Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Guest Blogger Post 3 - Louis Schulze: "Don't Even THINK About Using Supplements" Part One

Ever found yourself giving this advice to students?  Do you have colleagues who do so?  In this series of posts, I hope to push back against this practice … sort of.  There are five reasons why giving this advice is generally unwise.  Here goes….

  1. Missed opportunity. We all know that students will use supplements regardless of our advice.  I am a realist, and so I doubt that each of my 60 students will blindly and universally heed every word I say.  (Dear students reading this:  You should blindly and universally heed every word I say.) 

As a result, if my only input on this issue is a blanket policy lacking any nuance, I’ve lost my ability to guide students towards the good stuff (which I call “hornbooks”) and away from the schlocky stuff (which I call “supplements”).  (I make this nomenclature distinction because I want to capture the positive connotation of the former, and the negative connotation of the latter.  This allows me to focus students on professor-authored resources written with the primary purpose of supporting students, and non-professor-authored resources written for the primary purpose of revenue).    

Moreover, if some of my students’ other professors do recommend certain sources, I have just undercut my colleagues and probably undermined my credibility.  I would rather influence my students and support my colleagues than posit myself as the all-knowing sage. 

  1. Mitigating the advantage legal education grants to students from privileged backgrounds. Imagine a student whose mother, father, aunt, uncle, or cousins attended law school.  No doubt these family members will spend hours at a family barbeque in July inflicting imparting their advice upon the anxious pre-1L, especially if they attended the same law school.  This student now knows that her Criminal Law professor closely follows “Understanding Criminal Law.” The student then positively kills it (pun intended) when cold-called on Queen v. Dudley & Stephens, and she gains points for doing so.

Now imagine the student who is first in his family to attend college, let alone law school.  Not surrounded by those “in-the-know,” this student goes through law school not knowing some of the crucial hints that might support his success.  He struggles through State v. Wilson and loses points.  He does less well in the course not because he lacked aptitude or diligence but because he did not enjoy the privileged background that provided others with pre-knowledge.

If the professor admonished the students not to use supplements, she can share the blame for this troublesome reproduction of socio-economic hierarchy.  Not only did her blanket rule likely intimidate the second student more than the first, but her failure to guide her students towards quality materials exacerbated the imbalanced playing field that already existed.  

In my next post, I’ll continue to lay out the arguments against the blanket policy of “Don’t Even THINK of Using Supplements.”

November 11, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Congratulations to Steven Foster for a Top Ten Award

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeCongratulations to our Contributing Editor, Steven Foster, for being awarded a Top Ten Badge from Texas Bar Today for his Monday, October 29th post, Time for Hot Chocolate and Completed Outlines. If you missed reading his post, the link is here.

November 4, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Welcome Guest Blogger: Louis Schulze

Schulze-2018-e1539357528676 (002)
Louis Schulze will be joining the Blog as a regular guest blogger over the coming months. We are excited that he will be joining us in this capacity. If you have not previously had the pleasure of meeting Louise at AASE, AALS, or other conferences, here is some information about him:

Louis Schulze is Assistant Dean and Professor of Academic Support at Florida International University College of Law.  He and his colleague Prof. Raul Ruiz run the law school's Academic Excellence Program, in which Louis teaches academic support and Raul directs the bar preparation program. FIU Law's students have placed first in bar passage rate in five of the last six Florida bar exams.  Dean Schulze teaches Introduction to the Study of Law, Legal Reasoning, and Legal Analysis.  His scholarly work focuses on the potential impact of educational psychology and cognitive science on legal education.  A few of his articles can be found HERE and HERE.  

Dean Schulze has lectured to students and presented scholarly works at law schools across the country, including Columbia Law School and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  He has served on the executive committees of the AALS Section on Academic Support, the Association of Academic Support Educators, and the AALS Section on Empirical Studies of Legal Education and the Legal Profession.  He is happy to talk to anyone who will listen about the Boston Bruins, New England Patriots, and Boston Red Sox.

