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The Path to Law Student Well-Being Podcast Series

"The Path to Law Student Well-Being" is a podcast series sponsored by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance ProgramsSection of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and Law Student Division.

The series is a response to the call for action in the 2017 Report, The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Changefrom the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, which sets out action items for the legal community, including specific steps law schools can take, to shift the culture of the legal profession towards one that is focused on well-being. 

Episode 1:
Law Student Well-Being

The inaugural 2-part episode features two short conversations with Dean and Professor of Law Michael Hunter Schwartz of the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law and Professor Larry Krieger of the Florida State University College of Law and is moderated by Professor Susan Wawrose of the University of Dayton School of Law.

  • Part 1 - Ways individual faculty members can notice, engage with, and support students they suspect are in distress.  
  • Part 2 - Steps faculty can take to promote student well-being through their teaching in the classroom and includes concrete actions for law school administrators.  

Dean Schwartz is a recognized expert and the author of numerous books and articles on the subject of law student teaching and learning, including his book, What the Best Law Teachers Do. He has also been ranked for the past three years in a row by National Jurist magazine as one of the most influential legal educators.

Professor Krieger is well-known for his groundbreaking work on law student well-being, including how values and motivation affect law student and lawyer satisfaction and the role law schools play in shaping law student values and in humanizing the profession. He has also has done significant research measuring the psychological changes of law students during law school. 

Episode 2:
Character and Fitness and the Evaluation Process

Episode 2 features a short conversation about character and fitness evaluations in the bar admission process as it pertains to mental health issues and substance use disorders. Guests are Janet Stearns, Dean of Students at the University of Miami School of Law, Robert Albury, Executive Director of the West Virginia Judicial & Lawyer Assistance Program, and host Chase Andersen, Case Manager with Minnesota Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.  

Episode 3:
The Practice and Benefits of Mindfulness

In this 3-part episode, Scott Rogers, a nationally recognized leader in the area of mindfulness and the law, and host Stephen Slawinski, a 3L at the University of Dayton School of Law, discuss the practice and benefits of mindfulness.

  • Part 1 examines why a law student might begin a mindfulness practice and the benefits of doing so.  
  • Part 2 provides ways in which a law student might get started on a mindfulness practice.
  • Part 3 offers advice on how to overcome some of the roadblocks to practicing mindfulness.
  • In this special bonus episode, Scott leads a 3-minute mindfulness exercise.

Scott is the founder and director of the Institute for Mindfulness Studies and of the University of Miami School of Law's Mindfulness in Law Program. He also co-founded and co-directs the University of Miami's Mindfulness Research & Practice Initiative. Learn more about the Mindfulness in Law Program here. 

Episode 4:
Adopting a Growth Mindset

Episode 4 features a conversation on how adopting a growth mindset can help law students thrive both emotionally and intellectually.  Guests include Dr. Katherine Bender Ph.D, former programming director for the Dave Nee Foundation, co-author of the ground breaking Law Student Well-Being Study and Assistant Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Bridgewater State University, and Professor Dan Bowling III, Senior Fellow at Duke Law and lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.  Mitchell Barthelemy, a 1L at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and co-host of the law student podcast Cold Call Lawcast, moderates the discussion.

For more on growth mindsets and law student performance, see this webinar and article on the ABA Law Student Division’s Before the Bar blog.

Episode 5:
Dealing with Stress While Studying for the Bar Exam

Join host Jonathan Beitner, attorney, certified professional coach, attorney well-being advocate and member of the Lawyers Assistance Program, Law Student Committee, as he talks with Chris Ritter, the director of the Texas Lawyers Assistance Program, and Chase Andersen, Case Manager with Minnesota Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. They will discuss how to deal with stress while studying for the bar exam. No matter how much you prepare, the stress can be overwhelming. With the techniques discussed on this episode, you will be able to sit for the bar cool and confident.

Dealing with Stress While Studying for the Bar Exam

Episode 6:
Practice Makes Passing

This 2-part episode features a conversation on how taking practice tests in preparation for the bar exam is an essential tool for bar applicants to prepare to take and pass the bar exam.  Guests include Sara Berman, Director of Academic & Bar Success Programs for the nonprofit Access Lex Institute’s Center for Legal Education Excellence and Ben Madison, Professor, Director of Bar Pass Initiatives and Co-Director of the Center for Ethical Formation and Legal Education Reform at Regent University Law School.  Judith Rush, member of CoLAP's Law School Committee and Director of the Mentor Externship Program at the University of St. Thomas School of Law moderates the discussion.

Both guests bring significant expertise on the topic.  Professor Berman is a nationally recognized bar exam expert and author of Pass the Bar Exam: A Practical Guide to Achieving Academic and Professional Goals and Bar Exam MPT Preparation & Experiential Learning for Law Students: Interactive Performance Test Training, both published by the ABA.  Professor Madison is a fellow of the Institute for the Advancement of American Legal Education's Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers and is nationally known for his scholarship on, and efforts in, bringing pedagogical reforms to legal education.  Regent has recorded its highest ever bar pass rates since Professor Madison under undertook leadership of its "Bar Initiatives" program.  

Part 1:  focuses on how making practice tests a regular component of bar exam preparation from the beginning can increase confidence of bar takers and reduce the stress and anxiety of preparing for and taking the bar exam.  

Part 2:  provides additional anxiety reducing tips for bar takers.

Episode 7:
Where Are We on the Path to Law Student Well-Being?

For too long, law students have been given the message that their well-being is second to the practice of law.  Not anymore!  The Lawyer Assistance Program community recognizes that teaching students about their own well-being and the well-being of their colleagues and friends as they learn the law is imperative for the future generations of lawyers.  To better understand the strides our laws schools have been making in these areas, CoLAP's Law Student Assistance Committee surveyed law schools across the country about their curricula, programs, and other wellness-related offerings. This podcast will discuss where law schools are on their path to increasing law student well-being and share a trove of resources culled from the survey of many schools.

This podcast features the following panelists: Jordana Alter Confino (Assistant Director of Academic Counseling, Columbia Law School), Jennifer Leonard (Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the Future of the Profession Initiative, University of Pennsylvania Law), Judith Rush (Director of Mentor Externship, University of St. Thomas School of Law) and Chase Andersen (Case Manager, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Minnesota)

As referenced in the podcast, Jordana's report, entitled "Where Are We on the Path to Law Student Well-Being?: Report on the ABA CoLAP Law Student Assistance Committee Law School Wellness Survey" can be found here: