Sunday, April 4, 2021

Complete the AASE Survey before Wednesday

Members of the Association of Academic Support Educators,

Please complete the AASE 2021 Short Survey before April 7th. A link was sent out on March 25th. Search your inbox for an email from AASE Membership. A reminder email should follow shortly. If you cannot locate the link, please email me or Goldie Pritchard.

The AASE Assessment Committee compiled this short nationwide survey to supplement the longer survey conducted by AASE in 2018. This short survey (maximum 20 minutes if all sections of the survey apply to your school) compiles the following:

  1. general data about each law school,
  2. information about the content of academic success programs and workshops,
  3. information about the content of bar prep programs and workshops, as well as,
  4. salary and status data.

To ensure that all teaching philosophies and that all job statuses and salaries are captured, the committee recommends that each non-clerical faculty and/or staff member within the academic success community complete the AASE 2021 Short Survey. Only the general data about each law school would be duplicative.

Further, since the AASE Assessment Committee exists to support and promote the assessment of programmatic effectiveness within AASE, the committee looks forward to compiling the data and presenting the results at the annual AASE Conference in May. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact me at or board member, Goldie Pritchard at

Special thanks to my fellow committee members, Matthew Carluzzo, Jeanna Hunter, Diane Kraft, Dyann Margolis, Chenay Weyble, and our board liaison, Jodi Wiredu, for their valuable insights and tireless energy developing this survey. This truly was a team effort and it was an honor to work with all of them!

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey!

All the best,

Anne G. Johnson

AASE Assessment Committee Chair

Adjunct Professor of Law

Assistant Director of Academic Success

Mercer University School of Law

1021 Georgia Ave., Macon, GA 31207
T: 478-301-5030

April 4, 2021 in Academic Support Spotlight, Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 14, 2021

AASE Presentation Proposals Due at Midnight on March 15

 The 8th AASE National Conference, which will be held virtually May 25-27, 2021.

American University Washington College of Law is our gracious host.

In addition to happily welcoming submissions on the “usual” range of topics that help us all so much in a “normal” year – Diversity, Mental Health, Bar Prep, Academic Success, etc. – we are also seeking submissions that address what our work will look like in a post-COVID world, including what we’ve learned in our new, Zoom-centric universe.

Submit your presentation proposals here:

We will be accepting proposals until midnight on March 15, 2021.  Thank you!

March 14, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 19, 2021

Associate Professor of Law for Academic Success at Southwestern Law School


Southwestern Law School invites applicants for an associate professor position for administration, counseling and teaching in the Academic Success and Bar Preparation Office to commence immediately. In this position, the chosen applicant will work closely with Assistant Dean for Academic Success, Natalie Rodriguez and Assistant Dean for Bar Preparation, Mary Basick primarily in the creation, administration, implementation and teaching of programs and courses as part of the academic support and bar preparation course curriculum.
Duties and responsibilities may include but are not limited to any of the following:

-Working with the Faculty of Academic Success and Bar Preparation Office to research, design, implement and manage academic and bar support programs, including pre-matriculation programs, first-year programs and pre and post-graduation bar preparation programs
-Teaching in the academic and bar support programs and courses
-Meeting with students individually and in small groups regarding academic and bar performance issues. This includes identifying and/or creating additional materials that would support a student’s individualized academic or bar improvement plan.
-Supervising student teaching and research assistants
-Assisting with additional services to enhance the academic and bar success of students
-Identify additional opportunities to support or enhance the Office’s offerings and/or developing materials

Required Qualifications:
-J.D. from an ABA accredited law school
-Bar admission, admission to the California Bar preferred
-Experience in academic support and bar preparation preferred. Other teaching experience such as legal writing instruction will be considered
-Ability to work with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds, including students, staff and faculty
-Ability to counsel, critique and guide students to self-improvement through a professional, rigorous, respectful, supportive and reliable commitment to them, including creating individualized materials
-Ability to work as part of a collaborative team of faculty in the Academic Success and Bar Preparation Office while having the ability to be a self-starter and self-manage individual work product
-Availability to teach and/or meet with students in the evening and occasional weekend, especially during bar preparation seasons
-Imagination, innovation and desire to grow into responsibilities in areas of mutual interest and need
-Understanding of, and ability to work for, the mission and goals of Southwestern Law School
-Professionalism and ability to work with confidential information

This is a full-time, year-round position with faculty voting rights. The salary is competitive. The successful applicant will also receive a competitive benefits package provided by Southwestern Law School.
Applicants should submit the following:
-A one page statement describing (a) prior teaching experience; (b) other relevant experience; and (c) aspirations for future legal education work
-A resume
-Contact information for three professional references

Applications should be addressed to Assistant Dean Natalie Rodriguez and Assistant Dean Mary Basick and emailed to

February 19, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 12, 2021

NECASP Call for Proposals

The New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) will be holding its annual conference virtually on March 26, 2021 at 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM EST. They are currently seeking presentation proposals from our larger community for this conference! 

This year's conference theme is "'A Year in the Life:' Delivering ASP and Bar Support in our Ever Evolving Circumstances." It's hard to believe we have been remote for about a year now, and this conference will be centered on what worked, what didn't, and any related topic regarding this new normal. 

Please submit a proposal by February 26

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact

February 12, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Save the Date: Teaching Multicultural Lawyering Conference

WMU-Cooley Law School is pleased to announce the online conference Teaching Multicultural Lawyering:  Development, Integration and Conversation.  There is no charge to attend.

The conference, and a recently completed textbook Multicultural Lawyering:  Navigating the Culture of the Law, the Lawyer, and the Client ( was born from their course Multicultural Lawyering.

The conference will focus on teaching stand-alone courses in the topic, infusing multicultural lawyering throughout the curriculum, teaching multicultural instruction within professional identity programs, and developing learning outcomes for the topic.  Some of the sessions will have break-out groups to facilitate small, in-depth discussions.  There will be a keynote panel sharing the experiences of faculty who have been teaching these topics for many years, with an opportunity for discussion with them as well.

The online conference will take place on Thursday, March 11 (from Noon-3:30 p.m. EST) and Friday, March 12, 2021 (11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST).

The conference agenda is designed to accommodate the many demands on your time by focusing on two afternoons with two sessions each day and a keynote panel discussion on Friday.

Please contact us at with questions and if you would like to be added to our interest list to receive updates about conference registration and other details as they become available.

February 7, 2021 in Diversity Issues, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 1, 2021

Redefining Success

Success is a matter of perspective. For some, success means money, power, and prestige. In truth, money, power, and prestige (and the never-ending pursuit of them) often do not bring lasting fulfillment or personal satisfaction because there is always someone who has more—more money, more power, more prestige.

In the law school context, high grades are considered a precursor for these common measures of success, which can lead some law students to define success in law school solely in terms of grades. As a metric, it is true that grades are important . . . and, as a law student, you should work hard (and smart) on what’s important. But what fulfillment or personal satisfaction do you really gain by framing success solely in terms of grades? Each achievement becomes transactional, with a fleeting moment of satisfaction followed by the swift return of a desire for “more.”

I read an interesting article recently that framed the relentless pursuit of success as people choosing being “special” over being happy. The author notes that, in pursuit of success, we may choose to sacrifice our relationships or even our own well-being. Despite such sacrifice, we do not feel sated . . . fated instead to feeling we are not successful “enough” and chasing the next success high.

As I read the article, I felt attacked thought about my time as a law student and how I defined success. Back then, for me, being successful meant having the highest grades and achieving all the things people told me were indicative of a successful law student (top grades, law review, judicial clerkship, etc.). I also wanted those things for myself but, at the time, I was more focused on why other people said I should have them (and what they would think if I did not). With each achievement came a hunger for the next one, and with each setback came devastating self-doubt and internal criticism. It was not until I was a bit older (and wiser) that I began to rethink how I defined success and prioritize what I needed to feel happy and fulfilled.

To the law students who may be reading this, if you see some part of yourselves in this post, I encourage you to think now about how you define success and to develop metrics for success that are meaningful to you. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of law student do you want to be? What opportunities in law school align with your goals, needs, and interests? Begin the journey now of releasing yourself from the judgment and expectations of others and focus instead on what you need to feel fulfilled.

To the ASPers who may be reading this, if you see some part of yourselves in this post, I encourage you to revisit the metrics you associate with success on a personal and professional level. How do you define success for yourself? How do you define success for students? How might your definition of success affect the way you interact with students? Consider how redefining your definition(s) of success can increase your personal satisfaction and enhance your relationships with students.

(Victoria McCoy Dunkley)


Arthur C. Brooks, ‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special Over Being Happy, The Atlantic (July 30, 2020),

Sarah Lahlou-Amine, Defining Success in Terms of Satisfaction Starts in Law School, ABA Student Lawyer Blog (Oct. 11, 2019),

February 1, 2021 in Advice, Professionalism, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 22, 2021

Save the Date for ASP Writers' Block Spring 2021

ASP Writers' Block is happening again this semester thanks to Kris Franklin.  These are times to carve out to work independently yet together on the kind of work that nurtures us, yet tends to end up on the bottom of an urgent to-do list. We meet together for two pomodoro work cycles of 25 minutes each, and some recap/mutual support at the end. Folks have used this time to read, research or draft scholarship, make journal entries, read poetry, or complete some mundane tasks in the company of friends. To accommodate our demanding schedules and varying time zones we have been meeting on Fridays at 11 am est/8am pst. For this semester, please mark your calendars for:

  • Friday, February 5th
  • Friday, March 5th
  • Friday, April 9th

Zoom links to follow.


January 22, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Save the Date - January 29th Law and Leadership Conference on Bar Licensure

The AASE Bar Advocacy Committee would like to make you aware of an online conference devoted to bar licensure. The Law and Leadership Conference sponsored by Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School is an important annual event that draws scholars, noted judiciary, and practitioners.

Each year, BYU Law School invites leaders on an issue of current importance to discuss how we might change the world for the better using our legal education. Following the historic decision by several states, including Utah, to adopt an emergency diploma privilege in the summer of 2020 and recognizing the known racial, gender, and other biases present in traditional bar examinations, this year’s topic is “Paths to Bar Licensure.” In 2020, a pandemic and global racial upheaval have combined to trigger a reconsideration of bar examinations as the gateway to licensure. In this conference, we will examine the features and shortcomings of the bar examination and other potential paths to bar licensure.

The committee encourages those concerned about the future of the bar exam and entry into the legal profession to attend and participate in this free event. Keynote speakers include Dean Emeritus and Professor Joan Howarth, and Professor Deborah Jones Merritt. Our own Bar Advocacy Committee  Chair, Marsha Griggs, will be a panelist at this event. The ASP voice is crucial to the discussion about the future of bar admissions and the licensure process. We owe it to ourselves and the students we serve to stay in the know on proposed changes to the exam format and coverage and the alternate paths to practice. We hope to see our community continue to engage, on a national scale, in discussion forums like these.

Register for the Conference here

January 17, 2021 in Bar Exam Issues, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 15, 2021

South Florida Regional ASP Conference Registration and Schedule

South Florida Regional ASP Conference

Schedule and Registration Information

We are pleased to announce the schedule for the first annual South Florida Regional ASP Conference, hosted by Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law.

The conference will be held on Friday, January 29, from noon to 5:00 pm (Eastern time) on Zoom. The conference is free, but you must register in advance. To register, please use this link: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Come prepared to engage! In true ASP fashion, we envision this conference as being a place to share ideas, bounce ideas off of each other and get feedback, and leave with new inspiration for our own work! The conference will not operate as a webinar but instead will permit all participants to see and engage with each other in every session.

