Sunday, December 17, 2023

Happy Holidays and Enjoy the Break!!

All of us at the Law School Academic Support Blog wish you and your families Happy Holidays! We appreciate you reading our posts.  We also hope you are able to get a break over the next few weeks.  Every year has unique challenges.  I know many of you are working tirelessly to get ready for NextGen. Even in this hectic time, I hope you have a chance to recharge the next couple weeks.

We are taking a break to celebrate the season. We may post sporadically, but regular posting will begin again the week of January 15th.

(The Editors)

December 17, 2023 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 26, 2023

New Contributing Editor

I am delighted to announce Ashley Cetnar from the University of Idaho will join us as a contributing editor.  She will primarily post on Fridays.  Ashley Cetnar joined the University of Idaho in August 2021. She received her B.A. in English and Sociology from the University of Michigan in 2007. In 2010, she earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, graduating with honors. She is also an active member of the Florida Bar. Ashley-cease

Prior to joining the law school faculty for the 2021-2022 academic year, Professor Cetnar gained extensive experience in academic success and bar preparation as an Instructor of Law & Assistant Director of Academic Success at Stetson University College of Law. There, she worked with students to ensure they developed the skills necessary to succeed in law school and on the bar exam. She has been teaching students in bar-skills courses since 2016 and advising law students since 2015. Now, she looks forward to using her experience to support University of Idaho students in the pursuit of their educational and professional goals.

(Steven Foster)

November 26, 2023 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 22, 2023

Best Practitioners

Greetings from Santa Clara, California, and 10th Annual AASE conference! The sun is shining, and it is amazing to see everyone-the people I have missed in our pandemic years as well as people I had not met in person before today (like the amazing editor of this blog, Steven Foster!)

Here are the things I've learned so far (today was the day for "newbies" to learn the ins and outs of Academic Support):

  1. There are palm trees here-but they are not indigenous to this area. But they are so pretty swaying in the wind. I know they'd not survive a New England winter, but I wouldn't mind giving a try....
  2. ASP People are the best people-actually, I already knew that, but proof of this fact was undeniable today. We are the kindest, most generous, and collegial academics out there. And if you argue with me about that, I'll most likely ask you for your sources and then have you frame a counterargument because that is what we do, but I won't be thrilled about it.
  3. Although I am far from a newbie, I was bolstered by listening to the most respected folks I know tell me what their process is, and even more exciting: it is my process too!!! Which is not to say I didn't learn amazing new things, but I am so happy I am engaging in best practices. Phew!
  4. We are doing world class scholarship and lifting each other up with it. This is wonderful!!
  5. I cannot wait to see what else (and who else!) I will encounter tomorrow.

I am looking forward to spending more time learning from, as well as hanging and laughing with the amazing community. We value each other when we aren't universally valued in other realms. we are family.

(Liz Stillman)


May 22, 2023 in About This Blog, Meetings, Professionalism, Program Evaluation, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 9, 2023

Welcome Lisa DeLaTorre

LDeLaTorreHope everyone had a good holiday break.  Please welcome our new Contributing Editor Lisa DeLaTorre.  She will post her thoughts on Thursdays.
Lisa is the Associate Director of Academic Success and Bar Readiness at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She is a co-teacher of the 3L MPT writing course, and each bar exam cycle coaches bar takers to success on the exam, with particular focus on wellbeing during bar study.
Previously, Lisa was in student affairs administration at Rice University, where she sat on the crisis assessment team and was part of the broader behavior and behavioral health team. Before that Lisa was a litigator for seven years, focusing on insurance defense.
Lisa received her J.D. from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. She is a mother of three, including identical twins who were born on the last day of spring break of her 3L year.

January 9, 2023 in About This Blog, Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 19, 2022

Happy Holidays and Enjoy the Break!!

