Scheduling and Registration

With the registration period just around the corner, you’re probably starting to think about the classes you’d like to take.  Scheduling is not as simple as it looks.  You need to consider classes are mandatory for graduation — required courses, your ALWR, foundation points, mandatory credits, and also keep in mind CPE credits.  You can find all of these requirements on the FCSL website.  Review the Registrar’s web page as well as the Student Handbook regularly.  Being well informed will ensure you are selecting the classes to graduate on time. 

Further, you need to develop a plan for the classes you want to take before graduation so that you don’t miss out on any opportunies to take courses that are taught infrequently. Think about the area you plan to practice in — if you plan on working in the criminal field, do you want to take Trial Practice?  Consider what state’s bar exam you will take and what subjects are tested — can you take classes on those topics to get an early start on bar prep?  Even if the material is not exactly the same, you may get a foundation or gain an understanding of the terminology used in the subject. 

Consider asking other students about classes and professors they enjoyed or recommend.  Make sure you look at the schedule for final exams to ensure you are not taking back-to-back exams.  Have a healthy mix of classes — consider taking skills courses along with doctrinal classes.   Do not wait to take your ALWR course in your final semester.  Make sure you get a degree audit each semester from the Registrar and continue to regularly check to see if you are on track to graduate.

If you’re still confused about registration, or would just like some advice about what courses might best suit your needs, schedule an appointment to meet with one of the Academic Success Counselors.  Pay attention to the requirements for a scheduling meeting that were included in the e-mail sent out from our department this week.  We look forward to helping you select the schedule that’s best for you!

Breaking Up is Hard to Do!

If your study group is not working for you, you must break up with it!  Law school is the start of your professional career and you should handle ALL matters with this in mind.  The reputation that you earn in law school will follow you into your legal career.  So, what do you do when a study group is not effective?  We have three recommendations:

 1)       Take a leadership role:  If your study group is ineffective, it could be because there is no structure for the group.  Without structure, most groups will fail.  Someone must take a leadership role (not a dictator role).  Before you “break up” with your study group, try taking a leadership role by asking the group to complete something concrete during the next session.  For example, suggest that the group finalize a portion of an outline, complete a sample answer to an essay question, or complete 10 multiple choice questions together in the next session.  Having a concrete task to complete may help the group focus and become more effective.  You also could create an “agenda” with time limits for certain discussions or activities and hand it out to the group as a suggestion for spending your time together.   With some leadership, the group may turn around.  Give the group another two or three sessions to adjust to your leadership.

 2)      Give the study group session a time limit and communicate that time limit to your group:  Study group sessions should not be indefinite because the session usually will “suck up” more time than is needed to accomplish effective group learning.  The group will end up wasting too much time.  You should limit study group time, for the most part, to 2 hours per course and no more than 4 hours in one day.  Let your group know that you only have 2 hours to give to the group and stick to the time limit.  Eventually, the group will learn that if it does not get started and get “on-task” the session will end (because you will leave) before anything is accomplished. 

 3)      Communicate a respectful and courteous need to study differently:  If the two ideas above do not work, then you do need to “break up” with your study group.  As difficult as it may be, as a professional, you should communicate your needs to the members of your group in person.   When you have this conversation with the group, you should use the word “I” often and focus on your needs and your learning.  Do not accuse the group of being a waste of time.  Do not “call out” any one member of the group.  Do not allege that members are unprepared or unproductive in the group.  Simply tell them in a brief manner that you need to study in a different way.  Be careful of stating that you “need to study alone” because you may want to join another person or group in the near future.  Be honest and be kind, but be firm that you are no longer going to be a part of the study group. 

For all three of these recommendations, remember to keep your professional demeanor and do not let the stress of law school cause you to react in a manner that will harm your relationships with your classmates.  Good luck!

Lemony Baked Greek Tilapia

The semester is more than halfway through, YAY!!!  But “Oh dear lord, how are you ever going to remember everything that has been covered?”  Of course, hard work and diligent studying; but, eating fish might help too!  Did you know that fish consumption has been linked with decreased levels of mental decline.  This Greek inspired tilapia is quick and easy to make and full of lots of flavor.


