UCI Law Broadens Academic Skills Team for Law Students


IRVINE, Calif. (August 10, 2021) — The University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) is delighted to announce that Mary Basick, a well-known expert on law student academic skills and bar preparation, has joined the Law School as Assistant Dean of Academic Skills. Additionally, Christine Francis recently joined the UCI Law Academic Skills Program (ASP) full time as Associate Director of Academic Skills. They join Queena Mewers, Associate Director of Academic Skills, in teaching and developing academic skills and bar prep courses and programming for UCI Law. ASP is a resource for all students to maximize their academic success while at UCI Law, from the first year through the bar exam. These leading teachers, mentors, and experts in the field will further bolster UCI Law’s student-focused, practical skills training for the practice of law. The ASP department is located on the second floor of the MPAA building.

“UCI Law is fortunate to add these outstanding individuals to our ASP program, and I believe their commitment and expertise will make the entire school better at enabling every UCI Law student to thrive and take advantage of our rich and unique curriculum,” said Bryant Garth, UCI Law Interim Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus.

Portrait of Mary Basick

Mary Basick, Assistant Dean of Academic Skills

Mary Basick joins UCI Law from Southwestern Law School, where she led the law school to historic bar passage success. For over a decade, she has successfully designed programs, developed innovative and engaging curricula, and taught courses in academic skills and bar preparation. Dean Basick utilizes best practices, effective teaching pedagogy, and cognitive learning theory to develop academic skills programming, which enables students to master legal skills and maximize their efforts.

Dean Basick has written several popular books on bar preparation with longtime collaborator Tina Schindler. Their bar preparation books are concise and practical, condensing vast amounts of substantive law into manageable concepts presented in a useful and easily understandable format. Together they authored the bar preparation bestsellers Essay Exam Writing for the California Bar Exam (Wolters Kluwer, 2nd ed. 2020) and California Performance Test Workbook (Wolters Kluwer, 2nd ed. 2020). Their most recent book, MBE Decoded-Multistate Bar Exam (Wolters Kluwer 2021), takes a fresh approach to Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) study. The book was inspired by redesigning an MBE course for their students, resulting in vastly improved MBE scores. In addition, Dean Basick authored the Multistate Bar Exam flash card set for the Emanuel Law in a Flash series and other various bar preparation materials.

Dean Basick has spent her career as an educator devoted to assisting all students in achieving  their full potential, with particular focus on students from backgrounds that are under-represented in the legal profession. Her upcoming research agenda includes writing a chapter for a book on fostering law school success and inclusion for first generation law students.

“I am committed to seeing all UCI law students succeed throughout law school, on the bar exam and in their legal careers,” said Mary Basick, Assistant Dean of Academic Skills. “The important skills a student needs to succeed in law school are the same ones that will help them succeed on the bar exam and in the practice of law: effective organization, thoughtful legal analysis, clear writing, confidence and perseverance.”

Portrait of Christine Francis

Christine Francis, Associate Director of Academic Skills

Christine Francis has been working with the Academic Skills Program at UCI Law since 2017 before joining the department full-time in June 2021. Professor Francis’s extensive experience includes developing and teaching curriculum at both the law school level as well as for major bar exam preparation companies. She is well-versed in both the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) and other state-specific bar examinations, with an emphasis on the California bar exam. Professor Francis has presented at the yearly Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) conference and actively participates in the AASE Programming Committee. She also serves as a Legal Volunteer at the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law in Los Angeles. Professor Francis received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. While in law school, she led the Diversity Committee and interned at the San Diego Family Justice Center. Prior to law school, she graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Sociology, with minors in English and Political Science.

“I love working with students to help them develop their academic skills during law school, which will enable them to pass the bar and succeed in their professional careers," said Christine Francis, Associate Director of Academic Skills. "It takes hard work to develop these skills, but I enjoy digging in with my students to help them rise to success. My favorite part of going through the law school journey with my students is sharing their joy when they learn all their hard work has paid off, they have passed the bar, and they can achieve their goal of becoming a licensed attorney.”

About the University of California, Irvine School of Law

The University of California, Irvine School of Law is a visionary law school that provides an innovative and comprehensive curriculum, prioritizes public service, and demonstrates a commitment to diversity within the legal profession. UCI Law students have completed more than 123,000 hours of pro bono work since 2009. Forty-seven percent of UCI Law’s J.D. graduates are people of color. At UCI Law, we are driven to improve our local, national, and global communities by grappling with important issues as scholars, as practitioners, and as teachers who are preparing the next generation of leaders. The collaborative and interdisciplinary community at UCI Law includes extraordinary students, world-renowned faculty, dedicated staff, engaged alumni, and enthusiastic supporters. More information on UCI Law is available here. Please follow us on Twitter @UCILaw and Facebook @UCIrvineLaw. 

Media Contact:

Colleen Taricani
Assistant Dean for Communications