Preparing for 1L: Law School Must Haves

The greatest part about the new school year starting is buying new school supplies. Something about new highlighters and pens gets me extremely excited and motivated for the upcoming semester. Before my first semester began, I was freaking out because I had no idea what type of supplies I would need. After all, law school is nothing like undergrad. The obvious supplies were pens, pencils, highlighters, paper, etc., but no one tells you about the bookstand that saves your neck while reading cases or about the extra computer monitor or screen that makes legal research less of a headache. I have compiled a list of all my favorite school supplies, including those that I found the most useful.

  1. Pens – My personal favorite is a Pilot G2 pen, but whatever yours is, get A LOT of them. I have never gone through more pens than I did my 1L year. I handwrite all of my notes, so I knew that I would go through pens quickly, but I started the semester with 24 Pilot G2’s and had to restock before the Spring semester. Having different colored pens is also super helpful when you are revising and editing your briefs or when making notes on your outlines. 
  2. Highlighters – Again, no one tells you how many of these you will go through. Your highlighters will become your best friend was briefing cases. As you read and brief a case, highlight each part of your brief in the case in a different color. It makes finding information so much easier when you are cold called. 
  3. A Bookstand – This is one of those that you don’t realize how amazing it is until you don’t have it. Being able to have your textbook sitting up on your bookstand is super helpful and efficient during class as you work through the material, and it is great for reading cases because you don’t have to have your head and neck bent to read. 
  4. A Planner – Whether it is digital or physical, I personally believe a planner is a must. The workload in law school is a lot and can be too much to remember without writing it down. Even if you use sticky notes or just plain paper, having a place to write down the assignments for class will help you so much. Having a planner is also great for when you start an internship or if you have a job because it keeps your schedule in order and prevents you from overbooking yourself or spreading yourself too thin. 
  5. An iPad or 2nd Monitor – This one is not a necessity, but it sure does help. As a 1L Zoom student, my second monitor allowed me to have extra notes or my outline up while having zoom on my other screen. It was also amazing to have when writing briefs because I could have my legal research on one monitor and my brief on the other. Again, this is not a necessity, but makes life a whole lot easier. 

Some other important things are a USB drive to save all your work, a nice, sturdy backpack, and a nice suit for oral arguments or interviews.

Obviously, these are all up to personal preferences. One may prefer pencils over pens or gel highlighters over liquid ones. You may want to handwrite all your notes, or you may want to type them all onto your computer. Whatever you do, make sure that you have A LOT of whatever it is and that you’re prepared. 

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