William & Mary Conference for Excellence in Teaching Legal Research & Writing Online

Missing your LR&W colleagues from across the country? Wondering how to make your online classes engaging? Want more Zoom sessions in your life? If you answered yes to two out of three, then please join William & Mary as we host an online conference dedicated to excellence in teaching LR&W online. While most law schools will be employing hybrid teaching methods for the fall semester, it seems wise to prepare in case the coronavirus requires some, or even all, fall classes to take place online. This conference will focus on the best practices for online teaching, tailored to legal writing faculty and law librarians.

Date: June 18, 12:00-5:00 p.m. EDT & June 19, 12:00-5:00 p.m. EDT (later start to accommodate our West Coast friends)

Conference Fee: $0.00

Travel Costs: also $0.00

Registration: Please register on our eventbrite page (once you get to this page, click on "Select a Date").

Conference materials will be posted here in W&M Law School's Scholarship Repository.

Please see our FAQ page for more information.

Jump to:
Schedule for Thursday, June 18
Session Details for Thursday, June 18
Schedule for Friday, June 19
Session Details for Friday, June 19
Virtual Poster Sessions

IMPORTANT NOTE! All times listed here are for Eastern Daylight Saving Time (UTC -4)

Schedule for Thursday, June 18
Schedule for Thursday, June 18
Time Room 1 Room 2
12:00-12:45 Promoting Student Engagement In—and Out—of the Online Classroom
12:45-1:00 Break

Help Students Get Their Writing

Done: Hold a Virtual Law

Student Writing Boot Camp 

Let’s Make a (Virtual) Deal:

Leveraging Technology to Teach

Transactional Drafting Online


From Distracted to Productive:

Teaching Students How to Stay

Motivated & Focused When

Learning on Their Own

Teaching With Compassion

and Rigor




Remotely Interested? Fostering

Connection in the Online


Hosting Online Moot

Court Competitions


Coffee Break Networking Session

Speed Mentoring Session:

New Faculty


Stress Busters for Online


Tips for Making Online

Content Accessible




Introduction to Various Online

Teaching Tools

Backward Design: A Handy

Tool for Remote Teaching


80s Trivia! Happy Hour

Session Details for Thursday, June 18

Promoting Student Engagement In – and Out – of the Online Classroom
Thursday, June 18, 12:00-12:45 p.m. (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Julie A. Baker, Legal Skills Professor, University of Massachusetts School of Law; Christine E. Rollins, Professor and Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program, Saint Louis University School of Law

True online learning is much more than the “emergency remote teaching” that we all undertook this past spring.  One of the biggest challenges in successful online learning is building and maintaining student engagement – with the professor, with the materials, and with the other students in the class.  This presentation will briefly discuss best practices for engaging students online.  We will then demonstrate multiple techniques for creating student “buy-in” even before the initial class meeting, then building upon that buy-in using features (on Zoom and beyond) like polling/quizzing, breakout rooms, and discussion forums in active and innovative ways.

Help Students Get Their Writing Done: Hold a Virtual Law Student Writing Boot Camp 
Thursday, June 18, 1:00-1:30 p.m. (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Prof. Sue Liemer, Director of Legal Method & Communication, Elon University School of Law; Dr. Janet Keefer, Writing Specialist, Elon University School of Law; Prof. John Cook, Legal Method & Communication Fellow, Elon University School of Law

The legal writing professors at Elon Law typically hold a law student writing boot camp once every trimester. When our entire ten-week spring trimester turned into remote learning with little notice, we initially focused on delivering the basics. But then the students themselves requested that we hold a virtual student writing boot camp. So we did. And now we will share what we have learned about why and how to hold a law student writing boot camp, both in-person and remotely.  

Let’s Make a (Virtual) Deal: Leveraging Technology to Teach Transactional Drafting Online
Thursday, June 18, 1:00-1:30 p.m. (EDT) in Room 2
Presenter: Adam Eckart, Assistant Professor of Legal Writing at Suffolk University Law School

In an online teaching environment, technology tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Word Track Changes, Donna, Google documents, and CooleyGo (among others) can assist professors in teaching transactional drafting. This session is based on experiences teaching transactional drafting in first-year and upper-level legal writing courses in an online format during the current pandemic and will 1) introduce data regarding the use of technology in practice, 2) discuss (and demonstrate) the technology tools used to teach transactional drafting, and 3) provide examples for how legal writing professors can integrate short transactional drafting exercises into their current curriculum using online teaching and technology tools. This presentation will be interactive and will include polls, chats, and technology demonstrations. 

