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Welcome to Academic Success
This guide will cover many of the topics from the school's mandatory 1L Academic Success course. As many of the topics covered relate to technology, some information will become out of date over time. Please be aware that products may be discontinued, prices may change and services offered by these technologies may be altered at any time.
Class and Exam Preparation
The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, or CALI, offers reviews of particular subject areas related to doctrinal legal courses. Their lessons are written by law faculty and often feature integrated quizzes to ensure that students are mastering the material. [Access is restricted to the law school community only.]
This is a commercial product with a variety of study materials, particularly its outlines. Students are able to obtain an extended free trial using their ABA student membership
Law School Resources
The legal research platforms that we use, such as Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and Westlaw Edge each provide academic study resources integrated into their databases. The content varies, and it changes as services are added or removed, so it's a good idea to log into each one and see what they make available in their respective student resource centers. [Access to these resources is limited to members of the law school community.]
As you work on your outlines, it is important to save frequently. But you should also consider backing your work up remotely in case of emergencies. Cloud storage is free and accessible, and saving your work to the cloud should be a part of your study habits.
Free 10 GB storage space
Box includes additional security features beyond most of the other services. It allows for collaboration and allows for document access via link, instead of e-mail attachments. This is meant for people who are more concerned about the security of their documents, especially for business use.
Free 2 GB storage
Dropbox allows for shared folders for group projects. It is also a fairly commonly used program, so lost people will already have it, making collaboration easier.
Free 15 GB Storage
Google Drive comes integrated with Google Docs, Forms, Gmail, Photos, Draw, etc. Sadly, it will often convert Word documents into Google Docs versions, losing much, if not all, of the formatting. As many people have Gmail accounts, this is a popular option for group work.
Free 5 GB storage
iCloud comes integrated with apple devices, making it a good choice for Mac and iPhone users. It is limited by the inclusion of e-mails against the 5GB limit, and the lack of integration with Android devices.
Free 5 GB Storage
OneDrive is integrated with MS Outlook and OneNote. As Outlook is provided to all students, OneDrive is available as well.
Many of the study guides law students use are available electronically. E-books have the advantages of being highly portable, requiring no storage space, and costing less than new copies. You can annotate e-books, take them with you on your mobile devices, They also require no shipping time and so can be a very good way of acquiring books that you can't get ahold of in print.
Fun and Games
This is gamified learning, designed to teach basic legal concepts. While it does includes some 1L and even upper division courses among its modules, this is really more for fun over breaks than for serious study.
Learned Hands Project
This is an issue spotting exercise developed by Stanford University to help develop A.I. for Access to Justice projects. It also provides an opportunity for law students to spot issues in real legal matters.
When setting up a good study area remember to keep the following in mind:
- Have a well lit area. Natural light is best for studying for long periods, so you may want to use a light bulb that approximates natural light
- An uncluttered are can be conducive to good studying. Make sure to keep your study area clean. This is especially important if you study in a public place like the library.
- Scents may aid in information retention or focus. Find one that works for you.
- Minimize distractions with a white noise machine. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively, or you can get a white noise app for your smartphone. You can program them to provide white, pink or brown noise, or to mimic sounds like wind, rain, etc.