Sara Berman is a nationally recognized thought leader in legal education who speaks and writes extensively on student success. Berman currently serves as the Director of Academic and Bar Success at the nonprofit AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence where she leads research initiatives and grant funding programs to assist law schools nationwide in improving student outcomes. Berman conceived, founded, and edits Raising the Bar, a quarterly publication dedicated to the civil exchange of evidence-based thought regarding law student success and the bar exam. Prior to this position, Berman served as the Director of Critical Skills and Academic and Bar Support at Nova Southeastern School of Law. Berman attended the UCLA School of Law for her JD, and received a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with Distinction in both the Political Science and French Literature majors.
Professor Berman served as a professor of law since 1998. Her courses include criminal law and procedure, torts, contracts, remedies and community property, as well as legal writing, study skills, and bar exam success courses and seminars. Berman lectured for several bar reviews nationwide for decades, preparing thousands students for both doctrinal and skills portions of bar exams in numerous jurisdictions. Her publications include Bar Exam Success: A Comprehensive Guide, published in 2019 by the American Bar Association and West Publishing, and The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System and Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Case, both co-authored with UCLA Law Professor Paul Bergman and published by Nolo.com. Berman has twice been appointed as the ABA Fact Finder to assess applications for hybrid program variances (January 2018 and November 2018), and served on an ABA site team visit in November 2018..
BERMAN PUBLICATIONS AND CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
Bar Exam Success: A Comprehensive Guide (published by the American Bar Association and distributed by West Publishing, 2019 –adapted from the original 2013 ABA publication, Pass The Bar: A Practical Guide to Achieving Academic & Professional Goals.
Bar Exam MPT Preparation & Experiential Learning for Law Students: Interactive Performance Test Training, (American Bar Association, 2017).
Teacher’s Manual for Pass The Bar: A Practical Guide to Achieving Academic & Professional Goals, (American Bar Association, 2013).
The Criminal Law Handbook: Know Your Rights, Survive the System, (Nolo.com,15th ed. 2018) co-authored with UCLA Law Professor Paul Bergman.
Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare and Try a Winning Case, (Nolo.com, 10th ed. to be published 2019) co-authored with UCLA Law Professor Paul Bergman.
“LRW and ASP Unite: Reading, Writing, and the Student Success Continuum,” LWI One-Day Conference, Memphis School of Law, Memphis, TN, December 2019.
Curricular Reform in Law School, conceived and coordinated by Sara J. Berman, Moderated by Robert K. Rasmussen, with speakers: Carla D. Pratt, Luke Bierman, and Megan Carpenter, at AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence Legal Research Symposium, Orlando, FL, November 2019.
Growing Grit: Success Dividends that Stem from Fostering Resilience in Law School, Sara Berman with Olympia Duhart and Alicia Jackson, at AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence Legal Research Symposium, Orlando, FL, November 2019.
The Role of Law School ASP/Bar Success Programs in the New Age of Standard 316, conceived and coordinated by Sara J. Berman, moderated by Maureen O’Rourke, with speakers: James McGrath, Bill Adams, Michael F. Barry, and Nicola Boothe Perry at AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence Legal Research Symposium, Orlando, FL, November 2019..
The Impact of Student Wellness on Law School and Bar Exam Success, moderated by Brian Gaillini, Speakers: Sara Berman, Janet Stearns, and John Lesko, at AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence Legal Research Symposium, Orlando, FL, November 2019.
“Growing Grit: The Case for Resilience,” Sara J Berman, at AccessLex LexCon conference, Orlando, FL, November 2019.
“Report on Preliminary Findings of LSSSE-AccessLex Bar Study,” West Coast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, November 2019.
“Strength in Numbers: Using Data to Inform Law School Academic Success and Diversity Efforts,” with Rachel Patterson, at AASE Diversity Conference, Chicago IL, October 2019.
“Online & Hybrid Pedagogy: Toward Defining Best Practices in Legal Education,” Conference Co-Chair; created content and moderated panels “Student Success and Faculty Engagement in Hybrid and Online Teaching” and closing plenary, The Future is Here: Legal Education in a Hybrid World,” Denver University Sturm College of Law, Denver, CO, September 2019.
“Keep it Simple: Giving Feedback in Large Classes,” panelist at Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), Boca Raton, FL, July/August 2019.
“Teaching for Deep Learning: Helping Students Pass the Bar Exam Without “Teaching to the Test,” conceived panel of 20 participants and co-moderator with Professor Steve Friedland at Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), Boca Raton, FL, July/August 2019.
“Academic Support and Bar Prep Professionals: Finding Status in the Legal Academy,” panelist at Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), Boca Raton, FL, July/August 2019.
“Identity and Legal Education,” panelist at Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS), Boca Raton, FL, July/August 2019.
“Skilling Up and Seeking Resources: Grant Development and Management in the Law School,” concurrent panel moderated by Ruben Garcia, with panelist Christian Sundquist, ABA Associate Dean’s Conference, Chicago IL, June 2019.
“Assessments, Data, and Bar Exam Pass Strategies,” Plenary Panel moderated by Larry Cunningham, with panelists Alicia Jackson and Lily Knezevich, ABA Associate Dean’s Conference, Chicago IL, June 2019.
Opening Remarks, AccessLex Sponsored Lunch, Thursday June 27, 2019, ABA Associate Dean’s Conference, Chicago IL, June 2019.
