Helpful Books and Software
The following is a list of books and computer resources that you may find helpful throughout law school. It is not necessary to use any or all of these; they are provided only as a source of information and as a method of assisting you with your work.
Bridging the Gap Between College and LawSchool: Strategies for Success
by Ruta K. Stropus and Charlotte D. Taylor
Starting Off Right in LawSchool
by Carolyn J. Nygren
1000 Days to the Bar--But the Practice of Law Begins Now
by Dennis J. Tonsing
Without Fear: Strategies for Success
by Helene S. Shapo and Marshall Shapo
Strategies and Tactics for the First Year Law Student
by Kimm Alayne Walton and Lazar
Law, Law Study, and the Lawyer’s Role
by James Moliterno and Fredric
Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams
by Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul
Law Students often "outline" a course as a method of studying and preparing for an exam. While you can certainly do this in Word, there are several programs designed to support the sort of outlining that law students do.
Office OneNote 2007 is a Microsoft product, available on Windows platforms only. This software essentially turns one’s word-processor into a digital notebook, allowing students to type anywhere on the page and to easily insert photos, graphs, or other imported data. Information about this software and a trial version can be found here.
Outliner 4.0 by StoreLaw is an outliner designed for law students. In addition to offering standard outlining capabilities, Outliner 4.0 also comes with outline templates geared to certain textbooks. The software is designed to work with your existing word-processing software. Information about this software and a free trial can be found here.
MaxThink includes both organizational and word-processing capabilities, and is designed to assist students in organizing their thoughts and generating ideas. The software may be downloaded for a 30-day trial, after which it costs $95. MaxThink is only available for Windows platforms. Information about this software and a free trial can be found here.
OmniOutliner is an outlining program available only on Mac platforms. It allows students to create a variety of different styles of outlines and provides organizational guidance. OmniOutliner also allows students to easily view only certain portions of their outline, hiding others. It is available for $39.95. Information about this software can be found here.
Mind Mapping - Brainstorming Software
For graphical learners the process of Mind Mapping can be very helpful when studying law. There are a number of software packages that support this sort of graphical "brainstorming" method of learning.
MindManager allows students to generate graphical outlines or flowcharts, and to integrate those graphical outlines into existing word-processors. A 21-day free trial may be downloaded, and the software may be purchased for $229.
OmniGraffle is a visual outlining program that allows students to create flowcharts and other graphical representations of ideas. It comes as a piece of free software on most Macintosh computers. It is only compatible with Mac platforms, and it is available for purchase for $79.95.
Inspiration is available for both Mac and Windows platforms. This software allows students to integrate outlining capabilities and flowchart-style visual organizing. The software also allows students to track and organize research while working. Inspiration may be downloaded for a 30-day free trail, and for purchase for $69.
Flashcards and Study Aids
The massive amount of information that comes with law study can often be retained by the use of flashcards. Some students swear by them, others don't. But there are resources on the Web to support this mode of study.
Memory Lifter is a flashcard program that allows students to create their own flashcards on their computer. The program also has built-in “test” features that allow students to quiz themselves once they have created their flashcards. Memory Lifter’s “book” feature allows students to create different categories of cards, generating cards for different courses or for different specific subjects within a course. It is free to download and use.
Flashcard Exchange is a flashcard program that allows students to generate their own flashcards. On the Flashcard Exchange website students may view other students’ flashcards, although students should be aware that any flashcards posted are not reviewed for accuracy. In order to create one’s own flashcards, students must be a $19.95 lifetime fee. These cards are created and viewed online, not on the student’s own computer.
StoreLaw also has flashcard capabilities for an additional $29.95.
The Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) helps students understand and be aware of their learning and study strategies. Developed at the University of Texas, it provides information about skill, will and self-regulation components of learning.
Secure Reminder helps students to organize their lives by providing a number of different calendar, reminder, and to-do features. It helps students to set schedules, manage tasks, and create reminders of when to perform which tasks. It is available on Windows platforms only, for $29.95.
Assignment Calculator is an online system at the University of Minnesota that helps students set schedules for assignments, and it is available for free.
Writeboard is a free online system that supports collaborative writing by several people that tracks changes made by each person. It even allows going back to previous versions.
Material adapted from study skills CD created by University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.