6 Must-Have Tools for New Law Students

It takes great courage and dedication to pursue a law degree. The legal system is complex and for those who aspire to practice law, the bar is set pretty high (pun intended). According to Bar passage data published by the American Bar Association, in 2019, about 70% of people passed the exam on the first try. While it’s a hard exam, it’s not impossible to pass.

Whether you’re just starting law school or you’re settling into your first position after passing the Bar, you need access to the right information and tools. The following tools will help you stay organized, continue learning, and make it easier to research case law.

  1. Excel training courses

Knowing how to use Excel is critical for staying organized and making your life easier. For instance, you can use a standard calculator to calculate your recurring expenses, but it’s easier to program Excel to do the math. When you program an Excel sheet to track your daily, monthly, or yearly expenses, any cost adjustments automatically recalculate your total expenses.

Learning how to use Excel functions, formulas, and shortcuts from ExcelTraining.com will save you time, money, and eliminate frustration. Excel should be on your radar, especially if you plan on managing billing for a law firm.

Once you know how to use Excel functions and formulas, it’s easy to create detailed Excel spreadsheets for managing clients. You can program a spreadsheet to calculate the total number of hours worked and total expenses incurred by each client.

You can also use Excel to track what you discuss in your free consultations and interactions with clients.

  1. Casemine

Studying law requires learning how the law has been applied historically. However, reading through entire casefiles is time-consuming and sometimes impossible. Serious law students need to learn from past cases, but it’s unrealistic for anyone to spend entire days and weeks reading through and interpreting one casefile. That’s where Casemine can help.

Casemine is a legal research platform that uses powerful AI algorithms to find connections between case laws. These connections include links to other relevant cases that can provide further clarity around case law.

The Casemine algorithm makes suggestions for additional relevant keywords and landmark case laws to explore. The Casemine platform doesn’t rely solely on keywords, but rather, interprets the context of documents and search queries, which supports in-depth case law research.

There are other online case law databases, but Casemine has stronger AI algorithms and provides a more thorough connection to other relevant cases. For example, using the visualization interface, you can see connections between case laws, including nuances and patterns not visible from traditional research processes.

  1. Automated billing software

If you’re running your own practice and want a hands-off approach to billing, you need automated software. Many law firms use Practice Panther because it syncs with QuickBooks Online, and clients can pay directly from the invoice. It’s cloud-based so that you can manage your finances from anywhere in the world.

Part of creating a successful practice involves getting clients to pay on time. In this context, little conveniences make the most significant difference. For example, when clients can pay directly from their invoice, you’re more likely to get that payment on time.

  1. Google Scholar

When you need to find journal publications, Google Scholar is an incredibly useful tool. Search for any topic, and you’ll get massive results to look through. While many law students rely on Westlaw, Google Scholar has articles you can’t find on Westlaw.

  1. Cite This For Me

Getting marked down in law school for referencing errors is frustrating yet avoidable. It’s hard to break the habit of making casual references to your sources; however, it’s a habit that doesn’t work in law school.

Cite This For Me makes it simple and easy to create proper citations for various citation styles, including Harvard, APA, AMA, OSCOLA, and MLA.

This useful citation tool even comes with a Chrome extension that allows you to cite your sources as you search.

  1. Westlaw

Westlaw is a comprehensive legal encyclopedia revered by law students and practicing lawyers. This powerful research tool can be used for endless purposes. When you need to answer a client’s question, a little research using Westlaw will give you accurate information fast.

Once you start practicing law, using the Westlaw database will help you create a stronger litigation strategy.

Most universities provide free access to Westlaw, but if you’ve already graduated, you can sign up for an individual access plan.

Tools are only as powerful as your commitment

These tools can help you become successful throughout your career practicing law. However, tools alone don’t bring success. Success requires a combination of powerful tools, commitment to the outcome, and the dedication to persevere.

 

 

 

 


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