When you’re starting law school, it can be hard to figure out what exactly you should be spending your money on. And as law students, we definitely don’t have money to waste. Here are a few products that my peers and I believe are “must-haves”–and a few you can skip.
Best things we bought for law school:
- Desktop monitor
Being able to plug in your laptop to a desktop monitor (or better yet – a dual monitor, check this thing out) is extremely helpful. If you’re taking any finals from home or working on a research project, eliminating the constant minimizing between programs is a huge time saver.
Quimbee is an online subscription that provides access to case briefs, study-aids, practice questions, and more. I’m not suggesting that you should rely on Quimbee in place of reading cases, but it is a great supplement. I find the videos the most helpful.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I truly can’t say enough good things about Microsoft OneNote. You can easily organize your class notes over the semesters and even embed professor’s powerpoints. Plus, your notes will always be safely in the cloud, accessible from any computer or on the mobile app.
- Noise canceling headphones
Sometimes I like to throw on some Lofi study music, and other days I just put them on silent to cancel out distractions. They are a great investment, especially if you plan on working in common areas like the library.
1) What is your name, year in school, and post-grad plans?
My name is Tamara “Tami” Pérez Cantalapiedra, I am a 2L, and I am currently enrolled in a dual-degree program for a MA in Philosophy; I will hopefully graduate next year! Post-grad, I’m hoping to be an immigration/human rights lawyer. I’m not sure what my post-grad plans are yet. I see myself starting my career at a nonprofit and hopefully teaching in the future!
2) Can you give me a quick rundown of what LALSA is all about?
LALSA is a Latin-American/Hispanic student group. I like to describe it more as an affinity group, but we love opening events to everyone to share our culture. The purpose of this affinity group is to create a safe space, a home away from home. Our goal is not only to create a sense of community, but also to help 1Ls acclimate to law school in both professional and social aspects.
Much like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, I came to law school to find love. Well, sorta… Unlike Ms. Woods, my love story is with the practice area of tax law.
To be completely candid, I had no intention of becoming a tax attorney when I first applied to law school. I didn’t even intend to ever take a tax class. From the moment I signed up for the LSAT, my Uncle John, who is a CPA, always claimed I was going to be a tax attorney, and I always dismissed him. Tax law, for me, was like the quiet nerd the main character in a rom-com takes forever to see as more than just a friend.
My “meet cute” with Tax was when I had the last pick time to sign up for classes for my 2L fall, and it was one of the only classes open that fit into my schedule. My Uncle John is always badgering me about becoming a tax attorney, I thought. Why don’t I take Tax I, ultimately fail it, and then never hear or speak of tax law again?
Spoiler alert: This ended up being far from the truth.
Everyone in law school knows that the application process can be brutal. After surviving the LSAT, writing the personal statement, and finally being accepted at BC, I thought I could breathe easy until classes started. But one more challenge remained: I had to figure out where I was going to live.
Much like freshman year in undergrad, I didn’t know anyone else who was coming to BC Law. While BC does provide resources for finding housing (like this website) and ways to get in touch with other incoming 1Ls, including a pretty active Facebook group, you mostly have to take matters into your own hands. I wasn’t keen on living with people I didn’t know, and I had a fear that living with other law students would feel overwhelming – like there was no escape from school. Living alone was an option, but picturing myself sequestered away with only judges and casebook authors to keep me company motivated me to seek out a third choice.
In the next post of our BC Law Student Org Spotlight Series, Zaire Armstrong describes the Women’s Law Center, why she chose to become an org leader, what she’s learned and why she encourages others to take up leadership positions.
What is your name, year in school, and post-grad plans?
My name is Zaire Armstrong, and I’m a 2L. My post-grad plans include working in a field of transactional law, though I’m still honing down my exact practice area.
Can you give me a quick rundown of what the WLC is all about?
Sure! So our org is pretty broad as you can get from the name; I suppose we could be considered an affinity group as we encompass more than half of the campus population! With that comes a big responsibility, which is reflected in our mission to support female and/or women-identifying students at BC Law; women in our larger community; and women generally impacted by the law. It’s definitely a wide net to cast, but we do feel responsible for amplifying the voices. That kind of advocacy and socializing manifests through different events, goals, and projects.
As we pass the midpoint of the semester, you current students may already be thinking about the courses you’ll want to take in the spring. To ensure you can weigh your options effectively, you’ll need to learn a little bit about the professors, including their backgrounds and areas of expertise.