From Distracted to Productive: Teaching Students How to Stay Motivated & Focused When Learning on Their Own
Thursday, June 18, 1:30-2:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 1
Presenter: Reichi Lee, Associate Dean for Online Education and Director of Academic Achievement, Golden Gate University School of Law

As education moves online, students' ability to direct their own learning is more important than over. An examination of undergraduate programs reveal that attrition rates can be twice as high in online courses than those in a traditional classroom format. Lack of ability to self-regulate is a significant reason for dropout rates. This is due in part to students not recognizing the high level of motivation, organization and focus required to succeed in online courses.

Similarly, many law students profess difficulties with extended focus and concentration. Even after hours of “studying,” they often have trouble articulating how they are situated in any given subject and where they need to go.

As educators, we need to do more than talk about the importance of focus. We need to explain, demonstrate, and create action plans. In my presentation, participants will:

• Learn the hidden psychology and triggers driving us to distraction
• Understand why teaching about distraction must occur alongside (not separate from) our course material
• Develop a list of concrete strategies to incorporate into their course to help students (and us) push past productivity roadblocks and slowly but surely, reclaim their focus and attention

Teaching With Compassion and Rigor
Thursday, June 18, 1:30-2:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 2
Presenter: Christine E. Rollins, Professor and Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program, Saint Louis University School of Law

As our faculty debated moving to a pass/no pass model this spring I was struck with the discussion that took place equating "compassion" with pass/no pass and the sheer acceptance by a majority of faculty who decided moving online meant that they were giving up the "rigor" of their teaching and therefore the only choice was to go pass/no pass.  On the other hand, our writing department held firm on our objectives, standards and expectations and felt strongly that compassion and rigor can exist in the same space.  I would hope to facilitate a discussion surrounding "rigor," "compassion," and teaching/modeling "resilience" for a post-pandemic legal community.  I also hope to demonstrate a remote clicker item for the participants.

Remotely Interested? Fostering Connection in the Virtual Classroom
Thursday, June 18, 2:15-3:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Olympia Duhart, Professor of Law & Director of Legal Research & Writing, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law; Rosario Lozada, Associate Professor of Legal Skills & Values, Florida International University College of Law; D’Andra Millsap Shu, Adjunct Professor of Law, Thurgood Marshall School of Law Texas Southern University; Katherine Vukadin, Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law Houston

When a legal writing professor teaches online, creating a classroom community and sense of purpose may be more difficult than in person. People in the same room connect naturally; online, however, the professor must deliberately create conditions for those connections to ignite. This interactive presentation will address the need to be intentional as a teacher about creating connection when teaching online. We will highlight strategies and techniques that professors can use to foster connection and build support in the virtual legal writing classroom. Topics will include creating a sense of inclusion and belonging from day one, fostering professor-student and student-student connections, designing group projects in the online classroom, using recognition and reward to incentivize and inspire, and appropriately communicating care for student well-being. With deliberate, thoughtful techniques, legal writing professors can create the same community and connection in the online classroom that they create in person. This presentation will demonstrate connection techniques, so please be ready to participate!

Hosting Online Moot Court Competitions
Thursday, June 18, 2:15-3:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 2
Presenters: Jennifer R. Franklin, Professor of the Practice of Law, William & Mary Law School; Erin Okuno, Assistant Director, Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, and Adjunct Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law; Stephanie Rae Williams, Assistant Professor of Legal Research & Writing, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law

Due to the worldwide pandemic, most moot court and other advocacy competitions unfortunately had to be canceled this spring. A few competitions moved forward in an online format, however, and many more are likely to do so this coming academic year. The practice of law has necessarily become—and will continue to be—increasingly virtual, and law schools, professors, and coaches need to prepare students to practice in a virtual environment. This session will identify lessons learned from our experiences hosting first-year oral argument and moot court competitions online this spring, provide suggestions for organizing and hosting virtual moot court competitions, and discuss the future of moot court and other advocacy competitions.

