Academic Skills Program

Every student admitted to the Berkeley Law has the ability to succeed in law school. But for many JD students, adjusting to the demands of the first-year curriculum can be difficult. Berkeley Law is committed to fostering an academic environment in which all students can achieve their full potential. Through a variety of programs and services, the Academic Skills Program (ASP) helps students build the skills critical to success in law school and in practice.


During the five days preceding 1L Orientation, we offer a small group of JD students an introduction to law school teaching methods and skills. Incoming first-year JD students will receive a letter over the summer with information about how to apply. This is a unique opportunity to better understand and practice the skills needed to succeed in law school, as well as meet other students and faculty members.

Teaching Fellows and Labs

For first-year JD students, we offer weekly small-group workshops (“labs”) during the fall semester of the first year. Student teaching fellows lead the labs, which are designed to introduce core academic and lawyering skills such as case briefing, rule analysis and synthesis, outlining, and exam-writing. Each first-year JD module is assigned to a specific lab and teaching fellow. The labs are optional, but students in past years gained the most through regular attendance, as each week’s session builds on prior material. We also offer labs during the spring semester, as students continue to practice and refine these important skills.

Individual Advising

 The ASP faculty are available to meet with JD students one-on-one to answer specific questions, review concepts and skills, discuss study strategies and exam preparation, assist with time management, etc. Our contact information is below. LL.M. students should contact Rachel Zuraw or Peter Landreth.


The ASP faculty teach a number of courses through the lens of academic skills. This means that in addition to teaching the relevant substantive law, we also focus on honing the skills essential to academic and professional success. These courses typically include Advanced Legal Writing, Constitutional Law, Lawyering As Problem-Solving, and Trusts & Estates. Some classes require a short application.

ASP Faculty

If you have questions about the program, concerns about the academic demands of law school, or would like to schedule an individual meeting, please don’t hesitate to contact an adviser. JD students can schedule a meeting with Professor DiGennaro using this link. LL.M. students should contact Rachel Zuraw or Peter Landreth.


Kristen Holmquist

Director, Experiential Education

Director, Academic Skills Program

Lecturer in Residence

344 Boalt Hall (North Addition)


Diana DiGennaro

Associate Director, Academic Skills Program

Lecturer in Residence

340B Boalt Hall (North Addition)