The Academic and Professional Success Program (APSP) is an integral part of Albany Law School's commitment to provide the opportunity for all students to succeed in law school. The APSP is a collaborative effort involving law school administration, faculty and students with the goal of assisting students in developing and enhancing the critical skills necessary for academic success in school, success on the bar exam, and success as an attorney. The program consists of several components, including a required first-year class that focuses on skill development in the context of substantive coursework, a series of workshops for upper-division students, a writing center, individual tutoring, counseling, an alumni mentoring program, a specialized bar course and a bar mentoring program for third-year students.
Professional Success Seminar
The Professional Success Seminar is a required first-year course that concentrates on enhancing students' skills. It involves completing written and oral exercises in case reading, briefing, analyzing, synthesizing, note taking, outlining, communicating and exam taking skills. The course also addresses career pathways and professionalism.
ACES (Academic Commitment to Excellence and Success) Teaching Tutors
Tutors work with students assigned to first-year doctrinal courses and assist the students in working through problems and understanding the doctrinal coursework, as well as developing their skills.
This is an Honors Teaching Fellowship program in which second-year students in the top 10 percent of their class are assigned to a section of a first-semester required course as a teaching fellow. The fellows attend the regularly scheduled classes, conduct or assist in conducting small group review sessions, provide individual tutoring and assist faculty in critiquing individual students' responses to sample questions and problems.
The Lewis A. Swyer Lectures and Workshops
During the 2015-2016 academic year, The Swyer Academic Success Workshops will be devoted to assisting students to prepare for the recently adopted Uniform Bar Examination. Faculty will conduct Workshops in select subject matter areas that are tested on the Multistate Essay Exam including Business Organizations, Conflicts, Family Law, Trusts & Estates, and Secured Transactions. Workshops will also cover skills such as critical reading, issue spotting, legal analysis, and writing organized essay answers in IRAC format.
Our Writing Center has a new space on the fourth floor of the main building and is staffed by our Writing Specialist who oversees the Center. The Writing Specialist is available to meet and work individually with students, to assess student writing to determine individual student problem areas, assist students with outlining, drafting, and revising both first-year and upper level writing assignments, assist students with creating effective cover letters, job applications, and resumes, to coordinate with lawyering faculty, and also to provide support for faculty. The Writing Specialist also oversees the Peer Writing Assistance Program, a group of upper division students with excellent writing and analytical skills who are carefully trained and closely supervised who assist peers with their law school-related writing.
Academic Success & Bar Preparation Courses
- Advanced Legal Analysis I
Applied Legal Analysis I is a second year academic success course that follows a skills based approach to help students become academically successful in law school, on the bar examination, and in practice. The course focuses on the following skills, among others, with special emphasis on how to employ these skills in the context of the bar exam: writing about situations that involve multiple topics within the law; "issue-spotting" and avoiding irrelevant facts; breaking down factual analysis into parts; and recognizing arguments on both sides of an issue.
- Advanced Legal Analysis II
Advanced Legal Analysis II is offered in the fall and spring semester of the third year and introduces students to the following: content of the bar exam, subjects tested and the scoring system, proper study techniques, critical reading, thinking, issue spotting, and writing organized essay answers in IRAC format. In addition, the course introduces students to strategies for answering multiple choice questions, and time management and stress reduction techniques. Written feedback is provided on written essays and the MPT.
All second-year students take
diagnostic exams to measure their knowledge retained from core courses and gauge essay writing in preparation for the bar exam. The exam will produce individual reports for each student, and also report on groups that will show student performance by subject matter and skills.
Bar Exam Mentoring
Albany Law School also provides a bar mentoring program for third-year students. The Bar Exam Mentoring Program provides students with an opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance on study tips, test procedures and other general questions and concerns regarding the exam.