National Association of Law Student Affairs Professionals
National Association of Law Student Affairs Professionals

Concurrent Sessions - Thursday, June 28th

Sessions are listed in chronolgical order.

It Begins with Admissions: The Impact of Admission Programs on Student Services

Kent Lollis, Law School Admission Council

Sondra Tennessee, University of Houston School of Law

Organizations that are known for outstanding service to their constituents often design and practice what is known as an end-to-end service strategy. In the law school context, this would mean aligning service to students that begins in the admission process and flows smoothly on into the alumni ranks. In this session, we will explore how outstanding student service starts with admission and offer ideas and an opportunity for dialogue on this promising model for legal education.

Do You Know Your Title IX?: Best Practices for Addressing Issues Arising Under Title IX

Maura DeMouy, Georgetown University Law Center

Markeisha Miner, Cornell University School of Law

Nicole Sandoz, Georgetown University Law Center

In the wake of Betsy DeVos’ rescinding of Obama-era Title IX guidance and the media blitz around sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry, sexual misconduct is yet again a hot topic of debate. Most student affairs professionals are on the front line every day. Whether helping a victim of sexual violence, mediating a dispute over comments made in class, or supporting a student triggered by comments in class, we are often the first point of contact. Law schools are unique environments that produce situations requiring complex and collaborative solutions. Participants will learn best practices for implementing support and interim measures for law school students through case studies, including academic assistance, no contact orders, housing accommodations, and safety planning. The presentation will also cover partnering between student services, confidential counselors, Title IX officers, and public safety to ensure each student receives comprehensive support.

Finding Balance Outside of the Classroom: From the Under Involved to Over Involved Student

Pam Shea, University of North Dakota School of Law

Colin Watrin, Seattle University School of Law

Law School is a busy time for our students, both in and out of the classroom.  Expectations for involvement have increased for students as they all compete for top grades, coveted leadership positions, internships, and post-graduation jobs.  Our student body today is also very different than 10 years ago in their expectations from schools in terms of involvement opportunities. Is your law school keeping up with the times?  Through an interactive presentation, session participants will learn about helping our students find appropriate levels of involvement outside the classroom, building connections, and making meaning of their experiences. This session will draw upon student development theory related to involvement and how students continue to build both their personal and professional identity during law school.  This session also address how we can do all this while resources in higher education are tightening. From the classically over involved student who should probably be spending more time studying, to those who fly under the radar and could benefit from larger connections, involvement without intentionality can be limiting to our already busy students. Join us as we discuss how student affairs staff can help. 

Online Orientation and Beyond: Leveraging Existing Technology to Deliver Content Online

Jill A. Collins, Boston University School of Law

We are all tasked with providing important information to our students, who are increasingly demanding convenient delivery of this information. Simultaneously, we are dealing with limited resources, not the least of which is time. In this session, we’ll cover how we took part of our orientation online, freeing up time for meaningful in-person interaction at Orientation and improving accountability for the material. We’ll cover how you can use your school’s learning management system (like Blackboard) to deliver content (and accountability) to students throughout their three years. Finally, audience members will have time to brainstorm ways to apply this to their school, and to share those ideas and common challenges with other participants.

Mindfulness in Law Schools: How it Can Help Students

Lydia Johnson, Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Elaina Marino, 3L, Syracuse University School of Law

Richard C. Reuben, University of Missouri School of Law

This panel will introduce the audience to mindfulness meditation, and demonstrate how it can help interested law students manage stress and implicit biases, and be happier and more effective law students and lawyers. Participants will learn what mindfulness practice is, hear about the first empirical study of the efficacy of mindfulness meditation training for law students, find out different ways to introduce mindfulness into law schools, get a law student’s perspective on its potential contribution to law student well-being, and learn how such law school initiatives connect with the larger mindfulness in law movement.

Beyond the Academics: Student Support Programming

Elizabeth (Ferrufino) Bodamer, Indiana Maurer School of Law

Student affairs is about focusing on students holistically to ensure academic and professional success. Yosso’s model of community cultural wealth is an example of a model that can be used to support the “whole student,” especially marginalized students. Yosso argues that all forms of capital, aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistance. can be used to empower students. This presentation will outline how Yosso’s model can translate into student support programming in law school. Through a brief presentation and a group discussion, participants will have an opportunity to talk through different programming and to exchange ideas they can take back to their schools.

