Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

This week in A&BSP scholarship:

1.  Flanagan, Rebecca C. (UMass), Open Books, Better Skills: an Argument for Limited Open Book Exams (SSRN, September 1, 2023).

From the abstract:

Law schools have embraced closed book exams as one response to falling bar pass rates. But due to lack of student expertise in learning and study skills, students focus on memorization as the key to success on closed-book exams. A focus on memorization allows students to avoid building higher-order thinking skills, skills that must be built over time, skills that are essential to success on the bar exam and in practice. By choosing limited open book exams, law professors and law schools minimize the student focus on memorization, and recenter student learning and study on techniques that produce durable learning and proficiency in higher-order thinking skills necessary for success on the bar exam

[Posted by L.N. Schulze, FIU Law]

October 17, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 16, 2023

The AASE 4th Biennial Diversity Conference

The fabulous 4th AASE Biennial Diversity Conference finished up Friday at the lovely American University Washington College of Law. It was three days of amazing presentations by our colleagues in ASP and graciously hosted by American. It was welcoming and enlightening.

The theme, "The Choices We Make Matter: Building More Inclusive Spaces for Historically Excluded Communities," was timely and needed. I know the hosts and AASE Diversity Committee are working on posting all the presentations and slides on the AASE website, but they deserve a rest for at least a few days after all the work they put in. Please take a look when the materials are available: you will be awed at what our community has been working on but not really surprised since we already know that we are passionate about our students and their success. 

Community and collaboration were key topics during this conference-and no one does this better than ASP folks. We sat in our discomfort together and peeked around the corner of it to find better ways for our students. No one likes learning more than teachers.

A special shout out to AUWCL's Joni Wiredu, Rachel Gordon, Michael Levine, Sarah Schenkman, Lisa Sonia Taylor, Alisa Lopez, and the AASE Diversity Committee for making this a wonderful conference.  I am sure I missed some names (as one always does when making a published list, or printing a team t-shirt).

(Liz Stillman)


October 16, 2023 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Director of Bar Success at New Mexico School of Law

The University of New Mexico is seeking a Director of Bar Exam Success. This is a newly funded  position that will work collaboratively with the as Director of Academic Success.  This is a year-round, regular full-time staff position.  This position will lead our bar success efforts and our preparation for the NextGen Bar Exam. New Mexico is currently a Uniform Bar Exam state and has not yet made a decision about whether to be an early adopter of the NextGen exam.

We are a diverse, multicultural legal community in a majority-minority state.  New Mexico is a beautiful location with an active and diverse legal community.  The University of New Mexico has a strong clinical law program and public service focus.  

We are looking for someone with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with experience working in a diverse multicultural community.  Our law school community includes many nontraditional and first-generation law students.

Director of Bar Exam Success – University of New Mexico School of Law



The Director of Bar Exam Success serves law students and alumni by providing academic support and study tools for bar exam success. This position requires robust knowledge of legal theory, analysis and writing, and of academic and other fundamental skills necessary to prepare law students to succeed on the bar exam.  Preferred experience includes academic support, bar exam preparation, teaching law, tutoring, or academic counseling. 

To apply, and for full job description, pay and benefits, please see link below. The position is currently open until filled.


October 15, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Assistant Professor of Practice at Atlanta's John Marshall

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is looking for a motivated individual to join the

school in a full-time, non-tenure track faculty position as either an Assistant or Associate

Professor of Practice (based on experience) and member of the Academic Achievement

and Bar Success (‘AABS’) team.


The role will entail working with students and alumni to enhance, develop, and expound

upon the critical skills associated with success in law school and on the bar exam.

AABS offers instruction and assistance in a variety of formats, including one-on-one

counseling, conducting mandatory and nonmandatory workshops, teaching required bar

success courses, and developing specialized course offerings available to all enrolled

students and graduates preparing for the bar exam. The position may have some

weekend responsibilities but generally is a Monday-Friday position.


This is a full-time, non-tenure track faculty position with commensurate voting rights.

This position will have opportunities for advancement and renewal, after an interim

period. This is an in-person role, located at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in

downtown Atlanta.


Ideal Experience and Qualifications:

Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, excellent academic

credentials, and a demonstrated commitment to working with students to improve their

academic performance. Applicants must have passed a bar in at least one jurisdiction

within the United States. Preference will be given to applicants who have experience

teaching in academic success or legal writing programs and to those who demonstrate

a commitment to long-term student success.


Role Responsibilities:

● Provide insight into student progress, develop departmental programming, and

develop data-driven programming.

● Help manage, implement, and facilitate all components of the academic support

program at the law school, including day-to-day activities of academic mentoring

and achievement programming.

● Teach educational workshops to students in the day and evening divisions on

topics, such as briefing, course outlining, and exam performance. Provide

learning strategies and techniques to enhance and leverage the academic skills

that underlie law school success.

● Work one-on-one with students in the day and evening divisions to strengthen

the academic skills of critical reading, briefing, outlining, and legal analysis.

Individual counseling serves all students, with a special emphasis on students

identified as academically at risk.

● Provide written, formative feedback to students on practice problems and/or


● Help develop and assess the academic success program by collecting and

maintaining data relevant to academic performance.

● Help develop personal action plans for students studying for law school exams

and bar exams.

