Member Spotlights

Each NALSAP Newsletter features individuals and law schools working hard to provide a high quality experience for their students. We appreciate learning from each other! 

 

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Published in the NALSAP Newsletter, May 2018

Colin Watrin, BA, MS
Assistant Director, Admission & Student Life
Seattle University School of Law

A relative newcomer to legal education, Colin joined the profession just two years ago but is already making a major impact. Learn more about Colin and their work below:

Favorite program for students: Our Public Interest Law Foundation hosts an annual auction to raise funds supporting grants for students pursuing public interest summer internships. The auction is always a celebration, a reunion, a whole lot of fun, and best of all supports a good cause.

On the wish list: A simple-to-use electronic tool for SBA and student organizations to track, expend, and reimburse their budgets.

Most proud of: Seeing the students who I helped recruit and enroll through the admission process become successful and involved student leaders in our law school community.

Biggest challenge: Helping student leaders (who are often over-involved) understand realistic expectations for what can be accomplished in terms of major goals or initiatives over the course of an academic year.

What new professionals need to know: I would like to ask more seasoned professionals how they have seen student expectations change or evolve in relation to the types of services and amenities provided by the law school, especially in relation to the steadily increasing cost of attendance for law school.

Self-care under stress: Getting away from my desk to take regular walks around campus.

Dream job: Dean of Students.

Fun fact: I was recently accepted into a Doctorate in Educational Leadership program and will be going back to the classroom this fall while continuing my full-time work with the law school. (Good luck, Colin!)

 


 

Published in the NALSAP Newsletter, October 2018

Markeisha Miner, J.D.
Dean of Students | Cornell Law School

Markeisha Miner has been in student services for 10 years, starting in August 2008 (one month before the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros.) as the Assistant Dean of Career Services and Outreach at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. For the last 3 years, she’s served as the Dean of Students at Cornell Law School overseeing the Registrar’s Office, academic support, student activities, wellness, diversity and inclusion, the accommodations process and more.

Favorite Program or Initiative for Students:
Our Library sponsors a pet therapy day each semester right before exams begin. Our signature pet is a llama named Late for Breakfast. The llama is quite appropriate for this program, given our university's identity as a land grant institution with a great college of agriculture and life sciences.

On the Wish List:
A CAPS provider in the law school building every day. Right now, we have a provider once a week for a couple of hours.

Most Proud Of:
I’m proudest when I see a student who has overcome significant obstacles cross the stage at graduation. The look on their and their families’ faces reminds me why we do what we do.

Biggest Challenge:
We are in a great moment of increased student advocacy and activism. Helping students understand the limits of our processes and procedures, and helping manage their expectations in that context can be challenging. My goal is to empower them to envision what those processes and procedures should be and learn to navigate them to effectuate the change they seek.

Advice for New Professionals:
Create community with and reach out to colleagues across the country who have a similar role. I can’t say enough about how valuable it is to be able to call or email someone who has been or is in a similar role to compare notes, share ideas, and talk through potential solutions.

Self-Care:
Ithaca is, literally, gorges! For stressful jobs like ours, I can’t ask for a better setting to take a walk or hike and indulge in what our health center calls, NatureRx.

Fun Fact:
I was a DJ at my college radio station.


 


Published in the NALSAP Newsletter, October 2018

Michael McCarthy, J.D.
Assistant Dean of Student Services
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

With 10 years in student affairs, Michael has done work in academic support, student government advising, and leadership development. Michael quickly and happily left behind litigation for a career in law school administration over seven years ago. After spending four years in career development at CWRU, he moved to student services where he now serves as Assistant Dean.

Favorite Program or Initiative for Students:
I love our Mentoring Alumni Program (MAP), now in its third year. We streamlined several networking opportunities run by different offices into a more purposeful program that matches graduates with new law students based on practice area and other interests.

On the Wish List:
Our university is lucky to have a counseling center staffed by warm, hard-working professionals who are eager to work with our law students; but I would love to have a dedicated, licensed counselor on-site at the School of Law.

Most Proud Of:
We worked closely with the university's Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity and Office of Multicultural Affairs to take a program they created and adapt it specifically to law students. Every year at orientation, all of our incoming students engage in three hours of dialogue about privileged and marginalized identities, microaggressions, implicit bias, and empathy during "Diversity 360" sessions.

Biggest Challenge:
Like most NALSAP members, our office is expected to provide more and more services every year. As those responsibilities pile up, it can be difficult to find time to test and launch new initiatives.

Advice for New Professionals:
Put up boundaries, physical and mental, between your professional and personal lives. We stress to our students the importance of living a well-balanced life, and we need to set an example that they can follow.

Self-Care:
I have a corkboard in my office that takes up most of one wall. It's covered in photos of my daughters, their artwork, and their notes to me. Any time I feel down, I just need to turn around for a quick visual pick-me-up. And when my daughters are super annoying, I go for a run.

Fun Fact:
I can recite all the Presidents of the United States, the Kings and Queens of England, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champions. Make of that what you will.

