This is a fulltime staff position beginning immediately or as negotiated. This appointment is for twelve months with renewable one year terms.


The Director will report directly to the Associate Dean for Academic Achievement, Institutional Assessment, and Bar Preparation. The Director will oversee the daily operations of the academic support and bar preparation programs, including supervising and training academic support and bar preparation staff. Additional responsibilities include:

• Collaborate with the Associate Dean in developing short and long term goals and objectives for the academic support and bar preparation programs.
• Collaborate with the Associate Dean in assessing and if necessary, redesigning any existing courses, workshops, or programs for the academic support and bar preparation programs.
• Develop and manage all academic support and bar preparation workshops, programs, and events.
• Collaborate with the Associate Dean in developing the curriculum and teaching of the 1L Expert Learning courses in the fall and spring semesters.
• Plan, develop, coordinate, and teach the bar preparation courses in the fall and spring semesters.
• Plan, develop, coordinate, teach workshops, and direct programs, such as the Bar Boot Camp, and work directly with recent graduates in the bar preparation program.
• Counsel and assist law students and graduates on law school and bar exam success. Many of our students are from diverse backgrounds and are first generation law students.
• Review and provide meaningful feedback on practice exams and other formative assessment exercises submitted by law students and graduates.
• Train and supervise adjunct faculty and staff who work in the academic support and bar preparation programs.
• Stay abreast and regularly update the deans and faculty of best practices and trends in law school academic support and bar preparation programs.
• Communicate and coordinate with and stay abreast of the recent trends in commercial bar review programs.

Educational requirements
• JD required.

Experience requirements
• Admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction.
• At least five years of experience in academic support and bar preparation at a law school, preferably at least three years in a director’s capacity.

Desired Skills
• Works collaboratively with members of a professional team;
• Excellent and patient listener;
• Interacts with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures;
• Diagnoses student challenges with a holistic approach;
• Optimistic and positive outlook;
• Creative and innovative problem solver;
• Identify and navigate administrative rules and policies
• Effective verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills;
• Manage time efficiently to handle multiple tasks;
• Strong technology skills in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

How to Apply
Submit (1) your cover letter summarizing your reasons for applying for this position and your qualifications, (2) your resume detailing relevant experience, and (3) a list of at least three references to: Rodney Fong, either by mail to The John Marshall Law School, Attn: Associate Dean Rodney Fong, 315 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, Illinois 60604 or by email to [email protected].

Salary: Based on experience.

Deadline: June 30, 2018

Questions should be directed to Associate Dean Rodney Fong at [email protected] or 312-427-2737 ext. 312.

Non-Discrimination Policy
The John Marshall Law School, finding any invidious discrimination inconsistent with the mission of free academic inquiry, does not discriminate in admission, services, or employment on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic characteristics, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

June 22, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Inevitable Roller Coaster: Bar Review

As we slowly approach the one month mark for the bar exam, strange things begin to happen. Bar Studiers we did not realize were in town surface in the building with questions and concerns and Bar Studiers we have seen regularly seek more and more encouragement to intensify their bar exam preparation. Interactions with Bar Studiers is normal but what is out of the ordinary are some of the things they share with us believing they are the only ones experiencing them. Bar Studiers do not realize there are other students who also experience similar series of challenges and misadventures. It is as if the universe knows that the bar exam is looming and sets up a number of obstacles along their path to test resilience, persistence, and character. Bar Studiers may not always recognize they are up for the challenge and we are here to remind them of this fact, help them strategies, and get them to their seats on bar exam day with a sense that they can tackle this seemingly impossible, yet possible obstacle.

Below are a handful of issues that surfaced this year and in the past and some of the approaches we have used, depending on an individual Bar Studier’s unique circumstances and needs.

Health Plays Games

Last week and this week, I heard sneezes in the hallways and several Bar Studiers have been missing in action for a day or two. Some notified me that they will not be around as they know that I will inquire about their whereabouts. I parted with two boxes of Kleenex and a giant bottle of hand sanitizer was in significant use. I understand that allergies are in full swing and immune systems struggle to keep up with the pace many adopted to manage bar preparation. To put things in perspective, it is better to temporarily get sick now than on exam day. In response to panic about falling behind in bar review and feeling unprepared for the exam, we discuss how to rearrange schedules, move tasks around, and use small spurts of activity with scheduled rest. I prescribe sleep and okay short naps emphasizing the importance of sleep even though it seems impossible to have restful sleep due to constant thoughts about bar preparation. We insist that Bar Studiers see a doctor if need be and fill necessary prescriptions so as not to exasperated preexisting conditions and developed new ones.