● Evaluate academic strengths and opportunities for improvement, develop

long-term academic plans, and assist in providing effective instruction to help

leverage optimal student performance.

● Stay current on educational learning theory.

● Pursue bar exam success outcomes and develop subject matter knowledge.

● Perform other duties as needed within AABS.

Atlanta's John Marshall Law School values a diverse workforce and inclusive culture.

We are committed to providing equal opportunities without regard to race, color, religion,

gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital

status, citizenship, disability, or veteran status. We encourage applications from all

qualified individuals. Applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the

application process are welcome to contact Director Cynthia Davenporte directly.


All interested candidates should submit their letter of interest, a current CV or resumé,

and three professional references to:

Cynthia Davenporte

Director of Human Resources

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

245 Peachtree Center Ave., NE, Suite 1900

Atlanta, Georgia 30303

[email protected]

October 15, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Tenure Track Position at Stetson

Stetson University College of Law is seeking a new Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation Services. The position is a tenure-track faculty position. Experienced candidates who prefer a nontenure-track role will also be considered. They seek someone with the experience, vision, and passion to lead the program into its next phase. 

Stetson is a wonderful law school community committed to student success from admission to admission to the bar. The Dean and administration are well informed on trends and issues directly impacting student success and the bar exam, and the faculty is supportive and collaborative with the department and works closely with the director.   

As Florida’s oldest law school, we have a rich history and a supportive alumni base. As an added benefit, we have a beautiful Mediterranean Revival-style campus with a lush tropical landscape in Gulfport, a quaint area next to St. Peterburg, and only a short drive to Tampa.

View the complete job posting HERE.

October 14, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bar Passage Position at Denver

DU Law is looking to expand the bar passage program with a visiting professor. 

For the details and where to apply, go to this link:


October 14, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 9, 2023

Annual North East Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) Conference-Call for Proposals

Request for Proposals: Presentations and Scholarly “Works in Progress”

Northeast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) Conference

Friday, December 15, 2023, 11am-3pm ET, in-person and via Zoom

Hosted by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University


NECASP will be holding its annual one-day conference this December. We are excited to return to an in-person conference this year, although we will still be including a remote option to accommodate those participants and presenters unable to travel to New York. Our topic this year is ASP Expanding our Reach: Are We Reaching Out and Are We Reachable?


Description: In order to adjust to the ever-changing needs of our students, it’s imperative we do a yearly audit of our messaging and our services to our students. So, this year, let’s get together (in person!!!) to discuss ways we can ensure we are reaching out to all of our students consistently and make sure we are accessible to them.


We welcome a broad range of proposals –from presenters in the Northeast 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. Our conference will be in-person on the Pace Law campus in White Plains, NY; however, we will have a Zoom option and will consider proposals from both in-person and remote attendees. If you wish to present, the proposal process is as follows:


  1. Submit your proposal by October 27, 2023, via email to Danielle Kocal at [email protected]
  2. Proposals may be submitted as a Word document or as a PDF
  3. Proposals must include the following:
  4. 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
  5. Whether you will be attending in-person or remotely
    g. Media or computer presentation needs
  6. As noted above, proposals are due on October 27, 2023. The NECASP Board will review the proposals and reply to each by November 17, 2023.

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!


Information such as hotel blocks and zoom links will be forthcoming. As always, there is no fee to attend this conference.






2023-24 NECASP Board Members


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

Vice Chair:   Erica Sylvia, Assistant Director of Bar Success & Adjunct Professor of LawUniversity of Massachusetts School of Law, [email protected]

Treasurer:   Stephen Iannacone, Director of Academic Success, Cardozo Law, [email protected]

Secretary:   Elizabeth Stillman, Associate Professor of Academic Support, Suffolk University, [email protected] 




October 9, 2023 in Meetings, Professionalism, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 2, 2023

Ten Hours

I had a student ask for an appointment to come in and discuss their study strategies. In the email asking for the appointment, they wanted to know if I had time to meet and discuss their, “dismal (by choice) first-month performance.” Yes, I also read that more than a few times trying to decipher what it meant. I offered them a quick sliver of time that very day to come in and set up a longer appointment on a different day, but to hopefully get something jumpstarted in the interim.

They told me that in the first 4.5 weeks of law school, they had worked for about ten hours. Hmm, I asked, is that ten hours a day (troubling because that seems like too much) or a week (too little)? “Total.” I did not gasp out loud (and I am quite proud of that). I asked them if that included the legal writing assignment that had been due the past week, and they said it did, and in fact, they had spent almost two of those hours on the paper. Another deep breath for me…

I asked a series of follow-ups after that revelation:

  1. Are you doing the reading?: Sort-of-I am skimming the cases and then we talk about them in class.
  2. Are you taking good notes in class?: Not really-It just makes sense.
  3. Have you started outlining?: Outlining what?
  4. Are you quizzing yourself after class? No.

They asked me if they were doing it wrong and when I said that it seemed to be the wrong choice, they went on to tell me about their undergraduate career that included a prestigious scholarship given to a handful of exceptional students. They told me their undergraduate GPA and how they never really worked hard at academics. I believe it. They seemed quite intelligent and quick to catch on to things. I took another deep breath and told them that law school was going to come and bite them in the ass (yes, I am a crass girl from the Bronx) if they didn’t do the reading, take notes, do practice questions, and start outlining-like right now.  And, I added that my undergraduate GPA from the very same institution was also pretty good.[1]

I explained the Dunning-Kruger effect to them: “a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their own skills.[2]” I told them that finding out what you don’t know when it counts towards, or even accounts for the entirety of, a grade is risky, particularly in law school. In classes where there is only one assessment, you will have absolutely no idea whether you are doing it right until it is too late.