1/2 T. Parsley, chopped
1 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 T. lemon olive oil
1/4 c. onions, diced
Parmesan or Feta cheese/panko, optional


1. Salt and Pepper fish.  Place in a prepared baking dish
2. Saute onions and garlic until onion is soft
3. Top fish with sauteed onions, parley.  Try topping with cheese or panko crumbs if in the mood for some extra crunch. Drizzle olive oil on top of fish – Bake @400, 10-15 minutes until fish flakes apart


ASP Workshop #5: Preparing for Finals

Finals are just over a month away so hopefully you’ve begun to prepare.  For first semester students, final exams are uncharted territory and you may be concerned about how you should be preparing for the upcoming exams.  But there’s good news!  Your Academic Success Counselors are well-versed in law school exams and they are here to help YOU achieve the best results possible on your exams.  Time management is critical at this stage in the semester.  How much studying is enough?  What sources should you use to practice?  How do you know when you’re finished studying?  We hope you’ll join us next week for the final workshop of the semester where we will answer these questions and a lot more.

That’s right.  Next week, the Academic Success Department will host the last in its series of ASP workshops geared toward first-semester students titled Preparing for Finals.  On Tuesday, October 30th, we will be in room 250 from noon to 1:00 p.m.  Feel free to bring your lunch, or a snack, to enjoy during the presentation.  On Friday, November 2nd, there will be an encore presentation from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in room 250.

We look forward to seeing you at one of the workshops next week!

Important Information for Future New York and New Jersey Bar Takers

If you are planning on sitting for the New York Bar, especially if you are a 2012 admit, be aware that New York has implemented a 50-hour pro bono requirement as part of the bar admission application.  This new requirement applies to all applicants after January 2015.

Pro bono service work is defined as supervised pre-admission law-related work that

 (1) assists in the provision of legal services without charge for (i) persons of limited means; (ii) not-for-profit organizations; or (iii) individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or promote access to justice, including, but not limited to, the protection of civil rights, civil liberties or public rights;

 (2) assists in the provision of legal assistance in public service for a judicial, legislative, executive or other governmental entity; or

 (3) provides legal services pursuant to subdivisions two and three of section 484 of the Judiciary Law, or pursuant to equivalent legal authority in the jurisdiction where the services are performed.

For New Jersey bar applicants, the New Jersey Supreme Court is considering a pro bono requirement similar to New York’s.  Such changes are still in the discussion phase with no specific date yet for when, or if, New Jersey will implement this new requirement.

Students must also note that New York does not accept distance education asynchronous credits and any such credits on a student’s transcript may require further review upon application.  Thus, students must pay close attention when registering for distance education classes and take only those classes listed as synchronous. 

If you have any additional questions about either the New York or New Jersey bar, or any other state bar, please contact Sharon Gurule to make an appointment with an Academic Success counselor.  Students are also encouraged to visit their respective state’s Board of Bar Examiners website for other frequently asked questions.

Cran-Almond Chicken

Research shows that a daily run, a diet rich in almonds and other healthful foods, and a stimulating environment may help keep aging brain cells in shape.  While I cannot help you with the run, here is a simple and tasty recipe for Cran-Almond Chicken that is sure to impress.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 shallots
1 leek
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Place chicken in dish; bake 20 minutes. While chicken bakes, chop shallots coarsely; slice bulb and lower leaves of leeks finely (1/2 cup). Place butter in small bowl to soften.
2. Combine vinegar, syrup, nutmeg, shallots, and leeks in small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until liquid is thickened and has reduced by about one-half.
4. Stir remaining ingredients into butter until blended to make topping.
5. Remove chicken from oven. Pour hot maple sauce evenly over chicken; sprinkle with cranberry topping. Bake 5–10 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through and topping begins to brown.

This is actually a Publix Aprons Recipe.  I would encourage you to check out Publix recipes as the ones which I have tried are very tasty and always quick and easy to make. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Appointments and Check-In

How do I schedule an appointment?

Academic Success has an appointment scheduler online. From the FCSL main page, go to Academics → click “Academic Success” in the column on the left → scroll down the Academic Success page → and click the blue hyperlink “Please schedule appointments.”

How do I choose a counselor?

Please schedule appointments with the Academic Success Counselor who teaches your course if the meeting concerns course work. If the meeting does not concern course work, or you do not have a current course with an Academic Success Counselor, then you may schedule an appointment with your preferred counselor. If you have no preference, you will be assigned to a counselor based on counselor availability and your need.

Why do I have to check-in?

Check-in is simply a way to alert the counselor that the person with the next appointment has arrived. Although an Academic Success Counselor’s titled role is to assist students with academic matters, the Academic Success department is aware that the issues that affect academics sometimes surpass books and often involve other life matters. The Academic Success team appreciates your patience as we try to ensure the confidentiality of all of our students, including you.