Coffee Break Networking Session—MUST REGISTER by 5:00 p.m. on June 17
Thursday, June 18, 3:00-3:30 p.m. (EDT) in Room 1
Host: Laura Killinger, Director of the Legal Practice Program, Clinical Associate Professor of Legal Writing, William & Mary Law School

Missing meeting your colleagues from around the country? Join us for a casual conversation in small breakout rooms.

Speed Mentoring Session for New Faculty
Thursday, June 18, 3:00-3:30 p.m. (EDT) in Room 2
Presenter: Abby Perdue, Professor of Legal Writing, Wake Forest University School of Law

Have you ever wondered how to design a legal writing problem that involves implicit bias or racial justice? Do you struggle to find time for scholarship? Are you feeling anxious about navigating the tenure and promotion process? Do you want to learn more about virtual teaching tools? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then please join us for this speed mentoring session. Seasoned professors with expertise in teaching excellence, scholarly productivity, diversity and inclusion, promotion and tenure, leadership, service, professional status, and online teaching will man various breakout rooms keyed to each of those topics. You'll have a chance to enjoy a small group Q&A session with our expert facilitators. To encourage candid conversations, this session won't be recorded. If you'd like to participate as a mentee, please sign up through Zoom by or before 12pm EDT on Wednesday, June 17. Please indicate your top three breakout room choices ranked by order of interest with 1 being your top choice. We will do our best to accommodate you. To preserve a small-group setting, we can only promise spots to the first 100 mentees to sign up for the session.

Stress Busters for Online Teaching
Thursday, June 18, 3:30-4:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 1
Presenter: Ann Nowak, Director of the Writing Center, Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Teaching live online doesn’t seem like it would be stressful. You can wear pajama bottoms. Your cat can be curled in your lap. But then your children start yelling, your dog starts barking, and your cat decides to train for the Olympic hurdles. You try to focus on teaching. Stress builds. You’re trapped, staring at students on a computer screen. Your neck, shoulders, and back begin to lock up. Your eyes start to burn. And you still have another hour of class left. What can you do? You can suffer silently and power through, or you can take advantage of some stress-busting tips that will make online teaching less painful. This high-energy, interactive presentation will guide you through a variety of short, fun, and useful exercises that you can perform along with your students to help all of you reduce tension, increase stamina, and even build community in your online classroom.

Tips for Making Online Content Accessible
Thursday, June 18, 3:30-4:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 2
Presenter: Aysha S. Ames, Assistant Professor of Legal Writing, Brooklyn Law School

As we all transition to online teaching and learning, one topic that is not always at the forefront of the conversation is how to make our online content accessible to people with disabilities. Mainly utilizing Microsoft Office and Acrobat Professional features, this hands-on presentation will provide basic information to help participants create and develop accessible online content to help to ensure an inclusive learning environment.

Introduction to Various Online Teaching Tools
Thursday, June 18, 4:15-5:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Sue Altmeyer, Associate Law Librarian at the University of Akron School of Law; Tiffany Johnson, Legal Studies Program Coordinator, University of Memphis; Joy Kanwar, Brooklyn Law School; Abby Perdue, Professor of Legal Writing, Wake Forest University School of Law; Kim D. Ricardo, UIC JMLS; Sarah Starnes, Assistant Law Librarian at the University of Akron School of Law

Because of the current pandemic, in the fall, many LRW faculty will meet their students for the first time on an online platform. In preparation for this, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all of the online teaching tools out there. We’ve come together to find some of the best and coolest tools to help you figure out what works best for planning, creating content, and actively teaching online.  These tools can help prepare and get your online-teaching plan together, help keep students engaged, interested, and excited to learn, create a classroom culture and build student professional identity in an online format, and help you as the professor share the information in an easy to use and clear manner.  Some of the tools to be discussed include Kaizena, Vialogues, Padlet, and A Web Whiteboard (AWW). In addition, we’ll introduce and discuss how to create a law school avatar to both figuratively and literally stand in for the online student, and enhance the student experience. We’ll each briefly introduce a tool, explain its purpose, and give a quick demonstration of how it works.  We’ll also each record a short tutorial on using the tool that will be uploaded separately.

