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Competition in law school seems fierce. Classmates are smart, diligent, often impressive in the classroom. However, even at Yale, Harvard, and Stanford Law Schools, most students write poor exams. The reason is they have yet to be trained to be lawyers. Not even close! Especially in first year.
Therefore, “A” grades, which quickly seem out of reach in law school, are more achievable than students realize. The key is to become, ASAP, something classmates are not – a facsimile of a practicing lawyer, armed with an innovative, proven effective approach to writing and preparing for law essay exams!
This will not happen in law school. However, with proper instruction it can happen. Then it's a whole new ball game! A's become not just possible, but probable. Mostly, because a competent, lawyerlike exam looks so good in comparison with what smart, diligent, but clueless classmates produce.
So long as law school instruction doesn't get the job done, why not take advantage?!
About Gaming Emperor Law School
“If 100 points are possible on my final exam, I expect scores in the range of 25 to 35.”
(Comment of University of Georgia law professor to 1L class, circa 2006.)
25 to 35 out of a possible 100 points points to a serious problem, but also an opportunity to take advantage. It suggests that even the few who get A's – 35! – are hardly "geniuses of the law," masters of essay exams. Rather, they are also confused, floundering, incompetent, merely somewhat less so. Any who can become a little less confused, a bit more competent, who can push toward 45, even 55, would be far ahead in this game. (This race of the clueless?)
Someone who was properly instructed in "lawyerlike analysis," someone who was even a facsimile of a practicing attorney could surely take advantage. Especially if, in addition, she had a proven effective system for identifying issues under severe time pressure, knew how to analyze "as a lawyer," and knew how to present analysis in concise paragraphs (roughly one per issue).*
As is aptly described in Section Three, Chapter 5 of this book – Day One of Law School: The Ringmaster Cracks the Whip (Click on and read or download it free!) –, confusion and loss of confidence begins for almost all students the first day of law school. Hoping to gain clarity and restore at least a measure of control, students throw themselves into briefing and taking endless class notes.
It is a futile effort, and the price is paid on all-important final exams. Case method instruction, universal in the near 250 American law schools, leaves students woefully unprepared for an exam exercise – the "essay hypothetical" – that in effect says, "Untangle and resove this chaotic morass of facts as a competent, knowledgeable lawyer!" Moreover, do it under severe time pressure.
Exam writing/preparation advice offered by law professors, law schools, and all other sources – IRAC, etc. – does little to bridge the yawning gap between academic-oriented law classes and instruction, and the practical, perform-as-a lawyer requirements of law essay exams.
This new book takes the near 250 American law schools to task, and severely. It explores inadequacies of case method instruction, both respecting preparing students to be lawyers, and, related, preparing them to handle all-important exams. It explores reasons for the disconnect between law school instruction and what is required to take control of and master law essay exams. It explores the solution to the problem offered by LEEWS. It makes constructive suggestions for improvement.
The LEEWS solution has existed for over 30 years. It is based on the author's – Wentworth Miller, lawyer, Rhodes scholar, Yale Law grad – experience practicing law, and over 30 years experience instructing well over 100,000 law students from every American law school. (Hundreds from Harvard alone.) LEEWS is proven effective. It has long enabled students of even average ability to achieve top grades – rather easily in fact. This book explains (to the skeptical) how and why.
Want to make Law Review? ... Want to transfer from, for example, Nova Southeastern School of Law to Duke Law? ... Touro, Hofstra, Tulsa Law Schools to Georgetown Law? ... Thomas Cooley Law to Northwestern or Washington University Law? ... Chicago-Kent Law to University of Michigan Law? ... South Texas College of Law to University of Texas Law? ... U. Texas to Harvard Law? .... Golden Gate to Berkeley Law? ... Ohio Northern to Ohio State Law? .... Oklahoma City U. to University of Oklahoma Law? ....
These and similar moves, along with making Law Review and Am Juring classes (getting the very top grade), have been regularly, routinely accomplished by students who took advantage of the instruction described in this book. (This, coupled with the lack of adequate instruction provided by law schools to classmates.)
LEEWS has been ignored by law schools and professors. They don't believe a science of how to prepare for and write law essay exams could possibly exist, so they have never endeavored to discover such a science.** Indeed, they don't want to believe such a science exists, as it would destroy the myth of "innate aptitude," "genius for the law" being required to write an "A" law exam.
This myth, dearly held by professors (who usually got A's in law school) and others who do well (who wouldn't want to be thought a "genius of the law?!"), is a prop, an excuse underpinning lack of adequate instruction in what lawyers do, how they do it, how lawyers think. (The words "lawyer" and "attorney" are rarely, if ever heard in law school classrooms!)
The book makes the point and demonstrates that lawyers are not born, but made. Lawyers learn to be lawyers only after they leave law school – by practicing law! (That's how lawyers have always learned to practice law!) However, anyone of reasonable intelligence can learn to perform at least somewhat "as a lawyer" while in law school, and even before beginning law school, if properly instructed.
The point is made (and demonstrated by the quote at the top) that a great exam, a brilliant exam, is not necessary to achieve a rare law school A. Given the floundering mediocrity of most law exam responses, a reasonably competent, lawyerlike effort will compete not just for an A, but for the top grade in the class!
The very good news in law school, as suggested above, is that even the smartest, most diligent students at Yale, Harvard, and Stanford are confused and flounder on law exams, so unprepared are they by law school teaching. The very good news is that the competition in law school, while formidable in terms of LSAT scores and college GPAs, is very weak when it comes to exam performance.
It is a situation that can be taken advantage of, and rather easily. Law school, owing to its failure to train what is necessary to handle law exams – a reasonable facsimile of a competent lawyer! – can be gamed, and rather easily.
Whether Emperor Law School will heed the lessons set forth in this book is undetermined. If not, and until changes are made, why not take advantage? Why not game a seriously flawed system?
* Note. Issue identification in law school is called "issue spotting." The expression reflects lack of a true system for identifying issues. It reflects the idea that success on law exams requires something artful and mysterious. The myth of "genius of the law" and "having the Right Stuff" being necessary to write an "A" exam is enabled and takes hold.
** It is not believed by law professors (or law students who have taken exams) that exam writing (and preparation) can possibly be reduced to a science, something that goes far beyond the standard "IRAC" and ineffective advice that has been around for decades. Certainly not a science applicable to any and all exams, no matter the professor, subject, or question/instruction posed. (E.g., "Imagine you are a judge, ...;" "Draft a memo ....")
This belief (and consequent skepticism of LEEWS) merely reflects failure to discover such a science. Professors and others haven't discovered such a science, because they haven't thought long and hard enough to do so – as Mr. Miller, LEEWS founder, did. They haven't discovered such a science, because to do so would upset the self-serving apple cart of believing that doing well on law exams requires a special "genius," a myth that those who get rare law school A's hold dear and (including, admittedly, LEEWS grads!) promote.