Conference Schedule

Friday, January 29

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm: Session 1

Performing a Performance Test – Legal Communication Skill Exercises Based on Performance Test Problems

Gregory R. Bordelon

Associate Professor and Director of Academic Success, University of Maine School of Law

Peer Review Groups for Law Students Writing Research Papers: Providing Community, Constructive Feedback, and Accountability

Patricia M. Trainor

Graduate Writing Specialist, Graduate Writing Lab, Poorvu Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University

Break from 1:30 pm to 1:45 pm, but the Zoom space will be open for those who wish to continue chatting.

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm: Session 2

Collaborative Essay Drafting with Google Docs (30 minutes)

Katie Tolliver Jones

Director of Academic Success and Assessment, Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law

Using ASP Fellows in a Virtual ASP Office (30 minutes)

Maria Florencia Cornu Laport

Assistant Professor of Academic Success, St. Thomas University School of Law

Break from 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm, but the Zoom space will be open for those who wish to continue chatting.

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Session 3 – Community Conversations

Considering the Importance of Trauma-Informed Teaching

Susan Landrum

Assistant Dean, Academic Success & Professionalism, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law

Identity and Intersectionality: Navigating Hierarchies in Legal Academia

Amanda M. Fischer

Visiting Assistant Professor, Academic Resource Center, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Academic Success and Executive Functioning Skills

Elena Rose Minicucci

Professor of Practice, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law

4:30 pm: Happy Hour!

If you are free, remain in Zoom to “hang out” and chat with fellow ASPers.

January 15, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Creating Inclusive Programs

Inclusive Programs Webinar1

December 5, 2020 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 4, 2020

Inaugural South Florida Regional ASP Conference

South Florida Regional ASP Conference

Call for Proposals and Save the Date

Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law requests presentation proposals for the first annual South Florida Regional ASP Conference, which will be held virtually (on Zoom) on Friday, January 29, 2021. We envision that the upcoming conference will consist of two types of sessions:

  • Presentations demonstrating a new strategy, tool, or approach to ASP developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but with continued usefulness after law schools return to non-pandemic instruction; and
  • Guided conversations about topics of interest to ASP professionals.

If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please email your proposal by Monday, December 21, to Susan Landrum, Assistant Dean for Academic Success & Professionalism at NSU Law, at

Please include the following information in your proposal:

  • Name of Presentation
  • Name(s) and Contact Information of Presenter(s)
  • Short Biography for Each Presenter (no more than 100 words)
  • Type of Presentation (Pandemic Tools or Guided Conversation)
  • Proposed Length of Presentation (30, 45, or 60 minutes)
  • Short Description of Presentation (no more than 250 words): In particular, please note the extent to which the presentation will be interactive. In true ASP fashion, we encourage everyone to make presentations as interactive as possible, giving session participants new tools and ideas to take home to their own schools. For Guided Conversations, the presenter should speak for no more than 5 minutes at the start of the presentation and then act as a facilitator for a conversation about their chosen topic.

December 4, 2020 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 13, 2020

Nominations for AALS Board and office of Treasurer

The Nominating Committee of the AALS Section on Academic Support is now seeking nominations for three positions: an incoming 2020 Treasurer and two Board Members.

Under our section bylaws, our Treasurer should be able to commit to four year-long terms in succeeding positions. At each annual meeting, the Chair-Elect succeeds to the office of Chair, the Secretary to Chair-Elect, and Treasurer to Secretary. Individuals nominated for Treasurer should consider whether they are willing to serve the Section through this rotation. Executive Board members serve two-year terms. All Officers and members of the Executive Committee are expected to participate actively in Section work.

