Expert Learning Program Allows John Marshall Students to Set a Strong Foundation for Law School

First-year students will start their law school careers with a proper foundation through the new Expert Learning (Ex L, pronounced “excel”) course being offered this fall semester at The John Marshall Law School.

The seven-week course is designed around three strategies: understanding the law in a bigger context; steps for a successful classroom experience; and preparing for exam success.

Sonia Green

Sonia Green

“The Ex L program is going to give students the foundation they need to build their law school careers upon,” said Ex L Director and Professor Sonia Green. “I’m excited about it. I see Ex L as a necessary step for any student, and any successful lawyer. We are at the forefront of a new trend, one of helping law students succeed in law school from the start. Giving students these best practices for a legal education also will advance the value of the education we provide.”

Ex L gives each student the foundation needed for law school success. Topics will include the structure and function of the courts, reading and briefing cases, the interplay between case law and statutes, and the function of legal precedent.

Instruction also will focus on reading and understanding cases and other assignments, briefing cases, outlining successfully, and tips on time management, exam taking and how to assess one’s own learning style.

“Learning these strategies will help students with their critical thinking, as well as their ability to develop good learning skills. These are strategies that all students can employ for a richer law school experience, and I believe will be helpful well beyond law school.”

For Ex L, the incoming class will be divided into small groups of no more than 15 students, to enhance the discussion and encourage students to work together. Students will be given assignments and will be graded. Green said her faculty colleagues offered input on how best to structure Ex L. They recognize the students will set their own pace in this class.

“Today’s law student isn’t necessarily a political science major. We have students with degrees in the arts, the hard sciences, social sciences, medicine. They need a better transition from their fields into law. Some learn more quickly than others. Some have been out of college for a time, and even if they are coming directly from undergraduate work, law school requires much more of a student,” Green stressed. “We believe with a strong foundation, all of our students will find success. This course will be structured around what all our students need.”

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