Skip to Content

Dynamic Approach to Bar Preparation

Back to Article Listing


Sturm College of Law

Article  •
bar success stats

Dynamic Approach to Bar Preparation

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law offers a host of unique programs that fortify the law school’s mission to serve its students through a robust and holistic education preparing successful, practice-ready, legal professionals. The DU Bar Success program effectively fulfills this mission, standing at the gateway between legal studies and legal practice. Created in 2008, the Bar Success Program is a free program for graduating students and alumni of the Sturm College of Law that has shown remarkable results. In July 2020, of the Bar Success Program participating graduates, 95.2% passed the Colorado Bar Exam, a stark comparison to the 65.2% of non-Bar Success Program-participating Sturm College of Law students who passed.

Bar Success Program is a two-month long series that provides opportunities for its participants to refine their study methods as they prepare to take the bar exam. Rather than doing more work than what is already assigned through a commercial bar preparation course, the Bar Success Program doesn’t replace these courses, but rather sharpens the best practices at the core of bar preparation under the guidance of Bar Success Program coaches and writing advisors.

The benefits of this program are wide ranging. “The DU Bar Success Program was an essential ingredient in my success on the Bar. Bar prep is quite an emotional process, and the DU Bar Success team was a pillar of positivity and encouragement,” said J. Scott Rosenbach, JD‘20. “The last thing you want to feel after the Bar Exam is that you could have done more. Do DU Bar Success, and you’ll avoid that feeling.”

Rosenbach successfully details the common fears of bar preparation that the Bar Success Program continuously aims to mitigate through effective coaching, strategic workshops, practice mock bar exams, one-on-one consultations and feedback on writing assignments led by a team of writing advisors.
Scott Johns, director of the Bar Success Program, emphasizes that all of these practices serve as catalysts for a concept that he refers to as “feedforward.” Feedforward stands at the heart of the Bar Success Program’s mission: Students receive feedback from a variety of coaches and graders seeing different perspectives of their work, encouraging confidence and fostering bar-ready students.

Recent graduate, Kimberly Langona, JD’20, supported the approach of feedforward practices in her reflection on her experience in the program. “The Bar Success Program is an incredible resource for individual feedback from a variety of graders, helping students gain the self-confidence necessary to tackle the bar exam,” said Langona.

The DU Bar Success Program provides its students with comprehensive techniques as they begin bar preparation. While not a replacement for commercial bar review courses, the program refines the process with a range of individual and small-group sessions and an emphasis on substantive skill-building, anxiety and stress management, and community support. The program emboldens all participants as they develop their skills toward improved and individual learning techniques.

Mackenzie Ludwig, JD‘17, a graduate of the Bar Success Program, highlights this point, “I am a student of disabilities. I struggled deeply with taking the bar exam due to my disabilities. I felt overworked, overwhelmed, and it hindered my abilities to focus on the tasks at hand. After failing the second time, I really reevaluated my approach and met with Professor Johns and I focused solely on the products provided by DU.

“Professor Johns would sit down with me almost every week along with members of his team to work through my approach. But, the greatest part about Professor Johns is he would always point out my strengths when working through my struggles. When I finally passed in Oregon and Colorado, he was one of the first people I contacted months later. I owe my success to him and this program. I am now living my dream and doing what I love every single day,” said Ludwig.

Studying is never one-method-fits-all, yet many commercial courses are not tailored to the dynamic learning styles of diverse legal professionals. The core of the DU Bar Success Program addresses the varying needs of its participants and provides a holistic education. This is demonstrated through feedforward practices encouraged through the series, underscored through individual and small group consultations, and proven effective through the stellar success of the students who have participated in the Bar Success Program and passed the bar. Join the esteemed coaches today and
register for the Bar Success Program