You may nominate yourself or another person. Each nomination should include a short statement (no more than 250 words) explaining the nominee’s interest and relevant background. Those who have served on the Board or as officers in prior years may be nominated for a current open position, but current officers and members of the Nominating Committee are not eligible. These include:

  • Board (term expires Jan 2022) – Afton Cavanaugh
  • Board (term expires Jan. 2022) - Maryann Herman
  • Board (term expires Jan 2021) – Herbert Ramy
  • Board (term expires Jan. 2021) – Haley Meade
  • Chair – Jamie Kleppetsch
  • Chair Elect – Melissa Hale
  • Officer (Treasurer) - Joe Buffington
  • Officer (Secretary) - Kirsha Trychta

Nomination statements are due by November 16, 2020. Please send nominations directly to the committee chair (Herbert Ramy) at

November 13, 2020 in Academic Support Spotlight, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 23, 2020


On Friday, October 16, Gonzaga University School of Law hosted the 9th Annual West Coast Consortium for Academic Support Professionals Conference. It was held it virtually. The theme for this year’s conference was ASP Past, Present, and Future: Breaking Down Institutional Barriers.

When I volunteered to host the conference last fall, I had no idea it would end up being such a highly attended conference! Generally, for the regional conferences, you only get regional ASP’ers with maybe one or two others from neighboring regions. Due to the virtual nature, we had a much higher attendance rate than we probably would have had otherwise. There were nearly 100 registrants to the conference, representing over 60 different law schools.

So, while Covid-19 prevented us from our usual in-person meetings, it pushed us into a virtual world in which a regional conference had a nationwide reach!

We had AMAZING presentations from ASP’ers across the country. The topics discussed included removing stigma from ASP classes, student engagement influence on their success, dismantling bar exam gatekeeping, remote learning generating more access to education, supporting first-gens, and team approaches to overcoming institutional barriers.

Our keynote speaker, Marsha Griggs from Washburn University School of Law, presented on where the community of ASP goes from here as we move into this new time in which we find ourselves. I want to share my two major take-aways from her presentation.

Marsha posed the question, “What if you applied every message you teach your students to your own professional choices?” It is not a complicated question, but it gave me pause. It forced me into a reflective space where I realized that I don’t do that. I am not certain I ever have as an educator.

I tell my students never to apologize for asking a clarifying question or needing to seek assistance when they come into my office. And yet, I apologize for things all the time as if it’s now a required part of speech. I apologized for seeking support when I realized how many attendees were joining us for the conference. Clearly, I need to take my own advice!

The second piece of advice I give my students that I haven’t always seamlessly followed is regarding self-advocacy. I am constantly telling my students they need to be good self-advocates, that developing and refining this skill will translate well in their future, for themselves and for their clients. I tell them that they cannot be shy about asking questions or asking for something they identify they need.

Reflecting on Marsha’s question, I thought about my own short-comings when it comes to self-advocacy. So, I propose that I start looking at it this way- when I advocate for myself at my institution, I’m also advocating for ASPer’s across the country. I’m advocating for any ASP person who comes to this institution after me. It is bigger than one person, and it’s important that we all share that responsibility so that we can continue to demand respect for our profession in the larger world of legal academia.

It’s critical that I continue in the way my predecessor did to advocate the importance of ASP to the leadership in the school. It’s critical to keep the momentum going and to continue moving ASP into the mainstream of the culture at our institutions. It’s critical to let leadership know that ASP’ers have valuable points of view to contribute to faculty meetings and curricular decisions.

So, I am making a commitment to myself and to our community to do better with stopping the auto-apologies for asking for help. I am committing to engage in more active self-advocacy and ASP/BP advocacy at my institution; to not be afraid to speak up and say what is necessary for this department to be viewed as just as integral to the legal education as clinical and legal writing; and to continue doing all that I can to keep pushing our programming forward so it’s as effective as it can be for our students!

I am confident in saying that this year’s conference was a success. I credit that success to our panel of speakers (Joni Wiredu, Marsha Griggs, Tiffane Cochran, Sara Berman, Yolanda Ingram, Christina Chong, Kinyon Devin, and Mary Purvis), our sponsor AccessLex, Lyssa Thaden at AccessLex, and Vicky Daniels at Gonzaga University School of Law. Thank you to all of you for your help and participation! And, of course, thank you, ASP’ers for the invigorating and uplifting conference! It was much needed! 

