Law School Exam Preparation & Coaching Services
What is this coaching?
It’s internet-based, individualized exam coaching by me, Professor John Delaney (retired). For a total of thirty years, I prepared countless first-year and other law exams and graded thousands, first at the New York University Law School and then at the City University of New York Law School.
What is the objective of this coaching?
The objective is to maximize your ability to get the ‘A’ grades on the critically important first-year law exams that generally result in law review membership and thus open the widest possible range of opportunities after graduation, including positions at large law firms, clerkships with prominent federal and state judges, and even eventual law school teaching. First year grades are typically crucial in creating these opportunities.
How is this coaching helpful?
As you know, the competition for the limited number of ‘A’ grades among very able first-year law students is intense. The challenging law-essay exams are very different from college essay exams where the A grades generally go to the students who can embody their relevant knowledge and understanding in apt expository and analytical writing. But to excel on law essay exams, essential knowledge and understanding are just threshold requirements.
Unlike college, the A grades do not go to the students who just know the most and understand the best. Instead, the A grades are awarded to those students who can spot the issues posed by the frequently dense exam fact patterns of each professor and then write concise lawyerly arguments that resolve each spotted issue, usually with intense time pressure. My coaching time concentrates on aiding you to cultivate and sharpen your issue-spotting skills and your skills in concise writing of such arguments to meet the often varying expectations of each of your professors and their varying types of problems. That’s what makes my approach one-of-a-kind, individualized and especially useful.
How do these professorial expectations differ?
The stock advice that all law professors expect the same thing on their essay exams — issue spotting and argument making — is true but only in a general and misleading sense. The decisive micro reality is that professors often vary extensively in what they expect for student exam performance to justify the A grades on their different types of problems. Unless you identify these differences early in the semester and then practice their priorities in issue spotting and argument making throughout the semester, you are unlikely to get the A grades that you seek. As a beginning law student, you can’t readily identify these different expectations. But I can help you to do so and then aid you in practicing exactly what they expect on their exams. One-size-fits-all does not fit the reality of individualized professorial expectations.
To illustrate from recent coaching experience, the same student at a leading law school had a tort professor whose old exams and answers consistently featured sixty percent different policy-type problems as well as forty percent issue-spotting problems that required, surprisingly, explicit and constant use of the appellate cases studied in class. These cases framed the exam issues and the resulting arguments. In striking contrast, his UCC professor’s old exams and answers contained no policy issues at all, just occasional reference to cases, and instead featured only technical UCC-section-driven issue spotting and then concise arguments to resolve each issue. In addition, even within the technical issue-spotting problems in any subject, variations are sparked by many factors, including sharp differences in time allotted, number of issues to be raised, level of abstraction in issue spotting and argument making, frequency of use of cases discussed in class, and expectations as to the amount of back-and-forth argument — with and without conclusions.
How do you help students to determine each professor’s expectations?
The best way is from each professor’s old exams, model responses and old ‘A’ papers distributed by a professor. There is a common law-school practice that teachers post old exams in the library. Some conscientious professors also include the mentioned model responses and A student papers. Professorial practice here spans across the spectrum from one exam without any answers to many problems and answers. If there are no answers, I help students to discern each teacher’s expectations from the old exam problems and from class-demonstrated wavelength, themes and priorities.
How else do you help?
I review and comment on some of the student’s practice exam-writing responses to problems in old exams. My objective is to see how successfully the student is approaching that teacher’s expectations for responses to her exam problems as revealed in her model answers or elsewhere. I’ll also respond, of course, to each student’s needs by answering questions about studying, outlining methods, etc.
What is the best timing for this coaching?
As you begin school whether in the fall, spring or summer. But it’s also possible to do it anytime in response to student needs. For example, if your initial fall or spring grades are disappointing, coaching could then aid in identifying and correcting weaknesses in time for the next exams. Often, just one or two core weaknesses bar A grades as illustrated in my book, How To Do Your Best on Law School Exams.
A different type of coaching is also possible before law school. It would feature gradually more difficult exercises in issue spotting and argument making, based on my Exam book as well as other materials. When school begins, the earlier practice should enable the student to more quickly individualize his/her practice to fit each professor’s exam expectations.
Are there any guarantees?
No. There are too many variables at stake. But I pledge to do my very best to aid you to get the “A” grades, and I require a commitment that you will do your best and work hard as I direct. If you do not do so, I reserve the right to end the couching.
What is the cost of this personalized coaching and how do I begin?
Coaching is $1,000 for a six-hour session and includes my books, How To Do Your Best on Law School Exams and Learning Legal Reasoning. Additional hours are $150 per hour. For those who have already bought Learning Legal Reasoning and/or my Exam book from John Delaney Publications, there is a corresponding cost reduction. Keep in mind that the cost is a tiny fraction of escalating tuition and may open opportunities for you. If you are interested, e-mail me email@example.com. I am pleased to offer a free e-mail consultation to answer any questions you may have about this coaching.