Prior to starting law school. (With a repeat six weeks in to counteract distracting tendencies and mistakes of classmates. [E.g., taking copious notes to compensate for inability to follow class discussion.])
Nothing beats starting off day one with a clear focus on what matters (the final exam!); what doesn't (sounding smart in class); a precise day-to-day, week-to-week, proven effective study approach; a proven effective (30+ years!) system for taking any and all essay hypothetical-type exams.
Most important, you will have made significant strides toward what "case method" law school instruction is not very good at [you have to trust our 30+ years experience here] – transitioning academic thinker/learners to (a reasonable facsimile of) practicing lawyer thinker/learners.
However, the second best time to do LEEWS is following the first set of exams.
You know the score. You know that intelligence, endless briefing, study, and outlining did not come close to enabling mastery of confusing essay exams. You know that IRAC and advice professors and others provide was of but minimal assistance. You can fully appreciate the new insights, perspective, and approach LEEWS instructs. You will have renewed confidence heading into second term.
However, here's a problem repecting attitude. Following first term most law students no longer think A's are possible. At the same time they realize they can flail away at exams in confused, disorganized fashion, … Yet be rewarded with a B, even a B+ at top-ranked law schools.
So why do more? Why not study a bit smarter (less briefing, fewer class notes), start outlines earlier, and be content with B's and B+'s?
LEEWS disabuses the prevalent, self-defeating notion that getting A's requires some sort of innate lawyerly aptitude or genius. LEEWS persuades that A's – necessary for a shot at a job the following fall! – are not just possible, but probable.
[Note. As always, ten day free trial of the (audio) program. If not completely satisfied, return the program as received for a full refund. (Yes. You pay return postage.) $25 re-stock fee, if discs/book not in resalable condition.]
BTW. Is LEEWS effective for upperclassmen, … bar preparation? Yes! The effect alone of learning – finally! – how to think and analyze much as a practicing lawyer (normally not learned until one begins practice) makes a dramatic difference in learning the law and applying it to fact patterns. LEEWS systems for identifying issues, presenting in concise paragraphs, and preparing for exams are also eye-opening and helpful. An upperclassman immediately thinks, “I wish I had done this sooner!” The downside of being beyond first year is habits of study and exam taking that must be broken. (And very likely a somewhat defeatist, second class citizen mindset re ability to compete for A's?) A bit more practice with the disciplined issue identification system in particular may be necessary.
Late first term, standard 1L thinking is along the lines: “There isn't time to pull together [course] outlines, much less take time to learn some system or science or whatever. Moreover, “I've taken practice exams; I've done an exam-writing session; I know about IRAC; I've read Getting to Maybe; I know how to take exams.”
No question, implementing LEEWS from day one of term—day-to-day, week-to-week preparation aspects—is the ideal. However, given the very low bar of competence law students exhibit on exams (whether at Harvard or Peoples College of Law), gaining the insights, skills, proven effectiveness LEEWS provides makes a meaningful difference, even within days of exams. (Many have benefited during exams!)
It’s kind of a Humpty Dumpty deal. (Trust our 30+ years of experience.) All your work on outlines,…; all the briefing and note taking,…; EVERYTHING one has heard about exams—IRAC, etc.—from professors and ALL other sources. (Mere helpful hints, nothing close to a true, proven science of preparation and exam taking.)
Sorry! None of it will avoid fear, confusion, a typical mediocre exam response. (Very mediocre!)
None of it will enable a response reflecting lawyerly competence, much less mastery (of any and all hypothetical-type essay exam exercises).
[However, relax! Owing to grade inflation, mediocre law exams are usually rewarded with a B, even a B+ at so-called “top tier” law schools.]
No, it's not too late to learn—finally!—what “thinking, analyzing as a lawyer” means. It’s not too late to gain the significant advantage provided by proven effective systems of issue identification, concise presentation of analysis, and much more.
Best to squeeze in time to do LEEWS. Become—finally!—something approaching a lawyer on exams! Your shot at a rare law school "A" likely depends on it.