“Bar Preparation: It’s Not Teaching to the Test,” at Institute for Teaching and Learning, Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas, June 2019
“ASP and Student Affair Overlap: Effective Techniques for Collaboration,” conceived and moderated panel with Janet Stears, Michele Struffolino, Staci Rucker, and Jennifer Carr at NALSAP, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., June 2019
“Raising the Bar: The Role of Student Wellbeing in Passing the Bar Exam” with Janet Stearns and Joni Wiredu at NALSAP, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., June 2019
“Critical Reading for Law Students — What Library, LRW, and ASP Can Collectively Do To Help Hone This Indispensable Skill”, with Vicenc Feliu at SEAALL, West Virginia University College of Law, Hot Springs, VA March 2019
“ASP and Student Affairs Unite”, with Jennifer Carr, Staci Rucker, at 7th Annual SWCASP Conference, St. Mary’s University School of Law, San Antonio, TX, March 2019
“What We Know About Bar Performance”, opening plenary address for Sections on Academic Support and Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession Joint Program, Circling the Square: Fresh Partnerships to Understand
Student Learning and Bar Performance through Empirical Studies, followed by breakout session, “Getting Started with Empirical Work on Academic Support & Bar Success,” 2019 AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, January 2019
“Learning Here, There, and Everywhere: Distance Learning Technology & New Tech Tools”, panel with Allison Martin, Dyane O’Leary, Gabriel Teninbaum, Tara Willke, followed by breakout session “Creating Student Engagement in the Online Law Classroom” 2019 AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, January 2019
“Student Affairs and Academic Success Unite” session for Student Services Hot Topics Program” with Associate Dean Michele Struffolino, 2019 AALS Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, January 2019
“Demonstrated Commitment to Student Success: A Necessary Fourth Pillar?” with Michele Struffolino at SALT Teaching Conference: Legal Education for a Changing Society, Penn State Law, University Park, PA, October 2018
“The Helicopter Effect: Connecting with Students and Society”, with Gary Myers, Renee Allen, Deborah Cupples, Emily Grant, Kathleen Vinson, Catherine Wasson at SEALS Annual Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL. August 2018
Integrating Performance Tests into Doctrinal Courses, Skills Courses, and Institutional Benchmark Testing: A Simple Way to Enhance Student Engagement While Furthering Assessment, Bar Passage, and Other ABA Accreditation Objectives, Journal of the Legal Profession, Vol. 42, No. 2, 2018
“Reaching Today’s Law Students with Performance Test Writing Assignments: Springboards for Student Engagement and Bar Preparation” at LWI Institute, University of Tennessee College of Law, December 2018
“Assessing Our Work and Informing the Future: An Introduction to AccessLex Institute’s Diversity Pipeline Grant and Bar Success Grant Programs,” with Rachel Patterson at NALSAP, Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, IN, June 2018
“Building Your Following: The Positive Impact of Library Participation in an Academic Success Program” with Vicenc Feliu, Michelle T. Murray, and Becka Rich, at SEAALL, Nashville, TN, April 2018
“One and Done: Tips on Preparing for the Bar Exam” at NBLSA 50th National Convention, Brooklyn, NY March 2018
“Integrating Bar Exam-Related Experiential Learning into Doctrinal Courses,” presentation at LWI One-Day Conference, NSU Law School, December 2017
“Bar Preparation Costs: How Schools are Navigating Hurdles,” presentation at AccessLex Legal Education Research Symposium, November 2017
Say It in Your Own Words: Translate and Reverse Engineer Legal Jargon to Read More Effectively, Learning Curve, Summer/Autumn 2017
“Team Teaching MBEs: Success Training for Students and New ASP Faculty Alike,” presentation with Chance Meyer at AASE conference, 2017
Professionalism and Power: Encouraging Students from Orientation Forward, Learning Curve, Winter 2017
Using Alumni to Support Bar Takers, with Christine Francis, Learning Curve, Summer 2016
“Bar Exam Business Plans,” presentation at AASE conference, 2016
Getting Extra Practical Training out of Performance Tests with Spin-Off Exercises, Learning Curve, Fall 2015
The Power Trio of MBEs, Essays, and Performance Tests, The National Jurist, February 2015
Lawyers Supervising Lawyers, CLE lecture for CA State Bar Section Education Institute, 1994
Integrating Beginning Lawyers into the Business of Law, Law Practice Management, ABA, July/August 1993
Selected Blog Posts and PodCasts
Fostering Student Success: Part II -Possible Actionable Steps to Encourage Growth Mindsets, (September 5, 2019), bestpracticeslegaled.albanylawblogs.org.
Fostering Student Success: Part I Challenges Posed by Changing Times and Changing Culture, (September 3, 2019), bestpracticeslegaled.albanylawblogs.org.
Practice Makes Passing (Bar Exam), Episode 6 (in two parts) of ABA Path to Law Students Well-Being Podcast Series, with Benjamin Madison, June 2019, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/path-to-law-student-well-being/id1467819992
“What Law Schools Might Learn from one of Basketball’s Greatest Coaches, John Wooden” (November 16, 2018), bestpracticeslegaled.albanylawblogs.org.
“Teaching Today’s Law Students: Tips for Starting the New School Year,” with Professor Andrea Curcio (August 13, 2018), bestpracticeslegaled.albanylawblogs.org.
Visited and spoke with faculty and/or students at a number of law schools including, Elon (September 2019), Lincoln Memorial (September 2019), New England Law School (March 2019), John Marshall, Chicago (August 2018) CUNY (March 2018).