Academic Support

The study of law is extremely rigorous — and also rewarding. We teach valuable skills and strategies for success throughout law school and beyond.

Help with developing academic skills and strategies

The skill sets that make students successful in their undergraduate career may not directly translate to law school without some effort. Most UMKC Law courses are taught in the Socratic Method, where professors and students interact in a question and answer format to expose the takeaway rule of law from a given case. This encourages students to be active participants in class, rather than passive observers such as in a lecture-based class.

Law school exams are very different from undergraduate exams. In law school, your class grade is often solely determined by your performance on the final. Most exams are comprised of given fact patterns with essay responses, though some also include multiple choice sections.

The Law School offers a number of programs, which set our students up with the skills and strategies needed to succeed in their classes and careers.

Orientation week

The Law School provides a mandatory one-week intensive orientation program before the start of a student’s 1L year. Each day focuses on a stage of law school learning: orientation, preparing for class, class time, after-class review, preparing for exams and taking exams.

The skills of reading, writing and thinking in the context of law are addressed through simulated classes, direct teaching of study skills, written and oral exercises and individual meetings with faculty. At the conclusion of the five-day program, students take a exam, which is reviewed by the program faculty. Students then have an opportunity to meet individually with the faculty members to review their exam, discuss their progress, identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop personal learning plans.

Study groups

There are two formal study group programs available for first-year students. In the Structured Study Group program, a second- or third-year student attends one of the first-year courses and then leads several study groups of about 12 students each week.

These are not tutoring sessions — the experienced student models and facilitates effective approaches to studying course materials. In Comprehensive Study Groups, second- and third-year students focus on academic skills, helping first-year students master note-taking, outlining, using study guides and preparing for exams.

Strategy workshops

A faculty member provides direct instruction of academic skills such as how to approach the study of law or effective essay writing. These workshops are open to all students, but are especially helpful for first-year students.

Individual academic assistance

Professor Dan Weddle, director of academic support, is available for individual assistance about academic concerns.

Personal assistance

The Student Services office is available to help students find a balance between life and law school.