Gifts to the Law Success Program help boost legal education

November 19, 2019

The mission of the Law Success Program is to help prepare students for success in school, on the bar exam and in practice. To accomplish this mission, the program takes an innovative, data-driven approach to student growth by using assessments and data gathering to plan legal skills development, bar exam initiatives and individual academic counseling.

The Q&A and quotes below illuminate how students have excelled with help from the Law Success Program, made possible by gifts to The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign.

Gaining perspective through Law Success

Sammantha Rodriguez takes a graduation photo.

Sammantha Rodriguez (B.A. ’15, J.D. ’18)

Hometown: El Paso

Position: Associate Attorney, Tessmer Law Firm PLLC

Q: Why did you choose to continue studying at St. Mary’s for law school?

A: St. Mary’s has always encouraged a strong presence in the San Antonio community. One way to do that was to get a law degree.

Q: How did the Law Success Program affect your law school experience?

A: Law Success helped me tremendously in gaining a different perspective on how I needed to conduct myself as a law student and how I needed to study to be more effective. It has helped students transition into law school because it is a whole different monster, and that’s intimidating. I don’t think I could have passed the bar without the Law Success Program’s Raise the Bar prep program.

Q: How did Law Success instructors help you?

A: They go above and beyond to make sure you understand concepts. I had a friend who was having trouble understanding a lecture. One of the Law Success instructors went to the next class, listened to the lecture with her and helped break it down at the end.

Alumni and Faculty Quotes

When we were told we’d have to take some classes no one else had to take, I was apprehensive. But, had it not been for the donors providing funding for the program, I don’t know that I would have been as successful. The practical knowledge and experiences made me better prepared for a legal career.

Katherine Cabello-Flores (J.D. ’18), Associate Attorney, Tessmer Law Firm PLLC
Katherine Cabello-Flores stands on the stairs in the Raba Building.
Afton Cavanaugh sits in the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library Rare Book Room.

The more of an impact we have with the students, the more it helps them achieve a larger goal so they can be successful for themselves. We’re not just impacting the people who walk through the door, but really the entire class.

Afton Cavanaugh (J.D. ’13), Director of Law Success and Service Professor of Law

The best part of the Law Success Program was the one-on-one attention I received with the instructors. It is one thing to have the law professors teach you the material, and another to have a professor dedicated to working with you on your law school trajectory. Being a first-generation student going to law school, I had no idea what law school was about, what the process was. Law Success fills that gap.

Eden Ramirez (J.D. ’18), Associate Attorney, O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo, PC
Eden Ramirez poses for a headshot.
Zoe Niesel stands in the Law Courtyard.

The work we do is built on the foundation the donors have laid for us. It really has made a tremendous difference. Ensuring each student has coaching, support and an academic adviser — the funding allowed us to hire passionate people who could make that happen.

Zoe E. Niesel, J.D., Executive Director of Law Success

Read more about what the campaign means to our students and faculty through these stories:

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