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Support for Law Success

The mission of Law Success is to help prepare students for success in law school, on the bar exam and in practice. To accomplish this mission, the Law Success program takes an innovative, data-driven approach to student growth by using assessments and data-gathering to plan legal skills development, bar exam initiatives, and individual academic counseling.

The data also forms the foundation of our rigorous legal skills curriculum, including our first-year writing and lawyering class and our third-year bar preparation for credit course, and involves significant writing development, practice readiness simulations, and individual student skill building.

The more of an impact we have with the students, the more it helps them achieve a larger goal so they can be successful for themselves. We’re not just impacting the people who walk through the door, but really the entire class.

– Afton Cavanaugh, Assistant Dean for Law Success and Service Professor of Law

Academic Advising

The Office of Law Success recognizes that students come to law school with several goals – to succeed in school, to pass the bar exam and to utilize their law degree to great success.

To provide a consistent point of contact in accomplishing that goal, every student is paired with an academic adviser their first year that will serve as their adviser and instructor in their first-year course and then will continue as their academic adviser until graduation.

Students can meet with their adviser as regularly as they would like for guidance, including to receive individualized advice, to develop academic and legal skills, and to prepare themselves as a young professional for the practice of law.

Law Success Curriculum

St. Mary’s Law is committed to the success of every one of its law students. Thus, the St. Mary’s Office of Law Success ensures that each student has the skills to succeed in law school and in practice. The Office of Law Success accomplishes this through an innovative curriculum that spans students’ legal education.

Further, the Law Success Program conducts assessments of student performance so that students and faculty can then focus on the skills each student must work most to develop to find success. 

Students at any stage of this process are welcome to stop by and visit the Law Success faculty to discuss academic issues or to improve their skills, for and on various areas of law study, or simply to chat with their assigned Law Success Instructor. Read more about the origin and goals of the Law Success Program, nationally unmatched in size and scope.


Incoming Law Student Orientation


1L Year (Fall and Spring)


2L Orientation


2L Year (Fall and Spring)


3L Orientation


3L Year (Fall, Spring and Bar Exam Prep)