Backward Design: A Handy Tool for Remote Teaching
Thursday, June 18, 4:15-5:00 p.m. (EDT) in Room 2
Presenters: Meredith Capps, Vanderbilt Law School; Sarah Dunaway, Vanderbilt Law School; Mariah Ford, Vanderbilt Law School; Katie Hanschke, Vanderbilt Law School; Clanitra Stewart Nejdl, Vanderbilt Law School

The Vanderbilt Law Library recently revamped its 1L legal research curriculum. In order to ensure that the revamp was effective, the librarians utilized backward design, which requires that instructors formulate a set of teaching objectives prior to creating course materials.  When the University transitioned to remote teaching as a result of COVID-19, the prior preparation as a group made the transition much easier because the teaching librarians were able to utilize the core concepts that were agreed to by all while still customizing their instruction to fit the needs of their individual sections and teaching styles.


Schedule for Friday, June 19
Schedule for Friday, June 19
Time Room 1 Room 2
12:00-12:45 Developing Asynchronous Content: Three Perspectives

Using Psychological Principles to

Deliver an Online Lecture Effectively

Teaching Transactional Research
1:15-1:25 Break
1:25-1:45 Interactive Teaching in a Virtual Environment with Lexis Tools

Student Wellness and Mental


A Vehicle for Applied Skills

on Day 1


Charting New Territories: Giving

Effective Feedback in an Online


Online Student Group Work
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-3:45 Zoom Happy Hours Developing Effective Visual Aids
3:45-4:15 Online Peer Review Live Conferencing Online

Restructuring a

Legal Research Course

Oyez, Oy Vey: Remote Oral

Arguments Pitfalls and Opportunities

Session Details for Friday, June 19

Developing Asynchronous Content: Three Perspectives
Friday, June 19, 12:00–12:45pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Brian Larson, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University School of Law; Allison Martin, Clinical Professor of Law, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; Aliza Milner, Teaching Professor, Syracuse University College of Law

This panel presentation considers asynchronous content from three perspectives.  First, what can related disciplines teach about delivering asynchronous content?  Specifically, how may evidence-based online teaching of technical writing inform online teaching of legal writing?  Second, the presentation will discuss strategies and corresponding online gadgets and gizmos for effectively converting a live legal writing course into an asynchronous course.  And third, the presentation will address how to divide a legal writing course between asynchronous and live classes.  What works for self-study and what should be preserved for live classes? The panel plans to leave plenty of time for questions.

Using Psychological Principles to Deliver an Online Lecture Effectively
Friday, June 19, 12:45-1:15pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenter: Deirdre M. Bowen, J.D., Ph.D.

Delivering some content to students via an online lecture is unavoidable. But violating the psychological principles of an effective lecture is avoidable. In this presentation, I will review a synthesis of the empirical research on these principles and apply them to legal research and writing, discuss how and why they especially matter for online learning, and finally, examine the ways in which these principles are most often violated. I will use a stealth “what not to wear” style of pulling up anonymous (oh no, she did not just wear that outside) power point slides posted publicly online and use an “Oprah make-over” style of how to bring the slides into the realm of effectiveness (oh yes she is owning her style!). At the end of the presentation, the audience should have a better understanding of what these principles are, how to apply them to your online teaching, and how to ensure that you are using them strategically to enhance the delivery of your online lectures.

Teaching Transactional Research
Friday, June 19, 12:45-1:15 (EDT) in Room 2
Presenters: Stefanie Weigmann, Associate Director of Research and Instruction; Brian Flaherty, Instructional Services Librarian, Boston University School of Law

This presentation will talk about creating a transactional law research class to supplement law school curriculum in this area, and the challenges of moving a heavily exercise-based, project driven class online.  We will work with participants to brainstorm moving class-based exercises online and talk about how to make a flipped classroom completely remote.

Interactive Teaching in a Virtual Environment with Lexis Tools
Friday, June 19, 1:25-1:45pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenter: Shelley Duncan, Practice Area Consultant, LexisNexis Legal & Professional

Join Shelley Duncan, William and Mary’s Lexis Account Representative for the past 15 years, for an overview of the teaching tools you have available through your Lexis Faculty Account. Lexis Learn, Lexis Classroom and the Interactive Citation Workstation are all teaching tools that were designed for remote/self-paced learning and will take away the burden of creating interactive learning activities from scratch. And to add a little fun we will be raffling off Door Dash, Uber Eats and Amazon gift cards during the session!

