Tech Tools That Will Transform Your Law School Experience

By Alison Monahan

Some lucky law students are highly organized by nature. Others not so much. Law school is challenging enough without total life disorganization. Fortunately for law students that can never seem to stay “on top of it,” there are many tech tools and apps that they can use to tame the chaos of law school, remove friction from their lives and focus on getting things done.

 

Basic Organizational Tools For Law Students

For your life to run smoothly as a law student, there are certain fundamental things that need to be under control. Here are some tech tools that can help with the basics:

 

An Online Calendar

First things first – to get organized, you need to know what’s happening and when. Obvious, right? Well, as it turns out, lots of law students don’t consistently use a calendar to track their many activities. If this is you, create a Google Calendar account right now and start using it. You can access your calendar from all of your devices, so you’ll always know what’s going on. Here are some tips for getting started.

 

Cloud Storage

There’s nothing more frustrating than losing all of your hard work in a computer crash. Fortunately, there is a way to ensure this never happens while you are in law school. Various cloud back up options exist, and you should absolutely set one up and use it consistently. My personal favorite is Dropbox. You can set up a folder on your computer and save documents there. They’ll be automatically uploaded for safekeeping and can be accessed from anywhere. Couldn’t be easier!

 

Project Management

For any legal research project, it’s critical to keep track of the cases you’ve consulted and the research you want to use. Here, Trello is a life saver. You can create new “cards” for each source, and easily sort them as you decide how to use each one. Trello also comes in handy as an amazing to-do list manager, and it’s invaluable for any projects requiring collaboration with other people. Just set up a board and share it, and everyone on the team will be able to see at a glance what’s been completed and who is responsible for each task. (Perfect for organizing journal assignments, or even your study group!)

 

Next-Level Organizational Tools

Once you’ve gotten the basics under control, it’s time to level up. Here are some tech tools that can help streamline your life and free up time for the really important activities (like naps):

 

Calendly

Never waste time scheduling a meeting again! Set up a free Calendly account and link it to your electronic calendar. The next time someone asks when you’re free, you just send them a link with your availability! It’s truly life changing, especially if you find yourself frequently doing the “I’m free Tuesday at 3pm for an hour or Thursday at 1:30pm, but only for 30 minutes” dance.

 

Doodle

When you need to coordinate a meeting time with lots of people, Doodle is your friend. Rather than sending out a ton of timing options and trying to remember what works for everyone, you can set the options in Doodle and ask people to vote for their favorite times. Simple, and democratic!

 

Slack

Email is pretty horrible, so best to avoid it whenever possible. If you have a study group, or any other group that needs to communicate regularly (the editors of a journal, the board of a student group, etc.), consider setting up a Slack channel. With Slack, the whole team can talk, or you can send direct messages (to one person or to several people at once). It’s more easily searchable than email, and much more conducive to the quick back-and-forth conversations that move projects forward.

 

Boomerang

Sometimes you can’t avoid email, of course. If you use Gmail, Boomerang can make your email life easier, with tools that let you pause email coming into your inbox (great for focused study time!), to schedule emails to go out in the future (perfect if you don’t want to bother your professor with a question at 2am), and to set follow-up reminders, if an email arrives that you don’t want to deal with immediately but need to address later.

 

Canva 

Any time you find yourself needing to make an image in law school, turn to Canva. It’s a free online tool with lots of free templates, making it easy to find what you need, whether it’s a slide for a Powerpoint or the background for a social media post announcing your group’s upcoming event. You can even upload and edit your own images, if they don’t have what you need. Most folks didn’t go to law school because of their design skills, but Canva makes you look like a pro!

 

The Ultimate Tech Tool For Law Students

Once you’ve mastered all of the above, check out Zapier, which not only streamlines your life, it makes you feel like a magician! Zapier connects multiple apps and executes your instructions, so you could, for example, set up a Zap to send a card to your Trello to-do board any time you star a message in Slack. It integrates with lots of tech tools you’re probably using already (including OneNote and Evernote), so give it a whirl and see what magic you can do! 

Lawyers, on average, aren’t the most technically inclined people, so you’ll have lots of opportunities to stand out later if you learn to use technology now to streamline your workflow (and your life). 

 

Related articles:

Keys To Succeeding As A Second-Semester 1L

How to choose which professors to take

How to network in law school

How to Select a Bar Exam Prep Course

 


Alison Monahan is the founder of The Girl’s Guide to Law School®, which is a leading resource for women (and some men) embarking on a legal career. Alison is also a co-founder of the Law School Toolbox® and Bar Exam Toolbox® which provide free resources, tutoring and a variety of courses and tools to help law students and bar exam takers succeed with less stress and anxiety.