Albany Law School is committed to providing the opportunity for all students to succeed academically here through multi-faceted programs: Academic and Professional Success Program, Bar Success Program, and Writing Specialist Programs. Related to these programs which focused primarily on academic and professional success is the Law School’s
Wellness Program. Aspects of the Academic and Professional Success program are available to students throughout law school to provide academic and writing resources for class, upper level papers, and career and professional documents. The Bar Success Program provides preparation and support for the Bar Exam.
The Academic and Professional Success Program beings professional support with an alumni-mentoring program meant to connect law students from the outset with alumni mentors who can provide an added perspective and be a link for students through law school into the profession. Academic support starts in the first-year with workshops, writing assistance, individual tutoring, courses, and academic counseling. Academic support carried through law school by the Bar Success Program with specialized bar preparation courses and a bar mentoring program for third-year students.
Academic and Professional Success Program
The academic success aspect of the program is designed to assist students in identifying and developing analytic and critical skills necessary for academic success in the context of substantive coursework.
First-Year Workshops and Courses
The Lewis A. Swyer Lectures and Workshops focus on skill development primarily for first-year students. The first-year Workshops are meant to help students recognize how law school work is different from other higher education work and to focus students on streamlining their reading; understanding and using terms of art; synthesizing; outlining in preparation for exams; reading, analyzing, and writing essay exams using IRAC format; and transferring those reading and analyzing skills to multiple choice questions.
The Legal Methods Course is designed to go into greater depth than the workshops and more directly assist students in developing analytic skills including critical reading – especially in the context of our common law system; understanding the import of a case’s procedural posture; distinguishing holding from dicta; identifying legally relevant facts; understanding and using rule-based and analogical reasoning; considering specific audience expectation, and writing an organized essay response to exams. Time management and stress reduction techniques are also covered. Individual feedback is provided on all written work.
Teaching Assistants work with students assigned to first-year doctrinal courses and upper-level required courses and assist the students in working through problems and understanding the doctrinal coursework, as well as developing their skills.
Teaching Assistants-Lawyering work with students in Introduction to Lawyering to assist students with learning basic citations, practicing legal research, reinforcing IRAC format, and other areas at the request of professors who teach Introduction to Lawyering.
This is an Honors Teaching Fellowship program in which eligible second-year students are assigned to a section of a 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. To be eligible, students must be ranked in the top 20 of the class according to first year class rank, and must have earned a grade of B+ or better in Federal Civil Procedure or Contracts are invited to participate. Students in the four-year program are eligible. There are 12 Fellowships. The highest ranked eligible students are invited to participate, and if a student declines, the next eligible ranked student is invited.
Writing Specialist and Peer Writing Assistance Program
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 with faculty approval, to coordinate with lawyering faculty, to provide support for faculty generally, and to assist students with creating effective cover letters, job applications, and resumes. The Writing Specialist also oversees the Peer Writing Assistance Program.
Peer Writing Assistance Program
The Peer Writing Assistance Program is available to assist students struggling with law school-related writing. We have peer writing assistants to assist with academic work and peer writing assistants to assist with job search-related writing projects. Students may bring any law school academic project for review, including memoranda, briefs, class papers, upper level writing papers, and law review articles. Trained writing assistants will work with the student in developing or refining critical writing skills.
In addition, students may bring writing prepared for work with career and professional development counselors including resumes, cover letters, and writing samples. Trained writing assistants will work with the student in developing or refining critical writing skills in the context of career and professional development. Peer writing assistants who work with the Career and Professional Development Office may be found both here and through that office.
Where the writing under review is a class assignment, writing assistants must receive permission from the professor who has assigned the project before review. In addition, writing assistants will always follow any limitations placed on their review by the assigning professor.
The writing assistants will assist students in identifying problems with their writing and then work with the students to develop a plan to address those problems. Peer writing assistants are not editors and will never give feedback on the substance of a paper.
During this semester, student conferences will be held via Zoom given the nature of the shared review of a written product.
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.
Bar Exam Writing Specialist
The Bar Exam 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, bar exam essay responses.
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.