Student Wellness and Mental Wellbeing
Friday, June 19, 1:45-2:15pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Emily Bishop (she/her/hers), Writing Instructor and Program Co-Director, Loyola University New Orleans; Stevie Leahy (she/her/hers), Assistant Teaching Professor, Northeastern University School of Law

This presentation will focus on centering the mental wellbeing of students for the 2020-21 academic year. The incoming cohort has unique stressors that are compounded by challenging current events – as educators, we are also challenged to engage and connect with these students in a virtual environment. This presentation will give practical strategies to engage with students that facilitate and foster mental health, with an eye to anchoring our tactics within a legal research and writing curriculum. The presentation aims to encourage healthy dialogue on how to de-stigmatize mental wellbeing and best support our students. This goal, more so now than ever, is crucial to our collective success.

A Vehicle for Applied Skills on Day 1
Friday, June 19, 1:45-2:15pm (EDT) in Room 2
Presenters: Alison Mikkor, Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills, UC Irvine School of Law; Roger V. Skalbeck, Professor of Law, Richmond School of Law

A sense of community and shared purpose are essential to student learning.  But how do we build community online?  And how can we do this starting on the first day?  With this session, we share how we each create classroom community, as well as lay the foundation for our substantive learning objectives, from the very first day of our courses—a lawyering skills course at UCI Law and a legal research course at Richmond School of Law.  We both use variations of a “vehicles” statute to engage students and create an environment that encourages exploration and empathy.  Along the way, we have law students doing research and rule interpretation on the first day. Students explore search techniques, needing to separate keywords from concepts, in the legal research course. In the lawyering skills course, they make oral arguments for interpreting a municipal ordinance’s use of "vehicles." Our presentation will explore each of our class models.  We will also identify the common features of our approaches and explore how they might be applied to your own interactive first-day exercise to foster a spirit of engagement, empathy, and exploration among your students. 

Charting New Territories: Giving Effective Feedback in an Online Environment
Friday, June 19, 2:15-3:00pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Kathryn (Kate) Nunez, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law; Amy Levin, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; Jane Cross, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law; Heather Baxter, Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law; Camille Lamar, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law; Aimee Dudovitz, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

With the move from in-person to remote instruction, the common practice of providing feedback to students through handwritten, hard copy comments may be more challenging.  We will therefore explore and demonstrate several alternative ways to provide effective feedback in an online learning environment. Kate Nunez will summarize available empirical and case study data on the importance of effective feedback in online courses and the best methods for providing it, Amy Levin will examine the advantages of providing audio and video feedback and how to do so, Jane Cross will discuss standard and suggested practices for conducting and recording online student conferences to review assignment drafts, Heather Baxter will explore how to use the Annotate Pro program to add pre-programmed comments in a Word document, Camille Lamar will overview the importance of rubrics as formative assessment tools that can be leveraged in an online learning environment to help students evaluate drafts and formulate revision plans, and Aimee Dudovitz will conclude by discussing the use of online rubrics in summative assessment in the legal research context.  We welcome comments and questions from participants about how we can all improve the feedback we provide our students.

Online Student Group Work
Friday, June 19, 2:15-3:00pm (EDT) in Room 2
Presenters: Afton Cavanaugh, Director of Law Success, St. Mary's University School of Law; Michael Gentithes, Assistant Professor, University of Akron School of Law; Sarah Starnes, Assistant Law Librarian, University of Akron School of Law; Lynn Su, Professor of Law, New York Law School

Collaboration and group work can be a very important part of a student’s law school experience, even online. This presentation will provide hints and tips that writing and research faculty can use to foster and encourage safe collaboration and connection among students in an online environment, where collaboration often includes sharing some written work. The presentation will also put some of these collaborative practices into action.

Zoom Happy Hours
Thursday, June 19, 3:15-3:45pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenter: Jessica Lefort, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan School of Law

Informal social gatherings are the lifeblood of any 1L experience. Whether social distancing is making such gatherings impossible, or you're just looking to supplement your in-person student-professor experiences, this session is for you. We'll talk about why you might want to host a virtual happy hour with your students, how to do it, and things you should keep in mind when doing so. So grab a drink, pull up a chair and say cheers to a successfully planned virtual happy hour!

