The Office of Academic Excellence aims to:
- Partner with students to strategically plan for their successful completion of law school and passage of the bar exam;
- Provide students with varied opportunities to learn, enhance, and refine the skills necessary for success in law school and on the bar exam; and
- Promote a culture of academic excellence that encourages accountability, productivity, creativity, and flexibility when it comes to learning.
The following services are available to J.D. students:
Experienced attorneys and educators work with students in a one-on-one or group setting to provide instruction on a variety of skills. Tutors work with students both in-person and virtually and tailor their teaching approach to each student’s individual needs. Tutors are available and ready to assist students during the day, in the evening, and on the weekends.
There is no charge for tutoring services.
During the summer, the Office of Academic Excellence provides bar preparation workshops for graduates as a supplement to their commercial bar preparation course.
The Office of Academic Excellence maintains a virtual resource library that includes a variety of videos and handouts on outlining, exam taking, legal analysis, IRAC, and other critical skills. Students can access the resource library through the web page of the Office of Academic Excellence. The Warren E. Burger Library also maintains a resource library of several very useful study aids and guides.
All incoming students are assigned to Learning Communities. Learning Communities meet regularly and are designed to help students navigate the challenges of the first year of law school. Students work on developing and improving key academic skills including case reading, case briefing, legal analysis, outlining, IRAC, and exam taking. Students also work on developing other critical lawyering skills such as professionalism, time management, and stress management. Learning Communities are led by high-achieving, upper-class students who work closely with the Office of Academic Excellence, faculty, Student Services, and the Office of Career and Professional Development to develop exercises designed to improve students’ academic and non-academic skills, and to help students succeed during their first year of law school.
Legal Methods is a one-credit course that all students take during their first semester of law school to help them quickly develop the skills they need to succeed in law school and lay a foundation for ultimate bar passage. The course covers critical reading, case briefing, outlining, legal analysis, IRAC, exams, time and stress management, health and wellness, and professionalism.
Principles of Legal Analysis (PLA)
PLA is a first-year, second-semester three-credit course available to full-time first-year students who end up on academic probation after their first semester. This course is designed to address and remedy the academic and non-academic reasons for each student’s performance during the first semester of law school. In lieu of PLA, part-time students on academic probation are offered co-curricular programming called Structured Tutoring, which follows a curriculum that is comparable to PLA. PLA and Structured Tutoring are only available to students on academic probation.
Bar Exam Primer
Bar Exam Primer is a summer course designed to give students an opportunity to reinforce substance and skills from the first year of law school. The subjects covered in the first year make up approximately 67% of the bar exam, and the skills gained in the first year are crucial to bar exam success. The Bar Exam Primer course is part of a series of courses designed to help students do the extra work to prepare for the bar exam. This course must be completed during the summer after a student’s first year. While this course is required for some students, it is open to all students.
Bar Prep Strategies: MPT
Bar Prep Strategies: MPT is designed to teach, reinforce, and enhance the skills that are necessary for successful completion of law school and bar passage. Through completion of past MPT problems, class exercises, individual feedback, and self-reflection students will work to master the skills of critical reading, legal analysis, and IRAC. While this course does not replace the need to take a commercial bar prep course, it will provide early preparation to help students learn key bar exam skills and test taking strategies for the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). While this course is required for some students, it is open to all students. This course is only offered in the fall semester.
Bar Prep Strategies: MBE and MEE
Bar Prep Strategies: MBE and MEE is available to students during their last spring semester of law school. It centers on two parts of the UBE, the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). While this course does not replace the need to take a commercial bar prep course, it does provide early preparation to help students learn key legal principles tested on the bar exam and bar exam-taking techniques and strategies. Through this course, students will work to master their skills through lecture, modeling, completion of past bar exam questions, written feedback, and self-reflection. Students will also strategically plan their approach to their bar exam preparation post-graduation to ensure passage. While this course is required for some students, it is open to all students. This course includes a $15 course fee to cover the cost of purchasing past Bar Exam questions from the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
For more information, see the Academic Excellence website.