On Monday, January 7, 2014, Practising Law Institute announced our lucky AALS 2014 Answer Book raffle winner, Professor Bill MacDonald of Whittier Law School. Read on to learn more about Professor MacDonald, his thoughts on PLI and on the AALS Annual Meeting, and how he plans on using the eighteen PLI Answer Books he won in the raffle.
Describe your role at Whittier Law School
I am Director of Academic Support. I work mostly with our first- and second-year law students to help them develop facility and confidence in the skills they need to perform well in their classes here. I teach workshops and classes and I meet with students one-on-one to address specific concerns. What I love about this job is the fact that so many students at so many stages of their development as lawyers recognize the value of taking a “big picture” view of their experiences here at Whittier Law, and come to my office seeking guidance and resources not just to help them understand the substantive law, but also to help them develop as learners and students.
Do you use PLI publications? If so, which ones? What do you use them for?
When I was a tax practitioner, I used PLI books on tax planning by Louis Freeman and accessed some of PLI’s online webcasts and learning content. I thought these were great resources.
What are your plans for the Answer Books?
This is my first year as Director of Academic Support, and while we have quite a few PLI books in our main law library, one of my goals is to enhance the holdings of our Academic Support Program library, which many students turn to, on their own or in consultation with me, to help them get a better handle on what they are studying. Your Answer Books are a perfect fit and I am delighted to be able to share them with my students.
What did you think of this year’s AALS meeting? Please share one takeaway from the conference.
I thought this year’s AALS meeting was quite worthwhile – stimulating, informative, and enjoyable. My biggest takeaway was that student services, law school administration, and substantive professors seem to be increasingly interested in working together to enhance law students’ experiences and opportunities from every angle – something that was very gratifying to observe, since that is the stance I’ve taken since arriving at Whittier Law, and it is one to which my colleagues here seem equally committed.
And finally, how did the snow storm affect your travel plans?
Fortunately, I traveled to NY by train from DC, and suffered no ill effects from the storm. In fact, as a native New Englander now living in Southern California, I considered it a blessing that I got to see a few inches of snow before I was forced to return to the endless summer of Surf City.