Wednesday, July 28, 2021

For Immediate Release - Re: Technical Issues for Remote Bar Exam (Statement from the Association of Academic Support Educators)

Monday, July 19, 2021

Summer Break

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during the summer.  As we do each July, the blog will take a short break from regular posting through August 9th to finish out the bar exam and prepare for the fall.  However, we may periodically post when new information about the summer bar exam comes out.

Good luck to all bar takers.

(Steven Foster)

July 19, 2021 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 18, 2021

ASP Writers' Block Monday

The next session of the ASP Writers' Block is Monday July 19th at 11am est.  Kris Franklin sent the zoom link to the google group.

Keep up the great work writing and advocating for our students.

July 18, 2021 in Publishing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 16, 2021

Assistant Director of Academic Success at Loyola Chicago

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is seeking applications for the Assistant Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs. The Assistant Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs (Assistant Director) will work under the supervision of the Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs (Director). Together both parties will manage the day-to-day operations of Loyola Law’s Academic Success and Bar preparation program. The main goal of the Academic Success Program is to develop and deliver programs to promote the academic success of students from matriculation, throughout law school, and as they prepare to enter the legal profession. This includes programming and support for students during pre-orientation, orientation, the three years of law school, and bar prep. The Assistant Director will work under the supervision of the Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs.

To apply please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae or resume to Director of Academic Success and Bar Programs, Melissa Hale, at [email protected].
Primary Responsibilities (include but are not limited to):

• Counsel individual students to help them improve study and exam-taking skills, specifically those students who may be at risk. • Assist in overseeing the First Year Academic Tutors
• Assist in developing and teaching academic support program for first year second semester students. • Providing individual academic counseling to all students and alumni preparing for the bar • Researching and implementing the most current best practices for bar preparation • Serving on the Bar Exam Success Committee
• Develop and maintain a high level of knowledge about academic support and bar preparation programs, techniques, and methods.
• Track student success and academic performance for students in academic difficulty and at-risk students.
• Assist with supplemental bar prep program
• Assist with collection and organization of data for long-term assessment of: (a) student participation in Academic and Bar Success programming and course offerings, (b) individual student academic and bar exam performance, and (c) Loyola University Chicago School of Law retention and bar passage rates.
• Perform other duties in support of the Academic and Bar Success program as assigned by the Director

• Juris Doctor Degree from an ABA-accredited law school; successful passage of a Bar Exam.
• Have been licensed in any state for a minimum of 2-3 years.
• An equivalent combination of education and experience may be substituted.
• Interest in and enthusiasm for helping students build the skills necessary for law school and bar success.
• Individual must be a self-starter and demonstrate a sound work ethic.
• Must be able to function independently with minimal oversight.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
• Intermediate level computer skills, specifically in Microsoft Office Suite, including MS Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint
• Strong legal writing, research, and analysis skills.
• Strong communication and public speaking skills.
• Commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community.
• Ability to identify methods to enhance learning for multiple learning styles.
• Demonstrated ability to exercise sound, ethical, and professional judgment.
• Proficient in compiling and analyzing data for statistical analysis.
• Some evening and weekend work necessary based on program and student needs.

July 16, 2021 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

What to do with only 2 weeks left......

I write about this every bar exam administration, because I always get the same question -“What should I do with the remaining 13 days before the Bar Exam?” so I thought I’d share my advice with anyone else that may be wondering.

First, 13 days is more than you think. I promise.

Second, remember that the goal is NOT to memorize everything. It’s not possible. So, if you don’t feel like you know every last piece of law ever that can possibly be tested on the exam, you are not alone. It’s a normal feeling!

So, what CAN you do?

Practice. Between now and the 22nd or so, this is the last big push where you can practice. Make sure you’ve practice MBE sets in 100, and timed. Make sure you’ve written more than one essay at a time. Now might be the time two take 90 minutes and write 3 essays, or take 3 hours and write 2 MPTs! It’s one thing to write one essay in 30 minutes, it’s an entirely different thing to get through 6 at a time! It’s hard, it’s tiring, and it’s easy to lose focus. So, the only want to work on your stamina and timing is to practice. This upcoming weekend and week is the perfect time to get that in, and really make sure you are practicing in test like conditions, or as close as possible.

