Monday, February 19, 2018

American U. Associate Dean David Jaffe says best way to help law students is to provide professional counseling

Dean Jaffe's advice will appear in a forthcoming article called The Key to Law Student Well-Being? We Have to Love Our Law Students, which is scheduled for publication in this month's issue of PD Quarterly, a publication of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). In the meantime, here's a summary from the ABA Journal blog:

How to best help law students? Provide full-time, on-campus counselors, among other things


Law students have many things to be anxious about—getting called on in class can be terrifying, plus the process of applying for jobs and the rejection that frequently comes with it doesn’t help. Some law students worry that they may never find jobs as lawyers. 

That being said, law school can be the perfect time for students to find healthy ways to address their anxiety and learn what types of self-care works best for them, says David Jaffe, the associate dean of student affairs at Washington, D.C.’s American University Washington College of Law.


An article he wrote, “The Key to Law Student Well-Being? We Have to Love Our Law Students,” is scheduled to be published in the February 2018 issue of PD Quarterly, a National Association for Law Placement publication.


Law students benefit greatly from having a full-time counselor on campus, writes Jaffe, a member of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, a group comprised of various bar groups, including the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. He also notes that mindfulness programming will probably be better used—and respected—if deans make a point to attend. And he advises keeping track of class attendance, because repeat absences frequently signal that a student is having personal problems.


Also, some students are less comfortable with robust discourse than others, which faculty should recognize, he writes. The idea of being called on in class can produce a fair amount of anxiety for some law students, especially during the first year, Jaffe told the ABA Journal.

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