(Amy Jarmon)

October 21, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Congratulations to Bill MacDonald for a Top 10 Badge

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadge

Congratulations to Bill MacDonald for the award of a Top 10 Blog Posts badge by Texas Bar Today for his October 9th post. The link is here if you missed his post: Threats and Challenges in the Brain.  (Amy Jarmon)

October 12, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Welcome Bill MacDonald as a Contributing Editor to the Blog

MacDonald

Please welcome William MacDonald as one of the new Contributing Editors for the Law School Academic Support Blog. I am sure you have enjoyed reading his posts for the past few weeks.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Bill at various ASP and bar prep workshops or conferences, here is some information about his background and interests:

Bill is the Director of Academic Success at SUNY University at Buffalo, a position that encompasses both academic support and bar preparation.  He teaches a course for the entire 1L class that introduces students to academic and professional skills, and a course for about half of the 3L class that introduces them to the Bar examination and prepares them for the rigors of an intensive summer bar preparation course. 

Prior to arriving at SUNY-Buffalo, Bill served for four years as the Director of Academic Support at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California. He had earlier worked as Assistant Director of Graduate Career and Professional Development at his alma mater, Georgetown University Law Center.

Before his career move to academia, Bill practiced in taxation in Washington, DC for six years. He then returned to school to obtain his LL.M. in Estate Planning from University of Miami School of Law.  He transitioned into estate planning practice in Naples, FL before heading to McLean, VA to continue his practice. 

Bill is a native of Massachusetts. In addition to his years in the DC area, Florida, and southern California, he lived and taught in Japan for a few years. He is glad to be in Buffalo which he describes as a land with proper seasons and snowfall.

Bill wrote a blog on career growth and fulfillment for several years with his writing partner, Meg Flippin. The two bloggers discontinued their blog to work together on a novel examining the same issues – a lightly satirical story of a robot named Tendo who is tired of feeling like a robot, and her adventures as she moves from one profession to another to try to find her fit.  The novel is now complete, and Meg and Bill are looking for an agent and a publisher. We wish them the best of success in these endeavors!

Bill tells us that he is blessed to have a brilliant wife, Deborah Pratt, who is a wizard in organization development and professional training, and two bright, kind, and creative children.  And you may be fascinated to learn that Bill was a finalist in the 2006 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions as well as an early contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – in fact, he still holds the record as the only person ever to have won at least $125,000 on both shows.

We look forward to Bill's insights in his future posts! (Amy Jarmon)

October 7, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Congratulations to Scott Johns on a Top 10 Badge

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeCongratulations to Scott Johns, one of the Contributing Editors, for being recognized by Texas Bar Today for his blog post on Thursday, September 27th. In case you missed reading his winning blog post, you can find it at this link: The Window of Knowledge vs. the Window of Experience

October 6, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Welcome Nancy Luebbert as a Contributing Editor

  Luebbert

Please welcome Nancy Luebbert as one of the new Contributing Editors for the Law School Academic Support Blog. I am sure you have noticed her insightful blog posts for the past few weeks. If you missed her two Top 10 Award posts, you can find the links in this post: here.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Nancy at AASE or other gatherings, here is some information about her background and interests:

Nancy Luebbert joined the University of Idaho College of Law as Director of Academic Success in 2001.  She teaches the first year Academic Skills Lab I and since 2015 has co-taught the Applied Legal Reasoning bar preparation course.  She helped develop the College’s advising structure and is the primary advisor to all students at Idaho Law’s Moscow location.  In 2018, she received the AASE Excellence Award in recognition of her tireless service on behalf of students.  She is a member of several professional organizations including the Association of Academic Support Educators, National Academic Advising Association, Idaho Legal History Society, Idaho Women Lawyers, Raymond C. McNichols Inn of Court, Organization of American Historians, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Before turning to academic success work, Luebbert practiced appellate criminal defense under contract to the Idaho State Appellate Public Defender and also helped research and edit materials for a bench book for Idaho judges.  She clerked for the Honorable Wayne L. Kidwell of the Idaho Supreme Court.  Luebbert graduated magna cum laude from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1998; her proudest law school achievement was being part of an Appellate Clinic team that successfully argued a pretrial detainee’s Section 1983 case before the Ninth Circuit. 

Luebbert had two prior careers before turning to law -- public history (museums and local history) and wildland firefighting, including seven years as a Suppression Specialist with the Alaska Fire Service.  She graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1978.  She enjoys reading, beading, huckleberry picking, practicing sound forest management, and trying to out-stubborn her Chesapeake Bay Retriever. 