Here’s the thing though, I am not 100% certain they needed the standard “how to do law school” menu of tasks. This may not be how they learn best, but their current “method” didn’t seem conducive to the 3.0 GPA the student wanted to have by the end of 1L year in order to move into our hybrid JD program and take their final two years online. In all honesty, I was really alarmed at the idea that after this year, they might be totally remote and have no 3-D peer or faculty reminders that they are not doing the same work-either qualitatively or quantitatively until they face the bar. They seemed like an unconventional learner who was very smart and not yet excited by what they were studying. But that is an excuse that flies in 7th grade, and not before our Academic Standing Committee.

I didn’t sugarcoat my concern with this student. Gentle cajoling wasn’t going to be an effective process here. I straightforwardly laid out the unnecessary risks I believed they were taking and then sent them a series of Outlook meeting invitations to check in on their progress. We’ll see if they come to anything.

In the meantime, this kind of student prompts me to remind my doctrinal faculty colleagues that the old school one high-stakes summative assessment at the end of a semester is going to be the downfall of otherwise smart students. This will weed out students who need to have their ass (gently) handed to them early on in order to light a fire in them to get the work done as well as those who cannot genuinely succeed.  It is widening the net and letting otherwise good students fall through. We will ultimately lose students who will be world-changers this way. Is this coddling? In the first semester of law school, in particular, it is not. If our goal is bar passage, we need to make sure students can accurately self-assess by modeling what that looks like from day 1.

As for this student, while I am not absolutely sure they need to follow the regular path, I am certain that they will find the path they have taken thus far is unlikely to end in the place they hoped. I only hope I was persuasive in making that point.

(Liz Stillman)


[1] Normally, I would never, ever do that, but I got the very real sense that my perceived intelligence would be a factor in whether they deemed my admonitions credible.

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dunning-kruger-effect

October 2, 2023 in Exams - Studying, Learning Styles, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 25, 2023


Many of you probably received an email from AALS last week with a link (and “unique PIN”) to a “Faculty Survey.”  The email said,

The Association of American Law Schools is interested in your experiences as a law school faculty member. AALS wants to know more about you, your career trajectory, current workload, time allocation across your various responsibilities, and perceptions of tenure. We are asking you to take part in the American Law School Faculty Study…

The survey itself, being conducted by an outside vendor, (NORC) has the following preamble (again, the bold is in the original):

“This survey focuses on the experiences of individuals who currently serve in the position of law school tenured, tenure-track, long-term contract, clinical, or legal writing faculty.”

It is a well-established canon of construction that, “the expression of one thing implies the exclusion of others (expressio unius est exclusio alterius).”[1] So, the preamble alone should have made it clear to me that ASP and Bar Prep faculty members were not their intended audience-and yet, it was sent to all of us. If I had not checked off “long term contract,” my survey would have ended right there. Luckily, a colleague alerted me to this before I started, and I was able to voice my displeasure at being intentionally excluded as part of my response. Otherwise, I would have remained invisible.

As we know from the AASE Survey last year, not all of us could click on long term contract and avoid being entirely canceled from being considered faculty by an organization that our institutions are likely members of and actually has an Academic Support Section[2]. In fact, only 26% of AASE respondents are on multiyear contracts and 17% have presumptively renewable contracts. 47% of respondents are at-will employees and another 11% have year to year contracts.[3] This means that less than half of our ASP colleagues would be eligible to participate in this survey. Surely, our experiences are as relevant as other traditionally non-tenured faculty such as clinical and legal writing. While there has been progress in tenure for these other groups, ASP tenure (or tenure track) is currently unavailable to 92% of professionals who responded to our survey.[4]

My esteemed colleague, Matt Carluzzo, who is Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Success at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law responded to NORC with an email where he expressed his disappointment and went on to say, “[M]any law schools still see and accordingly treat ASP as an afterthought - something necessary, but still very ‘other’ … I was initially disappointed (though not surprised) when there was no "academic success/support" option listed on the opening page.  I was genuinely shocked, however, when upon selecting "Other," I was instantly directed to the curt, "Thank you for your time today" completion screen.  Apparently this survey is not for ASP professionals.  This is hard to interpret as anything other than yet another example of ASP being either unintentionally overlooked, or intentionally excluded…Your website says that AALS ‘hired NORC to learn more about law school faculty hiring, voting rights, tenure policies, and other key issues[5].’  In my opinion, this is a key issue that is blatantly overlooked and/or ignored.  Any doubt, disbelief, or resistance to this idea is contradicted by the old cliche: the proof is in the pudding.” I could not have said it better. We await a response from AALS, NORC, and perhaps even the AccessLex Institute (who was another sponsor of the survey).

In the meantime, I am convinced that when clicking “other” brings you to a dead end, it is not a good look for an organization that claims that their “...mission is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve our many communities–local, national, and international.[6]” I would also add that the introduction to the survey expresses AALS’s interest “in examining the work-life balance and career trajectories of law faculty.”[7] 

If the opinions of legal writing and clinical faculty merit consideration, ASP faculty opinions should not be overlooked and disregarded. While the doctrinal faculty that seem to be the target of this survey do not always know all that we do in ASP, they no doubt are glad it is done.  Their students certainly are. We should be seen and heard. We deserve-—no, wait—we have earned better.

