The 3 Things I Wish I Had In Law School (and Still Use As A Practicing Attorney)


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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