We look forward to Nancy's future posts on the Blog! (Amy Jarmon)

September 28, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Congratulations to Nancy Luebbert

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeCongratulations to Nancy Luebbert, one of our Contributing Editors, for garnering two Top Ten Blog Posts from Texas Bar Today. If you missed her two posts that received this recognition, you can find them at the following links. Her August 29th post on Overcoming Shyness in the Law School Setting is here. Her September 5th post titled A Tribute to the Tale is here.

September 11, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Thank You to Kirsha Trychta

Many thanks to Kirsha Trychta for her dedication the last year as a Contributing Editor for the Law School Academic Support Blog! Kirsha's posts have been thoughtful and insightful. She will be missed as a Contributing Editor. Hopefully she will guest blog for us at times so that we may continue to benefit from her wisdom and experience. (Amy Jarmon)

Close-up-of-thank-you-signboard-against-gray-wall-691036021-5b0828a843a1030036355fcf

August 31, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Thank You to Goldie Pritchard

Many thanks to Goldie Pritchard for her dedication the last two years as a Contributing Editor for the Law School Academic Support Blog! Goldie's posts have been thoughtful and insightful. She will be missed as a Contributing Editor. Hopefully she will guest blog for us at times so that we may continue to benefit from her wisdom and experience. (Amy Jarmon)

Index

August 17, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

New Top Ten Blog Posts Award

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeCongratulations to Kirsha Trychta for receiving another Top Ten Blog Posts badge from Texas Bar Today for her Big Brother, Bar Exam Edition post on July 17th! In case you missed her post, you can read it here: Big Brother, Bar Exam Edition.

August 5, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | 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)

Pic

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)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus

For two years in a row, several Academic Support colleague recommended that Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus be highlighted in the Veteran ASP Spotlight Series. I was excited to read what Suzanne had to share. Let’s all learn about Suzanne. (Goldie Pritchard)

DSCF4381

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

Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus

Professor of Law, Director of Academic Development and Bar Programs

Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

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

The law was a second career for me so I didn’t exactly pick ASP but think that it picked me. My work in bar preparation goes back to 1998, not long after I passed the bar exam.  Having developed very close relationships with my classmates, I was devastated when I passed the bar exam and they did not.  I wanted to help so I began hosting weekly sessions on Sundays in my home to study with them. This experience helped me see the individual and highly different ways that people learned.  I was in private practice at the time, but when I shared what I was doing with Howard Glickstein, Touro Law’s dean at the time, he started referring students seeking assistance with the bar to me. By the spring of 1999, I was teaching Sunday workshops at Touro Law to guide students with essay writing and by 2000, I was offered an opportunity to teach Legal Process for a professor on sabbatical.  While I enjoyed my work at the firm, I realized how much I loved teaching and helping students so I decided to take this opportunity.  I taught Legal Process for three years and developed academic workshops focusing on developing legal reasoning and writing skills for students at all levels.  Touro did not have a formal academic support program at the time --- like many other law schools in 2000 --- so we developed one, a program at a time.  I was named Director of Academic Development in August 2003 and devoted my time exclusively to ASP functions, including teaching a first-year Contracts class that combined skills and doctrine for at-risk students. 

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?

Like most of my ASP colleagues, I enjoy working one-on-one with students.  Still, as crazy as it might seem, I most enjoy that time between graduation and the bar exam when I work with our graduates to prepare for the bar exam.  This is the one of the best things about being a law professor because once students graduate, we’re all lawyers together, just peers, and I can help them navigate that next step to becoming a practitioner.  The bar prep period can be the loneliest, most anxiety-producing part of a student’s educational process. I want to make it less so by sharing that burden with them.     

The greatest challenge is helping first year students overcome their shock and loss of confidence when they do not do as well as they expected. The key to helping students in this situation is to remember that every student is unique; while the students who “get it” are pretty much alike in how they connect with the process of legal reasoning and analysis, those who struggle do so each in their own way.  It is my job to help them figure out what they need to do to get a different result.  Everything is on the table, beginning with setting up a daily study schedule.  Having said that, it’s important to stress that every schedule has to be flexible so we monitor how that schedule works on a weekly basis and make adjustments.  I am constantly surprised to learn how many students have never used a schedule before so that means they never knew how long it would take to perform a task --- which translates into not knowing how much time to allocate for a law school assignment.

Like others in ASP, I am constantly learning from my students and use what I learn in helping them to help others.  If one student has a problem, then others have it too.

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

For students:  Touro Law gave me the opportunity to have the life I always dreamed of having. Each student comes to law school with a dream and I want to help them achieve it. I want them to realize their dream of becoming licensed and practicing attorneys. 