If AALS truly wants to know more about the “career trajectories of law faculty,” why not study the folks who have nowhere to go but up?

(Liz Stillman)


[1] https://judicature.duke.edu/articles/a-dozen-canons-of-statutory-and-constitutional-text-construction/

[2] However, there were some issues about ASP’s inclusion at the AALS conference this past January as well, see, https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/2023/01/academic-support-programs-should-be-included-in-us-news-rankingsmaybe.html

[3] Please feel free to contact any of us who serve on the AASE Assessment Committee for the full survey report: https://associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/committees/assessment/

[4] See, note 3.

[5] https://www.norc.org/research/projects/2023-american-law-school-faculty.html

[6] https://www.aals.org/about/mission/

[7] https://www.norc.org/research/projects/2023-american-law-school-faculty.html

September 25, 2023 in Meetings, Professionalism, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight


1.  Cox, Prentiss (Minnesota), Kill 1L (SSRN, September 8, 2023).

From the abstract:

Law school education has been extensively studied for decades, but changes have been modest. This Article makes the case that fundamental law school reform will not occur until we abolish the central pillar on which it rests—the current conception of the first year of law school, the “1L” experience. Many studies of law school curricula and pedagogy are sharply critical of the education offered, but they pull a punch when it comes to 1L. This Article compares recent data on 1L curricula at almost every U. S. law school with ABA-required law school statements of learning outcomes. The comparison reveals two contrasts: the gap between what is promised students for their legal education and what 1L delivers; and the gap between what is promised students and the actual use of law by attorneys, judges and even law professors in the modern world. The Article proposes a new 1L curriculum that would engage students in the law used by courts and policymakers while decreasing the demands placed on law students by the repetitive, inefficient legacy 1L curriculum.

2. Simon, Diana (Arizona), Legal Education and Trigger Warnings: More Harm Than Good? (SSRN, August 8, 2023).  

From the abstract:

Should legal educators give trigger warnings and, in our zeal to protect students from potentially triggering content, are we doing them more harm than good? First, the author addresses the motivation for writing the article—to ensure that in making decisions relating to trigger warnings, instructors not only look to what educators have to say about trigger warnings but also look to what other disciplines have to say as well, including psychologists. Second, the term “trigger warning,” on the one hand, and the term “content warning,” on the other hand, will be addressed. Third, the pros and cons of warnings will be addressed from the perspective of educators in both college and law school. Fourth, the science behind the effectiveness of trigger warnings will be addressed, including their impact on student anxiety for students who do not suffer from PTSD and those that do, whether students who are given trigger warnings will avoid the material, and whether the type of warning given impacts the reaction of students. The article also discusses a survey explaining why professors do (or do not) give trigger warnings. The limitations and implications of these studies for law students will also be addressed. Finally, a proposal will be made that can help protect students while factoring in the science behind trigger warnings.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

September 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2023

Rainy Days and Mondays

It is gray and rainy here in Boston at the beginning of week three of law school classes. This weather seems appropriate for the shift in student mood judging from the meetings I have had with students so far today. They have many questions....

So, in keeping with my success syllabus, I have compiled a week by week list of answers to frequently asked questions:

  1. Week One:
    1. Yes, it is going to be a lot, but you can do it!
    2. My advice? Do your reading! Brief your cases! And don’t forget to do something fun every now and then.
  2. Week Two:
    1. Yes, the reading does seem to increase exponentially.
    2. No, I am not really using that word in the math sense, this is a math free zone.
    3. Yes, I know case briefing takes a while early on, but you will winnow it down from boxers to a thong shortly…and if not, come see me.
    4. Yes, that was an underwear reference.
  3. Week Three:
    1. No, the model penal code is not the law anywhere.
    2. Yes, I’ve heard of Pierson v. Post[1].
    3. Yes, you should start outlining now, oh, but you are only through half of mens rea and that is the only thing you have discussed in Crim? Hmm. Maybe wait until you finish.
    4. Yes, we have a whole website devoted to videos and other resources on how to outline, and,
    5. Yes, we are sending you about 1.3 million emails a week about that, so you should know about it, but here is the link if you haven’t seen our billboard…
  4. Week Four:
    1. No, we can not set up weekly two-hour meetings. Why? Um, because I have reached an age where I cannot commit to that much time for anything!?
    2. Yes, you should be outlining.
    3. Yes, we have a whole library full of study aids (on line and in person).
    4. Yes, you can still borrow mine (I finished law school, so I am not currently using it).
    5. Yes, I know that that class only has a final and no graded midterm.
    6. No, I don’t think that is a good idea.
  5. Week Five:
    1. Yes, all questions about homicide will involve someone being dead.
    2. Yes, there are many crimes under the umbrella term of homicide.
    3. No, I don’t find that dark and creepy.
    4. Yes, this is hard and I know you have more legal writing assignments due soon as well.

This is just a start.  In the next installment, we will provide answers to questions about midterms, hitting the wall, and why they are called number 2 pencils.

(Liz Stillman)


[1] But, interestingly, have never read it. My property professor started with INS v. AP and didn’t look back….

