by Melinda Drew, Lawyering Skills Professor and Director of the Academic Success Program

Often new law students want to know what kind of help is available to them as they begin law school. After all, students are learning a new language, new concepts, and a new way of thinking. Added to that, students will have five classes in the first semester: Civil Procedure, Property, Torts, Legal Research & Writing and Social Justice (Legal Research & Writing and Social Justice are two parts of a course called Legal Skills in Social Context (LSSC)). That is a lot of work but, as one of the student bloggers on this site has said, it is doable.

That said, everyone needs help sometimes and we have plenty of that available for first year students through the law school’s Academic Success Program (ASP), which I direct. In this program, we offer two workshops every week, as well as individual help from me, and from third year Teaching Assistants (TAs) selected for their excellent work and their interest in working with first year students.

On the second day of your orientation to the law school, I, along with Michelle Harper, Assistant Dean for Academic & Student Affairs, and the TAs working in the ASP will talk with you about the law school, giving you tips for thriving (not just surviving!), and the TAs will tell you what they have learned about resources available to law students. After that first workshop, weekly workshops will cover topics such as reading cases efficiently, briefing cases, time management (a really critical topic in law school!), note-taking, study aids, study groups, legal analysis, and much, much more. Although not required, the workshops will give you a chance to learn and practice new skills which will increase your confidence. Any student who would like more information about the ASP is welcome to contact me during the summer.

I also assist students with disabilities in obtaining accommodations prescribed by the University’s Disability Resource Center. Any student with a disability who will need accommodations should contact me during the summer so I can help you get started with the accommodation process before school begins.

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