Academic Readiness Programs
Academic readiness activities begin during orientation and continue through students’ second year of law school. La Verne Law offers separate Academic Readiness Programs for first and second year students:
- New Student Orientation
- Contracts DVS (Doctrine, Values and Skills)
- Property DVS (Doctrine, Values and Skills)
- One-on-One Academic Support Counseling
La Verne Law’s New Student Orientation, Contracts DVS and Property DVS courses are designed to provide students with assistance in transitioning from college to the rigors of law school. All incoming 1L students are required to attend the New Student Orientation. First year law students are also required to take the Contracts DVS course in the fall semester and the Property DVS course in the spring semester of their 1L year. These uniquely structured courses blend the study of contracts and property with the development of critical skills normally taught separately as academic support.
- Strategic Legal Methods (SLM)
- One-on-One Academic Support Counseling
SLM is a mandatory year-long course for 2L students who have GPAs that are 2.7 or lower. This course is optional for students with GPAs higher than 2.7. SLM offers students remedial and advanced instruction and practice in academic and exam-taking skills.
New Student Orientation
La Verne Law’s New Student Orientation is held annually during the first week of the fall semester. All entering 1Ls and transfer students must attend New Student Orientation. During the Orientation, members of the CABR conduct several workshops targeted at introducing 1Ls to basic skills that are fundamental to academic achievement. These workshops are designed to give students an overview of the types of skills that they need to practice and develop as they prepare for their first day of classes. CABR workshops typically include:
- Welcome and Introduction to the CABR
- Learning styles
- Case reading
- Case briefing
- Note making
- Course organization
- Study and class preparation
- Time management
- Diagnostic examination
Contracts DVS (Doctrine, Values and Skills)
The Contracts DVS course uses a “building block” approach that begins with the most basic, but useful skills that help students manage learning in the first year of school so that they can be more efficient and productive with their time. The Contracts DVS course links the study of the formation of legally enforceable contracts and their enforcement to important exam and practice skills of issue-spotting, rule elaboration, fact to law analysis, essay approaches and strategies, and multiple choice exam skills. By incorporating skill development in the doctrinal course, students are able to learn and practice skills within a relevant context. The class sessions involve numerous in-class exercises with instant feedback, as well as practice essay writing with detailed graded feedback. While students practice exam skills within the Contracts framework, the skills are fully transferable to other doctrinal courses.
Property DVS (Doctrine, Values and Skills)
The Property DVS course continues the integrated skills/doctrine learning model that 1L students are first exposed to in the Contracts DVS course. Property DVS links the study of real property ownership, rights in land, land sale contracts, mortgages, and title to important exam and practice skills for of issue-spotting, rule elaboration, fact to law analysis, essay approaches and strategies, multiple choice exam, and performance test skills. By incorporating skill development in the doctrinal course, students are able to gain a deeper level of understanding of both law and skills. Some topics covered include present, future, and joint interests, leaseholds, non-possessory interests, marketability of title, equitable conversion, merger, security devices and relationships, foreclosures, conveyancing, and recording. While students practice exam skills within the Real Property framework, the skills are fully transferable to other doctrinal courses.
Skills taught and practiced in the Contracts and Property DVS courses include:
- Critical reading
- Understanding course frameworks
- Rule synthesis and drafting
- Building course outlines
- Introduction of IRAC
- Rule development
- Facts to Law Analysis
- Essay writing strategies
- Multiple Choice Exam Strategies
- Exam Practice
- Coaching for self-regulated learning
Strategic Legal Methods (SLM) I and II
SLM is a year-long course that advances 2L students’ skill development to greater heights by increasing the depth of critical reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing related to exam preparation, exam taking, and lawyerly thought. La Verne Law 1L students learn basic strategies, skills and techniques for taking essay and multiple choice exams in the Contracts and Property DVS courses.
In SLM I, which is taught during the Fall semester, 2L students review those basic strategies, skills and techniques, and as the class progresses, students enhance and build upon those skills by performing exercises that are more advanced and targeted at developing exam-taking skills that are appropriate for bar exam essays and MBE questions. In SLM II, which is taught during the Spring semester, 2L students apply and practice their academic skills by doing bar-style essay questions, MBE-style multiple choice questions and other practice exercises.
This year, the SLM day course is linked substantively with Constitutional Law and the evening course is linked substantively to Criminal Law. We believe that connecting these doctrinal courses with SLM enhances students’ overall performance in both courses because students are learning the black letter law in their doctrinal courses while contemporaneously practicing critical reading, legal analysis, rule synthesis, essay organization and other skills in the SLM course. Skills taught and practiced in SLM I and II include:
- Advanced critical reading
- Advanced legal reasoning
- Case briefing
- Advanced rule synthesis and deconstruction
- Advanced legal writing
- Identification, analysis and application of black letter law
- Continued coaching for self-regulated learning
Individual Academic Support Counseling
The CABR offers personalized one-on-one academic support counseling to all La Verne Law students. Students may schedule an appointment with a CABR instructor for personalized academic support counseling; however, the CABR has an “open door” policy so a CABR instructor is usually available to offer immediate counseling and support to students on a walk-in basis.
Academic Readiness Resources:
Academic Readiness Calendar on TWEN