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Academic Success Program

About the Program

The Academic Success Program (ASP) has two objectives:

(1) to provide direct, skills-focused academic support for students desiring additional help; and

(2) to provide resources for law school and bar exam success for all students.

To meet these objectives, the ASP provides a variety of programs and resources, including:

  • First-year orientation;
  • Skills workshops (first semester);
  • Group skills sessions (first semester);
  • Law Exam Workshop (second semester);
  • Bar Exam Workshop (offered both semesters during the 3L year);
  • Individual consultations;
  • Online resources;
  • Academic Success library.

First-year Orientation

The Orientation Program, which takes place the week before classes begin in August, is required for all first-year students. The ASP component of the Orientation Program covers basic concepts relating to the successful study of law: the methodology of law school instruction, the principles of basic legal analysis, and the study skills and strategies necessary to prepare for class and examinations. The Orientation Program also strives more generally to make all students feel comfortable in the law school environment by providing incoming students with opportunities to socialize with their fellow classmates, upper-division students, alumni, and the faculty. In addition, students are assigned upper-division student mentors and a faculty mentor. The students meet with their mentors during orientation and at follow-up social events, as well as in individual meetings that take place throughout the academic year.

Skills Workshops

To assist all first year students in their transition into law school, the ASP offers a series of weekly skills workshops during the first semester. Participation in this program is voluntary and open to all first year students. Workshop topics include case briefing, note taking, outlining, issue spotting, exam writing, and practice examinations.

Group Skills Sessions

Teaching fellows are hired from the upper division classes and assigned to a particular first year section. During the first semester, these fellows host weekly group skills sessions based on the ASP skills workshop delivered that week. Participation in this program is voluntary and open to all first year students. In the group skills sessions, students have the opportunity to put the workshop skills into practice and receive feedback from the teaching fellows on their efforts.

Law Exam Workshop

Law Exam Workshop is an optional course offered to second semester students who struggled academically during their first semester. The class meets once a week to assist students with adjusting their study plan and to provide ample opportunities to practice exam-taking skills. The course does not receive academic credit. The pedagogical goal is not to teach substantive material but to improve test-taking skills that can positively impact performance in all substantive classes. In addition to the weekly class meeting, the students are assigned to study groups based on their respective first year sections that are facilitated by teaching fellows from upper division classes. The teaching fellows are often nominated by faculty members and are hired, trained, supervised, and evaluated by the ASP Director. The students have the opportunity to receive feedback from their regular professors, the ASP Director, and their respective teaching fellow.

Bar Exam Workshop

The Bar Exam Workshop is a one-credit course offered in the final year of law school to all third year students. In this overview course, students are introduced to all three components of the California Bar Examination – Essays, the Multistate Bar Examination (multiple choice), and the Performance Tests. Specific techniques are presented for maximizing performance on each phase of the exam.

Individual Consultations & Resources

All students have a variety of avenues for individualized instruction:

  • Professor office hours – Pepperdine University School of Law prides itself on professor accessibility, and all students are encouraged to take advantage of their professors' open doors for one-on-one substantive instruction;
  • ASP Director office hours – Conversely, the ASP Director is available for one-on-one skills instruction for all students.
  • In addition, the ASP Director provides resources for law school and bar exam success to all students via an online blog as well as by maintaining an Academic Success library.
  • Teaching Fellow office hours – For first semester students, the Teaching Fellow assigned to each respective section hosts office hours for skills-related consultation. For second semester students in the Law Exam Workshop, the teaching fellow assigned to the student's section is also available for skills-related consultation during office hours.

Online Resources

Academic Success Program blog ( Exam Resources blog (

Academic Success Library

Dean Sturgeon maintains a library of academic support materials in his office. Books are available for checkout for all students.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact the Assistant Dean for Student Life and Director of Academic Success, Al Sturgeon, at