If Bar Studiers are concerned about falling behind, we suggest low-intensity activities that allow them to complete tasks, go through flashcards on an app or physical cards, and memorize information. We discuss a plan for the next day so all they do is implemented with some room for adjustment. We try to find habits that can be implemented in the days and weeks to come so they are ready for the exam. We also explore worse case scenarios and how they will manage such situations on exam day. Of course, nothing is a guarantee but it is a start.

Life Happens

At a bar exam program presented several years ago, a speaker announced that everything that can go wrong will go wrong during bar review and everything you have ever wanted to do will become a possibility during bar review. She continued that bar review is only a few weeks and months out of your entire life and you will likely have the opportunity to experience many of the things you miss out on at some point in the future. Over the years, I note that Bar Studiers experience a range of life occurrences including: death in the family, breakups with significant others and spouses, issues with character and fitness on the bar application, car accidents, financial challenges (even with planning), lack of food, familial demands and expectations, emotional and physical impact of socio-political events, and much more. Life does not simply stop because you are studying for the bar exam. You will have both good days and not so good days and your reaction to and feelings about everything will be amplified.

You might waste a day or a half a day attending to real life situations and that is okay and necessary but it does not mean that you will be unable to complete your preparation for this exam. If however, life completely takes over and when you assess the situation you recognize that you are unable to sustain the pace and expectations of bar review then you might want to have a conversation with someone. You want to discuss alternatives or develop a new game plan to achieve your goals. Be open and honest with yourself and those helping you.

Fear Sets In

Obsession over percentile performance on the MBE and scores on the essays breeds fear and sometimes avoidance for many Bar Studiers. As Bar Studiers compare themselves to others through grading or communication with each other. Some academically strong Bar Studiers become disappointed and recoil. Others decide not to complete essays or MBEs until they have mastered the subject area. Each score becomes a determinative factor of whether they will pass or fail this exam. This is not necessarily true but it takes a lot to convince a student otherwise. I am always more concerned about those Bar Studiers who are left to their own devices than those who communicate these concerns and communicate their plans.

Here again, it is all about perspective. We like to use the experiences and advice of individuals who recently took the bar exam and were successful. We ask them what they did, how they did it, how they felt at various points of bar preparation, and I deem this more effective than anything else. I also try to put things in perspective by reminding Bar Studiers of what they should get from completing the practice, discuss the expectations of the exam with regard to time management, and remind them that exposure adds to the knowledge and confidence with which they approach the exam.

…But We Finish Strong

Bar Studiers, compete with yourself and no one else. Do your best and ensure that you reasonably do what you need to and can do so you have no regrets on exam day. You will not know everything, you will have a working knowledge of all subjects, and you have a plan for the more challenging areas. When you need a break, take a reasonable break and remain focused on the task ahead. Many before you went into the exam feeling just like you will feel and they came out on top; they passed the bar exam! Develop a plan for the days and weeks ahead. You have time to cater to your weaknesses and build strength. You can do this! (Goldie Pritchard)

June 20, 2018 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

3 More UBE Jurisdictions + Digital MPRE

In the last few weeks, three more states adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE): Tennessee, Illinois, and Rhode Island. Tennessee & Rhode Island will begin administering the UBE in February 2019, while Illinois is slated to begin in July 2019. In total, 33 jurisdictions (including 31 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have agreed to administer the UBE.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners also announced that it "has started the process of converting the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) from a paper-based to a computer-based delivery platform. The transition will happen in phases and will be completed by 2020."

(Kirsha Trychta)

June 19, 2018 in Bar Exams, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Perspective for the MBE

Father’s Day week is awesome for many reasons.  I normally get to caddy a junior golf tournament with my son, spend time with family, and watch golf’s US Open.  We spend the majority of our time outside enjoying activities together.  This week is what summer is all about.

