Every student admitted to Berkeley Law has the ability to succeed in law school and we are 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 essential to success in law school and in practice. This includes self-care, which is a critical academic and lawyering skill.
First, don’t forget to breathe!
To get an idea of how breathing can reduce feelings of stress, try breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of eight. Doing this for just a few minutes can start to calm your nervous system. It helps to rest your eyes, too. Studies have shown that closing your eyes for just ten seconds at a time can help reduce stress and help reset a fatigued brain. Aim to give your brain a visual break every half hour or so, and consider pairing that short break with two or three slow breaths.
Negative emotions like anxiety and stress can make it harder to think or solve problems. Try grounding yourself in the present moment using this easy meditation technique. Hold one hand in front of you, fingers spread. Now, slowly trace the outside of your hand with the index finger on your other hand, breathing in when you trace up a finger, and out when you trace down. Move up and down all five fingers. When you’ve traced your whole hand, reverse direction and do it again.
Lastly, practice self-compassion. One of the simplest ways to do so is to ask yourself one question: “What do I need right now?”
- Guided Meditations
- How-To Guides and Tips
- Online Study Aids
- Hypos and Practice Exams
- Bar Exam Preparation & Support
ASP Fellows (JDs) and Tutors (LL.M.s)
For first-year JD students, we offer small-group workshops (“labs”) throughout the fall semester of the first year. Student fellows lead the labs, which are designed to introduce core academic 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 fellow. The labs are optional, but students in past years gained the most through regular attendance, as each session builds on prior material. We also offer labs during the spring semester, as students continue to practice and refine these important skills. In addition to labs, fellows hold office hours and offer opportunities for individual feedback on practice hypos. Fellows are available to answer questions about law school and study strategies.
For LL.M. students, tutors for the required Fundamentals of U.S. Law course offer office hours and opportunities for individual feedback on writing assignments. Tutors are available to answer questions about law school classes and study strategies. We also offer various workshops and presentations designed specifically for LL.M. students throughout the year.
Individual Advising & Workshops
We are available to meet with students one-on-one to answer specific questions, review concepts and skills, discuss study strategies and exam preparation, assist with time management, etc. JD students can schedule a meeting using this link. LL.M. students should contact their Advanced Degree Program advisor. We also offer workshops on topics such as time management and taking law school exams. Please check the Berkeley Law events calendar for workshop dates and times.
Berkeley Law offers 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 and Estates. Some classes require a short application.
Pre-Orientation for JD Students
During the full week (Monday through Friday) preceding the week of 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 in late May or early June 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. You can learn more about the program here.
In order to give students ample time to plan their summer and arrival in Berkeley, the application process involves a tight turn-around. In mid-May, all incoming first-year students will receive an email from Admissions with information about how to apply. The application typically is due in early June, and we will let you know whether you have been accepted by late June.
Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Professor Diana DiGennaro, Academic Skills Program Director
Schedule a meeting: https://BerkeleyLawASP.as.me/