(Michele Berger)

October 23, 2020 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Hidden in Plain Sight - "The Link Between Well-Being and Inclusion"

Hot off the press, here's a must-read article from former professor and ASP colleague Patty Powell entitled:  "The Link between Well-Being and Inclusion," published in the Colorado Lawyer (June 2020):   

In the article, Prof. Powell explores a "hidden link" to explain why lawyers tend to have the highest rates - among all professions - of substance abuse and mental health distress while, at the same time, the legal profession - of all professions - "sits at the bottom in terms of diversity and inclusion." Id. 

At its foundation, the article calls on leaders (that's us!) to proactively create spaces for all to participate authentically as valuable belonging community members and Professor Powell points us to research for possible steps that we can immediately take to promote well-being and inclusion.

(Scott Johns).

October 8, 2020 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lawyers and Essential Work - An ABA Article of Encouragement from ASP Professional Sara Berman

Just off the press, and not a minute too late, is an ABA article by author Sara Berman with advice for the most recent law school graduates, whether having already taken a bar exam or preparing to take the bar exam this month.

Here's a few tidbits from the article:  

(1) As lawyers (or soon-to-be lawyers), you are an essential worker because democracy and the pursuit of justice depends on the sacrifices, the integrity, and your legal skills.

(2) You've got a inspirational story to share with employers, having successfully navigated the transition to socially-distant learning, with both the completion of your law school studies and preparation for your bar exam.  What you've gone through will make you a better attorney in the long-run, so liberally share the lessons you've learned with prospective employers and attorneys and judges.

(3) Stay flexible as you march forward in your pursuit of your legal career, remembering in your heart of hearts that all of your  hard work has been more than a worthwhile pursuit because you will soon be joining the bar as a critical "guardian of democracy."  Id.  

Let me say that we - in the ASP community - are all so proud of you, admiring your flexibility and adaptability, your commitment to the pursuit of justice, and the inner strength and resolve that you have demonstrated in these unprecedented times.  Personally, we have much to learn from you.  So, please don't ever shy away from letting your voice be heard and your heart inspire us to be the community of practitioners that our world so desperately needs and deserves.  (Scott Johns).



October 1, 2020 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exams, Encouragement & Inspiration, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Call for Editor of Learning Curve

Each year, The Learning Curve brings on a new member for a three-year term: the first two years as an Associate Editor, and the final year as Executive Editor.  Kevin Sherrill just ended his term, Sarira Sadeghi is stepping into the Executive Editor role this year, and Susan Landrum is in her second year on the publication and will become Executive Editor next year.  They are now seeking a new colleague to join this fantastic publication for a three-year term.

The publication puts out two editions each year, one toward the end of the calendar year and one near the end of the academic year.  Each editor is assigned between two and five articles for each edition.  The time commitment per edition is approximately 10 hours.

They are considering a third, special-edition next spring, but are also sensitive to the time constraints. 

The publication would like to invite anyone interested in joining the team to email Sarira their resume and a short (1-2 paragraphs) statement of interest at by Sunday, October 4, 2020.  

September 27, 2020 in Academic Support Spotlight, Professionalism, Publishing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Benefits of Learning Law Later (and How to Enjoy Them Now)

Around this time of year, I usually end up telling my 1L students something about my experience in law school. I inadvertently chose what, in retrospect, seemed like the best way to become an attorney: After working as a paralegal for a couple of years (to get a taste of the world of law), getting married and living in Japan for a couple of years (to get a taste of the world in general), I thought that Georgetown's evening program looked really appealing, because it would allow me to work and earn money during the day and not drag my wife with me into the penurious life of a student. I wasn't wrong about that, but that did not turn out to be the greatest benefit to the evening program, or even in the top three.

