August 7, 2016

Essential Law School Supplies

law school essential supplies | brazenandbrunette.com

If you haven't gone in to full on panic mode about getting everything together for law school, then beware my friend because class starts in a few weeks and the panic is right around the corner :) But for real though, what I did and didn't need for class was one question that I never felt that I got a direct answer about. During orientation I got the oh-so-helpful blanket response that what I need will just depend on my study style. Well, here's what I think you should have. Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure by clicking here.


Class Supplies

Here are my 21 must have school supplies for law school | brazenandbrunette.com

1. Padfolio and legal pad — I really felt like I was drinking the Kool-Aid when I realized that I loved these, because before I felt like only douches had a padfolio. The thing is, legal pads are great for taking class notes because there's no metal ring on the edge for you hand to run in to. And padfolios hold a legal pad, a pen, and handouts from you professor. Basically if you forget everything else but this, you won't die in class.

2. Notebook — But on that note if you're taking notes by hand for all of your classes, then you would have to keep up with like 3 or 4 legal pads on any given day. This would be super inconvenient considering that your books are huge so they'll be taking up a lot of space already in your bag. In college I would get two different 3 subject notebooks and use one for MWF classes and the other for TTR. My local book store sells notebooks with an extra-wide margin and I'm really starting to love it because I can use the "Cornell method" to take my notes. The bookstore calls this "law margin" but you can find them as Cornell notebooks if you're interested in getting one. On the left side I'll put the black letter law and on the right side I'll elaborate more and add cases and examples.

Related: How I Take Notes in Law School

3. Folder — Another thing that I buy every year is at least one 3 brad folder. Sometimes I'll use one just to keep all my syllabi together in one place. This year it was extremely helpful when I was working on my big brief for legal writing because I could have a printout of my research for the case and my graded papers regarding the case all in one convenient place.

4. Planner — I also would bring my planner to class every day. It's really common for professors to drift from their syllabus just a little, so it's very important that you write down the new pages you're assigned to read so you don't waste time reading more than you have to. It also came in handy because a lot of times we'd have someone from either my section or another class come make an announcement right before class started about a guest speaker or something happening on campus that week, so I could make sure that I didn't forget about those.

Related: Why I Think Plum Paper is the Best Law School Planner

5. Pens — I would always bring pens and pencils to class every day. Even in the classes that I took all of my notes on my laptop, I'd still need them for everything from signing in for attendance to jotting down notes in my book. I saw a lot of other students using this pen set and I think I'm going to try it out this year since it has so many color options. I usually prefer ballpoint pens because they glide so easily which is very necessary when you're quickly taking notes, so we'll see how the switch goes. I also make sure to bring my highlighters with me to class and will pick a certain color to highlight what my professor is going over in the book.

Related: The Best Highlighters for Law School

Water bottle — Drinking water is just a good habit to get in. I started bringing water to class in the middle of my first semester and I feel like it helps me stay focused because I'm not getting up 5 times during a lecture to run to the water fountain. If you buy a reusable water bottle or cup with a to-go lid, you'll end up saving money because they're a lot cheaper to refill than constantly buying plastic water bottles.

Tile — Ok this isn't law school related but I use it too often to not include. Tile is a little square chip that you can put in anything or attach to almost anything. If you can't find it, then all you do is open the app and your Tile will start chirping really loudly until you find it. I have one in my purse, in my pencil bag, attached to my keys, and attached to my cat (he gets out a lot). Sometimes when you're super busy it's easy to have so much going on that you forget where you put something, so I found this helps a lot.

Study Supplies

Flash drive — Between class notes, case briefs, outlines, and legal memos, you're going to be having a lot of information to save. While obviously you should constantly be backing up your computer or using something like Drop Box, go ahead and get a flash drive. It's really handy to have literally all of your work right at your fingerprints, no matter what computer you're on. We got a free one from WestLaw during orientation, but I never used that one because everyone had the exact same one and I want to easily be able to identify mine.

Binder — I personally didn't use a binder, but I have a friend at another law school who came up with a binder system and loved it. I think maybe it's because she hand writes her notes and I don't, so it's something to consider if you're handwriting notes or just like to organize a lot. In hers, she had looseleaf paper in the front to work on her outline and then behind a page divider she kept the hard copies of her briefs or any class handouts she got.

Related: Law School Success Using the Binder System

Notecards — Again, I prefer a computer to paper so I actually use Quizlet for my notecards. But some people need to have something physically in their hand to study. So make sure you get lots of notecards because there's a lot to memorize. If you haven't been studying with notecards in college, make sure to grab a hole puncher and a binder ring to keep them together. I also like how people have started to highlight their notecards to color-cordinate them. 

Book stand - After reading for a few hours in a row, my neck will start hurting from looking down so this sets my book up so I can read without straining my neck.


