Academic Excellence and Critical Skills

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Academic Excellence & Critical Skills

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The Office of Academic Success is committed to providing you with the resources needed to succeed in law school, to pass the bar examination, and excel in your professional career. The Academic Success team collaborates with the doctrinal faculty, the Legal Writing Center, and the Wellness Office to promote student learning and development.
The Academic Success Program is designed to help you get acclimated to learning in law school and to empower you to become independent, self-regulating learners. To this end, the Academic Success team provides a comprehensive network of resources including classes, student-led tutorials, workshops, and one-on-one guidance designed to increase the effectiveness of your learning in the doctrinal classes.

Tutorial Program

The Office of Academic Success coordinates the law school’s tutorial program. High-performing students are selected and trained to conduct tutorials for all of your first-year courses and selected upper-level courses. Tutorial sessions are held biweekly and the tutors help you with your understanding of the substantive material and they help you apply your knowledge with interactive sessions which include review of the law, games, and practice exam questions.

Individual Appointments

Academic Success team members are available to meet with you for individual appointments throughout the school year. You may be referred by a faculty member who believes you could benefit from individualized assistance or you can sign up on your own. During these sessions, the Academic Success team member addresses your concerns which typically include, but not limited to the following: evaluation of your study regimen, learning style assessments, time management, synthesizing class materials, and exam preparation.
The Office of Academic Success offers a required legal skills class for first-year, day and evening program students and the Academic Success team works with the Bar Preparation and Support Office to offer upper-level courses designed for bar preparation. Courses are listed below:

Critical Thinking I (Taught by Academic Success staff)
Critical Thinking I is a required, one-credit course for all first-year students designed to ease the transition to law school. The course focuses on important skills such as critical reading, case briefing, critical listening and analysis, effective studying, multiple choice and essay question practice, time management, and self-assessment strategies. By the end of the course, first year law students should be able to demonstrate the following: the ability to critically read and brief cases; the ability to synthesize course material in preparation for exam study; the ability to analyze complex fact patterns to write essay answers and critique multiple choice questions; the ability to effectively manage their time by creating and following a schedule; and an increase in their ability to self-assess and make appropriate corrections in their study strategies.

SECOND OR THIRD YEAR
Advanced Legal Analysis (Multiple sections taught by Director of Bar Preparation & Support; Academic Excellence Fellow and doctrinal faculty)
Advanced Legal Analysis (ALA) is an elective course that is strongly recommended to our students. ALA focuses on objective multiple choice test taking skills and strategies with an in depth overview of subjects tested on the Multistate Bar Exam. The course focuses on core Multistate Bar Exam subjects taught in the first year. During the course, students use problems and exercises in a bar exam format to become familiar with the techniques for answering multiple choice questions. Students also learn critical analysis skills for each subject from substantive lecturers. By the end of the course, law school students should be able to systematically approach multiple choice questions in a way that improves performance and strengthens comprehensive reading and analytical skills.

THIRD YEAR
Comprehensive Legal Analysis [Team-taught by Director of Bar Preparation & Support, Director of Academic Success, Academic Excellence Fellow and Doctrinal Faculty]
Comprehensive Legal Analysis (CLA) is offered to our third-year day and fourth-year evening law students. CLA is a pass/fail course required for graduation. First offered in the spring of 2019, this course focuses on substantive areas of law frequently tested on the Multistate Essay Exam. In addition, this course focuses more heavily on essay writing for the UBE versus substantive law review, by incorporating writing labs to assist with essay writing approach and organization; practice essays to assist with rule construction and analysis; and essay re-write opportunities to encourage constant assessment of writing deficiencies.

TESTIMONIALS

Nyi N. Myint, Class of 2017
“Invaluable for first year students.”

Ahmed Adam, Class of 2018
“It is such a great relief to know that in addition to relying on the assistance of the professors of my substantive courses, if I’m struggling academically, there is a whole unit of great, experienced professors in the academic center to support me & get me back on track. The strategies I learned through the Critical Thinking (course) are extremely vital in terms of studying & exam taking strategies.”

Louise W. Brunson, Class of 2017
“I would not have made it through law school without the resources and advice provided by the faculty in Academic Success. Whether it was schedule management, study tips or a snack during exams, I always found an open door and a listening ear.”

Elizabeth Charlene Inije, Class of 2019
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
“I ultimately love this quote because not only does it provide hope during the tough times, it also explains that there is more than open way to success. One door is not the only way to get to where you would like to be. Academic Success is a great way to bring things into perspective and realize that this might have been an approach that did not work before but it is time to try another way to achieve better results.”
Patrice S. Goldmon, Class of 2018, JD/MBA
“Between tutoring sessions, workshops, 1-on-1 meetings and using supplements from the lending library, I can’t imagine enduring my 1L year without the Office of Academic Success. The numerous resources they offer make it simple for students to choose what works for them. All of the staff members are kind and willing to help – even if it means staying after hours or accepting additional appointments. The Office of Academic Support is an invaluable resource and I am grateful to attend an institution that provides this type of support beyond the classroom.”

Sade Knox, Class of 2019
“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn.” – Benjamin Franklin.
“I chose this quote because I feel like everyone within the Academic Success department strives to do the most for the students. I have struggled a great deal and it was the help from Academic Success professors that got me involved in my academics [in a way that] got me back on track. From the practice material, tutorial sessions, office hours and consistent guidance, the Office of Academic Success continues to help students thrive not only in law school, but in real life circumstances.”