What hadn't occurred to me before I arrived in D.C. was what the rest of the evening program class would be like. Georgetown can support a substantial evening program because Washington is full of people who have done well in government, the military, business, or the arts and now want to take the next step in their career.  If the informal reckoning of our evening cohort of 125 students was correct, there was only one of us who came directly from college.  The day program, four times larger, had a more traditional proportion of recent undergraduates.  Going to school with classmates who had essentially all achieved some measure of success already meant that our program felt different in three momentous ways:

1) Less stress and competition.  Not that we were stress-free; this was, after all, law school.  Most of my evening classmates had full-time jobs, like I did, and some were in demanding positions that took up more than 40 hours per week.  Our law school commitments were lessened in the part-time evening program (so it took us all 4 years to graduate), but still, it could be a pretty heavy load.  Nevertheless, there was almost no undercurrent of shared anxiety, and the kind of ruthless competition that I had expected in law school never materialized. (In my 2L year, when I became a Fellow in the legal writing program and worked directly with the school librarians, they told me how much they enjoyed working with the evening students because they never pilfered reserve books or sabotaged assigned reading the way that the day students did.) One of my classmates had a theory about this. He suggested that it was easier for us evening students not to stake our whole sense of self-worth on some grade on an exam, because most of us had proven ourselves in other arenas. This made sense to me; it meant it was easier for us to see grades as measures of our personal progress, rather than as a way of sorting us by value.  

2) More organization and efficiency.  I know that I was roughly one hundred times a better student, practically, in law school than when I was in college. Part of it was simply forced by necessity: If you work from 9 to 5, then attend classes from 5:45 to 9 or 10 each weeknight, you really don't have a lot of room in your schedule for futzing around. But some of it was the shared culture of the evening program, in which not only did we all face the same issue, but also nearly all of us had developed methods of calendaring and prioritizing in the workplace. Some of us had spouses or even children that had to be fit into our schedules.  Knowing that it all could be done, because we had had to do much of it before in our jobs, made it more manageable in law school. Furthermore, we all understood how valuable each other's time was, so the time we spent together in study groups, on joint projects, or in student organizations was also spent efficiently (but also quite pleasantly -- see "less competition", above).

3) More collegiality.  By which I do not mean "friendliness"; the day students that I met then, like the students I work with now, were at least as amiable and as good company as my evening companions. But time away from school, in many cases working with more seasoned co-workers on a first-name basis or even with equal status, had bestowed upon most evening students the realization that everyone in the law school -- classmates, professors, administrators, employees -- could be seen as colleagues: people with whom you are striving towards a common goal. Thus, evening students were often less reluctant, and more comfortable, than day students in seeking help or offering suggestions. 

The reason I bring up my experience with my 1L class is to point out to them that you don't need to be an evening student to enjoy these beneficial distinctions.  They might have come more naturally to those in my program -- certainly to the program as a whole -- because of our previous life experiences, but that doesn't mean that these benefits are only available to those of a certain age or background.  What matters are attitude, awareness, and mindset.  A student who is in touch with her previous accomplishments, and can ground her sense of self-worth on them, will find it easier to see grades as personal touchstones rather than signifiers of inherent worth. A student who accepts both that his available time is limited (which is merely a matter of thoughtful perception) and that he has the capacity to get done what needs to be done in that limited time (which is perhaps a bit more of a leap of faith) will find the ways he needs to be efficient.  And by recognizing that they are attending a professional school whose common goals include each student's successful education, students can position themselves to take full advantage of all the human resources around them. Experience is a good teacher, but sometimes learning from other people's experience is even better.

(Bill MacDonald)

September 22, 2020 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Professionalism, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 4, 2020

AALS Section Seeking Panelists

AALS Section on Real Estate Transactions and Section on Academic Support

The Changing Architecture of Legal Education: 

Real Estate Transactions as a Case Study

Seeking Panelists:

What real property law courses should law schools be teaching?

Who should be teaching these courses?

How should the courses be taught?

The Section on Real Estate Transactions and the Section on Academic Support seek to explore these questions and related issues at their joint online session during the 2021 AALS Annual Meeting, The Changing Architecture of Approaches to Legal Education: Real Estate Transactions as a Case Study.

