Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

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


November 29, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2022

Small Circles

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

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

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

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

(Liz Stillman)

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Mark Your Calendar - ASP Presentations January 2023 at AALS Conference

AALS ASP Meeting 23 Highlights copy

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

Monday, November 21, 2022

Series Blog No 3 - Learning by Doing

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

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

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

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

Series Blog Post - Intro

Series Blog No. 1 - Diverse Approaches (ASU)

Series Blog No. 2 - Manifold Ways (FIU)

Please let me know if you'd like to contribute a post in this continuing series. I'd love to hear from you and I can be reached at: [email protected]. (Scott Johns)




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

The Playground

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

This semester has been wild.








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

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

(Liz Stillman)

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

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Manage Expectations

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

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

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

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

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

(Steven Foster)

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

This week in academic and bar support scholarship:

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

From the abstract:

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

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

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

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

Per the abstract:

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

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

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

November 15, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 7, 2022

Midterms and Midterms

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

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

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

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

(Liz Stillman)

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

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Director of Bar Exam Success at Elon

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

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

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

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Colorado Supreme Court Amends Bar Exam Passing Score

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


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



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

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals Request for Proposals


RFP Deadline Extended to November 8

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

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

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

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

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

            a. Name and title of presenter

            b. Law School

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

            d. Title

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

            f. Media or computer presentation needs

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

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

2022-23 NECASP Board Members:

Chair: Phil Kaplan, Associate Professor of Academic Support Suffolk University, [email protected]

Vice-Chair: Brittany Raposa, Associate Director & Professor of Bar Support Roger Williams School of Law, [email protected]

Treasurer: Danielle Kocal, Director of Academic Success The Elizabeth Haub School of Law / Pace University, [email protected]

Secretary: Erica Sylvia, Assistant Director of Bar Success & Adjunct Professor of Law University of Massachusetts School of Law, [email protected]

(Liz Stillman)

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

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

From the abstract:

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

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

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

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

From the abstract:

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law)


November 1, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)