Post 1: Online Bar Support this Summer and Fall
These are trying times; lives are at stake. This is not the way most educators would choose to become education pioneers. But with little if any time to plan, law faculty nationwide have sprung valiantly into action, coping with this crisis that brought in-person education to a standstill by making lemonade from lemons. What just a month ago was a fascinating pedagogical choice (to flip or not to flip), became an overnight necessity. Bar exam preparation will be no exception.
With national bans on in-person gatherings, law schools migrated to emergency remote teaching, online. As the semester winds down, many are now planning to provide online bar support. Commercial bar review has largely been online for about a decade. Some law schools were already providing online bar support; others are implementing new strategies now. The posts in this series will hopefully add to the many ideas and online support interventions already underway: including but not limited to courses and workshops, simulated exams (with and without feedback on written work product), coaching, mentoring, and counseling. Online bar support can include asynchronous and synchronous interventions and intitiatives, during law school and post graduation.
Alongside these, and in some ways more important than technical aspects of the current shift to online content delivery, will be how law faculty help encourage future bar applicants to remain as focused as possible in light of all the hardships and unknowns they face. Many will become sick and/or find themselves caretakers for sick relations, and huge numbers of students will face dire economic hardships. On top of all that, it is unclear when and in what format the class of 2020 will even be able to take the bar exam. As of this writing, a number of jurisdictions have cancelled their July bar exam.
So, law students who will be graduates by mid-May, and law school faculty who work in bar preparation capacities, will need to muster all the strength they can to get through this summer and possibly fall. They will need to find ways –to the extent possible– to help graduates keep 1) their test-taking muscles strong, 2) their exam content knowledge “fresh,” and 3) their spirits high and mindsets positive.
AccessLex is here to assist in a number of ways including with resources from the Law Student Emergency Relief fund, with a summer Raising the Bar issue devoted to online learning and the bar exam, and by hosting webinars to help faculty support one another along the way. The next AccessLex hosted webinar will be on Friday, April 24 at 2pm EST. Register at https://accesslexevents.webex.com/accesslexevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=ed6ebfb8f485cd6911ad9c3f721e8bc5b. (Recordings of previous ASP ASP discussion, Bar Exam Changes in Light of COVID-19 at:
Download recording link:
Playback recording link:
More to follow in future posts in this series on Online Bar Support.