Academic Success

The Academic Success Program

SMU is dedicated to cultivating a supportive academic environment and to helping all law students reach their full academic potential. To this end, the Academic Success Program (ASP) provides skills training and support for students at all stages of their law school education. The program is focused on helping students maximize their potential for learning the law while acquiring effective study skills as well as aiding students in developing their ability to perform legal analysis.

2016-17 Academic Success Program Mentors



Weekly Wrap-Up With Academic Success Mentors 

Small Group Weekly Skill-Building and Support Program by Inn 
To help ease the transition into the rigors of law school, all first year students are encouraged to participate in weekly wrap-up review sessions with their small group Inns of Court for their substantive law classes. Second and third year students who have achieved academic excellence conduct review sessions each week by Inn. These sessions are high-level structured study groups that provide general skills training and are designed to demonstrate good study and class preparatory skills.

Academic Success Workshops

Large Group Workshops
These workshops provide supportive assistance to the entire first year class and have the goal of improving exam readiness and performance.

  • “Starting on the Right Foot: Preparing for Class” (Orientation – August)
  • “Put Those Notes to Good Use: Outlining and Exam Prep” (Fall – September)
  • “Show off How Much You Learned: Tips for Exam Success” (Fall – November)
  • “Focus on the Goal: Improving Exam Performance” (Spring – March)


Academic Success Legal Analysis Workshop

Small Group Workshop Series
This is a hands-on analytical skills building class with writing assignments where students receive direct feedback and training. Students will practice applying their legal reasoning and problem-solving skills as they work through practice problems with the goal of improving exam performance and starting preparations for the Bar Exam.

Academic Success Workshops

  •  "Straight Talk About the Bar Exam: Plan for Success" (Fall and Spring)


Multi-State Bar Review Course

For-Credit Law School Course
A for-credit Bar Review course that gives students a head start in learning the substantive material that students are responsible for on the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).  The course offers students the opportunity to gain practice and experience working with the material tested on the MBE.


Post-Graduate Integrated Bar Review

Texas Essay Exam Writing Workshops
These are essay writing workshops that are intended to complement the commercial bar prep course and provide opportunities for students to gain experience with past Texas Bar Exam essay questions and improve essay-writing performance. 

Commercial Bar Exam Prep on Campus
Over the summer, SMU hosts space on campus for the large commercial Bar Prep companies to conduct their bar review courses for the Texas Bar Exam, which is the predominant state bar exam that our students take.

Other Services Offered

Students should meet with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs if they have any questions about their law school academic performance or if there are any personal matters impacting their ability to perform and succeed in the law school. Students may also consult with members of the faculty regarding questions about courses and academic pursuits.

The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities coordinates with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in working with students with learning differences requiring appropriate accommodations.

The SMU Health Center provides Counseling and Testing services for students and is also available for students in crisis. The stress of law school is sometimes compounded by death of a loved one or personal or family illness or other crises. Students should be aware of changes in behavior in themselves or in other students that may point the need to seek assistance. Students should consult with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs if they become aware of such circumstances so that an appropriate course of action can be discussed.


If you have any questions about our services or need to talk to someone about your plan for academic success, please contact the Director of the Academic Success Program, Laura G. Burstein at

Apply to be an Academic Success Program Mentor

ASP mentors are high-performing 2Ls and 3Ls chosen on the basis of academic merit, leadership ability, and passion for giving back to the SMU Dedman Law community.  ASP mentors receive training in lesson planning and public speaking and have frequent opportunities for group presentations and one-on-one tutoring.  They serve as academic leaders and tutors for the entire 1L class.  Mentors are selected through a competitive application process during the end of each school year.

The application for the 2017-2018 year is available below.  Rising 2Ls, 2Es, 3Ls, 3Es, and 4Es are welcome to apply.  Please complete the application form as instructed by April 11, 2017 and e-mail with a copy of your resume to Laura Burstein at  Selected applicants will be invited to join the program shortly after Spring 2017 grades are released.

2017-2018 ASP Application