The Academic Support and Bar Preparation Services program at ASL is designed to teach and reinforce skills, strategies, and substance necessary for law school success, bar passage, and legal practice. Academic Success is offered through various small-group workshops, writing labs, and individual meetings. Strategies and principles necessary to be successful in law school are introduced at appropriate times during the first and second years, while an in-depth pre-bar courses are offered in the final fall and spring semester of the third year. ASL is committed to fully preparing students before, during, and after their graduation from law school for whatever bar exam they choose to take.
Before Law School
First-year students arrive one week before the academic year starts for “Introduction to Law”, during which students receive instruction in essential skills and techniques to confidently begin their first semester doctrinal courses. These skills include case reading and briefing, understanding case rationales and the types of legal argument, knowing the basic stages of a civil lawsuit, law school note-taking, and time management.
During Law School
Once the regular semester begins, all students continue to learn and develop the essential skills needed to succeed in law school in the two-credit Legal Studies I course. Other critical skills are gently introduced in this course, such as case synthesis and course outlining. As the semester progresses, attention is turned to final exam preparation, with classes targeting issue spotting, essay writing, matching facts to law, and multiple choice strategies. Students also participate in individual conferences as requested.
In the second semester of the first year and throughout the second year, students will be required to take the second part of Legal Studies and will have access to the Academic Success Director to provide continued assistance both in skills and substantive instruction.
Students must take four bar preparation studies courses during their 3L year. Virginia Bar examination takers are required to take two semesters of Bar Subject Review, MBE Fundamentals, and Virginia Civil Procedure. All other bar examinees are required to take Bar Subject Review, MBE Fundamentals, and Bar Prep.
In addition to these classes, ASL offers a variety of optional workshops and lectures scheduled regularly throughout the Fall and Spring.
After Law School
After graduation, the Academic Success/Bar Preparation program staff, adjunct instructors, and volunteers will continue to work with students who are preparing to sit for the bar exam. This post-graduate program works in conjunction with the commercial bar preparation courses, and participants are assigned to a mentor who will regularly meet with his or her mentees to gauge how they are progressing in their bar prep courses. Mentors are available to their mentees outside of meeting times (by phone, email, or online platforms) to provide guidance and support. This is a voluntary program available at no cost to all current graduates. Faculty mentors travel to some of the larger states where graduates sit for the bar exam (including Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee) and provide lunch during exam days to eliminate one additional source of stress.