The 3 Things I Wish I Had In Law School
Today, we’re going to talk about three things that I wish I had when I went to
law school- things which I still use today as a practicing attorney, so stick around.
Before we begin, a little background.
This is a casebook.
You’ll get a case book for every single one of your law school classes, and a case book
is exactly what it sounds like it’s a book full of cases. Now, I hate case books.
Why? They’re big, they’re heavy, they’re expensive, and what you’ll find is that
the authors of case books are incredibly lazy. Why? Well theoretically, they’re
supposed to go through the cases that they include in their case books and
only include the most important material. In practice, that’s not what they do.
In fact, in practice authors simply include the cases verbatim, which means you’re
paying hundreds of dollars for cases that are in the public domain and you
can access for free. These things are heavy. As a result some people will take
those wheelie bags that you’ll see in airports. When I went to law school, I
often tore the pages out of the case books, because I hated transporting these
damn things to class. And that brings me to the first thing that I wish I had in
law school, and that’s this: a beautiful shiny tablet. Technology has progressed
so far that so many of the tablets out there are great – it doesn’t need to be an
iPad, but the reason a tablet is great is because you can access all of your cases
through the iPad and specifically what I use is called WestlawNext. It’s an app
for the iPad. Now in law school, you’re going to get free access to West Law.
It’s one of the two major case databases, and what’s great is you can go online
access your cases and read them there. So instead of transporting your big heavy
useless case books you can just bring one tablet or your laptop if you want to
to class. When you use a tablet to read your cases they will give you the
bright-line rule that’s the thing that is most important about your case right
up front in the head notes. And as a bonus, you can use a good tablet
as a second monitor for your laptop. There are inexpensive apps that let you
use your iPad as an extension of your laptop. I wish I had a really good tablet
when I went to law school. It would have saved so much time – it would have saved
my back so much trouble from having to carry these case books around all the time.
So that brings me to the second thing
that I wish I had when I started law school and that’s this: a really nice
laptop- with a solid state hard drive a long battery life and cloud storage. Now
every single lawyer that I know has a horror story and they all go exactly
like this: it was a week before the final exam, they had just finished their
outline for a class, it was so perfect that the angels were singing.
They were about to print it out and then the computer went dead. They took their
computer to every repair shop in the state but nothing could be recovered.
Everyone has a story like that, and that’s because you’re going to thrash
your computer around in law school. Spend the extra money and get what’s called a
solid-state drive. It has no moving parts, so it’s much much more stable. Your
sanity is worth the premium for the solid-state drive. Now on top of that, I
would strongly advise using Dropbox or Google Drive some sort of cloud storage.
Your outlines, your notes, your assignments – they’ll automatically be
backed up, and it just looks exactly like any kind of folder that you’ll see on
your computer anyway, so it’s indistinguishable from putting your
files on your hard drive anyway. If something happens to your laptop, all
you’ll have to do is log into your account and download the latest version.
Finally, a laptop that has a big battery is self explanatory. Some law school
classrooms have plug-ins and some don’t. Sometimes you’ll be in a study session
for hours at a time – you never know when you’re going to have an electrical plug
in and when you won’t. So, these days it’s pretty standard for laptops to have
eight, nine and ten hours of battery it’s worth it. It’s so much better than having
a laptop that needs to be plugged in every hour or two. So for the most part I’m
talking about Windows and Macs. Why? Because you have to be able to
run ExamSoft, and ExamSoft really only runs on major laptops with normal
software on it. Your law school and your Bar Examiners are almost all using ExamSoft,
it’s the software that locks out your entire computer so the only thing
you can do is use a word processor for purposes of your exam. It’s the way
they make sure that no one can cheat on the bar exam or on Law School
finals. So, it’s important to have a computer that can run that soft,
otherwise you will be totally screwed when it comes to the final exam. So that
brings me to the third thing that I wish I had in law school and that is: a fast
cheap laser printer. Now back in the day, laser printers were the size of VW
Beetles and they cost more than a new kidney. Now they’re the size of toasters
and cost about seven dollars. You can pick up a reasonably fast laser printer
with a built-in scanner for less than $200. In law school, you are going to be
printing a ton – whether it’s your outlines, your notes or flashcards you’re
going to be printing a lot and you want a printer that can handle that. What’s
great about a laser printer is that it’s unaffected by water, which is great
because you’re going to be drinking a lot and you might happen to spill on
your notes, which is the last thing you want. If you can get a laser printer with a
built-in scanner, even better. Those are the three things that I wish I had when
I started law school. I use those three things every day in practice – Technology
has progressed so fast, there’s so many good tablets out there, so many good
laptops and so many good printers if you make the investment upfront, if you don’t
already have those things when you start law school you’ll be glad that you did.
They’re going to make your life so much easier, and that’s a huge part of
succeeding in law school. Oh and one last thing, if you’re getting ready for law
school check this out: we put together a free e-book called the “Ultimate Pre-Law
Checklist.” Just click the link below to download it. It’s some of our best tips and
strategies for getting ahead before you start law school, and it will put you
miles ahead of your classmates, just click below. And also, if you like this
video please subscribe to our channel we come out with new videos on how to crush
law school all the time. So thanks a lot thanks for stopping by.
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Last update on 2020-06-06 / Disclaimer: as an Amazon Associate a Simply Philosophy team earns from qualifying purchases.