For colleagues: I’ve never really thought of a legacy because I am so busy in the here and now.  There is always another student and another bar exam.  I guess I would like to be remembered as one who was always available to help a colleague.  Professionally, I value most the work that I’ve done to try to change the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ scoring practices to ensure that the bar exam is a fair and reliable assessment of an individual's minimum competency to practice law. 

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

New and mid-career ASP’ers:  Do not hesitate to reach out to your ASP colleagues.  We are an invaluable resource for advice and practical materials.  And just like we tell our students, do not lose perspective.  It is easy to get caught up in our students’ anxiety and emotionally drained by all that we give of ourselves.  We need to remember to take care of ourselves!  I know that it is difficult, but you need to set limits on your availability, especially in responding to emails.  Unless it is a bona-fide emergency, you must let students know that you will respond within a certain window --- set that line and keep to it, or you will be answering emails around the clock.  Finally, remember that everything changes --- whether it is good or bad. There will always be changes in administration, faculty, and policies.  Keep steady and steer the course.

 Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

My favorite quote is from Benjamin Franklin --- it got me through law school and continues to guide me in my teaching: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

June 6, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Reichi Lee

Reichi Lee was a recipient of the 2017 Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) Excellence Awards.  An Academic Support colleague recommended she be highlighted in the Veteran ASP Spotlight Series.  Let’s learn about Reichi! (Goldie Pritchard)

Golden Gate University - Niall David Photography-0326_preview

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

Reichi Lee

Associate Professor & Director, Academic Development

Golden Gate University School of Law

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

I’ve been in ASP for over 11 years, first as an adjunct teaching skills courses, then Assistant Director of Academic Development, and now as Associate Professor and Director, teaching skills and doctrinal courses, and overseeing a comprehensive academic support curriculum.

ASP work has become increasingly relevant and has transformed dramatically in the last decade. I love being a part of an ASP community that is proactively tackling the challenges of educating contemporary law students through constant adaption and innovation.

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?

My favorite part of the job is seeing a student who had struggled but worked hard to turn things around, alongside his or her family on graduation day.

My greatest challenge has been reconciling my own career ambitions and expectations from my youth, with being a mother, and finding the right mix of intellectual fulfillment, career advancement, and work-life balance – all in the context of an acceptable salary for survival in the Bay Area!

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

Making an impact in someone’s life so that they can have a better life.

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

A law degree is not just a degree. For some students, obtaining a law degree means transforming an entire family and community, for generations to come.

To new students: when things get tough, pull out your admissions personal statement and re-read it. Remember, your struggle today is ultimately about so much more than just grades.

To new/midcareer ASPers: although the day-to-day may feel less than glamourous and you might have to work hard to be seen and valued - your work has much greater impact than you may think. I thank you!

May 30, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Herbert N. Ramy

I first saw the name Herbert N. Ramy on the cover of a book, Succeeding in Law School. In my early years of Academic Support, I attempted to build an arsenal of resources I could recommend to students and I also wanted to ensure that I was well aware of all resources available.  Herb's book was one of the books I collected. I formally met Herb a little later at a conference and had a brief conversation with him. Please see the information below to learn a little bit about him (Goldie Pritchard).

  Photo  Professor Ramy

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

Herbert N. Ramy

Professor and Director of Academic Support

Suffolk University Law School (SULS)

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

I created the ASP Program at SULS back in the summer of 1999. At the time, my school provided little in the way of ASP services, and relied on its LRW faculty to fill the gap. I was already an LRW Professor at SULS, and the Deans of the law school asked me to create and run a new ASP Department. Candidly, I accepted the offer because it meant a promotion, a raise, and a bit more job security. Little did I realize that I was accepting a position that would form the foundation for the rest of my academic career.

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?

Without question, the most enjoyable aspect of my work is working one-on-one with my students. Over time, it seems that ASP departments have evolved to the point where classroom work – 1L skills sessions and bar prep – dominate our day. While some of my teaching happens in the classroom, I love being able to tailor my approach to the needs of each individual student. Through these individual meetings, I learn things about my students that I would never otherwise know. These individual meetings give me a front row seat regarding each student’s progress, which allows me to make small adjustments to my teaching based on that student’s actual needs.

