Evolving Enrichment

Going outside of the classroom to support students from their first year through bar passage—and beyond.

Lisa Freudenheim

Photo by Tony Rinaldo

BU Law News

Evolving Enrichment

Going outside of the classroom to support students from their first year through bar passage—and beyond.

June 17, 2024
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Lisa Freudenheim has devoted her career in legal education to helping students develop fundamental skills for success and well-being in law school and the legal profession. She joined BU Law last fall after 13 years at New England Law | Boston, where she served as dean and held positions as associate dean, co-dean, and professor and director of the academic excellence program. At BU Law, Freudenheim is director of the newly expanded Academic Enrichment Program, in which she and Visiting Assistant Professor TL Gray are leading workshops and other services aimed at evolving the academic support resources available to BU Law students. The Record spoke with Professor Freudenheim about the new program and its success so far.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

TL Gray and Lisa Freudenheim meet with students during BU Law's annual LibraryFest.
TL Gray and Lisa Freudenheim meet with students during BU Law’s annual LibraryFest.


with Lisa Freudenheim

The Record: What are the goals of the Academic Enrichment Program?

For most of us, law school involves a steep learning curve and tends to be a time of tremendous personal and professional growth. Our goal is to support and empower students as they move through the challenges and opportunities that law school presents, from the first year through bar passage. We recognize the incredible potential that each one of our students brings to the BU Law community and try to be transparent about what is expected of them and how they can achieve their goals. Ultimately, we are fortunate to be building a program in a law school with a faculty and staff so dedicated to student success and well-being.

The Record: What kind of programming do you offer?

Our initiatives span the law school and bar-prep curriculum. We offer classes, workshops, and individual coaching to support student learning and professional development, keying in on where we think students might benefit from additional practice, guidance, and training. In the first year, our programming focuses on giving students low-stakes opportunities to try out new skills—whether it’s writing a case brief, outlining, or taking an exam—and then to learn and grow as a law student and lawyer.

In the fall semester, we held a 1L-wide civil procedure practice exam. All students were offered a chance to engage in thoughtful self-assessment, where they could see where they hit the mark and where they fell short. We then provided feedback on the core skills they would need in the final exam. This kind of a program, with this level of coordination and emphasis on self-assessment, was very well received by students.

This spring, we launched a new bar skills course, and with that we were looking to create a class that does more than just prepare students to take a test—one that also helps them see the connections between law school and practice.

The Record: What’s next for the program?

We’re hoping to create a program to connect alumni who can serve as bar mentors for our students. What we know about bar passage is that so much of it rises and falls on feeling connected and supported. So, we’re really hoping that we can leverage the wisdom and experience of our young alumni to support and encourage our even more recent grads as they take the bar. In addition, we are looking to offer a course in legal analysis skills to students in their second year who might benefit from deeper skills training and feedback.

In January, the program served as a field site for testing the new bar exam format—the NextGen Bar Exam. What is promising is that the new exam is being designed to align the type of skills and knowledge used by newly licensed lawyers with a new bar exam format. The exam will be gradually rolled out over the next several years, and we will be designing and offering programs to ensure our students have all the skills and knowledge to succeed on the exam.

Academic Enrichment by the Numbers

From workshops to practice exams and individual advising, the new Academic Enrichment Program at BU Law has something for everyone.

14 plus a weekly class through
the spring semester
A 13-week course, plus a
range of other workshops and

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Evolving Enrichment

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    Lauren Eckenroth

    Lauren Eckenroth has been writing and editing stories for and about higher education since 2013. She is the editor of The Record magazine at Boston University School of Law, where she strives to tell stories that reflect and celebrate the BU Law community. Prior to joining the law school, she was the editor of BU's Research magazine. Profile