Law school is not easy, and every student experiences it differently. Here are some tips on law school essentials. In addition to pulling from my own experience now as a 3L, I’ve included thoughts from some of my classmates.
What’s in your bag?
When we discuss professionalism in class, we associate it with preparedness. Here are some essentials to keep in your bag:
- Pens/pencils/highlighters: This goes without saying, but it is always good to have a few of these handy in your bag.
- Notebooks and loose paper: These are good for taking notes.
- Organization tools (binder, notebooks for each class, etc.): You will likely end up with several handouts or notes for each class. This helps keep them organized and easier to retrieve later.
- A planner/to do list: This helps keep track of your schedule and manage your time effectively.
This can really vary for each person depending on how comfortable they are with technology.
- On the laptop
- Google Drive: This is a great way to organize notes for each class without cluttering your hard drive. I set-up my Google Drive by creating folders for each semester and then subfolders for each class.
- Google Calendar: A simple way to keep track of classes and appointments and can be synced across devices so that you never miss a deadline. I try to set up my Google Calendar at the start of the semester. I enter my classes and any major due dates – this can take some time, but it is worth it.
- Desktop Folders: I prefer to keep things organized on my desktop. A lot of times, you may have to download documents. Keeping them in different folders on your desktop can help you keep track of them. This is also a great back-up system if you don’t have internet access for Google Drive.
- Other electronics
- iPad: A great organizational tool to take electronic notes. Although brand new ones aren’t affordable for everyone, previous generations and refurbished models can be found at reasonable prices. I personally use the Goodnotes app.
- Grammarly: A free writing app that helps improve your writing. This program also helps people with dyslexia and other reading/writing disabilities.
Remote Learning Essentials
(Even though we are back to in-person classes, the following tips are still a great way to improve your at-home studying experience.)
This past school year, I found out that I had carpal tunnel. This motivated me to start investing in products that would make things more comfortable since I am sitting at my desk all day staring at the computer.
- Second monitor: I bought my monitor from OfferUp for $20. I no longer need to strain my neck since it is at eye level, and the additional screen space allows me to have multiple windows or programs open in an organized layout.
- Ergonomic keyboard and mouse: As someone who developed carpal tunnel, this was an essential for 3-hour long essay exams. Amazon has great options.
- Comfortable chair: An essential when sitting in front of your desk all day.
I would consider this as the most important law school essential. Law school is difficult, and it is important to be kind and forgiving with yourself. Remember, don’t feel guilty about taking a mental health break. It only helps you later.
- Friends: Keep a social life outside of law school to re-energize yourself. Reach out to friends that you haven’t talked to for a while, plan zoom hang-outs, facetimes, etc.
- Family: Spend time with your family and be present. Don’t think about deadlines or checking your email.
- Pets: I have a dog and she has been the greatest support. Whenever I feel unmotivated or stressed, I take her for a walk. It helps reset my energy levels.
- Treat yourself: Whether it’s eating at your favorite food spot or buying something you saved up for, you deserve it!
There are several ways and tools that will make law school a little bit easier. Try some of these products or tips and see what works for you. These are just some things that personally work for my friends and me. I hope this gives you some ideas to help improve your own law school experience, and good luck!