Bags

Here are my 21 must have school supplies for law school | brazenandbrunette.com

6. Backpack — Being a Texas girl, I had a Jon Hart backpack from undergrad that I just upgraded to the large backpack this semester because my books were so bulky that I could only fit about one in there and had to carry the other two. I've recently noticed that a good amount of people have these rolling briefcase type bags that look like what I imagine actual lawyers use as their carry ons when they have to fly in for a day to do some work. However, these people are the kinds that bring ALL of their books every day for some God forsaken reason. Keep in mind that a lot of classrooms have stairs so you'll have to carry that big bag up and down the stairs for each class! I would definitely say just make sure to get a roomy backpack like this Northface backpack because the books are bulky (~700-1200 pages). 


A photo posted by Nikki (@oh.nikki.you.so.fine) on

A quick review of Jon Hart backpacks... 

Pros: colorful, waterproof, durable, customizable, roomy enough 
Cons: front pocket is kinda small, only has 1 side pocket that it isn't stretchy, the backpack itself isn't expandable

7. Tote bag — There will be times when you need to haul around your planner, padfolio, etc., but a backpack would be too informal. Cue the tote bag to the rescue. If I didn't have my big Louis Vuitton, I would definitely want a Longchamp. You need something big enough for your padfolio, but still professional looking. I wouldn't recommend using a purse as a backpack because you could really hurt your back like that. My senior year I got a keychain wallet and I love how it has a place for my school ID, drivers license, and debit card. Because it's attached to my keys, I never have to remember about brining my school ID with me when I don't have my backpack.

8. Pencil bag — In college, I didn't put much effort into taking notes in class so I didn't even have a pencil bag. But now I always have my pencil bag on me because I use it as a catchall bag. I keep my pens, pencils, and highlighters in there obviously, but I also keep my flash drive in there (so it won't get lost at the bottom of my backpack) and even basic things like chapstick and a spare hair tie. I really want to get a minimergency kit this year so that I'll have room for more pens. 

9. Lunchbox — You probably haven't had one of these since elementary school, but it's time to bring lunch boxes back in style. Bringing your own lunch saves you money and calories because you know you're eating fresh ingredients. I also used mine every day during my summer internships because it's so much faster to bring a lunch rather than waste your lunch hour standing in line to order.

Electronics

Laptop — Duh you'll need a laptop. Make sure that yours has plenty of memory available, is the latest operating system, and has all the software your school requires (probably ExamSoft). To protect mine I got just a basic cover and then added a monogram. I'd suggest you get a lap desk so you can study in bed comfortably. 

Grid — One thing I found for study abroad is GridIt and I still use both of mine to this day. The grid has all these rubber bands so you can strap down anything you want on yours. For mine I have: spare phone charger, laptop charger, earbuds, and a stylus pen. I asked for this for Christmas and got a grid and a GridIt laptop case. I always keep my grid in my backpack, and bring the laptop case when I'm not to lazy to put my computer in it. It's also great for traveling! 

iPad — If you have an older computer that's really heavy, you might try bringing an iPad to class instead. Because your books are so heavy, you won't want any more weight than necessary to haul around. If you get a keyboard cover, you'll be able to take notes just as easily as on a laptop. Although Word doesn't really work that well on an iPad, Evernote is a great substitute.

Related: My Favorite Law School Apps

Headphones — Another great gift I received before studying abroad is noise reducing headphones. I wear these all the time when I'm trying to study for finals because any little noise can easily distract me. I also like how mine will have white noise if you turn them on but don't have any music playing. It's just something relaxing to listen to that isn't as distracting as music or as lonely as no sound at all.


Office Supplies

Here are my 21 must have school supplies for law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Printer — Your campus will probably have printers that you can use, but you might consider investing in your own. I love my wireless printer that I got last year because I can finish a paper in bed and have it print without even getting up. Then I can fall asleep on my computer and in the morning grab it on my way out. I'd also suggest getting a good supply of paper and ink, because I had a lot to print out my 1L year. I'd print off assignments to turn in for my LRW class, hard copies of my brief were required in my Contracts class, and during finals I printed off old tests.

10. Hole Punch — Even though I already said this, you need to make sure you have both a 1 and a 3 hole punch. Trust me you'll end up using this all the time! It just ends up making you more organized when you can punch holes in paper and then file them in either a binder or folder.

11. Stapler — Again, another basic thing that you'll find uses for. In college I always had mini staplers but they would either break or get lost. Find you a sturdy stapler because sometimes you'll have a lot of paper to staple.

Paper clips — I'd say get a variety size pack because there's always something to keep together.

12. Post Its — Another thing to get in a variety of sizes. I use the flags to mark where I'm at in my textbooks. I use little ones to jot down definitions. I use big ones for things I need to remember. I use tabbed ones for quick summaries during open book finals. I keep the Post It factory in business. 




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2 comments:

  1. Something I saw a few people using when I took my "sample" class during law school tours was a book holder. It was genius! It took up a tiny amount of space, they still had room for their laptops or notebooks for taking notes but didn't have that awkward angle that occurs when the book it flat. They offer them pretty inexpensively through Amazon.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Megan! Funny you say that because I actually just started using a book holder this semester because my neck was starting to hurt from looking down so much. Thanks for the reminder to update this list and add that!

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