I love the US Open because it is normally the hardest golf tournament of the year.  They play courses with near impossible putting greens and impenetrable rough.  A little part of me enjoys watching the best players in the world struggle the same way I do on weekends.  As I prepared this post, I watched Rory McIlroy, who reached #1 in the world rankings a few years ago, hit a shot from the right rough to left rough 20 yards short of the green.  He then proceeded to hit his next shot only 10 yards out of the rough into a sand bunker.  I can absolutely relate. 

The US Open winner will have similar struggles, just not as many times as the rest of the field.  Most winners will say this tournament is all about perspective.  Par is a great score this week if everyone else is above par. 

Bar prep and completing MBE questions is a similar experience.  Missing question after question is like hitting from the rough, to more rough, and then the sand.  Mental exhaustion increases mistakes and leads to more stress.  Students hear they only need a certain percentage correct to pass, but most students aren’t near that percentage right now.  The struggle is brutal.  Bar prep requires the same grind as the hardest round of golf or any other endeavor.

For my students, and many others, the timing is increasing stress.  Yesterday was the halfway mark between graduation and the bar exam.  Time is flying by, but no one feels comfortable with the material.  New subjects are still presented.  Low scores and new material breaks spirits, and everyone needs high motivation to finish the rest of preparation.

The critical action right now is to find perspective.  Just like most of the golfers are hacking it around Shinnecock Hills Golf Club right now, the vast majority of students preparing for the bar exam are struggling right now.  Almost no one feels comfortable with the material.  Nearly no one is scoring great.  Also, you don’t have to score great now or ever.  You only need to get enough questions correct at the end of July to be above the pass line.

Many of you are halfway done with bar prep.  Celebrate that success.  Everyone has come a long way to this point.  Get perspective on where you should be right now.  I am not saying blindly keep going no matter what.  Always keep in touch with your bar prep specialist, but remember, everyone is a weekend hacker on MBE questions right now.  Keep hacking away with guidance to put yourself in a position for success.

(Steven Foster)

June 18, 2018 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

I'm a new fall 1L! What should I do this summer?

Congratulations to all of our readers who are entering law school this fall! We look forward to welcoming you into our law school families.

Studying the law is fascinating, but it can also be a challenge. However, don't spend your summer stressing out about the new path in front of you. Spend this summer enjoying your summer while still taking some proactive steps for law school.

New 1Ls often ask what they should do over the summer months to prepare for law school. Here are some thoughts on worthy pursuits:

  • Spend quality time with family and friends. Many law students attend law school away from home. For some law students, it will be the first time they are far away. Take time now to make positive connections with the people who matter to you and build memories that will sustain you in the busy months ahead. You will find that going home every weekend will most likely not happen during law school because of deadlines and workload. So enjoy your favorite people this summer while you have more flexibility.
  • Organize your arrival in your law school city for several days before orientation starts. Orientation Week at law school will be very busy. Unlike other educational experiences, assignments will be heavy in all courses from the first class. If possible move in to your new apartment 5-7 days ahead. That gives you time to unpack boxes, get cable/internet hooked up, explore your city, stock groceries, etc. Your entry into law school will be more relaxed if you have some settling-in time before you report for orientation.
  • Make careful reading for comprehension an every day habit. Spend the summer reading mysteries, romance novels, the classics, news articles, biographies - don't read legal tomes about torts, civil procedure, or contracts. (You will read more pages in law school than you have probably ever read in your life, so there is no reason to start reading law yet.) Our digital lives prompt us to skim and read superficially, but legal cases and documents are dense and will require careful reading for comprehension.  So make it a habit this summer of reading carefully. Read entire articles and books instead of headings and random paragraphs. Ask questions about what you are reading to check your comprehension. Look up vocabulary you do not know. Good reading habits will pay off.
  • Brush up on your grammar and punctuation rules. Communication is the bread and butter of lawyering. Law students are often surprised at how important grammar and punctuation are to legal writing. Litigation outcomes can be determined by the correct placement of a comma in a contract! A summer review of these rules can boost your confidence in your legal writing course this fall.
  • Write down the reasons you want to go to law school and become a lawyer. Be more reflective than just what you put in that personal essay for your application. It is not uncommon for law students to wonder at times during their legal studies why they went to law school and why they wanted to become a lawyer. Your list of reasons can be a morale booster if you get bogged down in reading cases, writing papers, and taking final exams and temporarily lose perspective.
  • Practice setting a schedule. Once law school starts, your time will need to be very structured to complete all the necessary study tasks. Most successful law students study some in the evenings and during the weekend as well as daytime hours Monday through Friday. You will become more adept at time management if you can get used to setting a routine schedule for your summer tasks: work,  family responsibilities, chores, errands, sleep, meals, exercise.
  • Recognize and manage the distractions in your life. Most of us procrastinate at least some of the time. Today's world offers us a myriad of distractions to encourage avoidance. Determine what your time wasters are and get them under control this summer, so you can better manage your time once you get to law school. Here are some common time wasters that law students have to conquer: electronic interruptions (email, social media, phone calls, texting, surfing the Internet), video games, TV marathons, naps, midweek partying.
  • Read one good book about succeeding in law school. Some suggestions are: Expert Learning for Law Students by Michael Hunter Schwartz; 1L of a Ride by Andrew J. McClurg; Succeeding in Law School by Herb N. Ramy; 1000 Days to the Bar by Dennis J. Tonsing. There are other good books written by academic success professionals and law professors, but these four are classics.

