SWLAW Blog | Dean's Fellow Digest

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April 2, 2020

Dean's Fellow Digest Issue #5 - Bison Strong: Compilation of Resources to Assist with Focus and Study During COVID-19 and More

Issue: 2020-05

Dean's Fellows consistently strive to support students in realizing their full academic potential, leading ultimately to success on the bar exam and in the workplace. To support all Southwestern students in this goal, the Dean's Fellows created this Digest as a way to check-in at critical times throughout the semester with helpful tips, strategies, and encouragement. 


  • Bison Strong: Compilation of Resources to Assist with Focus and Study During COVID-19
  • Time Management - Quarantine Edition 

Bison Strong: Compilation of Resources to Assist with Focus and Study During COVID-19
By: Haley Pollock*

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We are Bison Strong!

Attaining the resources we need during this time period can at times be challenging—including academic resources. Fortunately, there has been an outpouring of resource assistance for us to access remotely. Below, please find a compilation of some such resources.

Law To Fact Podcast: 

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This particular podcast discusses how to be a successful distance learner. 

Click here to go to podcast



Online Casebooks and Required Materials: 

In response to the COVID19 crisis, some of the major casebook publishers are offering limited access to e-book versions of required course materials:


VitalSource Helps Access Instructions:

  1. To get started, students should visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com and log-in or create a Bookshelf account with their institution-provided email address. 
  2. Here are instructions on creating a Bookshelf account for both students and instructors.
  3. Once students create an account with an institution-provided email address, they should log in and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen. This tab provides access to the freely available e-textbooks.

For a complete list of VitalSource frequently asked questions regarding access to the VitalSource Helps Program, please visit their site to learn more.

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Please note that at this time, student downloads are limited to 7 titles and trial access will expire on Monday, May 25th, 2020.

West Academic

West Academic is offering free access to its electronic casebooks for students at schools that have moved to distance education due to the COVID-19 crisis. The access will last until June 1. West Academic asks that you create an account and then call (877) 888-1330 with your request. It will help to have the title, author, or ISBN for your casebook available. The offer is only for required casebooks.

Lexis and Carolina Academic Press

Image - SWLAW Lexis LibraryLexis has added Lexis and Carolina Academic Press casebooks to our LexisNexis Digital LibraryThis is the same platform you may have already been using for LexisNexis study guides. (Log in with your Southwestern email username and password.)



Digital Study Guides: 

 LexisNexis Study Guides and Digital Library. This service includes the popular Questions & Answers and Understanding series.  Additionally, LexisNexis has added casebooks, and the Mastering and Skills & Values series to our library to help us through these times. (Sign in with your Southwestern email address and password.)

Wolters Kluwer has generously made a 90-day trial of the Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aid Library (AspenLaw eBooks) available to us. This includes the Examples & ExplanationsGlannon Guides and Emanuel series. (You will log into this library with your full first and last name and the bar code number on the back of your Southwestern ID card.)

Image - WestAcademicWest Academic has also kindly offered us a 90-day trial of West Academic Study Aids. (Log in with your first and last name and the bar code on the back of your Southwestern ID card). Once you have authenticated, you can "Create an Account" in the upper right corner. The account allows you to take notes, highlight, save favorites, and download titles for offline access. Once your account is properly set up, you can use it to go directly to West Academic independently of Southwestern's network.

Electronic Resources: 

You can access most of the Library's electronic resources remotely. Use the Electronic Resources page as a gateway to a wide range of databases. (Log in with your first and last name, and the bar code number on the back of your Southwestern ID card. If your card was printed without a number, email reference@swlaw.edu using your Southwestern email address and including your full name.)

When using our Online Cataloguse filters to restrict your search results to full-text electronic books and articles that are available to you. If you are prompted for a login, use your first and last name and the bar code number on the back of your Southwestern ID card.

Of interest to students working on seminar papers, two of our major providers of interdisciplinary scholarly books and journals have generously expanded the content we can access for the next few months. Because we have only temporary access, the extra content is not reflected in our online catalog. Use the links below and log in with your first and last name, and the bar code on the back of your Southwestern ID card.


Project Muse

For people who need help with navigating government benefits, working/housing/low-income resources: 

The National Lawyer's Guild community is stepping up to meet the needs of those who are most vulnerable in this crisis--including those who have lost their jobs or are at risk losing their homes. 

One important resource is this LA-based, crowd-sourced guide to local services available during COVID-19. It covers government benefits, worker/housing/low-income resources, entertainment, best practices, etc.  


Survival Guide: From Ground Game LA 


For those looking to get involved and help or who need help:

GroundGameLA set up ways for people to Donate Supplies, Volunteer, or Reach Out For Help. If you are an organization or community member that wants to help out or create a mutual aid network in your community, reach out through this form!