September 18, 2023 in Advice, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Assistant Dean of Academic Success at Baylor

Baylor Law School seeks a motivated and experienced candidate with excellent teaching and collaborative skills to lead our Academic Success Program. The ideal candidate will be a creative, organized, and compassionate leader who is eager to engage extensively with students from matriculation through their admission into the bar. This position is a full-time faculty, non-tenure-track lecturer position. The successful candidate should be available to start ideally no later than January 1, 2024, but the start date is negotiable. More information about the position is available at the following:


Baylor Law has a small student body and a collegial faculty deeply devoted to the mission of the Law School. Our primary focus is to train students to become practice-ready upon graduation.

September 17, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Director of Academic Success at Maine School of Law

THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE SCHOOL OF LAW, in the thriving and increasingly diverse coastal community of Portland, Maine, invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Success/Associate Professor of Law (Director). The Director is primarily responsible for overseeing and administering the Academic Success Program, which includes bar passage, as well as for teaching courses that help students to understand learning techniques and strategies, including those necessary for succeeding on the bar exam. The position of Director is a full-time faculty position within the School of Law, with rights comparable to tenured and tenure-track faculty. The start date is negotiable. Applicants must possess a J.D. degree or its equivalent, three years of relevant experience, effective oral and written communications, and a record or promise of successful teaching and student mentoring. Members of minority groups, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and others whose background would contribute to the diversity of the Law School, are encouraged to apply. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their materials early. Application materials must be submitted through the University of Maine System’s Hire Touch portal: https://maine.hiretouch.com/job-details?jobID=82993&job=director-of-academic-success-associate-professor-of-law&collection=true. You may email any questions to [email protected]. 

September 17, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Visiting Professor in Denver's Bar Success Program

A national leader in experiential legal education, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law features an outstanding student body, a community of nationally recognized scholar-teachers, an accomplished and highly professional staff, and over 15,000 alumni who have achieved careers of distinction in law, business, government, public interest, and other professional domains.
The Sturm College of Law is strongly committed to preparing its students and recent graduates to pass the bar examination. To this end, the Law School invests significantly in the quality of its incoming 1L classes; supports faculty-led programs focused on academic achievement and bar success; provides students with extensive, student-specific professional advising; and closely follows developments in licensing standards across the nation.

Position Summary

Beginning in fall 2023, catalyzed by a multiyear philanthropic investment, the Sturm College of Law plans to
(1) hire a full-time visiting faculty member at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or full Professor to serve as Assistant Director of its Bar Success Program; and (2) partner with a third-party bar preparation provider to furnish each of its roughly 750 students and recent graduates with complimentary third-party bar preparation materials designed to prepare them more effectively for the bar examination.

The Assistant Director will work with the Director of the Bar Success Program, the Director of the Academic Achievement Program, and the third-party bar preparation provider to (1) integrate internal bar-related training with third-party bar preparation materials provided to students and recent graduates; (2) collaborate with faculty members regarding the teaching of subjects and skills likely to be tested on the bar, including the forthcoming NextGen bar examination; (3) develop and teach programming designed to advance bar success; (4) analyze data related to bar passage and incorporate future refinements to the Bar Success Program based on empirical data; and (5) furnish bar-takers with individualized and effective advice about their professional licensure options.

The position is contemplated as a three-year appointment, with the possibility of conversion to a permanent position subject to successful performance and future budgetary conditions.

Essential Functions

  • Collaborate with the Director of the Bar Success Program, the Director of the Academic Achievement Program, and the third-party bar preparation provider to integrate internal bar-related training with third-party bar preparation materials.
  • Work with faculty members regarding the teaching of subjects and skills likely to be tested on the bar, including the forthcoming NextGen bar examination.
  • Develop and teach programming designed to advance bar success.
  • Analyze data related to bar passage and incorporate future refinements to the Bar Preparation Program based on empirical data.
  • Furnish bar-takers with individualized and effective advice about their professional licensure options.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • The ability to convey complex concepts in a clear and compelling fashion
  • The capacity to analyze data
  • Professionalism, sound judgment, and discretion
  • The demonstrated ability to work independently and with limited supervision
  • The ability to function in a high-paced, collaborative work environment
  • The ability to prioritize workload in an efficient and effective manner
  • The capacity to handle multiple tasks simultaneously under time constraints

Required Qualifications

  • A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school
  • Membership in the bar of one or more U.S. jurisdictions
  • An understanding of the current landscape of legal licensure
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience teaching law students and/or early-career lawyers
  • Experience with legal pedagogy

Work Schedule
While the University's administrative offices are open Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, faculty schedules vary from term to term and are based on courses taught, service commitments, and research agendas. The University's academic calendars are posted on the registrar's website (the law school is on a semester system and has a different academic calendar).

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) September 28, 2023.

Special Instructions
Candidates must apply online through jobs.du.edu to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Salary Grade Number:
The salary grade for the position is UC.

Salary Range:
The salary range for this position is $120,000-$125,000.

The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting. The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.

The University of Denver offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO pass. The University of Denver is a private institution that empowers students who want to make a difference. Learn more about the University of Denver.

