Through the Academic Support Program, students are able to receive assistance in a number of ways from the Director of Academic Support, the Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs, members of the faculty, and upper-division students serving as Teaching Assistants and Dean's Fellows, as well as through programs sponsored by the Student Affairs Office and the Student Bar Association.
Programs for Entering Students
Southwestern offers academic support workshops in the summer specifically for entering students that provide an introduction to legal writing, course review techniques, briefing cases, and other concerns prior to the start of fall classes:
Summer Academic Support Program consists of several classes and workshops to assist entering first-year students reach their academic potential at the law school. Participation in any of the Program's classes or workshops is voluntary and no tuition is charged. Topics covered in program classes include reading and briefing cases, course review techniques, and legal analysis and exam preparation techniques.
Academic Excellence Academy is a program that provides a rigorous introduction to the study of law to a selected group of entering students. The ideal candidate for this program is an applicant with exceptional potential for long lasting impact upon the legal community based upon the content of their application, and the presence of non-traditional indicators of success. This program is distinguished from traditional summer academic support because of the intensity and length of the program as well as its selectivity. The Academy is limited to approximately 15 students.
Summer Introduction to Legal Writing Seminar gives pre-law students a head start in their legal education. Serving as a bridge between undergraduate education and law school, the program provides students with the opportunity to practice writing in an intellectually demanding, but pressure-free law school environment. The seminar provides an extensive introduction to legal writing and other skills necessary to succeed in law school.*
Programs for Continuing Students
First-year and continuing students can take advantage of a number of additional academic support opportunities offered in summer, fall and spring:
Student Success Program meets for one week in the summer and is designed for students who could benefit from a review of effective study, note-taking, outlining and exam writing skills in the context of both previous and new courses. The summer program is taught by full-time and adjunct faculty who work with students in one-on-one, small and large group settings.
Academic Support Workshops introduce students to effective study strategies that may be new to them as law students and include techniques for creating review materials, how to prepare for law school essay exams and multiple choice exams, etc. SCALE workshops are scheduled during Period 1; Fall workshops for Day and Evening students are scheduled in August, September, and early November.
Exam Review Workshops are co-sponsored throughout the year by the Academic Support Program, the Student Bar Association and various student organizations. The workshops feature invited faculty speakers and are open to all students.
Exam Writing Workshops are conducted by faculty in the fall for first-year students. Typically two exam writing workshops are offered for each course section in late October and early November. In February, the Academic Support Program presents a three-week exam workshop taught in small group settings. Meeting weekly for two hours, the workshop offers students opportunities to practice writing essay exams and receive detailed feedback. SCALE students are offered a similar workshop series coordinated with the SCALE schedule.
The Dean's Fellows Program features individualized tutoring provided by upper-division students in the top of their class who are invited to serve as Fellows. Selected for their expertise and experience with particular courses and professors, Fellows work with students with respect to overall preparation and comprehension of coursework. The Fellows help students develop an effective study strategy to maximize the opportunity for academic success.
Individual Academic Assistance appointments may be made with the Academic Support Program Director. Students can seek individual help with study techniques, time-management strategies, and general academic preparation for law school.
Defenses in the Law is a semester-long academic course offered for credit that covers substantive legal doctrine and focuses on outlining, multiple choice, and exam writing strategies. Students also engage in interactive activities to promote a better understanding of their learning styles and lawyering skills.*
Practical Lawyering Skills is a two-unit, second-year course designed to enhance students' critical thinking and writing skills. Admission to the course is by invitation only. The course will be especially helpful for students who have not had an opportunity to clerk or to participate in an externship while in law school. Students will analyze case and library files like those found on the California Bar Exam's performance tests. While the legal topics will not be the focus of the course, students will likely encounter issues not usually covered in law school, but often encountered in law practice. Class sessions will focus on techniques for efficiently reading and analyzing case and library files, organizing the material, and drafting documents for a specific audience, all under strict time constraints.*
Selected Topics in American Law is a semester-long academic course offered for credit that is designed to introduce students to the expectations of the California Bar Exam. It features a substantive review of legal doctrine through various assignments including essays, multiple choice exams and performance tests. Enrollment in the course is limited due to the extensive amount of feedback from the professor.*
*tuition is charged for this course.
Because the SCALE® program's unique schedule, Academic Support Program classes are offered on an ad hoc basis during Periods I & II.