Start to work on memory and recall. Yes, there are things you just NEED to remember. This week, and until the day of the exam, take 5-10 minute chunks to work on memory. See this post for more on memory:

Finally the days leading up to the exam, the weekend before, take some time to relax. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s important.

Here is a little timeline to help:

Four Days Before the Bar Exam

This should be your last day of “heavy lifting” activities. Complete a set of 50 timed MBE questions. Complete a set of three MEE questions, timed. Complete a full-length timed MPT. Do not pick and choose between these – do all of them. This is the last day you will do practice that improves your stamina and timing. Remember, you should be doing these things all week, but four days before the exam is your cut off point.

Three Days Before the Bar Exam

In terms of bar exam preparation, today you should complete 15 to 20 MBE questions, complete one timed MEE question, outline three to five additional MEE questions, and complete one full-length timed MPT. You are tapering off. This isn’t an exact science – the point is that you are practicing, so you will feel prepared, but you aren’t tiring yourself out.

This is also the day to do something relaxing for yourself – watch a movie, go on a run. Do something that is going to make you feel less stressed. You should also be sure to go to bed early and eat well. Yes, that sounds like “mothering” but it’s good advice. On the days of the exam you will NEED to be well rested and refreshed.

Two Days Before the Bar Exam

Rinse and repeat yesterday. Today you should complete 15 to 20 MBE questions, complete one timed MEE question, outline three to five additional MEE questions, and complete one full-length timed MPT.

Take some more time to do something relaxing for yourself to help relieve some of that bar exam stress. And again - you should be sure to go to bed early and eat well.

Also, when I say do something relaxing for yourself, that can be almost anything that makes you happy. The point is to get out of your head a bit, and give yourself a break. I realize it might seem like the worst time to take a break, but it’s not. Your brain needs to feel “fresh” on exam days. Think of it like running a marathon – you don’t run 26.2 miles, or even 13 miles, the day before the marathon. You’d be exhausted. The days leading up to the actual marathon you might run 1-5 miles and stretch, and relax, and eat pasta. This is your mental marathon, so treat your brain accordingly.

One Day Before the Bar Exam

Today you should lighten the mental lift even more. Review your flashcards and other memory devices. Outline three to five MEE questions. Do five MBE questions to keep your brain in the practice of thinking through MBE questions without overly taxing it.

You also want to make sure you have everything ready for tomorrow. What types of ID do you need? What are you allowed to bring in with you to the exam? Make sure to have all those items pulled together and ready to go. Make sure your laptop is fully charged. And as silly as it sounds, map out how you will get to the exam location (if you are going to a location). Do you need to worry about parking? Are you taking a train? Do not leave anything to chance. Most of you, but not all, are currently looking at virtual exams. So do you have a good space to take the exam? Do you know how you will log in? What the timing is? Etc?

Finally, relax. You’ve put in so many hours, weeks, months of preparation – you’ve got this. Take some time to relax and unwind before bed. Eat a simple meal that will sit well with your potentially uneasy stomach. Lastly, head to bed a bit earlier than usual to account for nerves keeping you awake.

Day One of the Bar Exam

Today is the day. Make sure you are on time for check in and have everything with you. Today is filled with the MPT and MEE. At the lunch break and after the day of testing ends, do not talk with others about the contents of the exam. Invariably, one of you will think you saw a subject the other did not spot – and you won’t know who was right or wrong until you get your final bar results, so there is no benefit to discussing such matters now. Doing so will only freak you out and add to your anxiety.

After the testing day is complete, eat dinner and mentally decompress. If you must, review a few flashcards – perhaps the ones you still struggle with and want just one more run at. But this is not the time to do any serious review or learning because your brain is tired from today and needs to rest up for tomorrow. What is there is there. Have confidence that your hard work will pay off tomorrow!

