Academic Success Program

The Academic Success Program

The Academic Success Program (ASP) at SMU Dedman School of Law is dedicated to cultivating a supportive academic environment and to helping all law students reach their full academic potential. ASP provides academic skills training and support for students at all stages of their law school education. In 2015, with the adoption of our new Inns of Court Program, ASP also became a cornerstone program of the 1L Inns of Court.

Academic Success Resources

August 2016
Academic Success Program Mentors

West Academic Study Aids (FREE)  
Students can register using their SMU email address in the format “” by clicking on the “Create an Account” link at the top of that web page.

SMU Underwood Law Library Study Aids


Barbri substantive lecture videos

Oyez (for Con Law and Leg Reg)

Lexis Advance (some case briefs)


1L Inns of Court – Academic Success Sessions

To help ease the transition into the rigors of law school, all first year students participate in ASP Sessions with their Inns of Court. The sessions are led by the Director of Academic Success (Professor Birdsong) and the ASP Mentors. Our ASP Mentors are high-achieving second and third year law students, who have been selected and trained to provide skills assistance and peer support for students during their first year of law school. In the Core Skills Sessions curriculum each session builds on the previous session. Our sessions cover such topics as: Time Management, Preparing for Class, Note-Taking, Outlining, and How to Write a Law School Exam Answer.

Academic Success Student Group


ASP Mentor Office Hours

ASP Mentors hold Office Hours each semester that are intended to connect 1Ls with top-performing 2Ls and 3Ls who had the same 1L professors. Office Hours provide 1Ls an opportunity to ask those mentors how they conquered their 1L classes as well as an opportunity to ask substantive questions about the material they have been learning.


Individual Tutoring

Professor Birdsong – Director of ASP – provides individual tutoring for students requiring additional assistance. These individual sessions help students succeed on their law school exams by focusing on specific skills, such as reading comprehension, a review of outline drafting, or practice writing exam answers. If you need individual tutoring, please email


Weekly Wrap Up


Academic Advising and Tutoring

Academic advising is available for all students to discuss such issues as academic performance and appropriate curricular choices, any possible need for testing or other accommodations, the availability of the Academic Success Program, and the services of the University Counseling and Testing Center.

MPT Bar Prep Course – Fall Semester Only

The MPT tests basic lawyering skills in a real-life simulation, requiring examinees to complete an activity that a new lawyer would be assigned (e.g. memo, brief, or client letter). This for-credit course focuses on reading and analyzing cases and statutes, applying legal principles to facts, and writing effective memos and briefs to help students achieve in law school and on the MPT.

Advanced Legal Reasoning Bar Prep Course – Spring Semester Only

A for-credit 3L bar prep course that gives students a head start in learning the substantive material that is tested on the bar exam, focusing on improving legal analysis skills, as well as practice with Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) subjects.

Other Services Offered

Students should meet with the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs if there are any personal matters impacting their ability to perform and succeed in the law school. Students may also consult with members of the faculty regarding questions about courses and academic pursuits.
The Office of Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies coordinates with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in working with students with learning differences requiring appropriate accommodations.

The SMU Health Center provides Counseling and Testing services for students and is also available for students in crisis. The stress of law school is sometimes compounded by death of a loved one or personal or family illness or other crises. Students should be aware of changes in behavior in themselves or in other students that may point the need to seek assistance. Students should consult with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs if they become aware of such circumstances so that an appropriate course of action can be discussed.


If you have any questions about our services or need to talk to someone about your plan for academic success, please contact the Director of the Academic Success Program, Professor Birdsong, at