My greatest challenge is providing assistance to students who have the drive to succeed but not necessarily the aptitude for legal work. Due to the recent dip in law school applications, this has occurred a bit more often over the past few years. The important thing from my perspective is to avoid pre-conceived judgments. I remind myself that law school success is not the same thing as success in the profession. Similarly, students do not need to be on law review in order to meet their professional goals. On occasion, I must have difficult conversations with a student about withdrawing from law school. Thankfully, those conversations will continue to happen infrequently so long as the student and the teacher do everything they can to ensure success.

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

I just hope that I made some small difference in the professional lives of the students with whom I had the pleasure of working. One of my most treasured possessions is a file folder stuffed with “thank you” notes from the past 19+ years in ASP. These notes are more valuable to me than any professional award or accolade I could ever receive.

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

It is too easy to get caught up in the numbers related to our work – incoming LSAT score, 1L GPA, school’s bar passage rate. One-on-one work reminds me that our students are far more than their admission’s applications or law school transcript. Statistics may tell me that a student with a specific LSAT score has X % chance of failing the bar exam, but they can never tell me how the student sitting in front of me will perform. Treat every student like an individual, not a statistic, and I guarantee that you’ll be reading about some of doing great things in the legal profession.

 Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

At its core, ASP work is about “doing”, and Confucius said it best – “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” Show your students how to do the work, make them do the work, and give them feedback about what went right and wrong – great things are bound to follow.

May 16, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Linda Feldman

You may consider this entry and future ones “self-serving” but please stay tuned. When my ASP mentor left the profession, I thought it might be a splendid idea to highlight a few “veteran ASPers” while they are still active in the profession. After conversations with a few colleagues, I decided to start highlighting a few individuals I view as “veteran ASPers.” I encountered these highly experienced individuals at certain points of my ASP journey which began almost ten years ago. Each contributed to my success by helping me in small or significant ways and shared their wisdom, experience, and advice. Here are links to all who were featured last year: Rodney Fong, Barbara McFarlandLouis Schulze, Jr.Amy Jarmon, and  Jendayi Saada. This initial project has evolved to highlight some individuals I have never met or interacted with but whom others find inspirational. I deemed it expedient to streamline the questions rather than ask them anything and everything I could have possibly wanted to know. It is impossible to highlight everyone so I am starting with a select few, Linda Feldman being the first this year.

I was first introduced to Linda Feldman by my ASP mentor at the very first Association of American Law Schools (AALS) annual meeting I attended. She was friendly and welcoming to this fairly new (a year and half in) ASPer. Kind words accompanied by a pleasant and welcoming smile were priceless. I always appreciate her insight, perspective, and contributions. Also, she is always so enthusiastic! Please learn more about her below. (Goldie Pritchard)

315
(Linda Feldman is pictured here, center with sign) 

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

Linda B. Feldman

Associate Professor and Director, Academic Success Program

Brooklyn Law School

Brooklyn New York

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

This May marks my 30th year in academic support. Teaching has always been my passion. Before law school I taught middle school social studies. After graduation the then Dean of Brooklyn Law School asked me to develop a program for non-traditional entering students who faced challenges adapting to and excelling in the law school environment. I agreed to create a program which, in those years had no name. I was so lucky that soon thereafter I met Paula Lustbader and Laurie Zimet at the conference in Boulder and learned that what I was “creating” already existed and was called academic support.

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?

I enjoy all aspects of helping students achieve whatever level of success they set for themselves. I value the one-on-one time with a student which allows me to get to know the student more personally and fashion an approach to learning for that particular student. But I am also exhilarated by teaching a large group of 1Ls. Each has its place.

My greatest challenge has been to provide support for an entering class of over 300 students. I have never overcome that challenge. It is the end of my last semester of law school teaching, and I’m still trying to figure out how to meet that challenge.

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

An interesting question since I am retiring in July. I hope my legacy will be the continuation of the summer Legal Process class which provided a supportive welcoming environment for students who might have otherwise have struggled unnecessarily. I also hope the collaboration between doctrinal faculty and ASP will continue to support all law students at BLS.

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

Don’t go it alone. Reach out to ASPers in your region and across the country. There is no more generous, creative, talented group of professionals than in the ASP community.

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

I saw a quote in a Montessori preschool classroom once that has become my guide: “If a child cannot learn the way we teach, we must teach the way that child learns.” This is as true for a law student as it is for a pre-schooler.