All of us at the Law School Academic Support Blog wish you and your families Happy Holidays! We appreciate you reading our posts.  We also hope you are able to get a break over the next few weeks.  2022 may have been slightly more normal, but it brought its own challenges.  I hope you have a chance to recharge the next couple weeks.

We are taking a break to celebrate the season. We may post sporadically, but regular posting will begin again the week of January 9th.

(The Editors)

December 19, 2022 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Happy Holidays and Enjoy the Break!!

All of us at the Law School Academic Support Blog wish you and your families Happy Holidays! We appreciate you reading our posts.  We also hope you are able to get a break over the next few weeks.  2021 was another exhausting year.  Hope everyone gets a chance to recharge.

We are taking a break to celebrate the season. We may post sporadically, but regular posting will begin again the week of January 10th.

(The Editors)

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

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Welcome Liz Stillman

As we enter another year, we are adding to our editors!  Liz Stillman did a great job writing a few guest pieces last year, so she is going to write every week this year.  She will post on Sundays, so her insights will be waiting for you Monday morning.  Let's all welcome Liz.  I posted her bio below, and she is posting her first piece today.


Liz Stillman is an Associate Professor in Suffolk University Law School's Academic Support Program. She was previously an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York where she prosecuted juvenile delinquency cases in Queens and Manhattan Family Courts. She also teaches in the Political Science and Legal Studies Department for the Suffolk University College of Arts and Sciences as well as in the accelerated and LL.M. programs at the Law School. She is an appointed Commissioner on the Brookline Commission for Women, as well as a board member and legal advisor for the Animal Rescue Front. She is a Suffolk University Ambassador for Inclusion and certified in English as a Method of Instruction (EMI). Liz is also the immediate past president of the New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals.


August 22, 2021 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

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 5, 2020

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 10th 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 5, 2020 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 22, 2020

Welcome Victoria McCoy Dunkley as Contributing Editor!!

V. McCoy HeadshotWelcome Victoria McCoy Dunkley as our newest contributing editor.  She will post regularly on Mondays.  Professor McCoy Dunkley joined the faculty at Northeastern University School of Law in 2017 and directs the law school’s Academic Success Program, which provides students with a variety of services to maximize their academic experience. Previously, she was the assistant director of academic support and bar readiness at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Professor McCoy Dunkley is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, where she was a managing editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review. After law school, Professor McCoy Dunkley clerked for the Hon. Eric L. Clay of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and later worked as a litigation associate at Mayer Brown in Chicago. She also completed an LLM in environmental, energy and natural resources law at the University of Houston Law Center.


June 22, 2020 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2020

What I've Learned

One year ago this month, I wrote my first post for the ASP blog. And while it seems like only yesterday that I began my quest to bombard readers with my weekly musings, I have decided to step aside to make room for other voices to be heard through this forum. Today will be my last post as a regular contributing editor, and I will use this opportunity to reflect on the wonderful learning and growth experience that the year has brought.

I’ve learned that:

Education and advocacy are not parallel paths, but rather an important intersection at which the most effective teachers are found. I left a high stakes commercial litigation practice for a role in academic support. I naively believed that an effective teacher had to be dispassionate and objective and more focused on pedagogy than on legal advocacy or controversial topics. However, I grew to realize that the very skills that made me an effective lawyer still guided me in the classroom to teach my students and to open their minds to new perspectives. My realization was affirmed when ASP whiz, Kirsha Trychta, reminded us that the courtroom and the law school classroom are not that different.

Anger can have a productive place in legal education and scholarship. I don’t have to conceal or suppress my passion to be effective as a scholar. I am angry on behalf of every summer (or fall) 2020 bar taker. I am bothered by states that are so tethered to tradition that they refuse to consider the obstacles and challenges of preparing for a bar exam during a pandemic. It troubles me to see law schools close the doors to their libraries and study spaces, and yet expect 2020 bar takers to perform without the benefit of quiet study space and access to internet and printing. I am flat out disgusted by the notion of forcing law students to assume the risk of death to take the bar exam. And I waive my finger to shame the states that have abandoned exam repeaters and that waited or are still waiting to announce changes to the exam dates and format after the bar study period has begun. These states have essentially moved the finish line mid-race, and our future lawyers deserve better. But thanks to the vocal efforts of others who have channeled their righteous anger into productive advocacy and scholarship, I’ve seen states like Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Utah, and Washington emerge as progressive bar exam leaders in response to a crisis.