Day Two of the Bar Exam

It is almost over! Today you will tackle the MBE and then – be done! After the testing day is over, just like yesterday – do not talk about the exam! Instead, relax, take a nap, celebrate!

(Melissa Hale)

July 14, 2021 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Critical Legal Analysis Instructor at Rutgers

Position Details

Recruitment/Posting Title Criticial Legal Analysis Instructor
Department Sch of Law-Nwk, Dean's Office
Salary Salary per Credit
Posting Summary
Adjunct Critical Legal Analysis Professors Needed for Rutgers Law School

Rutgers Law School, located in both Camden and Newark New Jersey, invites applications for Critical Legal Analysis (CLA), with openings in both locations for immediate needs in Fall, 2021 and Spring, 2022.   We encourage applications and inquiries from candidates who contribute to the diversity of our faculty, including, but not limited to, people of color, people living with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community.
The primary teaching responsibility of the CLA Adjunct faculty position is to improve students’ ability to deconstruct legal rules, to explain and evaluate the significance of facts, to thoroughly support conclusions of law, and to effectively organize content.  These skills are critical in applying law to the hypothetical questions typical of both law school and bar exams.  The hands-on learning methodology used in the course will include in-class analytical and writing work in both individual and group settings.  CLA helps students develop their legal reasoning and analysis skills and improve their ability to communicate clear and well supported reasoning though legal writing.  
The instructor will present course material during the assigned course times, hold office hours, administer exams, assign grades and coordinate any other requirements related to course instruction.  Candidates must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school and demonstrated ability in analysis, writing and lawyering skills.  
Please submit your application by 7/6/21 if possible and indicate your preferences for location and for teaching day or evening sections.
We also seek part-time lecturers for Fall, 2021 to teach Legal Analysis, Writing & Research Skills and for the Spring, 2021 semester to teach in various disciplines.
Two schools, each with distinctive strengths, have come together to create one law school with extraordinary opportunities for learning experiences and career growth.  Rutgers Law School—with locations in Camden and Newark—offers a world-class faculty; a curriculum of exceptional breadth and depth in theory, practice, and interdisciplinary studies; a geographic presence that spans one of the nation’s 10 largest legal markets (New Jersey) while also offering immediate access to two of the five largest markets (New York City and Philadelphia); an alumni network with over 20,000 members; and a strong tradition of diversity and social impact.  As the law school for a top public university, Rutgers Law School is committed to the highest standards of teaching, scholarship, and service to its host communities, the state of New Jersey, and the nation.
Posting Number 21FA0768
Posting Open Date 06/30/2021
Posting Close Date 09/01/2021
Minimum Education and Experience
Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities  
Equipment Utilized  
Physical Demands and Work Environment  
Special Instructions to Applicants  
Quick Link to Posting
Campus Rutgers University-Newark
Home Location Campus Rutgers University-Newark
Location Details

July 10, 2021 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 8, 2021


Right now, many of our bar takers are feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, despite many weeks of laboring studies, as to whether they have what it really takes to successfully pass their bar exams later this month. 

In my own life, self-chatter takes up so much of my thought-time and mental efforts.  

Self-doubt, lack of confidence, deep rooted feelings of not fitting in, of not having, the "right stuff," so to speak.  

In short, we start to wonder if we really do belong, if we really do measure up, if we somehow didn't just happen to make it through law school but someday, we will be found out to be a fraud, to be faking it all along.

For our bar takers, let me say at the outset that, if you feel gripped by worries and fear, you are not alone, at all.  

Most of us, when we took our bar exams, were worried out of our minds.

That's because - to be frank - taking bar exams is really not a natural part of life (and really has no place in the practice of law because it's totally unlike the practice of law with its over-reliance on recall and quick identification and resolution of issues).  Who practices law like that? So, it's okay to be concerned, stressed, and worried.

