Academic Support

Academic Support


The Academic Success Program (ASP) is an integral part of Albany Law School's commitment to provide the opportunity for all students to succeed in law school. The ASP 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. A professor of academic success coordinates academic support services. The program consists of several components, including a required first-year class for selected students that focuses on skill development in the context of substantive coursework, a series of workshops for first- and second-year students, a writing center, individual tutoring, counseling, an alumni mentoring program, a specialized bar course and a bar mentoring program for third-year students.

Legal Methods

A required first-year course for selected students, Legal Methods 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 study habits, time management, and stress reduction.

Legal Methods Teaching Fellows

Selected fellows are assigned to sections of the Criminal Law course (other second-semester first-year courses may be assigned) as a teaching fellow. The fellows attend an orientation. The fellows then attend the regularly scheduled Property and Legal Methods classes, assist in developing problems, conduct or assist in conducting small group review and question and answer sessions for the ALR students in the substantive area assigned to the teaching fellow, and review and critique individual students' written responses to sample questions, problems and exams.

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.

Sponsler Fellows

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 first-semester Federal Civil Procedure 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

The Swyer Academic Success Workshops are a multi-semester program that stress active learning, designed to enhance academic skills and performance in the areas of case analysis, synthesis of material, outlining and test taking. The Swyer programs are open to all students. The Swyer lectures and workshops continue into the second year to assist students in enhancing skills in the context of a substantive course. Although a voluntary program, students are invited to attend based on their GPA.

Writing Center

Available to all students, with preference given to first-year students, the Writing Center offers students help with writing beyond what is available in their regular law school courses.

Alumni Mentoring Program

First-year students may choose to be matched with an Albany Law School alumnus or alumna, who will provide support, advice and guidance to navigate through law school.

Bar Preparation Course

Albany Law School offers a customized four-credit bar preparation course during the third year of law school. This course 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, as well as time management and stress reduction techniques. The subject matter includes an intensive review of selected subjects including, but not limited to, the six multi-state subjects: contracts, criminal law/criminal procedure, torts, constitutional law, property, and evidence. The problems and exercises used are questions in the same format as bar questions. Students are assigned homework/exam questions before each class and will also answer exam questions during class under timed conditions. Written feedback is provided on written essays and the MPT. 

Diagnostic Exams

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.​​