The State Bar Association of North Dakota Fall 2014 Gavel Magazine - Page 14

BAR PASSAGE & ACADEMIC SUCCESS AT UND SCHOOL OF LAW Professor Kirsten Dauphinais is the new Director of Bar Passage and Academic Success at UND School of Law. Her appointment to this new role is part of a number of new academic support initiatives at the law school designed to help students succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and in practice. “We began taking a serious look at the connection between academic success and professional success in 2009,” said Dean Kathryn Rand. “Students who do well in law school are more likely to pass the bar exam. That’s true both at UND and across the nation.” First steps included the formation of a task force of faculty and staff, now part of a standing Bar Passage and Academic Success Committee, led by Professor Dauphinais and Director of Career Services Trish Hodny. The committee helped to inform both students and faculty about the Uniform Bar Exam and best practices from other law schools. With the help of the committee, the law school successfully sought a change to the Supreme Court rules, which now allow the law school to receive data on graduates’ performance on the North Dakota bar exam. Associate Dean Brad Myers, with his background in statistical analysis, helps the law school to use the bar passage data to make improvements to student support. “We look to a number of places to help us make the best decisions for our students ‒ national best practices among law schools, graduates’ feedback, input from the bench and bar, and the bar passage data we receive from North Dakota and the other states in which our graduates sit for the exam,” explained Dean Rand. Recent initiatives range from small steps, such as the law school providing lunch for all test takers during the bar exam, to big changes, such as the new bar preparation course that will be added to the law school’s curriculum this spring. In September 2013, the School of Law invited Professor 14 THE GAVEL Professor Kirsten Dauphinais lectures law students. Wanda Temm to UND as a scholar in residence. Professor Temm is nationally recognized for founding the Bar Pass Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. During her visit to the law school, Professor Temm presented sessions to both students and faculty covering topics from creating a culture of excellence within the school to preparing for and passing the bar exam. Students were provided an opportunity to take practice questions which were then graded and critiqued by Professor Temm. Her visit inspired the faculty to add the new bar preparation course to the law school’s curriculum. Professor Dauphinais worked closely with Professor Temm during her visit, and became an advocate within the law school for enhancing academic support. As the long-time Director of Lawyering Skills at the law school, Professor Dauphinais knew firsthand the importance of legal writing and analysis to success during and after law school, including passing the bar exam. Through an internal reallocation of resources, the law school was able to shift Professor Dauphinais’ workload to focus on academic support. In August 2014, Professor Dauphinais was formally named the new Director of Bar Passage and Academic Success. In her new role, Professor Dauphinais is undertaking a number of new initiatives: • Designing and implementing a new, for-credit bar preparation course to be offered in Spring 2015 • Conducting outreach to UND graduates who did not pass the July 2014 bar exam • Developing bar preparation programming for the February 2015 exam • Conducting the mandatory academic advising for under-performing students as required by a new School of Law policy • Revising the law school’s Academic Success program to incorporate national best practices