Success in law school requires students to develop the analytical skills necessary to solve specific legal problems through the application of general legal principles.
The Academic Success Program (ASP) offers students an opportunity to practice these skills in a collaborative environment with guidance and feedback from Professor Eileen Pizzurro, Director of Academic Support and Bar Studies.
The ASP complements the law school curiculum. The focus of ASP is to help students develop the skills necessary to succeed in law school and on the bar exam. These skills include, in part, the ability to read and understand (critical reading and case briefing), organize (outlining), and apply (exam writing) the law as well as time and stress management.
Rutgers recognizes that students have different learning styles, backgrounds and experiences that affect their learning and performance in law school, and is here to help, so take advantage!
Note: In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Contact Academic Success and Bar Studies: 973-353-3273
- 1L Skills Workshops
- Individual Meetings
- Critical Legal Analysis
- Study Aids and Resources
A series of workshops for 1Ls will address topics such as case briefing, note-taking, class preparation, outlining, and exam writing as well as time and stress management. They will be held throughout the fall and spring semesters (both during the day and in the evenings). Workshops are voluntary but encouraged, and any practice exams and other exercises are ungraded.
For Fall 2021, the ASP Workshop Schedule is available on the Academic Success and Bar Studies Canvas Page, available here: https://rutgers.instructure.com/courses/63732/modules
In addition to whole class and small group instruction, individual appointments are available for all students throughout the year. Individual meetings enable students to gain a specific understanding of their academic strengths and weaknesses as well as explore non-analytical concerns that may interfere with learning. Students use these appointments for a variety of purposes. The agenda for these meetings is determined by the student’s interests and needs, including, but not limited to:
- Refining study methods based on an assessment of learning styles
- Enhancing organizational methods
- Improving test taking skills
- Dealing with time and stress management
This class is designed to improve students’ ability to deconstruct legal rules, to explain and evaluate the significance of facts, to thoroughly support conclusions of law, and to effectively organize content. These skills are critical in applying law to the hypothetical questions typical of both law school and bar exams. The hands-on learning methodology used in the course will include in-class analytical and writing work in both individual and group settings.
Legal Analysis is a required course for some students. The course helps students develop their legal reasoning and analysis skills, and improve their ability to communicate clear and well supported reasoning through legal writing. We work on critical legal reading, identifying legal rules and principles, organized and clear legal writing, using facts appropriately, and much more.
The Common Law Capstone course is designed to complement and complete the multistate core curriculum and covers topics tested on the Uniform Bar Examination. Capstone reinforces concepts taught in the required first-year curriculum and introduces new legal issues in the seven core subjects of Civil Procedure, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Property, and Torts.
Capstone is a required course for some students. The primary learning objective for this course is to prepare students for the bar examination, by reinforcing substantive knowledge and improving test-taking skills through weekly practice of multiple choice quizzes and essay writing.
It is important to emphasize that Capstone is not a substitute for a post-graduate bar preparation course, to which you should dedicate two months of full-time study. In recent years, nearly every Rutgers student who passed the bar on the first attempt enrolled in a post-graduate bar course.
All students learn differently. That's why our students are encouraged to take advantage of Rutgers Law Library’s special collection of study aids that support various learning styles. In addition, a helpful reading list of books and articles is laid out below.
Law School and Study Strategies
- Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul, Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams, (Carolina Academic Press 1999).
- Herbert N. Ramy, Succeeding in Law School, 2nd Edition, (Carolina Academic Press 2012).
- Ruth Ann McKinney, Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies For Reading Law Like an Expert, (Carolina Academic Press 2005).
Legal Analysis and Legal Writing
- Robin Wellford Slocum, Legal Reasoning, Writing and Other Lawyering Skills, 3rd Edition, (Carolina Academic Press 2011).
- Helene S. Shapo, Marilyn R. Walter and Elizabeth Fajans, Ph.D., Writing and Analysis in the Law (Foundation Press, 2018).