Silence is debilitating. Like so many others, I was taught to make myself smaller, to nod in agreement, and avoid topics that would make others uncomfortable. The untenured should be seen, not heard. I am the person that I am because of my collective experiences. Stifling my stories and my diverse perspective would be a disservice to my calling and to the next generation of lawyers who need to be met with a disheartening dose of racial reality. As soon as I showed the courage to speak up and step out of other people’s comfort zones, I found that I was not alone. My ASP colleagues, like Scott Johns, Louis Schulze, and Beth Kaimowitz and others, were right there speaking out too.

Glass ceilings become sunroofs once you break through them. In the last few years, I have seen more and more of my ASP colleagues earn tenure or assume tenure track roles. And while a job title or classification, will never measure one’s competence or value, our communal pushes for equity are visibly evident. ASP authors continue to make meaningful contributions to scholarship in pedagogy and beyond. Thank you to Renee Allen, Cassie Christopher, DeShun Harris, Raul Ruiz, and the many, many, many others who I can’t name but whose work I’ve read and admired. With varied voices, we are paving the way to enhanced recognition and status in the academy, and with mentorship and writing support we are forming the next wave of formidable ASP bloggers, scholars, textbook authors, and full professors.

(Marsha Griggs)

June 15, 2020 in About This Blog, Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exams, Current Affairs, Diversity Issues, Encouragement & Inspiration, News, Publishing, Weblogs, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Would you like to become a regular reader of our blog?

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the Law School Academic Support Blog! Happy New Year!

We hope you will consider becoming a regular reader and subscribe to our blog. It is easy to receive new posts automatically in your inbox each day. Just go to the top blue band on this page and click on "SUBSCRIBE." Fill in your email address and submit that information.

Each morning you can settle in with your cup of coffee and start your day with insights from our team of editors. We look forward to having you join us!

Best regards,


Amy L. Jarmon (Editor, Texas Tech)

Steven Foster (Contributing Editor, Oklahoma City)

Scott Johns (Contributing Editor, Denver)

Nancy Luebbert ( Contributing Editor, Idaho)

William A. MacDonald, Jr. (Contributing Editor, SUNY at Buffalo)

January 6, 2019 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I Am Signing Off, Thank You!

      As I hope you gathered from the title, this will be my last post as a contributing editor to the Law School Academic Support Blog.  In one of my earlier posts, I suggested that it was helpful to “meet students where they are” by learning a new task and carefully considering the steps and the emotions you feel throughout the process.  It is always good to challenge yourself.  In another post, I also suggested that adopting a “grateful posture/attitude” can reframe how one might approach challenging situations.  I am taking all of my advice and thought this would be an ideal time to transition to other things and attempt new challenges.  I am excited about anticipated future opportunities but equally sad to leave this blog. 

      This blog has been a constant in my life for almost two years and I am very grateful for the weekly reflective opportunity it has afforded me. I hope to continue to reflect and keep things in perspective even if it is in a different form. Writing was a great way to explore student concerns and challenges at various points of their law school career and to explore, in more depth, various aspects of what I do as an academic support and bar educator. As academic support professionals, we talk about reflection and capturing things in writing but what does that mean for us? I believe I wrote a post about this as well. Where, when, and how do we replenish our energy and what do we do to stay sane? How do we manage the endless to-do lists? I hope that you were able to relate to the various entries and that your students were able to beneficially step away with something tangible.

• I am thankful for all of the students who inspired various posts. You make me awesome.

