Academic Success & Bar Passage Programs

LMU Law’s Academic Success and Bar Preparation Programs are designed to enable students and graduates to internalize, develop and apply legal knowledge and essential lawyering skills in a way that will enhance their performance in law school, on the bar exam, and throughout their legal career.

The law school’s extensive Academic Success and Bar Preparation Programs begin prior to matriculation, offer students support all the way through graduation, and continue until students have passed the bar examination. Significant components of the programs include:

An Orientation Program before matriculation;

  • A required academic success course for all students during their first semester (“Legal Foundations I”);
  • A required academic success course for students who have a cumulative GPA of 2.32 or below after the first semester (“Legal Foundations II”);
  • Additional required academic success courses for upper-level students (“Advanced Independent Academic Study”);
  • Two required bar preparation courses;
  • An optional bar preparation course focused on writing bar essays;
  • Individual tutoring sessions and scheduled workshops conducted by Dean’s Fellows and academic success faculty members, including the writing specialist; and
  • A post-graduation supplemental bar preparation program conducted by LMU Law faculty to complement the provided commercial bar review course.

In addition, LMU Law’s commitment to academic success continues with our Faculty Advising program throughout law school. At the start of each academic calendar, LMU Law assigns each student a faculty advisor, a member of the full-time faculty who provides guidance on course selection, career opportunities, and other issues.  This program connects every student to an individual member of our faculty, each of whom is a specialist their field. If students are interested in particular area of the law in which their advisor is not a specialist, their faculty advisors will assist the students to seek out other faculty members who teach or specialize in that area.

In addition, since 2012, LMU Law and BARBRI, Inc., the country’s largest and most respected provider of bar review courses, have partnered together to provide academic support and bar exam-related workshops, programs, materials, resources, and diagnostic assessments to every student throughout law school. Prior to graduation, LMU Law provides all of its students free access to the full BARBRI Bar Review course, available for all 50 states.

Orientation Program

All admitted students are required to attend the law school’s Orientation program prior to the start of the Fall semester. The multi-day Orientation program introduces new students to the high academic and professional standards expected in the LMU Law community. The program introduces new students to academic success techniques and builds skills in context by integrating their first two law school class sessions into Orientation. This innovative program provides students the opportunity to learn and practice their skills in context, through completing actual homework assignments under the hands-on instruction of our faculty. Other opportunities include strong upperclassman and faculty involvement to stress the importance of class preparation, hard work, and grit—all designed to instill knowledge of the support and communities awaiting the incoming 1L class.

Academic Success Courses

LMU Law’s Academic Success Program is designed to benefit all students, enabling them to succeed throughout law school, preparing them to pass the bar exam, and equipping them to practice law at the highest levels. This is achieved through courses that are designed to introduce, reinforce, and develop skills inherent to most successful law students and bar examinees.

Legal Foundations I (first year, first semester)

This course is required for all students and builds upon the material introduced during the Orientation program, focusing on the ability to read, analyze, synthesize, and brief cases; create and understand class outlines; and apply the law and other authority through essay exam writing and systematically problem-solving multiple-choice questions.

Legal Foundations II (first year, second semester)

This course is available to all students and required for those with a first-semester GPA of 2.32 or below. The course is designed to enhance the skills that are necessary to succeed in law school, with individualized attention and an increased emphasis on essay exam writing and systematic problem-solving.

Advanced Independent Academic Study I (second year)

This course involves individualized instruction tailored to allow each student to build on strengths and address weaknesses. The course is required for any students on academic probation during any semester after their first year of law school and students who have a cumulative GPA between 2.000-2.199 after spring of their 1L year. To ensure adequate time for skills instruction and reinforcement, most students enrolled in this course are required to postpone one of their doctrinal courses until their final year of law school.

Bar Preparation Courses

To help students prepare for the bar examination, regardless of the jurisdiction in which they intend to take the exam, LMU Law offers two bar preparation courses in the fall and one in the spring. These courses are not a substitute for commercial bar review courses, but rather provide students with a head start to ensure readiness for the bar exam.

