Academic Success Program

Home > Academic Success Program
  • Academic Success Program

    Academic Success Program Services: A Message to First Year Students from Alice Silkey, Director of Academic Success

    In the Academic Success Program, we have focused our greatest efforts on the skill development of first-year students. We believe that helping you to develop critical skills in legal analysis during your first year of law school will improve your level of academic achievement during law school and will ultimately help you be successful on the bar exam.

    The Academic Success Program welcomes all students. We serve students at all levels of ability. Our programming targets students at all ability levels. The most important message that I want to convey to you is that this is a program that can provide assistance to you at your level of need.

    We have succeeded in attracting students at many levels of need and with diverse concerns. The students we have served range from students on academic probation to students engaged in scholarly writing. We have served students with serious deficiencies in basic case reading and study skills, who need assistance in order to improve their academic performance and succeed in law school. We have also served students seeking guidance with advanced composition and analysis skills, who need assistance with scholarly endeavors. Our goal is to help students at all levels of need to improve their skills.

    We offer three primary services for first-year students: individual tutoring, structured study groups, and workshops.

    Individual Tutoring

    We have a strong focus on individual tutorial work in the Academic Success Program. I believe that individual instruction is the most critical component in helping students improve their skills, and I envision the individual tutoring sessions as the cornerstone of the Academic Success Program.

    You may contact me or any of the tutors to arrange for weekly tutoring appointments. Individual tutoring affords you an opportunity to create a program in consultation with your tutor based on the areas in which you most want (or need) assistance. You also may arrange to see a tutor on a periodic basis when you need help instead of scheduling a weekly appointment.

    We are fortunate to have a wonderful team of tutors, including both professional tutors and several outstanding Hamline graduates who are practicing attorneys and who devote their evenings and weekends to our program. Students have appreciated the range of mentoring experiences provided by having both professional tutors and practicing attorneys on our academic success team. Last year, approximately 85 first-year students received tutoring services.

    Structured Study Groups

    The structured study groups afford us a great opportunity to provide significant support to you during your first year of law school. The structured study groups provide an excellent venue for learning skills and for engaging in active learning.

    We provide structured study groups for all of the sections of Contracts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law. The structured study groups meet for one hour per week, and they focus on the development of skills within the context of your Contracts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law classes. The groups are led by upper-class students who have excelled in law school.

    Students have found the structured study groups very helpful in learning study skills and exam taking skills and in providing perspective on the "big picture" of an area of the law. The structured study groups also may serve as a catalyst for you in forming your own study groups.

    The goal of the structured study groups is to help all students develop the skills they need to succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and in the practice of law. The structured study groups will help you to better understand the material you are studying in your classes by facilitating discussion of the material and by giving you the skills you need to learn how to master the material.

    The structured study groups focus on the mastery of skills within the framework of a doctrinal course. The structured study groups focus on analytical skills, study skills, note-taking skills, outlining skills, and exam taking skills. The structured study groups afford students an opportunity to work in small groups and to engage in active learning. They help you to understand an area of the law by providing context. Participation in the study groups is voluntary, but I encourage you to avail yourself of this opportunity.

    The structured study group leaders serve as mentors for you during this critical first year of law school. You will receive additional information about structured study groups in your Contracts, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law classes.


    The Academic Success Program will offer three workshops in Fall 2013 and two workshops in Spring 2014. The workshops will be presented by members of the faculty. The fall workshops will focus on demystifying the law school classroom; briefing, synthesis, and outlining for academic success; and preparing for and writing your first law school exams. The spring workshops will focus on improving exam performance by reviewing common missteps on fall semester’s exam answers and persuasion in briefing and oral arguments. Each workshop will be presented on both a weekday and on the weekend. Please see the workshops schedule for further details.

    Additional Information

    Please contact me at any time if I can be of assistance. We hope you will have a successful and rewarding journey through law school. We hope that your journey will be filled with adventure; great challenges; and extraordinary academic, personal, and professional growth.

  • Video

  • Contact

    Alice Silkey 
    Director of Academic Success

    Office 209W
    Hamline University School of Law
    1536 Hewitt Avenue
    Saint Paul, MN 55104

    Phone: 651-523-3012


  • Events
    Apr. 17
    11:20 a.m. - 12 p.m.
    Apr. 17
    11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Apr. 17
    12 - 12:40 p.m.
    Apr. 18 - 
    Apr. 20
    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Headlines
    • Professor James Coben recently participated in a panel discussion about mediator licensing as part of the American Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution section meeting in Miami.
    • Hamline University School of Law was recently named among the top 60 law schools in the country for delivering practical training to students by The National Jurist magazine.
    • Hamline University School of Law has received a generous grant from the Fredrikson & Byron Foundation to help expand the law school’s Dean’s Summer Fellowship program for the next three years.