Developing Effective Visual Aids
Friday, June 19, 3:15-3:45pm (EDT) in Room 2
Presenter: Zachary Schmook, Assistant Professor of Legal Writing, University of Oklahoma College of Law

PowerPoint presentations are ubiquitous in live class instruction. As professors have moved their courses online, some have placed even more of an emphasis on slides. But an invisible narrator reading over slides is far from the most effective way to deliver a lecture or develop a remote rapport with students. This presentation will start by summarizing best practices for developing slide decks for any format using the growing body of cognitive science research on developing effective visual aids. From there, we’ll discuss techniques to maximize your slides for use in both synchronous and asynchronous online lectures.

Online Peer Review
Friday, June 19, 3:45-4:15pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Kirsten K. Davis, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Law and Director, Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication, Stetson University College of Law; Brian N. Larson, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law; Jennifer Sheppard, Assistant Professor of Law, United States Air Force Academy

Peer review is a well-established method of improving legal writing for both the writer and the reviewer.  Peer review software uses technology to better engage student reviewers, structure and facilitate the review process, and provide faculty and students with data that increases learning and improves teaching.  Moreover, it is particularly well suited for student collaboration in a distance-education environment.  This session will describe the process of using peer review software in legal writing distance education and its benefits.

Live Conferencing Online
Friday, June 19, 3:45–4:15pm (EDT) in Room 2
Presenters: Katrina Lee, Clinical Professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; Michelle Zakarin, Associate Professor of Legal Process, Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

In the very recent past, live conferences—when a student brings a draft writing to you for feedback right then and there—usually involved several sheets of paper, a table or desk in your office, and maybe a pen or pencil for you to write feedback. This presentation will explore the many considerations of taking live conferences online, including: How do you arrange to receive the draft to be live critiqued? Should you type comments during the conference? Should you review the draft using the share-screen function? This presentation will be of interest to any legal writing professor, whether they’re novices or more experienced at giving live feedback, or merely have an interest in holding live conferences.  

Restructuring a Legal Research Course
Friday, June 19, 4:15-5:00pm (EDT) in Room 1
Presenters: Katie Siler, Reference and Outreach Librarian and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law Library; Kevin Rothenberg, Reference Librarian and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law Library; Grace Lo, Reference Librarian, Stanford Law Library

Are you wondering how you’ll make the switch to online classes when your materials are designed for a traditional in-person classroom setting? Join us in discussing how we reformatted our quarter-long advanced legal research class, in its entirety, to function as a successful online course. We’ll go over what worked and what didn’t work and give you 5 solid strategies to help you redesign your course.

Oyez, Oy Vey: Remote Oral Arguments Pitfalls and Opportunities
Friday, June 19 4:15-5:00 pm (EDT) in Room 2
Presenters: Rose Carmen Goldberg, Berkeley Law; Teresa Wall-Cyb, Hastings Law; Robert Kane, Hastings Law; Peter Chang, Hastings Law

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed oral arguments onto the digital stage, not only in LRW classrooms, but in courts across the country. Though the public health crisis will eventually subside, this mode of argument will likely rise. Students, therefore, can benefit from continuing instruction on virtual advocacy. This presentation will share tips and incite discussion on how LRW instructors can effectively navigate this new frontier. The presentation will start with the nuts and bolts of holding arguments online. For instance, what platforms are best/worst and why? The presentation will also discuss how to prepare students and volunteer judges. This can be critical to avoiding snafus and can also help best recreate the in-person argument setting. In addition, the presentation will discuss how instructors can be sensitive to students’ individual circumstances and well-being in their remote oral argument planning.  For instance, some students may not have a suitable space in their homes from which to argue. Further, as the pandemic and its aftereffects continue, students may be under personal stresses that could impact their performance/ability to participate. As the presenters cover these and other topics, they will share illustrative lessons learned and best practices.

Virtual Poster Sessions

Using the App Notability, an iPad, and an Apple Pencil to Grade Student Papers Effectively
Presenter: Amy R. Stein, Professor of Legal Writing, Assistant Dean for Legal Writing and Adjunct Instruction, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

I had never found an online grading system that worked for both myself and the students.  Pre-pandemic, I wrote handwritten comments on each paper and distributed a separate grading rubric with my individual comments at the end.  Last March when I had to scan in 45 papers I realized that my method was no longer viable.  However, I still wanted to be able to replicate online what I had been doing by hand.

In this presentation, I will demonstrate how Notability enables you to download student work into the app, “handwrite” comments using the Apple pencil, and also insert and edit text. Students subsequently receive a PDF of their graded work with both the handwritten and typed comments.  This system enables me to give feedback that is identical to what I gave before the pandemic without touching any actual paper. The entire process feels faster, smoother and easier and students seem to love it.

