The basic (unacknowledged) problem respecting all law schools
(Why “A” grades are so hard to achieve. Why you should consider LEEWS.)
From the outset law school confuses and intimidates. (If viewing this website, you have concerns. ... They are well founded!)1
The problem in a nutshell? So-called “case method,” Socratic instruction, featured in all law schools, especially first year—i.e., sitting in yet another classroom being quizzed about legal cases—, is ineffective in transforming academic thinkers/learners (virtually all entering law school) into legal thinkers/learners—lawyers, reasonable facsimiles thereof.2
All-important exams require that one perform “as a lawyer.”
The words “lawyer” and “attorney” are rarely heard in law school classrooms!3
The disconnect between (academic) instruction and practical, “perform-as-a-lawyer” exam requirements is what confounds the smartest, most hard working law student, even at Yale, Harvard, Stanford—everyone!
[Note: A's are rare gold in law school. At other than top-rated schools, at least one A is often required to qualify for law firm job interviews in fall of second year. However, 80-85 percent of students at all law schools don't receive a single A (the entire) first year. Not one!]
The student who successfully transitions from academic thinker/learner to [reasonable facsimile of practicing] lawyer thinker/learner, and in addition acquires effective approaches for addressing and managing confusing law essay exams (described, 5th footnote below) will do well, and rather easily.5 She may even enjoy law school!
NOTE: Conventional (largely "IRAC"-centered) advice respecting exam taking and preparation (offered by law schools, professors, all other sources! [including expensive, 1-2 week summer law school simulations]), utterly fails to recognize the foregoing problem. It therefore does nothing to remedy it. No instruction apart from LEEWS addresses the disconnect between classroom and exams. Nothing approaches the precise, A-Z science of exam taking and (day-to-day, week-to-week) preparation we have evolved during 30+ years.
1. The unfortunate scenario in all law schools (no exceptions!): Almost all entering law students ("1Ls") are smart (very!) and hard working. They are excited, eager to become lawyers. (Becoming a lawyer is a big deal!) Within days (often the first class) intimidation takes hold. Reading/"briefing" cases proves tedious and—no one wants to admit it—boring. Class discussion confuses. (Resulting in copious notes to "make sense of later," but there is no "later.") Few professors give midterm exams to alert of a disconnect between what is required for class and what is required on all-important final exams. The vast majority, "A" students all their lives, predictably flounder on exams. Nevertheless, B's, even B+'s are awarded for sub-par effort. Exams are so confusing, intimidating, "impossible," that students are grateful for B's. "A" grades seem a pipe dream. (Any, including LEEWS, who tout the possibility of A's are not believed.) All now fault themselves (not law school or professors) for not "getting it," for not "having [or getting] what it takes to be a great legal mind." Indeed, there is little sense of becoming a lawyer. Law school becomes a chore, a necessary, expensive, required passage to the profession. 2 1/2 more years! Ugh!
Can this portrait be accurate? Ask any lawyer. Ask any law student beyond first term. It is why law school has the reputation of "difficult," "not fun!" Few say, "I enjoyed law school."
Read “Day One of Law School—The Ringmaster Cracks the Whip!,” a chapter in the new book, Gaming Emperor Law School, by LEEWS founder, Wentworth Miller. Indeed, read the entirety of Section Three—"Confusion, intimidation, and case method instruction lay the foundation for mediocre exam performance in Emperor Law School." [Free download at this website!]
Lest the foregoing cause discouragement, intimidation, annoyance (?), here is an alternative, more appealing scenario: Boredom continues at times. (Law practice will be far more interesting than law school.) However, there is no confusion, no intimidation. Effort points to what counts—grades on final exams, and grades are commensurate with effort. Cases are placed in a context of future practice and exam preparation. They are better grasped, and more easily. Although often beside the point (of exam performance), classroom discussion is better understood. It is more interesting. A proven science of preparation and exam taking is in hand, providing confidence. Thinking is more practicing lawyer than academic. Law school is sometimes enjoyable. (Being able to play any game well makes it enjoyable.)
It may be further noted that grade inflation in law school is reflected in 20-30 percent A's required by some grade curves. (E.g., U. Texas, U. Pennsylvania.) Although professors typically award A's to exams falling far short of lawyerly competence (see footnote 4 following), they are loathe to award 20-30 percent A's. [Even when Yale/Harvard/Stanford awarded letter grades, fewer than ten percent received A's!] The result is a proliferation of A-'s. A- is a grade that did not exist in law school a decade ago. It is the new B+! Law students are quite satisfied with A-'s.
2. This insight is wholly new! You will not find it elsewhere. It is one of many unique, probing, pioneering insights that sets LEEWS (far) apart. It is precisely a (far) deeper understanding of the problem of law school and especially law exams, and strategies and solutions derived from that understanding that explains the significant advantage conferred by LEEWS. It is why what LEEWS offers is not and cannot be duplicated by any other source.
LEEWS in short is nothing less than a revolution in thinking and approach. We change everything!
Re fault for poor performance by nearly all on exams. It may be noted that law schools and law professors do not fault themselves for almost universal poor performance on exams after a term (or three years!) of their instruction. Far from it. The reasoning is that only a very select few have what is required to exhibit mastery on law essay exams.4 (Therefore, what?—no amount of instruction can enable the majority of smart, diligent persons who enter law school to write "A" exams?! ... Seriously?) This mysterious quality or "gift" is deemed innate. It is often termed "The Right Stuff" and/or "genius for the law." Moreover, it just … IS—it can't be taught, you either have it or you don't. Students lacking this quality—the vast majority who don't get a single "A" grade or equivalent, even at Yale/Harvard/Stanford—buy into this thinking and content themselves with B's.
3. Simple, telling fact. The fault again lies with the academic focus of case method instruction (CMI). CMI wholly ignores the role of lawyers. (Which, simply stated, is to achieve client goals via procedural/substantive legal strategies.) As numerous critics point out, CMI ignores actual law practice.
4. Respecting "mastery," note that a mere 35 or 45 points out of a possible 100 typically earns an "A" on a law exam! (Yes! See quote from a U. Georgia law professor and discussion in the Introduction to LEEWS. See the free, downloadable book indicated above – Gaming Emperor Law School.) Thus, far from masterful, those who get rare A's are themselves typically confused and floundering, just less so than classmates. The very good news is that, given proper instruction, there is much room for improvement. We're not surprised if our students score 65, 85, and more points out of a possible 100! As more than one law professor has said to a LEEWS grad, "I can't post your score. It's too far above the curve." (And would upset other students.)
5. Law essay hypothetical-type exam. Section Four of Gaming Emperor Law School (free download at this website) explores in depth the problematic law essay hypothetical-type exam format. Three examples can be viewed under About LEEWS. In brief, several hodge-podge fact scenarios varying in length from several lines to several pages are presented for address in a 3-4 hour (or longer) exam at the end of term. Normally, each essay (often mistakenly termed a "question") is assigned a time limit—e.g., 20 min., 50 min., 90 min. Time pressure is usually a significant, problematic factor on law school exams. Essays are typically dense and confusing. They present problems and difficulties involving various parties or participants. The task is to identify problems—"issues"—, then resolve them "as a lawyer," applying legal precepts/perspectives culled from assigned cases and class discussion.
"IRAC" is presented as a guide to resolution of issues. However, as explored elsewhere, IRAC offers little guidance respecting identification of issues under typically severe time pressure. Not does it explore the precise HOW of analysis and concise presentation thereof. "As a lawyer" remains the critical, largely improperly tutored key ingredient to impressing and competing for a top grade.