Time Management - Quarantine Edition
By: Kristen Abajian*

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Time Management Everyday

To stay on track with what you need to learn and accomplish over the upcoming weeks before final exams, you must develop and stick to a study plan. First, create a day-to-day schedule as well as weekly goals. Schedule your Zoom classes, office hours, and set aside time for outlining. Write it down on a whiteboard, a notebook, or an online calendar. Creating a schedule every day holds you accountable and gives you the determination you need to stay on task, especially when there are many distractions at home that are out of your control.

Take the time you would spend commuting to school and instead schedule in time to take your dogs on a walk or bake your favorite treat. It is easy to sit in front of your laptop and get sucked in for hours at a time. When we are at school, we naturally move around more, and it’s important to keep that up at home – for your health and to maintain focus in your studies.

That being said, be realistic with your time, and prioritize your tasks accordingly. When are your “prime times” you can work during the day to minimize distractions in your home? For me personally, that is early in the morning before my family wakes up, or late at night once they are asleep. Save your brain energy to work on your hardest tasks during your prime times.

Here is a great time-management online tool to create schedules, if you are struggling with time management at home: https://www.freecollegeschedulemaker.com.

And, think about how you are setting up your #Myzenworkspace! Here is one Dean’s Fellow’s Zen workspace:

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Time to Engage

If you still have not been to office hours this semester, now is the time!  Your professors are still among your most important resources in law school, and it’s important that you stay engaged with them. Professors at Southwestern have been exceptionally accommodating to the circumstances and are more than happy to help you understand and synthesize your course material. Schedule in a Zoom session and go in prepared with questions.

Now is the time before professors get busy during finals. Additionally, as hard as Zoom lectures can be on students, it is equally difficult for professors. Speak up in class and make the extra effort to participate. Professors will notice and appreciate your engagement.

Time for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Summer Externships

This is a great time to refine your resume, work on your cover letter, and start applying for summer externships if you haven’t done so already. Within a few weeks, your schedule is going to be consumed by finals studying and summer break is going to be here before you know it! Set aside an hour every night to perfect your resume, update your LinkedIn, and send out those “I’d love to pick your brain over (potentially virtual) coffee” emails. If you need help, the Career Services Officer is still fully available via telephone or Zoom. Utilize their expertise!

Time for Self-Care

It seems like now more than ever we are spending time alone or physically with family or roommates—but still feeling alone. This can be mentally draining for many, and the lingering uncertainty regarding grades, health, quarantine can be a lot to handle. That being said, Dr. Spino, the school psychologist, is an incredible and free resource at Southwestern. 

Additionally, I think it is important to set time away from electronics to unplug or go on a digital detox.  Everything on the news and social media recently has been incredibly negative and even if you don’t immediately feel it, it may have lingering effects on your mood and productivity. If you find yourself aimlessly on Instagram to the point where you have watched all your follower’s stories, try deleting the app! There are also some great apps out there to lock down your phone or computer when you want to study, such as Pocket Points, Forest, and Flipd, and if you have a hard time resisting the urge to check out social media or news outlets when you are studying, it is worth exploring them.  Deleting social media may not eliminate negative effects immediately, but over time, you may find yourself in better mental health, with an increased mood and more positive social interactions. That boost in mood can have massive benefits to your productivity.

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While remote learning requires adjustment, taking steps to effectively manage your time will ensure your continued success!

*About the Author:


Image - Haley PollockHaley is a 2L traditional day student. Before coming to Southwestern, Haley was the Chief Financial Officer for a drug treatment facility in Los Angeles. An activist and community organizer, Haley serves on a local council to promote reproductive health equity and policy in California. She is an advocate for criminal justice reform, affordable housing, and policy issues concerning residents of Los Angeles. Haley plans to pursue a career in public interest law focusing on the rights of women and girls. ​​

In addition to being a Dean’s Fellow, Haley is a staffer on Southwestern’s Law Review, Co-Chair of the Public Interest Law Committee (PILC), Treasurer of the National Lawyers Guild, a Writing Fellow, and a Peer Mentor. ​



Image - Kristen AbajianKristen is a 2L traditional day student. During the summer of 2019, Kristen worked at Manzuri Law, a cannabis corporate and transactional law firm. ​In addition to being a Dean’s Fellow, Kristen serves as the National President of the Armenian Law Student’s Association. ​

Kristen is excited to provide meaningful guidance to 1Ls. She intends to share tools with students to grow both professionally and academically during their first year of law school. ​


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Dean’s Fellows are upper-division students with strong academic skills who go through a rigorous application and training process. They are an integral part of the Academic Success and Bar Preparation Department. They are carefully selected based on their academic excellence and ability to teach other students best-practice study methods that will help them become acclimated to the study of law. Dean’s Fellows meet with students as academic mentors.

Please click HERE to make an appointment with a Dean's Fellow.