 


 

Published in the NALSAP Newsletter, May 2018

Rosemary Queenan, BA, JD
Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Professor
Albany Law School

A ten-year veteran of legal education, Rosemary Queenan brings strategic thinking and practical experience to student affairs. Learn more about Rosemary and their work below:

Favorite program for students: One of my favorite programs is our swearing in ceremony, held on the last day of orientation, our Professional Development Day. For the past few years, Judge Mae D'Agostino of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, has administered a pledge of professionalism to the incoming class. The ceremony marks the start of their professional development and identity and reminds the students of the high standards of the legal profession, including ethical conduct, honesty and civility.

On the wish list: An endowed fund to support student initiatives.

Most proud of: Some of our students face and overcome serious challenges during law school and it is very rewarding to watch them walk across the stage at commencement.

Biggest challenge: Determining when students might need additional support in managing stress that is often attributed to law school and ensuring that those students get the help and support that they need.

What new professionals need to know: When making a decision, consider what is best for the institution.

Self-care under stress: Yoga.

Dream job: My dream job involves teaching, using my interpersonal skills and influencing strategic and institutional goals.

 


 

Published in the NALSAP Newsletter, May 2018


West Virginia University College of Law
Morgantown, WV

WVU Law in a nutshell: public · university-affiliated · offers JD, LLM degrees · approx. 310 law students

Department of Student Affairs: stand-alone department · 1 full-time employee, 1 shared full-time employee · major areas: accommodations, commencement, counseling, diversity and inclusion, mentorship, non-academic programming, orientation, student organizations, wellness

Favorite program for students: The strengths coaching through CliftonStrengths for Students. We require all entering students take it prior to Orientation. It gives students the opportunity to learn more about themselves and how to be successful in their academics, future careers, and lives by maximizing their natural strengths. Another favorite is the Coffee Conversations program that we co-sponsor with the College of Law's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The program brings students together in an informal atmosphere to discuss various issues related to diversity.

Biggest department challenge: A small staff! Only one full-time person (the Assistant Dean) is dedicated to the department. There is so much that we would like to do, but often have to prioritize and drop projects. The Assistant Dean shares an administrative assistant and has student volunteers, but, in the end, can only be in so many places at once. Oh - and getting students to show up for programs!

A tale of campus collaboration: We recently worked with the WVU Collegiate Recovery program on campus on a Coffee Conversation focused on addiction. We had a packed room, and the discussion ranged from signs of an addiction to supporting a colleague/friend/family member in recovery to the opioid crisis. In a profession where substance abuse is a problem, we were pleased to have so many students attend and participate. It worked all-around.

We celebrate success: Through our Culture of Excellence program. Approximately twice a semester, we collect nominations from the law school community honoring other students. The goal is to find the sort of unsung heroes - the students who help others not for personal gain, but because they care and it's the right thing to do. We also plan and put on the annual Honors Day Ceremony every April.

Standouts: Our implementation of the CliftonStrengths program separates us from many others. We are also very proactive in our well-being programming. For a staff of one-ish, we hold weekly meditation/breathing sessions, weekly stress-reducing programming, and carry out additional programming throughout the entire semester including free chair massages, Puppy Day, and panels focusing on stress relief and mental health in law schools. We have learned to accomplish a lot with a little!

 


 



Published in the NALSAP Newsletter, May 2018

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Chicago, IL

Northwestern Law in a nutshell: private · university-affiliated · offers JD, JD/MBA, LLM (tax, international human rights, executive), SJD, MSL degrees · approx. 1,000 law students

Department of Student Affairs: stand-alone department · 10 full-time employees · major areas: academic advising, academic success program, accommodations, commencement, non-academic programming, orientation, student organizations, wellness

Favorite program for students: The APEx (Academic and Professional Excellence) Program is a hallmark of the Northwestern Law Difference. First-year students participate in workshops and seminars designed to demystify various law school processes, including case briefing, outlining, and exam taking. 2L and 3L students serve as APEx Advisors and provide peer-to-peer support throughout the year, and the APEx Director also meets with individual students on a frequent basis to offer guidance (and chocolate!) APEx is designed to ease the transition to law school and to build community both within the 1L class and between 1Ls and upperclassmen.

Biggest department challenge: Northwestern Pritzker School of Law offers an incredible variety of degree programs and classes, and students arrive at the law school with wide-ranging backgrounds, interests, and goals. This rich diversity requires us to be nimble and flexible! We are constantly assessing and refining our ability to reach all of our students and to “walk the talk” of the Northwestern Law Difference.

A tale of campus collaboration: The Student Affairs team constantly collaborates with other departments! We work with faculty (on curricular offerings and academic support); with the Registrar’s Office (on exam planning and administration, degree progress, and conferral); with the Alumni Relations and Development team (on graduation, student organization events, donor “thank you” events, etc.), with Admissions staff (on orientation and student recruitment); with our Marketing Team (on student and alumni features); and with Career Strategy (on employment strategies and support). We consider collaboration to be a critical part of our work and thoroughly enjoy leveraging the talent across the law school!

We celebrate success: With regular happy hours!!

Notable: We are lucky to have a big team, which means that we can offer specialized services on a wide variety of fronts (e.g., international student support, pro bono and public service, academic success, diversity and inclusion). Students know that we are happy to be a one-stop shop for any questions they might have!