Commencing your law school journey is no easy task, and can often feel like learning a new language. Professors do their best to break down legalese and abstract concepts into something digestible for students, but keeping afloat amidst the mass of content can be difficult. Resources such as Black’s Law Dictionary, treatises, and encyclopedias are traditionally presented as the first place to look when confusion arises. While those academic aids are invaluable, other, more unconventional routes are also available to decipher the law. Here are 5 top online resources that will make your life easier in law school.
Beginning with the most widely used online resource by law students, Quimbee is truly a one stop shop. The website has case briefs written by expert professionals, quick and engaging videos (especially helpful for visual learners), quizzes, practice essays, definitions, outlines, and more. The site uses animations to outline the narrative of a case in simple language, allowing viewers to easily understand the root of the issue. It’s important to be able to independently decipher the holding and reasoning of a case by reading the text, but when things get cloudy, Quimbee’s case briefs are excellent in providing clarity. Quimbee’s team of legal experts also write outlines for multiple legal subjects that can be viewed onsite or downloaded. While access to Quimbee entails a hefty yearly membership, many law schools will partner with Quimbee to give their students a free subscription.
Justia is an entirely free platform that provides users with access to federal and state court decisions, codes and regulations, opinion summaries, and legal guides. The site also allows users to connect with lawyers in their area based on a legal issue or practice area. Justia has proved beneficial to students that need a fast, free, and reputable source of legal information. Of course, Westlaw and Lexis provide much of the same material, but for some, Justia is a much friendlier format in terms of navigation—you don’t even need to set up an account to browse the site!
Those trying to memorize the Constitution should look no further than Quizlet. Digital flashcards are this website’s bread and butter. This free website allows users to generate flashcards and title the deck, which can then be accessed by anyone on the site. For law students, this resource is especially helpful when studying for final exams and the Bar. If desired, Quizlet goes a step further and allows the digital deck of cards to be translated into quizzes, matching games, and fill in the blank games.
Scribd is an open publishing platform where students can upload any document to the website, and it can be viewed by others. When prepping for exams or trying to piece together multifaceted rules, Scribd is a great place to find flowcharts created by other law students. The content of the documents should always be checked for accuracy, but having the ability to view the law from another student’s vantage provides a nice study aid for those without a study group. Unfortunately, the platform requires a paid subscription, but for those wanting a loophole around a monthly commitment, the website allows its users to download a document for free in exchange for uploading your own document. Scribd knows how to instill a team mentality!
OneNote is the holy grail for notetaking. This Microsoft application can be downloaded to your computer, iPhone, or tablet, and constantly syncs to keep your information up to date on any device. No need to worry about WiFi access either, because OneNote is accessible even when not connected to the internet. The file system in OneNote allows you to create color coded notebooks that you can break into sections and then again into pages, ensuring maximum organization. Gone are the days of using command F to find a singular rule in a 60-page outline—the app lets you search within specific sections or even pages to find what you’re looking for. In addition to being aesthetically and organizationally pleasing, the app allows users to audio record, insert screenshots and files, and create reminders. For those who like pen to paper but don’t want the hassle of flipping through pages, the app has a draw tool which allows you to connect a stylus and hand write notes or draw around important text.
Knowing where to find a helping hand is the key to mastering the juggling act that is law school. Those looking for fast and reliable information should look no further than these unconventional mediums that are sure to aid in a law student’s academic venture. From deciphering legalese to staying organized, these five online resources are law students best kept secret to success.
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