Concurrent Sessions - Friday, June 29th

Sessions are listed in chronological order.

Unexpected Tragedies: From the Death of Students to the Boston Marathon Bombing, How Student Affairs Professionals Manage a Crisis on Several Fronts

Julie Cahill, University of Massachusetts School of Law

Laura Ferrari, Suffolk University Law School

Ann McGonigle Santos, Suffolk University Law School

Tragedies have affected all of us, whether the death of a student, a natural catastrophe, or a terrorist act.  These events not only require us to be adept at crisis management, but to do so while balancing all of the other tasks - and fires we put out - on a daily basis.  Not only do these events require us to act quickly, but with sensitivity and accuracy while managing the different school groups and departments that require our input.  What policies do these events trigger and how do we manage the different personalities who may have competing interests, such as the family, affected student, Administration, Faculty, etc. Through a presentation & group discussion, participants will learn how to manage the moving parts of a crisis that strikes the entire school community.

The ABA and the ADA: How Law School Learning Outcomes Can Form the Basis for Assessing Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Rosemary Queenan, Albany Law School

Emily Scivoletto, UCLA School of Law

ABA Standard 302 requires all law schools to have stated “learning outcomes” for their J.D. program as well as for each course offered.   Law schools are also required, under the ADA, and often their own policies, to provide students with reasonable accommodations for recognized disabilities.  In this workshop, participants will learn how law school and course specific learning outcomes can form the basis for assessing whether or not an accommodations request impacts an essential performance standard. 

Learning from Bar Examiners: Strategies for Passing the Character and Fitness Standard for Bar Admission

Cathleen Sharader, Indiana Board of Law Examiners

Bradley Skolnik, Indiana Supreme Court, Admissions & Continuing Education (ACE)

Nancy Vincent, Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar

Everyone has a past, including some of our students who apply for admission to the bar.  In addition to passing a bar examination, students must possess the requisite good moral character and fitness to practice law, as determined by a state board of law examiners.  What are the most challenging cases for board of law examiners?  What are the cases that require further review or scrutiny than the typical applicant?  If a student has some issues that put their character and fitness to practice law in question, what should Student Affairs professionals advise our students?   How can we address student fears about seeking counseling in law school for mental health concerns?  How should we assist a student who is required to make an appearance before the Board of Law Examiners?  This session may be comprised of representatives from bar examiners in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio, as well as a representative from a state Judges Lawyers Assistance Program, will answer these questions and share their expertise in assisting our students.  Panelists will also share with board of law examiners and student affairs professionals can work together to support the legal profession. 

Leadership Under Construction

Rebekah Grodsky, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Emily Scivoletto, UCLA School of Law

Most of us are not leadership experts, yet we hope to teach student-leaders how to build, sustain, manage, and grow their organizations. Many of the students we train will someday lead law practices, chair bar organizations, serve on the boards of non-profit organizations, and run businesses; we need to be offering our students more than the nuts and bolts of how to get an event on calendar and pay for catering. If you want to offer your student leaders more, this session is for you! Participants will be exposed to current practices in transformative leadership training, leadership style assessments, restorative leadership concepts, and conflict resolution training.

Assessing Our Work and Informing the Future: An Introduction to AccessLex Institute’s Diversity Pipeline Grand and Bar Success Grant Programs

Rachel Patterson, AccessLex Institute

Aaron Taylor, AccessLex Institute

AccessLex Institute offers two grant programs that have broad relevance to the work of student affairs professionals. The Diversity Pipeline Grant funds innovative approaches to aiding the matriculation of underrepresented people into law school and the legal profession. The Bar Success Grant funds programs aimed at improving bar exam performance among students most at risk of not passing.  In this session, participants will learn how AccessLex Institute’s diversity and bar success grant programs can 1) enhance their understanding of the strengths and challenges of their current efforts and offerings, and 2) inspire them to create innovative program proposals to address these challenges head-on.