Members of the legal academic community are invited to submit statements of interest in joining the panel of presenters who will discuss the following in the context of real property law and related courses (mortgage finance, securitization, commercial leasing, housing law, real estate development, etc.):

  • Law schools’ curricular choices
  • Course content and design
  • Teaching and pedagogy application.

As explained more in the “Background” section below, the Sections are specifically looking to highlight issues related to course offerings, curricular design, and teaching methodologies that can better prepare students for modern practice and ensure student achievement of course objectives. Statements of interest (including a description/summary of your proposed presentation) should be emailed to Andrea Boyack at by September 17, 2020.

There is no formal paper requirement associated with participation on the panel. 

**Note that the AALS Annual Meeting in January 2021 will be held in a completely digital format, and individual registration fees will not be charged for participation in/attendance at the Annual Meeting.**

Background/Program Overview: 

In the past decade, legal education has experienced a number of body blows from which it still struggles to recover. In 2007, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (more commonly known as the “Carnegie Report”) criticized the academy for insufficiently preparing students for legal practice. In the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis and global recession, many attorneys (especially from Big Law) were laid off and new graduates faced fewer and fewer job prospects. Mainstream and social media spotlighted lawyer and law student discontent, worries about sustainability of legal careers and the high cost of legal education, schools skewing data to try to game US News rankings, and the growing number of for-profit institutions. Law firms and their clients started exhibiting an increasing hesitancy with respect to hiring and training inexperienced attorneys. Law school admission rates tumbled as college graduates changed their opinions about the value of a legal education, as the ABA began making new demands of law schools pertaining to skills training and assessments. The practice of law, in the meantime, has changed dramatically, with automation, internet resources, and contract attorneys (or non-attorneys) taking the place performing tasks lawyers once controlled. Furthermore, schools have struggled to adapt to different expectations of the Millennial and Gen-Z generations of law students. Then, in March 2020, legal academia and law practice suddenly shifted to operating (temporarily?), primarily in the digital/virtual realm. The world has changed over the past 15 years, the practice of law has changed, and law schools struggle to adapt quickly enough to stay relevant and valuable.

The evolving demands and expectations for law schools are not just issues to be addressed by deans and administrators. Nor can the task of preparing new lawyers be allocated exclusively to clinicians and adjunct instructors of specialized “skills” classes. Doctrinal professors may want to also change their approach in the classroom in response to new industry demands for practice competencies and evolving attorney roles in an ever-changing marketplace, but have our pedagogical approaches adequately adapted to this new world? And how has law schools’ increasing reliance on adjunct professors impacted the students’ experience and preparation for the bar and beyond? In short: In what ways do we need to rethink what we teach and how we teach it in order to remain optimally relevant to tomorrow’s lawyers.


Per AALS rules, faculty at fee-paid law schools, foreign faculty, adjunct and visiting faculty (without a full-time position at an AALS member law school), graduate students, fellows, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit a statement of interest.

September 4, 2020 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Call for Presentation Submissions - Breaking Down Institutional Barriers - Due 9/15/20!

WCCASP Call for Proposals[1]

August 13, 2020 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

AALS-ASP Webinar on Self-Care

The AALS Section on Academic Support’s next Final Fridays Webinar, titled “Supporting Ourselves & Each Other,” will focus on self-care.

On Friday, June 26 at 1:00 EST, panelists Tracy Kepler (CNA Insurance), Danielle Kocal (Pace), and Courtney Lee (U. of Pacific McGeorge) will provide concrete suggestions on how we can implement self-care techniques like mindfulness, mind-body-connections, grit, and resilience into our everyday lives.  Jamie Kleppetsch (DePaul) will moderate the discussion.

AALS-ASP Final Fridays Webinar Series

“Supporting Ourselves & Each Other”

June 26, 2020

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EST


Participation is free and open to all. The webinars will also be available for on-demand viewing later, via the members-only section of the AALS Section on Academic Support webpage.  The benefit of participating live is the ability to ask questions of our panelists and to engage in the discussion.

June 24, 2020 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)