To help ensure the academic success of first-year students, the School of Law provides a number of avenues for advice and guidance about studying the law.
Beginning with Orientation Week, students learn strategies and skills to help them prepare for class and exams. During orientation, small groups of students are paired with second and third-year law students who can answer any questions that have gone unanswered.
Support continues beyond Orientation. The first-year Lawyering Skills class is, in many ways, a program for academic success, giving each student lessons in legal reasoning, writing, and research. In addition, the School of Law faculty employ an informal "open door" policy and are available to talk with students about study strategies, including study groups, outlining, and preparing for exams.
To supplement these efforts, the School of Law also offers a peer-led Academic Success program. Over the course of the academic year, two upper-level students give monthly presentations to the first-year class on strategies to succeed in law school.
The first session is during Orientation Week in August, and covers "Professionalism in the Classroom," including:
- Professionalism throughout law school
- Conduct in the classroom
- Building professional relationships
The first presentation in September is "Getting the Most out of Class," including:
- Class preparation
- Reading and synthesizing cases
- How to brief a case
- Being engaged in class
- Study groups
In late September, the topic is "Outlining," including:
- Why outline?
- Outlining Tips
- Outlining with a study group
As Exam Week approaches, the October session turns to "Studying and Preparing for Exams," including:
- Time management
- Study strategies such as practice questions, commercial study aids, summarizing an outline, creating a checklist, etc.
In November, a presentation on "Writing Exams," includes:
- Organizing an answer
- Writing and thinking clearly
- Writing and thinking logically
- Common mistakes
- Practice question
The Academic Success presentations continue during the second semester with a focus on adjusting and improving study strategies. In January, the first session focuses on "debriefing" fall semester exams: what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve. In February and March, outlining and exam preparation and writing are revisited, with concrete ideas for improving study skills and strategies. Please feel free to contact the Teaching Assistants with any questions.