• I am thankful for all of my academic support colleagues who sent me positive notes, particularly when I addressed semi-controversial topics and diversity issues. You affirmed me!

• I am thankful for all of my students and other students who read and continue to read various posts that apply to them. I am glad you used all of your resources.

• I am thankful for “Texas Bar Today” for selecting and including a few of my posts on their Top Ten list.

• I am thankful for my colleagues who posted a few of my posts on websites and blogs they use to support students in law school and as they prepared for the bar exam.

• I am thankful for all of the critics for making me think and for providing me with additional information to reference.

• I am thankful for the editor of the Law School Academic Support Blog for the opportunity.

• I am thankful for the contributing editors for their positive words and “shout-outs”. Your posts challenged me to be creative and taught me a lot.

     I look forward to becoming a reader again. In the future, I hope that you will see an occasional guest post from me. Have a wonderful academic year and bye for now. (Goldie Pritchard)

image from


August 15, 2018 in About This Blog, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

April Fool's Day Flashback

On April 1, 2014, Alex Ruskell, former contributing editor to this blog and current Director of Academic Success at the University of South Carolina School of Law, wrote a hilarious post entitled "New Bar Exam Section -- Interpretive Dance."  The post is so funny that I thought it was worth re-posting today.  Happy April Fool's Day!  (Kirsha Trychta)

April 1, 2018 in About This Blog, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Trychta Earns a Texas Bar Today Top 10 Award

Texas Top Ten BadgeTexas Bar Today selected Kirsha Trychta's July 4th post entitled Supermarket Sweep for inclusion on its weekly list of the top 10 blog posts.  Congratulations, Kirsha!



July 15, 2017 in About This Blog, Miscellany, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 26, 2017

OJ Salinas' First Post!

Hello pic

Hello, everyone. I am excited to join the Law School Academic Support Blog as a Contributing Editor! I have enjoyed keeping up with the Blog entries over the years, and I look forward to adding my take to this wonderful ASP resource.

We work in a diverse profession, and we carry many responsibilities. I hope to use the Blog as an opportunity for us to share our insight and experiences. If there are any particular topics or ideas you would like for me to explore in the Blog, feel free to email me at [email protected]. You can also Tweet me @ojsalinas (#lawschoolASP).

I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at our various ASP conferences. If our ASP paths have not crossed yet, I hope they do soon! (OJ Salinas)

June 26, 2017 in About This Blog, Academic Support Spotlight, Miscellany, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Moves and Changes

This summer, I will be moving from UConn and UConn Law School to UMass-Dartmouth School of Law, where I will become tenure-track faculty. The move also means I will be shifting back to ASP full-time. As much as I love UConn (and more on that below), I could not turn down the opportunity to work with Dean Mary Lu Bilek, who was a pioneer in ASP at CUNY before becoming dean at UMass. I found the faculty at UMass to be incredibly supportive and genuinely excited to be at the law school, and I was encouraged by the mission of the law school, to provide an affordable option for students seeking to work in public service.

It was an incredibly difficult decision to leave UConn. Not only do I love my job and my students, but I am alum of the school (both my BA and MA are from UConn). I have had amazing opportunities here that I would not have had anywhere else. My experience working with undergraduates has been invaluable. My experience has changed how I view ASP and the types of supports needed by students. I now see the essentiality of ASP-undergrad partnerships, and the growing need for ASP to move outside of the legal academy. To truly understand the challenges facing our incoming students, we need a better understanding of where they are coming from. It's no longer adequate to recall personal memories of our pre-law days, and superimpose our challenges on our students.These students are "digital natives" who are not afraid of the rapid pace of technological change--it's all they have ever known. These are students scarred by the Great Recession, which has shaped their worldview. Their undergraduate experience has shown them that education is not the ticket to security and stability. Incoming students are savvy and informed in ways that were unthinkable just four or five years ago; "buy-in" to the law school pedagogy will require us to prove ourselves and our value to students. ASP should not be afraid to embrace this new generation of law students and their challenge to our curriculum. These students will force us to up our game, to become better, more effective teachers and scholars. Personally, that is a challenge I embrace and encourage. While we work with students to become the best version of themselves, they will force us to better versions of ourselves.