Having a restful summer and recharging your batteries will go a long way to being ready for law school. Enjoy the anticipation! Realize that you were admitted because your law school expects you to succeed in legal studies. Following these tips can help you ease into law school with confidence. (Amy Jarmon)

June 17, 2018 in Miscellany, Orientation, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Instructor in Academic Success and Professionalism Position at Nova Southeastern

The listing for this full-time, full benefits position in Academic Success and Professionalism can be found here.

June 16, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Associate Director Position at IU McKinney School of Law

The attached PDF gives the full job description: Download Job Description Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success Full Time and the following link is to the job posting and online application link: Job Posting and Online Application Link.

June 16, 2018 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 15, 2018

AccessLex Legal Education Research Symposium

Text from a recent email from AccessLex:

Registration is open for the 2018 AccessLex Legal Education Research Symposium on November 11-12 at the beautiful Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia.

The AccessLex Legal Education Research Symposium offers law school deans, administrators, faculty and researchers the opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions on the most critical issues facing legal education today. Network with colleagues from across the nation and meet the grant winners and scholars producing the latest research on diversity issues, bar success and so much more.

Join us for this one-of-a-kind event that examines access, affordability and the value of legal education and the promising practices and innovative strategies to address these issues.

June 15, 2018 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Studying vs. Learning: A Matter of Perspective

It's the time of the year when one group of graduates are taking their oaths of office while another group of graduates are preparing for the bar exam this summer.  That brings me to an interesting conversation with a recent bar passer and his spouse about studying versus learning.

You see, with an introduction in hand, I asked the bar passer's spouse if she noticed anything different between her spouse's law school experience preparing for final exams and her spouse's bar prep experiencing in preparing for the bar exam.

Without hesitation, the report came back: "No. It was much the same, same hours, same long days, the same through and through."  

In rapid response and without the slightest hesitation, the recent graduate - who just passed the bar exam - exclaimed that it was "totally different. No comparison between preparing for law school exams and the bar exam."  

You see, according to his spouse's perspective, preparing for law school exams and bar exams outwardly seemed identical, but, according to the recent graduate, in law school he spent most of his time reading...and reading...and reading...and then learning as much as he could just a few days before final exams.  In other words, he spent his law school years studying.  In contrast, even though outwardly he put in similar hours for bar prep as for law school studies, his focus was on practicing...and practicing...and practicing.  In other words, for law school he was studying; for the bar exam he was learning.

So, for those of you preparing for the bar exam this summer, focus on learning - not studying.  What does that mean?  Well, a great day is completing two tasks: working through lots of actual bar exam problems and then journaling about what you learned that very day.  Yep...that very day.  That's key.  Learn today.  Spend less time studying (reading commercial outlines, watching lectures, and reading lecture notes) and more time learning (doing lots and lots of practice problems).  That's because on bar exam day you aren't going to be asked about what you read but rather asked to show what you can do.  So, be a doer this summer!  (Scott Johns).







June 14, 2018 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Learning Styles, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Kristen Holmquist

About four years ago, I met Kristen.  I did not physically meet her but communicated with her by email and phone.  I was the program chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Academic Support and her proposal was selected for that year’s program.  Kristen had co-authored a paper with one of her former students.  Interacting with program presenters was a highlight of my experience as chair as I had some great side conversations with Kristen who provided me with great perspective.  I also appreciate her periodic comments on the academic support listserv.  Let’s learn about Kristen! (Goldie Pritchard)


Q: Please indicate your full name, title, and institution of employment.

