Office of Academic & Bar Success

About the Office

The Office of Academic & Bar Success is dedicated to assisting and supporting all students in successfully achieving their academic goals.  The Office provides individual academic counseling and support, including regular programs specifically targeted to the academic needs and skills development of each law school class, skills workshops, academic development sessions, and coordinated programs with other Charleston School of Law offices.

Dyann Margolis

Dyann Margolis joined Charleston School of Law in August of 2017 as the Assistant Dean for Academic and Bar Success.  In this role, she oversees and has developed a comprehensive curriculum to support our students from their first day at the school through the bar exam.  She teaches Academic Skills, Legal Skills and Bar Preparation, and provides one-on-one support to current students and bar takers.

Prior to joining the Charleston School of Law, she worked for the legal education company, BARBRI.  At BARBRI, as the National Director for Institutional Partnerships, she worked with law schools nationwide on building programming and implementing curriculum to support student and bar success.  In her time at BARBRI, she also supported and counseled students through 14 bar exams.  During this time, Dean Margolis also served at an Adjunct Professor at the University of Akron School of Law teaching in both an Academic Success course for 1Ls and Early Bar Preparation.

In her first two years after law school, Dean Margolis worked as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Lake County, Ohio. In this role, she represented the State of Ohio and the Department of Job and Family Services in Juvenile Court.  She tried over 75 cases before the bench and completed oral arguments in front of the 11th District Court of Appeals.

Michael Sweet

Professor Sweet joined the Charleston School of Law as the Assistant Director of Academic and Bar Success in October 2018. In this role, Professor Sweet teaches Legal Skills and Bar Preparation classes, meets one-on-one with students to enhance their learning, and holds academic workshops throughout the year on a variety of subjects designed to advance student success.

Professor Sweet graduated with honors from the Charleston School of Law in 2012 where he was a member of the Charleston Law Review and a Legal Writing Teaching Fellow. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland.

Prior to joining the Charleston School of Law, Professor Sweet was in private practice where he focused on civil litigation and corporate law; and prior to law school, he worked as Director of the English Department at an international private school in Prague, Czech Republic.

Katie McElveen

Katie McElveen joined the Charleston School of Law in August of 2018 as an Adjunct Professor, teaching Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing.  She is currently the Assistant Director of Academic and Bar Success.

Prior to joining the Charleston School of Law, Ms. McElveen worked as an attorney at a nationally recognized firm on its complex and class action litigation team for over a decade.  She handled complex cases in federal and state courts on a nationwide basis in a variety of practice areas, including class action, products liability, employment, construction, consumer protection, and business litigation.  Ms. McElveen also represented clients in appellate cases.

She is licensed to practice in South Carolina as well as the United States District Court for the Districts of Colorado, Northern Florida, and South Carolina, and the United States Courts of Appeal for the Fourth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuit.  She has spoken and written on many legal topics and most recently co-authored a litigation evidence manual published by the National Consumer Law Center.

She graduated from the Charleston School of Law with honors as a member of its inaugural class and was a member of the Federal Courts Law Review.

Leo Brown

Professor Brown joined Charleston School of Law as the Composition Specialist in January of 2018. In this role, Professor Brown teaches the Upper-Level Writing Workshop; provides feedback on student writing for LRAW, Externship, and Legal Skills classes, in a classroom environment; and meets one-on-one with students to improve their writing.

Professor Brown identifies areas to improve upon in student writing, including grammar, punctuation usage, word choice, word order, and clarity and concision. He then meets with students individually and reviews the documents to reduce and eliminate those errors. Students correct their errors; he does not. In the event students do not recognize any of the above errors in their writing, he provides instruction and recommendations to prevent their further occurrence.

Prior to joining Charleston School of Law, Professor Brown taught English, Business Writing, and Composition to native and non-native English speaking students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the United States and Shanghai, China, as an Adjunct Professor and Senior Instructor.

Success on the Bar Exam

We offer the following courses and post-graduation support to ensure our students are in the best position possible to succeed on the bar exam:

Legal Skills for 2Ls

Legal Skills is a two credit hour course for second-year students that focuses on the Multistate Performance Test (MPT)–the practical writing component of the UBE and worth 20% of their score. Students are guided through the intricacies of the test while also being introduced to the various formats the MPT may take on the UBE. At the end of the course, students will walk away with a systematic approach to efficiently and successfully perform on the MPT.

Bar Prep for 3Ls

This is a three-credit hour course for students in their third-year–and typically, final semester–of law school. In this course, we focus on the multiple choice component (MBE) and essay component (MEE) of the UBE. In addition to providing instruction on particular UBE subject areas, the Bar Prep course teaches students how to approach the exam in a strategic and focused manner, as well as familiarizing students with what it takes to be successful to ensure they hit the ground running after graduation.

Post-Graduation Bar Support

All incoming students receive BARBRI’s Bar Review course built into their tuition. This means, upon graduation, students have access to BARBRI’s full-service bar prep course and materials.

In addition, the Office of Academic and Bar Success provides alumni studying for the bar continuous support and guidance until the day of the exam. We also offer weekly Writing Workshops where students have the opportunity for additional writing practice and receive comprehensive, written feedback on their writing. Finally, in the closing weeks before the exam, our doctrinal faculty present at our Bar Bootcamp Series in which students receive personalized instruction on each MBE topic and the opportunity to dive deep into the particular subject matter with our resident experts.

Academic Success

Charleston Law’s Orientation Program

This week-long orientation program is aimed at introducing incoming law students to core concepts and preparing them with the the skills necessary to succeed in their new law school environment.

Foundations for Professional Success

This course provides students skills they need for success in law school and beyond. Students will review critical skills introduced in Orientation week.  Students will also work with Career Services to begin developing their career portfolio.

Academic Skills for 1Ls

Academic Skills is a course for 1Ls in their second-semester that provides a deeper dive into core concepts, including issue spotting, rule synthesis, fact application, and well-reasoned analysis. Skills are illustrated in the context of law school hypotheticals so students also learn a systematic approach that can be applied to law school assessments and exams–and ultimately, the bar exam.

Academic Success Fellows

All first year Contracts classes have an assigned Academic Success Fellow. These fellows will hold weekly reviews for the students focusing on practice questions provided by the Professor.  Upper level students who would like help can meet with Academic Success to be paired with a fellow.

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