Even if you know most of the familiar faces on campus, you may have been unable to get acquainted with some of the newcomers who joined our community this fall. It’s an impressive list! The school’s newest full-time faculty (Thomas Mitchell, Lisa Alexander, Jenna Cobb, Felipe Ford Cole, and Bijal Shah) come from a diverse range of backgrounds and have brought their experience into our classrooms, teaching everything from property and constitutional law to immigration and international investment law.
On top of these five new full-time professors, Jeffery Robinson has joined the School as the Rappaport Distinguished Visiting Professor this year, and Cosmas Emeziem as the 2022-2024 Drinan Visiting Assistant Professor. Finally, Aziz Rana is coming to BC Law, first as Provost’s Distinguished Fellow in 2023–2024, and then as the J. Donald Monan, SJ, Chair in Law and Government in 2024.
To learn more about our new faculty, read their bios in the BC Law Magazine, or visit BC Law’s faculty directory.
Editor’s Note: BC Law is launching a TikTok channel! Follow us @bclawonline.
You can’t BeReal if you’re in law school.
Wipe your social media — make a pseudo Instagram handle, private your Twitter, and maybe even delete your Facebook if you’re feeling up to it. This is the advice commonly distributed to incoming law students and applicants alike across online law school forums.
This advice is understandable these days, since employers Google everything, and law students have character and fitness standards to follow in order to be eligible to graduate and take the bar. This privatization movement strikes at the heart of #LawTok, though.
#LawTok is a TikTok hashtag categorizing videos dedicated about — you guessed it — the legal field. #LawTok videos range from videos about navigating On Campus Interviews, networking tips, the latest Supreme Court case to hit the docket, and more. #LawTok boasts 1.7 billion views as of this article’s publication.
In the next post of our BC Law Student Org Spotlight Series, Jillian Jacobson discusses why she chose to lead The Federalist Society, what her greatest challenges have been, what she’s learned and why she encourages others to take up leadership positions.
What is your name, year in school, and post-grad plans?
My name is Jill Jacobson and I am a 2L. Next summer I will be at Latham and Watkins doing litigation work. Ideally, I would love to clerk for a judge after graduation!
Can you give me a quick rundown of what Federalist Society is all about?
In essence, the Federalist Society is a group for conservative and libertarian law students interested in questioning the current state of the legal order. Its basic principles are that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. I would like to think the Federalist Society plays an important role in promoting intellectual diversity on campus.
In support of the well-being of lawyers across the professional spectrum—from students in the classroom to attorneys in all walks of legal life—we have launched a Mental Health Impact Blog Series, in partnership with alumnus Jim Warner ’92. Comprising deeply personal essays by community members who have struggled with mental health issues, the series provides restorative insights and resources to fellow lawyers in need.
The Mental Health Impact Blog Series coincides with a Law School-wide initiative, which will include lectures and workshops to support and promote mental well-being. To get involved in the activities or to write a guest post, contact email@example.com.
Please be advised that the following post discusses depression and thoughts of suicide. If you need help, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is now reachable nationwide by dialing 988, or visit them online.
During my first year of law school, I seriously considered taking my own life. It was a case of classic depression. There was no great nexus event to cause me to feel that way. It was simply the anxiety of being in a new situation, mixed with sleep deprivation and too much caffeine that created a chemical storm in my body. The reason I did not go through with my plan is that someone convinced me to get help. The thing is, I didn’t look like someone who needed help – at least not by law school standards. I looked tired and withdrawn, but so did most people.
The most helpful thing Professor Hillinger taught me during my 1L year was that networking is a critical tool during the legal job search. Although I earned my position for next summer through The Law Consortium, an OCI analog, I am thankful to my past-self for speaking to as many attorneys as I could. In hindsight, I think my networking helped me to figure out which legal practices I am interested in, which firms might be the best fit for my work style, and to become more comfortable and knowledgeable when speaking to attorneys. Just as Professor Hillinger stressed, networking should be an integral part of every 1L’s experience.
During my first semester of 1L, I talked to as many attorneys as I could find from a breadth of experiences and practice areas. Everything in law school seemed interesting to me, and I knew it would be important to be more targeted in my internship and job search. I made sure that I reached out to speak one-on-one to at least one attorney after every negotiation competition, club panel, or CSO event I attended. In the beginning, I had no idea what to talk about, but I knew that people like talking about themselves, so my networking conversations involved a lot of personal questions: “how did you know you wanted to pursue litigation,” “what made you choose to move in-house after working in Big Law”, and “how did you decide on your specific practice areas?” Through these conversations, I realized that I did not strictly identify with the transactional or litigation camps, and decided to pursue a career more closely aligned with regulatory work, where I would have the chance to have a broader range of work.