Academic Support Services
Directed Study Program
Prior to the second year of law school, students whose grades indicate they would benefit from more intensive skills instruction will be placed in the Directed Study Program. This Program is designed to help students reach their full potential in law school through a continuum of academic support and counseling, as well as introduce them to the skills necessary to pass the bar exam on the first attempt.
Directed Study Program students first take the Principles of Legal Analysis II course in the fall semester. This one-unit, graded class reviews skills learned in the first year and introduces students to skills necessary for success in upper-level law school courses and on the bar exam.
In either the fall or spring of their final year at Pacific McGeorge, Directed Study Program students are required to take Practical & Persuasive Legal Writing (PPLW). PPLW is a two-unit, ten-week course designed to demystify the bar exam. PPLW students write several California Bar Exam essays and performance tests, and receive extensive individualized feedback on their answers. Although Directed Study Program students are required to take PPLW for graduation, this class is open to all Pacific McGeorge students.
Students in the Directed Study Program also have other required courses and will meet regularly with the Dean of Students to discuss their academic scheduling and progress. Additionally, the Director of Academic Support is available to meet with any Pacific McGeorge student or graduate seeking to improve his or her study skills and exam performance.
Professor Thompson is available to meet with and counsel students at any time regarding study techniques, time management, supplemental materials, study groups, and other matters related to academic progress and/or the bar exam. Also available to all students throughout the year is the Academic Support Resource Center. Skills Support Team members are also available by appointment outside of their office hours.
The primary methods of measuring progress in law school are essay and multiple choice exams. Both formats require students to apply the law to new story lines by analyzing how the facts might support good arguments for each side. This process is preparation for typical state bar examinations and the practice of law, where hypothetical fact patterns become real client problems.
Because many students' undergraduate programs used different methods of assessment, the Pacific McGeorge Academic Support Program helps first-year students get used to the process with a simulated practice exam during the fall semester. This simulation process includes administration of an essay exam under proctored, timed conditions; detailed feedback from professors; and an exam review session.
Additionally, most professors release past essay exams so that students may continue taking practice exams on their own. This individual writing practice is key to student success in law school. Past exams are available on the Go-Cat system in the Gordon D. Schaber Law Library, and students are encouraged to download these exams and compile their own practice exam libraries. Exams are also available in hard copy format at the Reserve Desk in the Library.
Professor Stephanie Thompson
Email | 916.739.7322