But let me also say that the next few weeks, while important, don't have to be lived out perfectly, as perfectly studious and perfectly performed. Rather, as you prepare for your bar exam later this month, focus on just two tasks.  

First, work through lots of essays and multiple-choice problems with the goal of discovering and learning and growing.  That means, when you miss things, don't give up.  Rather, use those opportunities as springboards to figure out how to get that sort of problem correct next time.

Second, spend time rehearing your lines, like an actor on stage, walking through, talking out, and practicing your study tools, issue spotters, and big picture problem-solving rules.  Focus on the major rules.  Forget the minor details.  People pass based on majoring on the major rules not on those pesky minor details.

But often times we, as human beings, think we have to know it all to pass the bar exam.  We don't.  You don't.  Rather, be confident in taking these next few weeks as opportunities to experience more practice problems and to practice rehearing the rules.  That's it.  Just two tasks.

That's still a lot - and that's were perspective comes in.  I'm in my sixties.  Just two years ago, I fractured my back in five places in a car accident, leaving me unable to walk without assistance and without a walker for a number of weeks and into several months.  In fact, as I took my first steps, I recall thinking that I would never ever again be able to hike, or walk, or bike.  That's because I was so focused on what I couldn't do, at present.  At best, with lots of help from both sides and a walker to balance myself too, I could only muster a handful of steps.  And painful steps to boot.

Last weekend, my wife and I took two days to trek about a little over thirty miles in the local mountains.  In other words, although I wouldn't have believed it two years ago, I'm back on the trail.  At the time, two years ago, I never saw any progress, or at least not much at all.  

Bar prep is a bit like that.  It just doesn't seem like we are progressing much at all, especially because we keep on missing so many issues and questions.  But, in the last week, things come together, exponentially so to speak, because we've planted and watered so many seeds of learning and discovering throughout this summer that they all start to bloom, like a beautiful flower bed, all at once.  

As we hiked through the mountains this week, headed uphill to a 11,700 foot plateau, I realized that I had actually grown quite a bit, as a hiker, over the past two years, so much so that I actually passed a few people, all much younger that I.  Of course, I was going uphill.  The hikers I passed were going downhill.  But I still take good cheer that I'm hiking on my own trail.  

That's all we ask of you and all that you should ask of yourself in the course of these next few weeks of bar prep.  Be yourself, walk at your own pace, keep going uphill, step by step.  But just like I do often on the trail, feel free to take lots of breaks throughout the day.  Those breaks help you see how far you have come uphill and how much you're progressed in your learning.  So trust yourself.   You can do this, one step at a time.  (Scott Johns).


July 8, 2021 in Advice, Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 4, 2021

July Bar Prep: Keep Shooting Free Throws

July always makes me think of shooting free throws in my backyard. I used to practice continuously, always imagining that moment where I would have an opportunity to shine, picturing no time left on the clock and the game coming down to my performance. If I made two consecutive shots, the crowd in my imagination would cheer, fans would rush the court, and I would be hoisted off the court on the shoulders of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to celebrate winning the NBA Championship (I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan).

However, and this will not surprise anyone who saw me shoot free throws in my early days, I did not always make the shot. Sometimes, despite my intention to win multiple imaginary championship rings, I would hear a clank and the ball would bounce off of the rim for me to chase down. It seemed that I had let the entire arena, all of the television audience, and my beloved Chicago Bulls team down…

BUT WAIT! Someone on the other team had stepped into the lane, and I was miraculously granted another shot (literally) to win the game. My past miss no longer mattered, but instead I now had the opportunity to shine and win again. In fact, no matter how many times I missed, someone would always step in the lane or get hit with a technical foul, and I would get another chance to win the game. During this process, I would always think about the shot I had made or missed, and whether I was balanced correctly, whether my elbow was aligned under the ball, whether my eyes were focused in the right place on the rim, and whether I followed-through correctly (B.E.E.F. for you basketball enthusiasts). 

