Congratulations to Professor Mario Mainero, Chapman Law’s 2013 recipient of the M. Katherine Baird Darmer “Outstanding Professor of the Year” award. The Student Bar Association presented Professor Mainero with this award on May 17, 2013, during the 2013 Graduation Ceremony.
Professor Mainero was an adjunct professor when Chapman first opened, but left to teach at Whittier Law School, later became Whittier’s Director of Academic Support in 2001, went on to create Whittier’s bar preparation program, and doubled the pass rate before returning to Chapman. He has been running Chapman’s bar prep program since 2008, and over the past few years we have seen our rates move up to the high 70s and low 80s.
The cornerstone of Professor Mainero’s bar prep program is his Select Topics in American Law class, a survey of all the essay subjects covered in the California Bar Exam. Answering in true law school format, Professor Mainero said that Select Topics helps students pass the bar. The class includes (1) what studying multiple subjects at the same time, and in a short period of time, is like; (2) what it is like to prepare for an exam with seven to eight subjects on it; (3) what it is like to take an exam with three essays, all with two or more different subjects; and (4) a baseline knowledge of the fifteen or so subjects tested on the bar exam.
Sean O’Hair (J.D. ’13) spoke of his experience with Professor Mainero: “As a professor, he’s tough, he expects a lot from you, but it’s clear that he cares about his students and preparing them for his finals and ultimately the bar,” O’Hair said.
During the school year, Professor Mainero said that he spends “70-80 hours and during the summer, about 100 hours preparing for classes, grading papers and exams, teaching, meeting with students, and the like.”
Stephanie Brault (J.D. ’13), who took Professor Mainero’s classes for Evidence and Select Topics, said that he goes “unbelievably above and beyond for his students.” In Select Topics, he provided condensed outlines for each subject and he graded student essays each week and left specific comments on every single one. Brault commented on the importance of Professor Mainero’s Select Topics class; “If I didn’t have his class, I would feel so overwhelmed right now [during bar preparation].”
When asked whether he believes his hard-working attitude and enthusiasm for learning motivates his students, Professor Mainero said, “Certainly with many of them, they appreciate my enjoyment of teaching and enthusiasm for the material. I hope my willingness to work hard for them translates to a willingness to work hard for themselves.” Professor Mainero hopes his students will take away one thing from their experiences in his classes: “Work hard–harder than they ever believed they could, and at the end of the day, be able to say, ‘I tried my best, and left nothing on the table.’ If they do that, success will find them.”
Professor Mainero held the “Outstanding Professor” award in humble regard; “Each of them [the professors at Chapman Law] is, in many ways, far more deserving of the award, so to have received it, I regard it as a recognition of the importance of academic support and bar preparation in the curriculum and life of the law school community.”