Required courses:

Multistate Essay Exam Skills I (third year, first semester)

Multistate Essay Exam Skills I is a required three-credit, skills-development course that provides students with an intensive substantive review of selected legal material routinely tested on the Multistate Essay Examination portion of the Uniform Bar Exam. Essay subjects reviewed in this course include Agency, Partnership, and Conflict of Laws. This course also provides students with an intensive review of the Multistate Performance Test, which is a significant portion of the UBE. Students receive instruction on proper formatting and organization as well as opportunities to practice writing exams under simulated bar-exam conditions.  

Multistate Bar Exam Skills (third year, second semester)

This course is designed to improve students’ legal analysis and study skills in preparation for taking the bar examination. It will assist with developing and practicing test-taking strategies and skills. It will also provide a familiarity with the methodology of the exam. Multiple-choice strategies and practice exams will be covered. The focus of the course is on subjects covered on the multiple-choice Multistate Bar Examination. Students also will have the opportunity to draft and receive feedback on essay answers pertaining to these subjects, which may also appear on the Uniform Bar Exam.

Optional course:

Multistate Essay Exam Skills II (third year, second semester)

In addition to the two required courses, students also have the option of further improving their essay-writing skills by enrolling in this three-credit elective in the spring, which is structured similarly to Multistate Essay Exam Skills I in the fall and focuses on Corporations, Family Law, Secured Transactions, and Trusts and Estates.

By taking all three bar preparation courses at LMU Law, students will have a significant jumpstart on every component of the Uniform Bar Exam.

Other Resources

In addition to formal classroom instruction, LMU Law provides students and graduates with other opportunities to enhance their performance in law school, on the bar exam, and in the legal profession.

Dean’s Fellows Program

The Dean’s Fellows Program is designed to help facilitate first-year students’ self-regulated learning skills, by focusing on studying strategies, organization, time management, and exam preparation for their first-year courses through scheduled workshops, drop-in office hours, and one-on-one tutoring sessions. The program is primarily run by Dean’s Fellows, who are upper-level students who have demonstrated the highest potential for leadership, academic achievement, and a diversity of life experiences. These additional learning sessions provide 1Ls with an informal but invaluable opportunity to ask questions and further dive into independent learning skills and exam strategies.

Workshop Series

LMU Law conducts a series of workshops primarily during the first semester. These workshops are designed to complement the skills discussed and practiced in the required Legal Foundations I course that all first-year students take fall semester. Sessions have included providing tips on creating an effective study schedule, developing course outlines, writing law school essays, taking multiple-choice questions, and maintaining a positive and healthy mindset throughout law school.

Individual Tutoring

Students who need more attention in a specific area may meet one-on-one with particular members of the LMU Law faculty for further instruction and assistance.

Writing Specialist

LMU Law also offers students the opportunity to meet with a writing specialist so that they may become more effective writers throughout the academic year. The writing specialist has office hours during the week to meet with students about any law school-related writing, unless otherwise indicated by a professor. This may include briefs, memos, papers, review notes, resumes, and cover letters. The writing specialists can also advise on issues of grammar, clarity, argument structure, and rhetorical strategies.

Post-Graduation Supplemental Bar Preparation Program

LMU Law’s support for bar preparation continues after graduation. Graduates taking the bar exam in February or July may participate in the law school’s supplemental bar assistance program, which is offered after graduation in the winter and summer and creates opportunities for more simulated practice, written feedback, and individual counseling. As part of the program, LMU Law’s bar preparation faculty conducts additional workshops to supplement and emphasize the information provided by the commercial bar review course and assigns more practice writing assignments than graduates would otherwise be assigned through their commercial bar review courses. As a supplemental program, LMU Law’s post-graduation program is designed to work with the commercial bar review course’s personal study plan rather than to add work to it.

Contact information:

Tommy Sangchompuphen

Associate Dean for Student Learning and Associate Professor

tommy.sangchompuphen@lmunet.edu

Office 239

 

Benjamin Smith

Director of Academic Success and Assistant Professor

benjamin.smith@lmunet.edu

Office 241

 

Vonda Laughlin

Director of Bar Studies and Associate Professor

vonda.laughlin@lmunet.edu

Office 308

 

Katie Jones

Assistant Professor

katie.jones@lmunet.edu

Office 240

 

Andrew Fels

Adjunct Professor and Writing Specialist

andrew.fels@lmunet.edu

Office 316

 

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