Academic Achievement Program - Dean’s Fellows Study Groups

What are Dean's Fellows?

Beginning first-year law students (1Ls) are given the opportunity to study under other exemplary upper-level students, known as “Dean's Fellows,” in each of the areas of study required during 1L year – Torts, Property, Elements, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Constitutional Law.

Dean's Fellows Selection Criteria

Dean's Fellows are assigned to specific classes and work closely with the professor to help facilitate the 1L's independent learning, by focusing on learning strategies, organization skills, time management, and exam preparation for that class.

Dean's Fellows are not selected solely because they have earned "good grades." They must also demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, patience, maturity, and a genuine willingness to work with students who may be confused or overwhelmed by the 1L experience.

FAQs: How to Become a Dean's Fellow

1. When and where does one apply?

The application period will be announced via email. Dean's Fellow Application (Note: Please make sure to attach your resume and law school transcript to your completed application. If you have any questions, please contact Lourdes Rodriguez at 305-284-9208 or

2. How are Dean's Fellows selected?

Students who wish to apply for a Dean’s Fellow position must complete an application and submit it along with a current law school transcript and resume. Professors will be provided copies of all application materials for students who designated the professor as one of their “top three choices.” Professors and their assistants will coordinate a time to interview their candidates. Professors will then coordinate with the Academic Achievement Program (AAP) about the following steps in the hiring process and all work together to select a student Dean’s Fellow to work with the 1L students in that professor’s class.

3. Must a prospective Dean’s Fellow have received an "A" in the class?

No, the goal is to select Dean’s Fellows who have solid academic records, but an “A” in the class is not required.

A Dean’s Fellow applicant must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and must have earned a “B” or better in the course for which the applicant is applying (for example, a student who is applying for a position as a Torts Dean’s Fellow must have earned a “B” or better in Torts and must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher). 

4. Is it required that a Dean’s Fellow have had a specific professor to assist in his or her class?

No. Although that is generally preferable, it is not a requirement. Some professors may be teaching this class for the first time or may wish to see a broader pool of candidates. Applicants should note, however, that many professors do prefer to select a Dean’s Fellow who was a student in their class.

5. How many hours per week do Dean's Fellows work?

Generally, 12-15 hours per week:

  • 3-4 hours attending the first-year class
  • 1-hour weekly training session with AAP (Mondays at 12:30 PM)
  • 2-3 hours prep for 1L class
  • 2-3 hours prep for DF Study Groups
  • 2 hours conducting AAP/DF Study Groups
  • 1 hour meeting individually (office hours) with students (some weeks more, some less)
  • 1 hour meeting individually with professor (varies from one professor to another)

Time commitments may vary slightly from one week to another. Dean’s Fellows must turn in weekly time logs, lesson plans, and attendance records to Lourdes Rodriguez. 

6. When will study groups meet?

A Dean’s Fellow must schedule 2 one-hour groups each week. Scheduling will take place during the Dean’s Fellows Orientation prior to the start of the semester.

Dean's Fellows Schedule

7. When will one be notified of selection as a Dean’s Fellow?

Once applications are received, Dean's Fellows are notified within 3-4 weeks; however, this may take longer depending on the number of applications received.

8. Is it possible to apply for a future semester, if not selected this semester?

Yes, and please do! While every applicant cannot be placed do not be discouraged. 

9. If selected, how is one trained?

Dean's Fellows work closely with the AAP so that Study Groups remain focused on the goals of the program. Dean's Fellows must attend weekly trainings which are typically held on Mondays from 12:30-1:30 pm. Also, an intensive orientation is held at the start of the semester.

Dean’s Fellows are encouraged to work closely with other Dean’s Fellow, with the understanding that each can learn from the other. In addition, each Dean’s Fellow is encouraged to schedule and keep regular appointments with the professor who teaches the class to which the Dean’s Fellow is assigned.

10. May a student be selected as a Dean's Fellow for more than one semester?

Yes. Having experienced Dean’s Fellows work in the Program lends valuable insight, but Dean’s Fellows must re-apply every semester. 

11. Are Dean’s Fellows paid? Can this affect one’s scholarship? 

  • DFs are paid a fixed semester stipend, based on the hourly rate of research assistants.
  • Paychecks are issued through the University of Miami on a monthly basis.
  • This does not affect any financial aid or scholarship.

12. If I’m thinking about submitting an application to transfer or visit at another law school next semester, can I still apply for a Dean's Fellow position while making a decision?

NO! A student should not apply for a Dean’s Fellow position unless certain they will be here next semester. If you're unsure about making the commitment, please wait and apply in a subsequent semester when plans are certain.

For More Information

Please contact:

Rodney Rawls, Associate Director

Lourdes Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant