LSAC Forms Strategic Legal Education Working Group

By Susannah Pollvogt


We all know there are many changes afoot in legal education. The bar exam is undergoing a fundamental transformation. Online education is becoming an increasingly attractive option for students. And the need to adequately support diverse and first-generation students is more urgent than ever. 

At the same time, there is widespread concern that incoming law students are not academically prepared to handle the rigors of law school. How can we best understand these challenges and leverage the resources of LSAC to address them?

To gain better insight into these and other trends in legal education, LSAC’s Legal Education Solutions division has assembled the LSAC Strategic Legal Education Working Group, the inaugural members of which are introduced below. The mission of Legal Education Solutions is to provide supplementary academic skills programming to support law students as well as the educators who serve them. When all law students are equipped with the core academic skills necessary to succeed in law school, academic support educators can focus their time and attention on at-risk students, who often benefit most from intensive one-on-one academic coaching and small class settings.

A critical first step in achieving this mission is hearing directly from academic support educators about the challenges their students are facing and which solutions they believe are most effective. The working group, consisting of a diverse array of academic support experts from across the country, will enable us to go straight to the source for this insight and develop programming for students that is responsive to actual student needs, as observed by those in the trenches. The programming we develop will be delivered through LSAC’s student-facing platform, LSAC LawHub®, using state-of-the-art e-learning technologies to maximize engagement and accountability.

Please join us in welcoming the inaugural members of LSAC’s Strategic Legal Education Working Group, who have almost 100 combined years of experience working with law students. All of them have researched and published in areas of pedagogy and student success, and their feedback on how to help students is invaluable.

Liza-Jane Capatos

Liza-Jane Capatos
Associate Clinical Professor of Law
Assistant Director, Office of Academic & Bar Success
Santa Clara University School of Law

Liza-Jane Capatos directs Santa Clara Law’s first-year Academic Success Program and provides individual counseling and advising to law students from orientation through the bar exam. She teaches a range of academic and bar skills courses and Criminal Procedure: Adjudication.

Afton Cavanaugh

Afton Cavanaugh
Assistant Dean of Law Success
St. Mary’s University School of Law

Afton Cavanaugh oversees academic support, bar preparation, and the first-year legal research and writing program through the Law Success Office at St. Mary’s University School of Law. As a graduate of St. Mary’s, he is proud to serve students as they make their way from their first year of law school through the bar exam.

Catherine (Cassie) Christopher

Catherine (Cassie) Christopher
Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Bar Success
Texas Tech University School of Law

Catherine Christopher is a dean’s distinguished service professor of law and the director for bar success at Texas Tech University School of Law. Christopher teaches a variety of skills, bar preparation, and academic support classes. Her scholarship speaks to both law students and law faculties about how best to prepare and support students taking the bar exam. As the director for bar success, Christopher spearheads several schoolwide initiatives, both curricular and extracurricular, designed to build bridges from law school to the bar exam and on into practice.

Kiyana Kiel

Kiyana Kiel
Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement
California Western School of Law

Kiyana Kiel is dedicated to law school academic support and bar preparation. Raised on a farm in the Richland Farms neighborhood of Compton, California, she is a product of the public school system. She is a first-generation college and law school graduate and credits a supportive mother, mentors, and outreach programs with her scholastic achievement.

Ashley M. London

Ashley M. London
Director of Bar Studies, Assistant Professor of Law
Duquesne University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Ashley M. London is the director of bar studies and an assistant professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law. In addition to her roles teaching Professional Responsibility, Introduction to Legal Education, and bar readiness skills courses, London develops unique and comprehensive bar preparation programming with a focus on strong student outcomes. She focuses her teaching and scholarship on legal ethics and engaging the best pedagogical techniques to prepare students for success in law school and on the bar examination.

Antonia A.B. Micelin

Antonia A.B. Miceli
Professor and Director, Academic and Bar Exam Success
Saint Louis University School of Law

Antonia Miceli is active in the national academic support and bar passage academy, having previously served as the president of the Association of Academic Support Educators and currently serving as a member of both The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction’s editorial board and the inaugural advisory committee of Helix, Access Lex’s nonprofit bar review program. Her book, The Ultimate Guide to the Uniform Bar Exam, has been adopted by many law school programs around the country, and she regularly presents at both national and regional conferences. Miceli is a go-to source for law schools located in states that are adopting the Uniform Bar Exam, speaking to faculty and staff on what that change means for their students and programs. She also presents and publishes in the area of best practices for providing academic support and bar exam preparation online.

Laura Mott

Laura Mott
Director of Academic Support
City University Of New York School of Law

Laura Mott is the director of academic skills for the 1L Evening Program at CUNY School of Law, where she works with 1L Evening students as they navigate, solidify, and transfer paradigms of legal learning and analysis into the context of various core doctrinal classes. She also teaches courses in other areas of the academic program.

Raul Ruiz

Raul Ruiz
Assistant Dean of Bar Exam Preparation and Associate Professor of Academic Support
Florida International University College of Law

Raul Ruiz serves as the assistant dean for bar exam preparation at Florida International University’s College of Law in Miami, Florida. His work specializes in the use of effective learning theory to maximize the potential for success on the bar exam and in the practice of law.

Joni Wiredu

Joni Wiredu
Assistant Dean for Academic Excellence
American University Washington College of Law

As the assistant dean for academic excellence, Joni Wiredu leads an office supporting the academic achievement and bar exam preparedness of more than 1,200 law students sitting for bar exams in more than 20 jurisdictions. At AUWCL, Wiredu is responsible for spearheading strategic and innovative programming related to academic advising, academic planning, and increasing students’ bar exam preparedness. She regularly counsels students on best academic practices in law school and collaborates with law school stakeholders in reviewing academic practices to improve students’ educational outcomes.

Susannah Pollvogt

Senior Director for Legal Education Solutions
Susannah Pollvogt is the senior director for legal education solutions at LSAC.