Please include the following documents with your application:
1. Curriculum Vitae
2. Cover Letter

The University of Denver is an equal opportunity employer. The University of Denver prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age (40 years and over in the employment context), religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, veterans status, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance in any of the university's educational programs and activities, and in the employment (including application for employment) and admissions (including application for admission) context, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and any other federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. For the university's complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please see non‑discrimination‑statement.

Apply Here

September 17, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

It has been a big week in ASP scholarship.  During this time of momentous change in the realm of attorney licensure, the following articles construct nuanced theses about systemic flaws in our method of choosing who gets to be a lawyer and who does not.  Both are must-reads for the broad array of stakeholders in the justice system.

1.  Griggs, Marsha (St. Louis), Outsourcing Self-Regulation, __ Wash. and Lee L. Rev. __ (forthcoming, 2023).   

From the abstract:

Answerable only to the courts that have the sole authority to grant or withhold the right to practice law, lawyers operate under a system of self-regulation. The self-regulated legal profession staunchly resists external interference from the legislative and administrative branches of government. Yet, with the same fervor that the legal profession defies non-judicial oversight, it has subordinated itself to the controlling influence of a private corporate interest. By outsourcing the mechanisms that control admission to the bar, the legal profession has all but surrendered the most crucial component of its gatekeeping function to an industry that profits at the expense of those seeking entry.

The judicial outsourcing of the bar exam has privatized bar admission in ways that can be detrimental to the goal of public protection and damaging to those seeking licensure. The manner in which state courts have fostered privatized bar admission brings into question whether the delegation of judicial power is consistent with Constitutional prerogatives. This article applies the lenses of multiple political-economic theories to the normative framework of attorney self-regulation and bar admission. In so doing, it seeks to identify justifications for outsourcing an exclusive judicial power that is essential to the goals of self-regulation. This article ultimately questions whether the legal profession has surrendered, or will soon lose, the ability to regulate itself. The article concludes with multiple recommendations to reverse the directional flow of power in attorney licensure in a manner that will yield more transparency and public accountability.

2. Merritt, Deborah Jones (Ohio State), Curcio, Andrea Anne (Georgia State), and Kaufman, Eileen R. (Touro), Enhancing the Validity and Fairness of Lawyer Licensing: Empirical Evidence Supporting Innovative Pathways, __ Wash. U. J. L & Policy __ (forthcoming 2023).

From the abstract:

A two-day written bar exam cannot test a prospective lawyer’s ability to counsel clients, investigate facts, research novel issues, negotiate with adversaries, and perform other tasks that are essential for competent lawyering. The conventional exam has also become a test of resources, favoring candidates who can afford to buy commercial prep courses and devote 8-10 weeks to full-time study. Cognizant of these flaws, several states have begun exploring alternative approaches to licensing. Oregon has already implemented a small program that allows some law graduates to demonstrate their competence by practicing under the supervision of a licensed attorney and compiling portfolios of work product from that supervised practice. Candidates submit those portfolios, which include materials related to client counseling and negotiation, to bar examiners for independent assessment. Oregon’s Supreme Court is considering a proposal to expand this program, and other states are exploring similar approaches.

This article provides the first empirical evidence that supervised practice offers a valid, feasible, and fair context for evaluating prospective lawyers’ competence. Oregon’s current program is too small to assess empirically, but two related programs in California offer a rich dataset about the potential for assessing prospective lawyers’ competence through supervised practice. Our analyses, which draw upon qualitative and quantitative data from more than four thousand law graduates and licensed lawyers in California, demonstrate that: (1) Licensing programs rooted in supervised practice allow states to assess a broader range of lawyering skills and doctrinal knowledge than can be assessed on a two-day, written exam. (2) Candidates readily find supervisors, and both parties reap many benefits from the program. (3) Supervised practice is fully accessible to first-generation candidates, candidates of color, women, and candidates who live with disabilities. In fact, women of color, men of color, and white women were significantly more likely than white men to take advantage of California’s supervised practice options. (4) Supervised practice licensing paths can expand access to justice by increasing the number of lawyers who work for legal services providers and in rural parts of a state.

Licensing paths rooted in supervised practice, in sum, are valid, feasible, and fair pathways that can protect the public better than a two-day written exam, make our profession more inclusive, and expand access to justice.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]

September 12, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 11, 2023

Being Moved

I would be remiss if I did not start this entry by taking a moment to remember 9/11/2001 and everyone and everything we lost on that day. It was a day where the sky was impossibly blue. We lost so much: loved ones, security, peace, and years of reform on police profiling. We have tucked some of the new normal of the aftermath into our everyday jeans, but it changed us, and I am not sure I can even accurately remember some aspects of life before it as well as I can remember parts of that day that are as clear in my mind as the sky was that morning.

I spent some time over the last weekend on various sized boats that carried passengers and cars. On the larger ferry, we drove the car onto the boat and left it there--we put it in park, turned off the engine, locked it, and took a seat on the boat itself. It was clear to me that someone else was in charge of  moving us along and that was fine. On the smaller ferry, we just drove onto the boat and sat in the car. To be very clear, I am not a great boat person (I start feeling a bit queasy standing on a dock…), but I preferred the large ferry even though the ride was longer.

What I didn’t like about the small ferry, despite it being a much shorter journey, was the sense that everything about controlling the car was right there-the steering wheel, gas pedal, brakes-but I had no choice but to sit there while it seemed that the roadway was moving without any input from me. It freaked me out a bit to be in a car that was being moved when I had all the indicia of power to move it but could not engage them. Driving off the boat was also a strange feeling: now I did have control, but I wasn’t sure I knew the route once we hit land.

