Saturday, June 26, 2021

Call for Proposals from AALS Section on Academic Support


For a Joint Presentation by the
AALS Section on Academic Support and Section on Technology, Law, and Education

“Online Teaching: Is it good for legal education? Which professors are doing it? And who owns the content once it is created?”
(Working Title/Theme Subject to Change)

Program Description
The theme for the AALS 2022 Annual Meeting is “Freedom, Equality, and the Common Good.” We seek to explore these topics as they relate to the intersection of academic support and distance legal education. First, we hope to explore whether distance legal education (a.k.a. online teaching) serves the Common Good in legal education. In other words, does technology help or hurt legal education? Next, we plan to pivot to the question of Equality. Are all faculty equally expected to contribute to courses dealing with technology and are faculty compensated adequately (whether time and/or money) for their time in developing asynchronous content? Finally, the presentation will conclude with a discussion of Academic Freedom. Most notably, who owns the work?

Some ideas with these themes may include, but are not limited to:

Common Good
• Did the rise of Zoom Law during a worldwide pandemic help or hurt the development of online teaching?
• Is tech a legitimate delivery method?
• How to overcome the argument regarding lack of engagement?
• Is there a specific type of course that is better suited to be online, and conversely, courses that should never be taught online?
• Which types of technology most effectively maximize student learning and help develop skills?

• Within a law school, who typically creates and teaches online courses?
• Are certain technology focused courses like E-discovery taught by certain types of faculty?
• What type of courses should be taught online?
• Who is using technology in the classroom?
• Are all technologies really equal or do certain types of technology provide more effective tools for learners than others?

Academic Freedom
• Who owns the work?
• Does your university have a policy regarding the creation and retention of asynchronous courses?
• What happens to an already prepared online course when a professor leaves the institution, or even dies?
• Will the rise of “canned” online courses lead to faculty teaching themselves out of a job?

The Section on Technology, Law, and Education and the Section on Academic Support seek to explore these questions and related issues at the January 2022 AALS Annual (virtual)

Meeting during their joint program.

Call for Presenters

Proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the methods to be employed. Individuals as well as groups are invited to propose topics. The Committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas. Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community.

Submission Guidelines

Proposals must include the following information:
• A title for your presentation.
• A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.
• A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.
• The amount of time requested for your presentation. No single presenter should exceed 45 minutes in total. Presentations as short as 15 minutes are welcomed.
• A detailed description of both the substantive content and the techniques to be employed, if any, to engage the audience.
• Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employ other technology.
• A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, AASE, or other academic conferences. (The Committee is interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)
• Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).
• Any articles or books that you have published that relate to your proposed presentation.
• Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your presentation will provide.

Please submit your proposal to the Academic Support Programming Chair, Kirsha Trychta, at by June 30, 2021. The Committee anticipates notifying those who have been selected to present on/around July 14, 2021.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Programming Co-Chairs: Natalie Rodriguez at, Kirsha Weyandt Trychta at, or Michelle Zakarin at

June 26, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Virtual Book Conference

You are invited to a virtual book conference—Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era: Beyond the Physical Classroom—on July 22, 2021 from 11 am EDT to 5:30 pm. You can register for the conference here: You can read more about the book here. 

The abrupt move to online legal education in Spring 2020 accelerated the move to online legal education that has been slowing gathering steam in recent years. As more institutions consider the potential to expand their reach with online courses and programs, law professors must move past “pandemic teaching” and seriously consider how they can create and deliver quality legal education online. Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era: Beyond the Physical Classroom, the first comprehensive book on online legal education, explores techniques, tools, and strategies that can assist all types of law professors in that endeavor.  

The conference will feature five panels that explore the future of the legal profession and offer practical tips on creating effective online courses: 

  • Panel 1—The Future of Law Practice:  Moderated by noted legal blogger David Lat, this panel will feature practitioners and judges discussing the future of virtual law practice.
  • Panel 2—Becoming the Law School of the Future:  This panel will discuss how law schools can prepare for long-term online learning.
  • Panel 3—Designing the Law Courses of the Future: This panel will offer attendees practical tips for designing courses for online delivery.
  • Panel 4—The 1L & Doctrinal Curriculum in a New Era: This panel will offer tips from professors who successfully converted their 1L and large doctrinal classes to an online platform.
  • Panel 5—The Upper-level Curriculum in a New Era:  This panel will offer tips from professors who successfully converted their experiential classes to an online platform.

Please feel free to reach out to Tessa Dysart ( or Tracy Norton ( with any questions! 

June 5, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 24, 2021

AASE Seeking Award Nominations

AASE will once again provide awards to acknowledge excellence in the academic support field at the annual conference.  AASE developed the following recommendations for the Award Committee:

  • AASE should recognize members’ valuable contributions to law school academic support
  • AASE awards should have as an important objective the recognition of early and mid-career ASP professors
  • AASE Awards should be for specific work or in specific categories
  • The goal of AASE awards should be honoring contributions, not covering categories

The 2021 Awards committee, DeShun Harris, Twinette Johnson, and Antonia Miceli (chair), are soliciting nominations for contributions by individuals, or in appropriate circumstances, groups, in any of the following areas:

  1. Specific ideas or innovations—whether disseminated through academic writing, newsletters, conference presentations or over the listserv
  2. Specific services to the profession—e.g., advocacy with the NCBE, etc.
  3. Providing services to students
  4. Promoting diversity in  the profession and expanding access to the legal profession
  5. Mentoring and supporting others in ASP

Recognition may be given to more than one individual or group in any of these categories, and no category requires an award in any one year. We fully recognize just how many ASP educators have made heroic contributions to their students and to the profession. For these reasons, the Awards Committee will consider all nominations received, while keeping in mind there must be a reasonable limit for awards in any one year. Anyone in law school academic support may offer nominations, but current AASE Board members and AASE Awards Committee members are ineligible for recognition. Awards recipients must be members of AASE at the time an award is bestowed. 

Please send your nominations to Antonia Miceli by Monday, May 3, 2021.

April 24, 2021 in Professionalism, Publishing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 23, 2021

Registration Open for AASE!

American University Washington College of Law is pleased to host the 2021 AASE conference beginning Tuesday, May 25th – Thursday, May 27th from 12:00pm-5:00pm EST. Conference registration is NOW OPEN! You can register for the conference here. Conference fee is $25.

We are excited to virtually bring you plenary and conference presentations on mental wellness, post-COVID academic and bar success best practices, diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices and much more. In addition, join us for “after hours” social gatherings for fun and exciting opportunities to reconnect with colleagues. Stay tuned for more information on these “after hours” activities.


April 23, 2021 in Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)