At UNT Dallas College of Law, we are fully committed to ALL students’ academic success. Our innovative Academic Success curriculum, programming, and services are consciously interwoven throughout the College of Law academic curriculum, from fall term of your 1L year, through your last final exams in your 3L or 4L year.
Why This Comprehensive Effort for Every Student?
At UNT Dallas College of Law, we evaluate your academic success beyond classroom grades, to include success in training you to become a practicing attorney. The goal of academic success is three-fold: success in law school, success on the bar exam, and success in the practice of law. As a student at our law school, you are deemed a lawyer-in-training, and we expect you to not only attend classes and master course materials, but also to engage with the full educational program offered by the College of Law.
As a lawyer-in-training, we know you cannot develop all the skills, values, and aptitudes needed to be an effective lawyer in just one year, or just through doctrinal classes.
The Academic Success faculty focuses on early adoption of core legal skills, extended and targeted preparation for the bar exam, and on acquisition of practice-related competencies for all students. Programming is designed to benefit all students, and to level the playing field by enabling all students to identify and target under-developed legal skills and ultimately, excel at those legal skills.
We also assist students with improving academic performance through targeted efforts when needed, either at the student’s request, through a referral from faculty, or from our own tracking and measurement activities.
Focus on Legal Skills – the 1L Curriculum
Academic success and bar readiness begins with 1L programming, which promotes development of good analytical habits that become ingrained over your first semesters in law school. As a student, you will harness those ingrained skills as you begin internships, externships, upper-level experiential education courses, and bar exam studies.
Two skills-based courses are required for all full-time and part-time students during the 1L fall term: Fundamentals of Being a Lawyer, and Legal Methods. Those courses focus on mastery of the critical skills outlined below. Academic Success course curriculum is integrated with the 1L doctrinal courses of Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure and Legal Writing to ensure that skills taught in Legal Methods align with the skills taught in the doctrinal courses.
Targeted skills include:
- Critical Reading. Courses are designed to promote reading comprehension, to expand students’ legal vocabularies, to promote active reading, and to develop strategies to dissect new and difficult material.
- Structured Writing. Courses are designed to promote proper grammar and usage and to present legal arguments with clarity and within a clear organizational framework.
- Flexibility. Courses are designed promote the transfer and application of learned concepts in varied contexts and a capacity to break large questions into smaller units.
- Curiosity. Students are trained to probe beneath the surface answer to look for nuances and to “question the question.”
- Self-Assessment. Students are trained to recognize areas of weakness and formulate strategies to improve academic skills.
- Systematic Problem Solving. Students are trained to approach legal problems within a systematic framework. Students are trained to identify the legal issues being triggered and effectively engage in an analysis of relevant laws, to appropriately connect rules to the relevant facts of a legal problem and to produce clear, concise analysis that supports legal conclusions.
- Regular Assessments. Multiple evaluative assessments are given in all courses to introduce students to grading by rubric, individualized feedback, and various question/answer formats. Students develop skills in taking assessments in different bar-related formats, and in interpreting feedback to improve their understanding and performance.
The 1L curriculum also encompasses supporting skills like critical thinking, outlining, case briefing, legal synthesis, multifaceted reasoning, rudimentary logic, metacognition, and self-regulated learning.