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.
- Bluelight glasses
The science isn’t clear on these, but bluelight glasses are said to reduce eye strain, headache, and blurred vision. Since you’ll likely be spending hours staring at your computer each day, these might come in handy.
“I highly recommend bluelight glasses. They prevent headaches and helped my eyesight from getting even worse during law school”Lena Wurden, 3L
What we wasted our money on:
A bookstand is supposed to help with reading large textbooks and prevent hunching over while studying. I saw these on so many 1L shopping list posts that I bought one myself. Personally, it was used once, and now sits on my desk collecting dust. I asked some of my classmates about them and they all had the same experience. They make it super difficult to highlight as you read, and I found moving the metal tabs to turn each page very inefficient. They are also not practical to carry around anytime you want to read outside of your house.
My printer has been the biggest waste of money and space. There’s so much to print during law school that economically, it only makes sense to use the school library printer. Otherwise, I’d end up ordering 30 dollar ink cartridges after a month. Many at-home printers can’t handle the hundred of pages you’ll probably be printing come finals week.
- Commercial Outlines
In my experience, any information you need for finals will be in class materials or outlines from prior class years. BC has an outline sharing database that gives free credits to 1L’s and many clubs and affinity groups also have outline banks.
- Law Dictionary
I know a lot of people get these as gifts before 1L, but you really don’t need one. As nice as it might look on your bookshelf, the odds of using it regularly instead of the online options are slim.
- Flash Drive
I have a flash drive in my pencil case that I’ve never taken out, and don’t think I ever will. I’ve seen this suggested as a law school necessity, yet with everything being in the cloud it may be a relic of the past.
I’m sure there are other “must-haves” and quite a few items you can skip, but these were the most important to me. Other ideas? Chime in under the comments section!
Fiona Maguire is a third-year student at BC Law. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.