The Academic Development program provides resources and information to help students succeed academically. Newly admitted students participate in a series of summer workshops designed to prepare them for the first day of classes, and each first-year and LLM student is assigned a high-performing 2L or 3L classmate as a Student Advisor, who offers one-on-one training and mentorship. Additional workshops are held throughout the year, covering everything from how to prepare for finals to selecting a co-curricular activity.
Explore the dropdowns below for more information.
Law school is a unique and challenging academic experience that is different from anything most students have experienced before. To help students feel confident and prepared to fully engage from the very first day of their legal education, the Office of Academic Development hosts a series of mandatory one-hour summer workshops for all newly admitted students. Sessions are offered both in-person and virtually, so all can participate regardless of their location during the summer. During these workshops, incoming students will learn the critical skills needed to be successful in law school including how to prepare for class, what to expect during class, and best study practices after class. Wellness concepts will be also presented to ensure that our students are prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically for the rigorous study of law.
Each incoming student will also be placed in a yPod—a small group of fellow first-year or LLM students led by a Student Advisor. Student Advisors are second- and third-year law students selected by the Director of Academic Development for their academic excellence, professional experiences, interpersonal skills, and commitment to serving others. Student Advisors will act as mentors and guides during students’ first year, providing encouragement, advice, and individualized academic support.
The Office of Academic Development hosts several 1L and LLM workshops every school year aimed at helping students obtain information and cultivate the skills necessary to succeed in law school. (And we feed students lunch!) Following all workshops held in the fall, Student Advisors will schedule one-on-one sessions with each student in their yPod to review and reinforce the covered skills. Workshops typically offered include:
- Finding the Law through Case Briefing
- Mastering the Law through Outlining
- Mastering the Law through Analysis
- Writing the Law on an Exam
- Practice Final Exam
- What Grades ARE and What They ARE NOT: A Post-Grades Workshop for All 1Ls
- Everything 1Ls Need to Know About Co-Curriculars: Law Review, Moot Court, Journal of Public Law, & Trial Advocacy
- How to Select and Excel in 2L & 3L Courses
- 1L Skills Lab (Law 555): 1.0 credit Pass/Fail course offered Winter semester (by invitation and application)
This course is designed to help first-year students find the gaps in their understanding and improve their skills so that their academic performance and confidence increases. This course covers topics such as using effective study habits, finding study materials that enhance learning, understanding why practice questions are crucial, making your outlines a realistic synthesis of what you’ve learned, making your knowledge “stick” past the final exam, using a simple analysis attack strategy that will help you score more points on your law school exams, and learning how to self-assess your practice tests to identify what you need to change.
- 2L Fundamentals of Legal Analysis (Law 680): 2.0 credit Pass/Fail course offered Fall Semester (by invitation & application)
This course is designed for second-year students and is a continuation of legal analysis skills learned in the first year. Students will have the opportunity to practice written legal analysis of realistic fact situations and will receive individualized feedback in a small section setting; at several points in the semester, practice MPT (Multistate Performance Test) exercises will also be used to assess students’ analysis and provide some early bar exam preparation. In addition, this course will focus on practical and study skills that can amplify students’ capacity to learn. Completion of this course will improve students’ analytical and writing skills and increase their ability to perform on law school exams, the bar exam, and client matters.
- 3L Strategies of Legal Analysis & Early Bar Prep (Law 681): 2.0 Credit Pass/Fail course offered Winter Semester (by invitation & application)
This course is designed for third-year students and is a continuation of the legal analysis skills learned during the 1L and 2L years, with an added focus on critical skills needed to pass the bar exam. Specifically, students will receive in-depth skill instruction on critical thinking, reading comprehension, issue identification, rule mastery, legal analysis, multiple-choice question strategies, and essay writing techniques. We have partnered with Themis Bar Prep to provide a course that uses the highest-quality bar lectures, outlines, and practice questions. While the focus of the course will be on skills, not content, some content will be reviewed in the context of helping students learn the applicable skills. This course has limited enrollment, and registration is by invitation and application only.
While many of the study techniques that helped students in their undergraduate education will still be useful, most students will need to adjust their study habits to include more active recall, spaced repetition, interleaving, and feedback. The Academic Development workshops and Student Advisors will help students apply these principles to their studying.
Additionally, it is strongly recommended that students join study groups to help them actively engage with the materials covered in class and prepare for exams.
Below you will find a list of study resources available to BYU law students and a list of study group best practices.