Eventually, because I gave myself opportunities to be successful in practice, I built both my skill and confidence. Because I didn’t let every miss defeat and discourage me, I was able to diligently work to improve through repetition and positive self-talk. By reviewing constantly what I was doing when I made a shot and when I missed a shot, I got to the point where I was willing to be on that free throw line in any real-life situation, because I knew that every make and miss had prepared me to be successful when it actually counted.

July is a great time to remind our students to treat themselves with kindness and to approach bar preparation the way I used to practice free throws. They need to understand that in order to be successful on the bar exam, you do not have to be perfect in practice, but rather you just have to keep practicing and making adjustments. It is not about getting every question right now, but rather it is about learning and analyzing what you are doing to continuously make adjustments and build towards your eventual success. Students need to be reminded that any one day will neither make them successful nor limit their chances of success, but rather it is the daily effort, reviewing, learning, analyzing, and intellectual growth that will ultimately lead them to win the proverbial championship of being successful on the bar exam.

Encourage your students to keep shooting those practice free throws so they will be ready for game day, and remind them of the famous words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Remind them to continue working each day to realize success.

(Scot Goins - Guest Blogger)

July 4, 2021 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Closing Night

Tonight will be closing night for my kitchen table classroom. The latest word from my school is that we will be teaching in person next semester, in our regular classrooms with the regular number of students. So, I will strike this set. I will pack up the books, papers, RBG and Kamala Harris action figures and bring them back to my “real” office in the next few weeks. I’ll store the mesh metal inbox and pen holder (that my nephew left behind when he finished college and didn’t want to drag back them to his home abroad) in the basement. I’ll unpack my box of “Zoom worthy” earrings and return the contents to my bedroom jewelry box. I don’t know what I will do with laptop stand, because I already had one in my office, but I’m sure I’ll find a place for it that will escape me when I need to find it again.

In the past 15+ months of this pandemic, I have used this table as my classroom, my desk, the venue for our Thanksgiving dinner (once) and our Passover seders (twice). I have shared this table with my adult daughter as she worked at one end while I taught my classes at the other. She even did a cameo of me on April Fool’s Day before she headed back home (she does a dead-on imitation of my Zoom classroom patter). I cleared space for my younger daughter to finish her college exams this spring when they were sent home a few days early because of an uptick in positivity. I watched my son literally crawl behind me (numerous times) to get to the refrigerator during my class so he wouldn’t be seen. I wasn’t going to tell him that I had a virtual background on-or that we were in breakout rooms. We all needed more laughs. As the seasons changed, I learned how the light shifts in this space and how to avoid looking like an old detective show’s interrogation subject on Zoom during winter faculty meetings.

As the lights on this run begin to dim, I have been Googling dining tables and chairs because I just don’t want to look at this table anymore. I think it is ready to retire after 25 years, three children and over a year of being a classroom/home office. And yet, I hesitate to replace it just yet, because maybe it will look different when it isn’t doing so many jobs. Maybe, once this table is just (to very loosely paraphrase Freud) a table, I’ll be able to see it with new eyes. Maybe, I’d even miss it.

In the fall, I might miss having food, Coke Zero and coffee immediately available, or a bathroom that does not require a key. Will I miss the cat snoozing just outside of camera range or my dog punctuating my most important points (that coincided with mail or package delivery)? I don’t think I will miss the chaos of people walking through my classroom/office making noise or slamming doors. I don’t think I will miss my ritual morning clean-up of this space because in my “real” office, the only person who might leave debris on my desk would be me. Will I enjoy being alone in a quiet space after over a year of knowing where everyone in my immediate family is and what they are doing? Will people judge me if I sit at my desk and watch Gilmore Girls while I eat lunch at the office? And, to be utterly cliched, nothing beats the commute or current dress code. Change, even good change, is hard.

As part of my cleaning this morning, I pulled out my Swiffer. As I swabbed under the table, I realized that the chair that I had been sitting in all this time has left four distinct worn spots on the wooden floor. A scar left by the pandemic. I immediately started to google how to best erase or cover the spots but then I stopped. Like the ghost light left on after the theater is dark for the night, these spots need to stay.