Kristen Holmquist

Director of Academic Skills Program, Director of Experiential Education, Lecturer in Residence

Berkeley Law


Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.  

I fell in love with ASP as a 2L. I was incredibly lucky to work as a teaching fellow under Kris Knaplund at UCLA - and it didn't take very long at all for me to realize that ASP was my calling. I loved teaching. I loved working closely with students eager to learn new skills. I loved watching that "aha!" moment. I took over as Director at UCLA in 2003 (after Kris left for Pepperdine), and then I moved to Berkeley Law in 2008. 


Q: Which aspect(s) of ASP work do you enjoy the most?  What would you consider your greatest challenge thus far and how have you overcome the challenge?

The best part of my job, easily, is teaching. Over the course of a semester, my students and I learn to trust each other, to be vulnerable and to try hard, new things. Even this many years in I am astounded by how much growth can happen over the course of a semester when teacher and student are working together as a team. 

The greatest challenge for me is the program development piece - making sure we have a cohesive whole, that we're on top of communications, etc. I've overcome the challenge by hiring tremendous people. My former associate director, Suzanne Miles, and my current associate director, Diana DiGennaro are both gifted teachers and excellent strategic thinkers. 


Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

If I've helped, in some small way, to diversify the profession - made it more accessible to first generation students, students of color, students with disabilities - then that's plenty enough for me. 


Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or midcareer ASPers or law students?

To new ASPers I'd say this - if you're wondering whether this career is worth it (maybe it isn't as prestigious as you'd hoped, maybe it doesn't pay as well as you would like), the answer is absolutely YES. It's fun. It's rewarding. It's an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of real human beings - who will go out there and make a difference in the lives of even more folks. And if you're on the fence? Reach out - I'd be glad to talk to you about it!

June 13, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Are C&F Mental Health Questions Still Too Broad?

In April, Virginia Public Radio aired a news story entitled "Law Students Challenge Need for Mental Health Question" on the character and fitness application.  The law students contend that the mental health questions on Virginia's character and fitness application have perversely incentivized law students to forego mental health treatment as a means of ensuring that they do not have to affirmatively disclose any mental health treatment on their character and fitness application.  (Read the full story here.)  

The law students' challenge comes in the wake of the American Bar Association's 2015 resolution to eliminate "any questions that ask about mental health history, diagnoses, or treatment and instead use questions that focus on conduct or behavior that impairs an applicant’s ability to practice law in a competent, ethical, and professional manner." 

Despite the ABA's recommendation, the Virginia character and fitness application asks three broad mental health related questions: 

  • Within the past five (5) years, have you exhibited any conduct or behavior that could call into question your ability to practice law in a competent, ethical, and professional manner?
  • Do you currently have any condition or impairment, including, but not limited to, (1) any related to substance or alcohol abuse, or (2) a mental, emotional, or nervous disorder or condition, which in any way affects your ability to perform any of the obligations and responsibilities of a practicing lawyer in a competent, ethical and professional manner? “Currently” means recently enough so that the condition could reasonably have an impact on your ability to function as a practicing lawyer.
  • Within the past five (5) years, have you ever raised the issue of consumption of drugs or alcohol or the issue of a mental, emotional, nervous or behavioral disorder/condition as a defense, mitigation, or explanation for your actions in the course of any of the following [proceedings...]?

If the applicant answers "yes" to any of these questions, they are then prompted to supply detailed supplemental information including dates and contact information for any treating physicians.  The applicant must also obtain a verification from the treating physician indicating that in the physician's opinion the applicant possesses the requisite character and fitness to practice law.  Notably, Virginia's application questions are almost identical to the National Conference of Bar Examiner's sample application

It appears that the first question aligns squarely with the ABA's resolution, but the other two questions go well beyond the narrow sphere recommended by the ABA.  It will be interesting to see how the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners (and, perhaps other jurisdictions who have adopted the same application) respond to the law students' challenge.  Stay tuned.  (Kirsha Trychta)

June 12, 2018 in Bar Exam Issues, Disability Matters, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)