I wonder if our 1Ls feel this way.  I remember in my first year of law school often feeling like classes were moving forward but that I was not in charge of where they went, or how fast they’d go, and even when they would stop. And yet, at the end of the class, I’d have to immediately know where to go next or I’d cause a back-up.

First year classes seem to start so abruptly that even what is intended to be a gradual entry can seem like a full immersion that occurs before students are even aware that it is happening. As ASP faculty, we need to remember to tell students that this weird feeling of both being in and out of control is normal. Yes, they have done the reading and come to class ready to take great notes, but sometimes it is going to feel like you are just sitting there being moved along until you reach the shore and then, before you know it, you have to know where to go next with what you learned along the way. We need to acknowledge and reassure students that it (justifiably!) feels strange at the beginning--because it is.

We also need to assure students that they are not alone in feeling this way—and that after a few trips, they will feel like regular commuters. They will see the rhythm of classes and have a muscle memory of getting ready to enter and then leave the vessel. But, most importantly, we also need to tell students that if this unsettled feeling lingers for too long, ASP is a lifeline and that we will help them try to catch up rather than be left in the wake of a boat that is going to continue its set journey.

And yes, they may feel queasy for a bit, but that too will pass.

(Liz Stillman)

September 11, 2023 in Encouragement & Inspiration, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Statement from AASE Concerning the NextGen Bar Exam




The Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) has serious concerns about the prototype questions released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) for the NextGen bar exam scheduled to be administered in July 2026.

The NCBE’s Testing Task Force, in their final report released in April 2021, recommended less emphasis on memorized material and greater focus on lawyering skills to more reflect the practice of law. NextGen purportedly tests applicants on skills they actually need to be successful attorneys.  Unfortunately, the recently released exam structure and fourteen (14) questions do not fulfill that promise. 

Significant memorization will be required on the NextGen bar exam.  The NCBE outline displays some topics in each subject with a star and some without a star. The legend explaining the meaning of the star versus no star topics clearly shows that everything will need to be memorized.  “Topics without a star symbol – Topics without a star symbol may be tested with or without provision of legal resources. When these topics are tested without legal resources, the examinee is expected to rely on recalled knowledge and understanding that will enable the examinee to demonstrate recognition that the topic is at issue in the fact scenario.”  Since the language indicates non-starred areas may require memorized knowledge, applicants must memorize everything.

The July 11, 2023, and August 18, 2023, releases create additional uncertainty regarding the exam.  In the July release, the multiple-choice section of NextGen Bar was described as “Initially, many of these questions will closely resemble Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) questions; this will ensure stability between scores for the current and NextGen bar exams. In future administrations, the variety of multiple-choice question types will increase.”

The statement raises a significant concern.  Graduates will be preparing for an exam that is quite literally a moving target.  The NCBE provided no information about how the “variety of multiple-choice question types will increase.”  They only provided 14 questions to represent countless rules and skills.  Graduates and law schools do not know what that variety looks like, how significant is the increase in variety, and how it will impact studying.  In the August press release, the exam structure once again changed from previous announcements clearly illustrating the moving target.  For a high-stakes licensure exam, a moving target with so few examples released in advance is inappropriate.  Graduates have the right to know the exact make-up and nature of the exam they will take and have access to ample practice questions produced by the licensing authority.

AASE appreciates the NCBE attempting to modernize the bar exam to reflect the actual practice of law and decrease the disparate impact on certain populations.  While their goal is virtuous, the current prototypes fall short of satisfying the Testing Task Force’s recommendations.  AASE respectfully encourages all licensing agencies to fully analyze this assessment and consider whether alternative methods of licensure are more appropriate.

Issued: September 6, 2023

Direct inquiries concerning this statement to: Ashley M. London, President, or Steven Foster, Bar Advocacy Committee Chair.

September 6, 2023 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Another Low National MBE Mean

The NCBE released the national MBE mean on Thursday.  The press release is here.  The release highlights the improvement of .2 over last year, which is in a positive direction.  However, I fear too many state bar examiners continue to accept deflated MBE scores without questions.  From 2007-2015, 1 year had below a 142 national MBE mean on a July exam.  Since 2015, 1 year has a 142 or above, and that was 2020 when the NCBE contends the number of takers skewed the statistics.  As someone who taught bar preparation since 2008, I don't believe students now are significantly different than students pre-2015.  Even many of the "get off my lawn" aged professors think students are similar now to pre-2015.  What happened in 2015?  The NCBE added Civil Procedure to the MBE and scores haven't been the same.  With 8 years of deflated scores (with most schools increasing bar prep resources), the NCBE should probably start answering questions.  Bar examiners should step-up and ask questions when individuals' careers are impacted.  Here are a few questions I have (I tried to limit the list):

1.  How did the NCBE take cognitive load into account (ie - adding more material to study) when scaling the MBE in 2015?  (Their stock answer of students studied Civ Pro for essays is unacceptable because not all states tested Fed Civ Pro on essays and level of detail is different for MBE than essays).

2.  When more retakers took the July 2023 bar exam (press release indicates higher percentage), did that artificially decrease the scale for everyone?  