(Elizabeth Stillman - Guest Blogger)

July 3, 2021 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 1, 2021

A Few Possible "Big Picture" Thoughts on ASP Best Practices

Ah, just about the middle of the summer.  It's sort of like the 7th inning stretch in baseball, a time to stand, sing, and refocus a bit.  Especially with so many of us working with so many of our recent graduates as they prepare for remote and in-person bar exams. It's an opportunity for a quick breather before the final three weeks of bar prep polish and work.

Personally, this weekend is an opportunity for me to step back a bit, to take a look at what I ought to really be focused on, to ask how would others view the programs that I am responsible for delivering to our students and graduates.

Well, to be honest, I'm a bit afraid to ask others.  But, as I think about preparing for the upcoming academic year, I thought I'd share the follow as food for thought about "ASP Best Practices."  I'd love to hear your suggestions and comments too.  P.S. Thanks to Visiting Prof. Chris Newman (DU Law) for development of this slide and his insights too. (Scott Johns).

ASP Practices

July 1, 2021 in Advice, Learning Styles, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Picture of the Multi-Faceted Relationships in Learning, Discovery, and Growth

They say that a picture is worth a 1000 words.  Well, here's a picture of what I call the so-called "Learning Triangle," put together with a few words to boot, thanks to Prof. Chris Newman, Visiting Asst. Professor of Practice at the University of Denver.  Let us know what you think! (Scott Johns).

ASP Learning Blogs


July 1, 2021 in Advice, Learning Styles | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Quick Fix (or is it?)

According to author Jesse Singal: "Power posing, grit and other trendy concepts are scientifically unproven but have become enormously popular by offering simple solutions to deeply rooted social problems."

In particular, Singal suggests "[b]ecause they promise so much reward for so little effort, social psychology fads often win attention and resources long before there is any evidence of their effectiveness."  As evidence, Singal writes "only about half of all published experimental psychological findings are successfully replicated by other researchers." Singal, J., "The False Promise of Quick-Fix Psychology," WSJ (April 10, 2021). 

While I haven't yet had a chance to dive into Singal's book, as a trained mathematician, I have my doubts regarding any research results making make singular claims about human nature because human nature, it seems to me, is just too complex to nail down to one variable of influence. Singal, J., The Quick Fix, Macmillian (2021).

That being said, I do share with my students research about growth mindset and grit, for instance, and the empirical claims about associations with learning effectiveness.  

Nevertheless, I'm not sure that growth mindset and grit is something that you can just call upon on command.  Rather, I see our roles as educators to come along side our students, in community with them and with others, to help them see themselves as valuable members of our educational community.  In sum, I sense that growth mindset development is more the result of a sense of well-being and belonging within the academic community, which for many of our students, is often felt lacking.

So, rather than focus on pep talks about growth mindset and the power of grit, I think that it might be more valuable for our faculty and staff to get to know our students, to hear them out, to let them express themselves.  With summer well in swing, one possibility for beginning that project is to form a one-evening book or movie club this summer with a handful of staff and faculty members and a few entering law students, current law students, and alumni members too.

Closer to home, with bar prep in full swing, this past week, I've been hosting a number of zoom chats focused on reviewing mock bar questions with them.  My first questions, almost without exception, are about their passions for the law and about how they are doing.  With close to 200 students this summer, I sometime feel like I just don't have time for the so-called "niceties,"  But without the "niceties" of life, there really is not much to life because it's the "niceties" of life, the opportunities to learn, grow, and discovery together, that really make life well-lived.  And, I'm not so sure that my role as as an educator is to fix people but rather to live with them in community, something that has seemed to be particular difficult in the midst of this pandemic.  

So, as we appear to be turning a page on the pandemic, I am looking forward to meeting and working with students, faculty, and staff together again, and in person, too! And, I look forward to seeing you again at a conference or other event!  Cheers! (Scott Johns).



July 1, 2021 in Advice, Current Affairs, Learning Styles | Permalink | Comments (0)