Using Supreme Court Briefs to Teach Oral Advocacy and Social Justice in your Online Legal Writing Course
Presenter: Stevie Leahy (she/her/hers), Assistant Teaching Professor, Northeastern University School of Law

This video presentation will demonstrate one method of incorporating Supreme Court briefs and related oral arguments to highlight effective oral advocacy in a legal research and writing curriculum. It will also showcase a way to introduce social justice themes into the classroom. This presentation will feature the “Title VII Trifecta” as an example (related to Title VII discrimination), but can be modified for other topics of interest. Resources for potential topics and briefs will be provided.

Thinking Outside the Screen: Enhancing Video Based Classes With “Actors”
Presenter: Sonia Bychkov Green, Associate Professor of Law, UIC John Marshall Law School

This poster presentation will be a short video clip where I talk about how we can engage students more and leverage the opportunities we have when teaching from home online, by using interactive components in our classes. In my Civil Procedure class this spring I had family members act out certain concepts, pretend to be one of the parties in a case, and join a class meeting in the role of a judge. For legal writing, we can engage people in and out of our homes through the use of video platforms (Zoom, WebEx, etc.). We can pull in participants to role play more easily when it’s online, and we can not only have fun, but also engage our students.  I will show how we can pull in lawyers, judges, and many others to role play how a case might be assigned and how a fact pattern can be made more relatable.

Building Virtual Rapport: Real Relationships for Effective Online Learning 
Presenter: Andrele St. Val, Visiting Professor of Law, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Even in traditional in-person classes, building a relationship with students that encourages the free flow of ideas and motivates them to communicate with peers and teachers is challenging.  Add technology and physical distance to this equation, and it can seem insurmountable. But it does not have to be. In this session, I will provide practical tips and information on how you can build rapport with your students in a virtual setting. According to Moore’s theory of transactional distance, effective online learning is predicated upon narrowing the transactional distance between students and instructors, students and other students, and students and the materials. This session focuses on one side of this triangle: establishing rapport between students and instructors. Establishing this kind of rapport requires more than just timely feedback and informative lectures; it requires professors to “humanize” themselves and their courses. Every professor will have a different path to building rapport with their students, and it is important that they plan ahead of time to build an authentic approach to establishing rapport.

Online Self-Grading Assessments for Legal Research and Writing Courses
Presenter: Eric P. Voigt, Research and Writing Associate Professor of Law, Faulkner Law

Do you want to provide more formative assessment measures to students without overburdening your workload? Do you want to maximize your students’ long-term retention of course material? If yes, then check out this chart “presentation.” This chart identifies free and subscription-based resources covering legal research and writing topics. This chart discusses many online resources with pre-built exercises and quizzes that provide instant feedback and explanations to students.

The Podcast Trifecta: Student Engagement, Blend of Asynchronous and Synchronous, and Skill Transfer
Katherine Silver Kelly, Clinical Professor of Law & Director of Academic Support, The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law

I used an episode of a fun (and kid-friendly) debate podcast called Smash, Boom, Best this spring as a way for students to take the abstract concepts of persuasion learned in class and make them more concrete. Students listened to the 50 minute podcast whenever and wherever and had to post on the class discussion board who they voted for and why, which persuasive technique was most and least effective, and comment on at least two other posts.

Bonus is that they were engaged in the class and with each other in an authentic way. By choosing a non-legal (and fun) podcast, no-one felt unqualified, or thought someone else was, to have an opinion.

Double bonus is that it incorporated synchronous and asynchronous learning which provided both flexibility and structure. Using the discussion board gave students time to think about what they wanted to say and how to respond.

Triple-triple bonus is that students transferred persuasive communication skills from class to the real world, used them to explain their own positions and discuss them with classmates, and again to their major advocacy writing assignment.

Now That You’re Teaching Online, You Might as Well Teach Online Internationally
Presenter: Mark Wojcik, Professor of Law, UIC John Marshall Law School
Now that you’ve learned how to teach online, you can teach online internationally. Law students and legal professionals around the world would welcome the opportunity to learn from you. Learn how to offer writing seminars, guest lectures, one-on-one and small-group training, moot court coaching, and more to students, fellow professors, legal professionals, and bar associations around the world. 

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