May 9, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Congratulations to Kirsha Trychta

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeKirsha Trychta has received another Top Ten Award from Texas Bar Today for her third post in her Good Litigating is Good Teaching series. The post in case you missed reading it is linked here. The post also includes links to the first two parts in the series. Congratulations! (Amy Jarmon)

May 6, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

What is AccessLex Institute?

There has been a good bit of buzz about AccessLex, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. AccessLex has been mentioned in some postings on the listserv in the past months. Kirsha Trychta recently posted on the Blog about her takeaways from the AccessLex bar exam research forum; the link to her post is here.

You may remember Sara J. Berman, the Director of Programs for Academic and Bar Success at the Center for Legal Education Excellence at AccessLex Institute. Sara wrote the book published by the ABA, Pass the Bar Exam. Sara was part of the ASP/bar law school community for a number of years having worked at Nova Southeastern and at Whittier. She started her position at AccessLex this spring and is working hard to bring to the forefront issues that concern the ASP/bar profession.

The URL for the AccessLexCenter for Legal Education Excellence is https://www.accesslex.org/accesslex-center-legal-education-excellence.

There is a new Bar Success Research Grant Program accepting letters of inquiry May 1-31, 2018: https://www.accesslex.org/bar-success-grant-program. See the website or the May 1st posting to the ASP listserv for more information.

And there has even been a recent job posting for an academic and bar success research analyst at AccessLex: https://accesslexinstitute-openhire.silkroad.com/epostings/index.cfm?fuseaction=app.jobInfo&version=1&jobid=76.

There seem to be a number of potential resources for the ASP/bar profession that AccessLex can provide. (Amy Jarmon)

May 5, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Am I Still A Baby ASP’er?

As my students transition into exam study mode and I start to close out all of the activities of this academic year, I have started to reflect on my accomplishments and goals. Reflection of this depth does not happen very often but I have a present awareness as I prepare for my series highlighting veteran members of our Academic Support (ASP) community. Last May, I sent a number of individuals who I consider veterans (10 years or more doing ASP work) a list of questions to guide what I wanted to know about them. I did provide some flexibility but most answered all of the questions. As I approach the ten-year mark as an academic support professional and about the thirteenth year if we count law school and graduate school, I am even more curious about what everyone has to share.

I never understood what people meant when they would say they looked up and ten years had flown by. Now I do because it is happening to me. I believe that this is a great time to reflect on where I am, whether it is what I envisioned for myself, what things are working well, what things are not working so well, and where I see myself in the years to come. It is a great time to have new or modified aspirations. This is certainly something everyone should consider whether a few months into ASP work or several years in. I have decided to borrow from my student affairs and career services colleagues, specifically what they tell students to consider as they try to navigate a professional career. It is unlikely that I will share all of my personal reflections but I will list some of the questions they tell students to consider but I will also list some of the questions I would ask students in my past life as a diversity and academic advising professional.

A. Self-Assessment

• What do I need from my career? (what role it plays in my life)

• What makes me feel truly fulfilled? (how do I measure success)

• What do I know about myself that helps me make good career decisions?

• What is important to me based on my personal values and beliefs?

• What do I know about my personality and style?

B. Skills Assessment

         • What skills, experiences, and knowledge have I acquired?

• What skills, experiences, and knowledge would I like to acquire?

• What responsibilities do I have/have I had?

• What have I achieved?

• What are my strengths?

• What have been the highlights of my career and life to date?

C. Set Goals & Plan

• Are my talents being used and developed? If not, look for opportunities that allow you to use or develop the talents you have.

• Identify and exploit opportunities that address gaps in knowledge, ability, and growth.

• Select worthwhile but realistic goals.

• Consider steps you need to follow to accomplish my goals.

• Be flexible.

• Consider what will keep me motivated to achieve my goals.

I am certain that there are more sophisticated assessments and questions available but this is somewhere to start and verbalizing or writing these things down can be powerful. Also, if you have a person who helped you along the way as an ASP professional and who you trust, use them as a sounding board.  Moreover, if you know of an ASP veteran that you would like to see spotlighted, please email me their name and school and I might be able to highlight them. (Goldie Pritchard)

April 25, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 13, 2018

A New Top Ten Award

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadge
Congratulations to Kirsha Trychta for being awarded a Top Ten Blog Post from Texas Bar Today for her first post in a series on Good Litigating is Good Teaching. You can read her introduction post here in case you missed it this week: Good Litigating is Good Teaching - Introduction.

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