Academic Support Workshops

Academic Support Workshops

The central component of the ASP is a series of workshops which are available to all incoming students during the first semester of law school. All 1L students interested in participating in the Academic Workshops are assigned to an ASP TA for fall semester. Each workshop is conducted by your assigned ASP TA. The workshops are conducted at various times over the course of fall semester. The ASP TAs work with the ASP Faculty Director to prepare lesson plans and exercises for the workshops. Participation in the ASP is voluntary, there is no fee to participate and the practice exams and other exercises are ungraded.

Because success in law school is dependent on the development of active learning habits, where students take responsibility for much their own learning and skill development, the ASP is designed to foster active learning through cooperative, collaborative group sessions. Collaborative learning requires that all participating students attend workshop meetings regularly, and actively contribute in the group discussions and exercises. Although the ASP TAs are responsible for the planning and leadership of the workshops, much of the learning that occurs is the result of the work and contribution of the
participants.

Over the course of fall semester, the ASP provides the following workshops:

The workshops are conducted with the following goals in mind:

Developing the Learning/Study Skills Unique to Law School
The workshop sessions provide basic instruction about reading, interpreting and briefing cases, outlining for courses, preparing for class, participating in class, structuring exam answers and time/stress management.

Developing the Basic Reasoning and Analytical Skills Necessary for Law School and the Practice of Law
Beyond studying and learning skills development, the workshop sessions also assist students to develop the basic analytical and reasoning skills needed to succeed in law school and the practice of law. These skills are developed through group discussions, the study of examples, and through the opportunity to practice these skills by solving hypothetical problems in a collaborative environment. The skills that are focused on include identifying and formulating rules and holdings, organizing case law by issue, analogizing and distinguishing cases, spotting and articulating issues, framing exam answers around issues, crafting arguments and counter-arguments, and the use of policy.

Feedback from TAs and Fellow Participants
The workshop sessions also provide an opportunity for participants to get some feedback on case briefs, outlines and exam answers. TAs and fellow participants provide feedback through the course of discussing and creating sample case briefs and outlines. Additionally, the ASP TAs review some of the case briefs and outline sections created by participants for their specific doctrinal courses. TAs also provide feedback on answers to hypothetical problems and practice exams.

Exam Taking
The ASP TAs also assist students to develop the exam taking skills necessary to succeed in law school. The TAs create and administer hypothetical exam questions to highlight the skills necessary to prepare for and take an exam, including the use of outlines on an exam, issue spotting and structuring an exam answer. The TAs evaluate the exam answers and provide feedback to each study group participant individually. The participants are also encouraged to rewrite their answers, incorporating the feedback from TAs.

Reviewing Substantive Topics and Answering Questions
Although the Academic Workshops are not associated with specific doctrinal courses, the workshops incorporate many of the substantive doctrines typically taught in the fall semester doctrinal courses. These substantive topics include issues from torts, contracts and civil procedure. Additionally, the workshops are comprised in such a way that all of the workshop participants will share at least one common doctrinal class (generally either contracts or civil procedure). Given that the workshop participants will all be enrolled in at least one common course, the workshops can be tailored somewhat to draw on the specific substantive doctrines taught in that course. In the process of using these doctrines to practice basic study and reasoning skills, the TAs and participants collaborate to review some substantive doctrines and address questions from workshop participants.