FAQ for Academic Achievement

The Office of Academic Achievement is committed to providing services and resources to help our students excel in law school and succeed in the legal field after graduation. Our extensive support system provides students with the opportunity to seek personalized assistance in structuring a study program or receive help in strengthening a study skill. The Department offers programs to students from their 1L year up until they sit for the Bar exam.

In their first year, the Professional and Academic Success Seminar (P.A.S.S.) program is offered to give students the opportunity to identify and strengthen weaknesses in areas such as issue spotting, analytical thinking, and writing skills, all areas closely related to finding success in law school, on the bar exam, and in practice.  Furthermore, we offer Saturday workshops for first-year students, an Advanced Analytical Methods course for second-year students, and a variety of tools and support services for third-year and fourth-year-part-time students in preparation for their Bar exams.

Students who have any questions pertaining to the Office of Academic Acheivement are welcome to speak with Dean Kimberly D’Haene directly at kdhaene@johnmarshall.edu or print a downloadable copy of the Office of Academic Achievement Frequently Asked Questions.

What is the Office of Academic Achievement, and what assistance do you offer students?
The Office of Academic Achievement (OAA) is a learning resource center located on the 8th floor Faculty Suite in the 1422 building. OAA is dedicated to preparing students to succeed in the classroom, on exams, and, ultimately, to pass the Bar examination upon graduation. The OAA staff, which consists of the Director of the Office of Academic Achievement and the Assistant Director, are available to serve the academic support needs of the AJMLS students and alumni. Their services are designed to sharpen students’ academic skills such as critical reading, critical thinking, logical reasoning, legal analysis, exam writing, and understanding doctrinal material. They also work with students to help set and achieve academic goals.

Do you offer one-on-one tutoring?
The Office of Academic Achievement provides academic counseling. One-on-one tutoring is available to students upon request, or if a student is referred by faculty.

What are the OAA Saturday Study Sessions?
The OAA Saturday Study Sessions are facilitated study groups. The facilitators do not teach substantive law, but facilitate and moderate discussion among the student participants based upon hypotheticals the professors provide. The OAA Saturday Study Sessions take place on Saturday mornings and are typically two-hours in length.

All 1L’s (and Part-Time 2L’s) are invited to participate in the facilitated study groups offered for each doctrinal course. These courses include: Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property and Torts. The upper-level courses for advanced full-time and part-time students are Constitutional Law and Evidence. The Study Groups are organized by substantive area of law and professor, so students engage in thoughtful discussion with their fellow classmates.

Professors in the covered courses work with an assigned upper-class student who serves as the Study Group Facilitator. The professors provide hypothetical questions and direction through the professor’s selected material. These Study Groups provide students an opportunity to gain insight into a professor’s expectations. The Study Groups also allow students to work collectively to develop and reinforce areas of understanding, as well as to identify gaps in knowledge before the exam. Successful students use the discussions from their Study Groups to formulate well-reasoned questions to ask faculty during office hours.

Since the Saturday Study Session leaders can only facilitate these sessions, do you provide assistance to students for the substantive portions of their classes outside of the Saturday study sessions, or just general study tips?
Students should defer to their doctrinal professors for clarification of substantive material. However, OAA is available to guide students through formulating and articulating responsive answers to doctrinal exercises, and to assist with general study tips.

What is the Professional and Academic Success Seminar (P.A.S.S.) program?
The Professional and Academic Success Seminar (P.A.S.S.) program is a required course for all incoming, first-year students their first semester of law school. The course trains students in the academic skills needed to maximize their academic performance. Students will practice and develop competencies in critical reading, case briefing, logic and legal analysis, note-taking, creating course outlines, and strategies and tactics for approaching multiple-choice and essay exams. The course also emphasizes developing effective study habits, and time management. P.A.S.S. program is a skills only course, and is separate from your doctrinal courses. It does not coincide with the material that is taught in those first-year required courses.

Do you offer Bar examination preparatory resources?
The OAA provides students with Bar examination preparatory resources. The Advanced Bar Studies course is offered to students in their final semester. The course covers Bar examination test-taking strategies and skills.

Do you provide support to 1L’s for their Legal Writing, Research, & Advocacy (LRWA) courses?
The OAA provides writing skills assistance to first-year law students only by referral from their LWRA professor. The Office does not review drafts or guide students through research; however, assistance can be offered to students to help them process and review the faculty critique of their work once the assignment is completed and returned.

How accessible are you to the 1L, part-time students?
The OAA is accessible to all students, and offers evening and weekend office hours by appointment.

If my first semester test scores are unsatisfactory, what assistance can you provide to help me improve my test scores?
The OAA works to sharpen academic skills such as critical reading, critical thinking, logic and analysis, and writing. The Office can work with students to help them broaden their understanding of doctrinal material, and to achieve academic goals. Students who did not perform academically as expected academically are welcome to contact OAA.

Is the Office of Academic Achievement available for all students, or just 1L students?
The OAA is available to all students.