Self- Care for Student Services Professionals

Jennifer DiSanza, University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law

Angela Lechleiter, University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law

We need to set an example for our students when it comes to mental health and wellness.  We address mental health, substance abuse, and overall wellness with our student bodies, but are we taking our own advice?  Are you new to student services? Have you been in the profession and are starting to feel worn down or ineffectual?  Learn to recognize signs and symptoms of self-care issues and how to combat them.  Participants will work together to develop tools and resources for our profession.

Best Practices in Implementation of Reasonable Accommodations in Times of Increased Demand for and Increased Complexity of Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Michael T. McCarthy, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Kathryn J. Pelham, Stetson University College of Law

Mya Rimon, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (Canada)

Nancy Sperling, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (Canada)

As the number of law students with accommodations increases each year, and the complexity and number of accommodations students receive also grows, those of us who provide student services need to be equipped to address current needs and forecast changes in an ever-evolving area of our work.  At this program, presenters will address current trends in accommodating students with disabilities; institutional structures that serve students who receive accommodations; the role of faculty in working with students who receive in-class accommodations; the need to implement accommodations in midterm and alternative assessments and field placements; and the implications of all of this for students as they enter the workplace following graduation.  Through a moderated panel presentation and group discussion, participants will share their own challenges and best practices for implementing accommodations and brainstorm ways to improve the delivery of student accommodations in the classroom, in exams, and in practice settings.   

Gaining Grit: Helping Law Students Build Resilience

Melissa Berry, University of Washington School of Law

Jayne Kacer, Chapman University School of Law

Law student affairs professionals know better than anyone that law students often struggle to bounce back from personal and professional setbacks. Traditionally, it’s been thought that resilience and grit are something you either have or you don’t. Yet resilience theory has recently been recognized as demonstrating the ability of humans to build resilience over time and through experiences; the books Grit by Angela Duckworth and Mindset by Carole Dweck have popularized the theory. This program will introduce the science surrounding resiliency, including grit and growth mindset, and the work of the University of Washington Resilience Lab. Law students can develop the skills underlying resilience through intentional action, reflection, and coaching. By developing these important life skills, students are better positioned to improve their law school performance as well as have a head start as a legal professional.

Concurrent Sessions - Saturday, June 30th

Sessions are listed in chronological order.

Please Don’t Make Me Manage! Creating Sustainable Working Relationships with Employees, Colleagues, Faculty and Bosses

Brian Hansen, UCLA School of Law

Emily Scivoletto, UCLA School of Law

We are great with students!  But how can we manage up, down and sideways to ensure we are building and sustaining excellent professional relationships?  This workshop is for law student affairs professionals interested in how best to support and manage employees, partner with colleagues across departments, and create positive and productive relationships with faculty, bosses and deans.  Participants will leave the workshop with sample employee development plans, leadership assessment tools, discussion guides for difficult conversations and a whole new outlook on “management.”

Striking a Balance: Free Expression and Diversity & Inclusion

Shannon P. Bartlett, University of Chicago School of Law

Mark Jefferson, Harvard Law School

Susie Spies Roth, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

In recent years, university campuses have very publicly reaffirmed commitments to principles of academic freedom and free expression. Simultaneously, underrepresented students have protested, written demand letters, and engaged in other efforts to challenge campuses’ espoused commitments to diversity, instead arguing that campuses have failed to foster inclusion. As student affairs professionals, we frequently are on the front lines of upholding the institution’s commitment to academic freedom, while supporting diverse student populations. This program will explore the tensions that arise from balancing these two essential principles of higher education and brainstorm solutions and initiatives designed to lessen the tension and promote productive dialogue.

Mediation 101: How and Why Law School Student Affairs Professionals Should Cultivate a Personal Meditation Practice

Rebekah Grodsky, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Self-care is vital for student affairs professionals working in the often-stressful law school environment. For thousands of years, people have used meditation to move beyond the mind's stress-inducing thoughts and emotional upsets into the peace and clarity of present moment awareness. Meditation also helps practitioners learn how to find a moment of quiet pause before reaction. This highly experiential session will cover meditation basics, including introducing several specific meditation techniques that you could use as a basis for starting (or expanding) your own personal practice. This session will be suited for everyone, including curious beginners and regular practitioners.

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