It is bittersweet for me to be moving on from UConn. I love my job, I love my students, and the colleagues I have here will become lifelong friends.  But in this time of uncertainty and change in the legal academy, I am very excited to become to a part of a law school that is embracing the "new normal" and challenges ahead of us. (Rebecca Flanagan) 


EDIT: 3:44 pm

This is a fantastic post by William Henderson from over at Legal Whiteboard. It dovetails on my message about students and growth.



April 5, 2013 in About This Blog, Academic Support Spotlight, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick note on typos in the blog

I have been meaning to write this for a while, but it came to my attention today.  Amy and I write blog posts between students meetings, teaching, administrative tasks, and myriad other responsibilities. We do our best to catch typos and grammar mistakes before posts hit the site. However, there is not always time to catch every mistake. The blog is not like law review; we don't have months (or even days) to write, proof, and double-check everything that is written and posted. At times, getting a post published is more like a race-to-the-finish law school exam.  We do our best given time constraints. The alternative is to post less frequently.  Please keep in mind that what we type is not always what shows up on the blog; at times technical glitches cause typos we can't erase or fix.

I do fix typos when I see them. Please be gentle on us. If you find an error so egregious you feel it changes the meaning of the text, email the person who wrote the post so it can be corrected. Most typos are the product of typing too fast and trying to get ideas down before the next student appointment interrupts the thought process. (RCF)

April 13, 2010 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Middle-career ASPer's

While my introduction covers all of the perfunctory academic notes, it does not reveal why I would tackle writing for the ASP Law Blog. When Dan Weddle asked me in join in September, I jumped at the chance to give back to the ASP community that has given me so much in the past three years.
However, I was working at both ASU Law and VLS at the time, and I could only commit after January 2008, when I would (just) be at VLS full-time.

I like to think of myself as a relative newbie to Academic Support, but that really isn’t true anymore.  As the list of new positions demonstrates, ASP is growing by leaps and bounds.  I am delighted to meet new faces at every LSAC, AALS, or NCBEX conference.  With almost three years under my belt, I am no longer the new kid on the block, but I am certainly not one of the greats that “was there in 1992” when ASP was officially sanctioned.  When I talk to the *new* newbies, I relize how much I have grown as an Academic Success professional over the past three years.  But when I sit down with any one of the *greats* of ASP, I am awed by how much I still have to learn.  Even more amazing to me is how much the *greats* feel they still have to learn, some with ten or twenty years in ASP.

It’s this spirit of learning and collaboration that makes ASP the best area to work in the legal academy, in my humble opinion. 
I jumped at the chance to join the blog so I can give back some of the modest wisdom I have gained in the past three years. Everyday I still feel like I am in the middle of a vast learning curve, especially after grades come out.  Then I remember what it was like during the fall of 2005, when I was giving advice on IRAC to 1L’s with the ink barely dry on my J.D. 

This is my welcome to all the new folks joining our ranks; I was there not too long ago, and I am happy to help whenever you need it. Just don’t balk if I call myself a newbie as well; I am on the learning curve with you!
This is also my immense, heart-felt thank you to everyone who has given me much-needed advice, wisdom, and pep talks when I felt like I was in over my head.

Rebecca Flanagan

January 30, 2008 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 10, 2007

The ASP Blog is Going on Vacation

The editorial staff members for the ASP Blog are taking next week off (August 13 - 17).  Like many of you, we are trying to catch our collective breath before the new semester is in full swing.  We hope that all of you will have some rest and relaxation time as well.  See you at the beginning of the next semester!   

August 10, 2007 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)