3.  How did the first-time takers compare to previous first-time takers (especially 2018 and 2019) on the anchor questions? 

4.  Is it possible this group of first-time takers performed as well as previous years but the NCBE's lack of accounting for a global pandemic continues to have residual effects on pass rates?

5.  Does the NCBE separate first-time takers and repeater takers performance on anchor questions to create the scale?

My questions may prove unhelpful or even misguided, but the NCBE's lack of transparency raises doubts about scoring.  I could be wrong that students now are just as qualified as previous years.  However, we don't have information to evaluate my questions.  State bar examiners also don't have information or aren't asking these questions.  Alumni lose tens of thousands of dollars in career earnings when not passing the first time.  With that much power over peoples' lives comes even greater responsibility to prove the process works.  We also  shouldn't be complacent waiting for NextGen.  Lets continually ask questions to protect our students and their dreams.

(Steven Foster)


September 3, 2023 in Bar Exam Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Assistant Dean for Academic Success at Elon

Elon is seeking an Assistant Dean of Academic Success.  The posting is here.  The Assistant Dean for Academic Success is responsible for the Law School’s academic success program including creating an environment for academic success, preparing students for success in law school and on the bar exam, and working with various constituencies contributing to the academic success of students at the law school.


• Leads a team that supports the mission of the Law School in its goal of academic excellence for all students.
• Develops and implements academic support and bar preparation programs that enhance each student’s level of achievement and that will result in improved academic performance and greater success on the bar exam.
• Works with many constituencies within and outside of the law school, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, to create and implement a comprehensive academic and bar support program that is consistent with the needs of students and goals of the university and law school to create an environment for academic success.
• Thinks creatively and critically to identify factors that will contribute to enhancing success in areas of responsibility. This necessarily will require consideration of trends in academic support and bar preparation programs nationally as well as the use of data to identify and understand Elon Law specific factors that may influence and affect student academic performance and bar success.
• Communicates and works effectively with students, faculty, staff, alumni, advisory board members and any other internal or external constituency that may be of assistance in achieving improvements in student achievement as contemplated by the program.
• Teaches appropriate courses in the academic success program that contribute to developing useful and helpful skills and knowledge to enhance academic performance and bar success.

September 2, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

This article REALLY should not be overlooked:

J. Findley, et al., JD-Next: A Valid and Reliable Tool to Predict Diverse Students’ Success in Law School, 20 J. Empirical Legal Studies 134 (2023).

From the abstract:

Admissions tests have increasingly come under attack by those seeking to broaden access and
reduce disparities in higher education. Meanwhile, in other sectors there is a movement towards
“work-sample” or “proximal” testing. Especially for underrepresented students, the goal is to
measure not just the accumulated knowledge and skills that they would bring to a new academic
program, but also their ability to grow and learn through the program.

The JD-Next is a fully-online, non-credit, 7-10 week course to train potential JD students in case
reading and analysis skills, prior to their first year of law school. This study tests the validity and
reliability of the JD-Next exam as a potential admissions tool for juris doctor programs of
education. (In a companion article, we report on the efficacy of the course for preparing students
for law school.)

In 2019, we recruited a national sample of potential JD students, enriched for racial/ethnic
diversity, along with a sample of volunteers at one university (N=62). In 2020, we partnered with
17 law schools around the country to recruit a cohort of their incoming law students (N=238). At
the end of the course, students were incentivized to take and perform well on an exam that we
graded with a standardized methodology. We collected first-semester grades as an outcome
variable, and compared JD-Next exam properties to legacy exams now used by law schools (the
LSAT, including converted GRE scores).

We found that the JD-Next exam was a valid and reliable predictor of law school performance,
comparable to legacy exams. For schools ranked outside the top-50 we found that the legacy
exams lacked significant incremental validity in our sample, but the JD-Next exam provided a
significant advantage. We also replicated known, substantial racial and ethnic disparities on the
legacy exam scores, but estimate smaller, non-significant score disparities on the JD-Next exam.
Together this research suggests that, as an admissions tool, the JD-Next exam may reduce the risk
that capable students will be excluded from legal education and the legal profession.

The companion paper testing efficacy of the JD-Next program for improving law school grades is available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3845577.

This next piece sponsored  by the good folks at the Skynet Law Offices:

J. H. Choi and D.B. Schwarcz (Minnesota), AI Assistance in Legal Analysis: An Empirical Study (August 2023, ).

Can artificial intelligence (AI) augment human legal reasoning? To find out, we designed a novel experiment administering law school exams to students with and without access to GPT-4, the best-performing AI model currently available. We found that assistance from GPT-4 significantly enhanced performance on simple multiple-choice questions but not on complex essay questions. We also found that GPT-4’s impact depended heavily on the student’s starting skill level; students at the bottom of the class saw huge performance gains with AI assistance, while students at the top of the class saw performance declines. This suggests that AI may have an equalizing effect on the legal profession, mitigating inequalities between elite and nonelite lawyers.

In addition, we graded exams written by GPT-4 alone to compare it with humans alone and AI-assisted humans. We found that GPT-4’s performance varied substantially depending on prompting methodology. With basic prompts, GPT-4 was a mediocre student, but with optimal prompting it outperformed both the average student and the average student with access to AI. This finding has important implications for the future of work, hinting that it may become advantageous to entirely remove humans from the loop for certain tasks.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]



August 29, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)