Resources › For Students and Parents A Checklist of Law School Supplies The Essentials Every Law School Student Needs Share Flipboard Email Print For Students and Parents Law School Pre-Law Prep Applying to Law School Surviving Law School Homework Help Private School Test Prep College Admissions College Life Graduate School Business School Distance Learning View More By Michelle Fabio Law Expert J.D., Temple University B.A., English and History, Duke University Michelle Fabio is a licensed attorney, an award-winning blogger and writer, and the author of "The Art of the Law School Personal Statement." our editorial process Michelle Fabio Updated July 19, 2019 If you’re ready to jump into your first year of law school but aren't sure what to bring, this list of suggested supplies will give you a headstart on the essentials you'll need to stock up on before classes start. 01 of 12 Laptop Constantine Johnny / Getty Images Laptops for law school are pretty much a given these days and are even mandatory at some schools. Your education is an investment in your future so you need to make sure your laptop or tablet is up to the task. You don't have to kick in for all the bells and whistles but a lightweight model that has the current versions of any software you require and enough memory to handle large files is your best bet. 02 of 12 Printer & Supplies Maskot / Getty Images You may do just fine printing out everything on campus, but if printing costs aren't covered by your tuition—and even if they are—you'll likely want your own printer. Again, you don't have to go top-of-the-line but do find something that can handle large-capacity printouts. Stock up on ink cartridges as well (both black and color since it's likely some of the materials you'll be printing will be color-coded) and don't forget lay in an ample supply of paper. 03 of 12 Rolling Backpack/Bookbag Kirdan / Getty Images How you choose to lug around extremely heavy law books and your laptop is a matter of personal choice but you're going to need something large enough to carry all your class essentials. Be sure whatever you choose has a place inside to stow your laptop securely. These days, you can find hybrid backpacks that not only have wheels and retractable handles but even come equipped with stereo speakers and USB chargers. While extra features are nice if you can afford them, your first priority should be well-built wheels and handles, sturdy zippers, and anti-theft features for security. 04 of 12 Notebooks/Legal Pads MassanPH / Getty Images Even for those who take notes on their tablets or laptops, good old-fashioned notebooks and legal pads not only come in handy, for some students they can actually improve the learning process. How? Because writing something out by hand is more likely to help you remember it. In fact, a 2004 study conducted by Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California comparing the effectiveness of note-taking by hand versus by computer concluded that how you took notes did have an impact on retention. In a 2016 interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Mueller explained, "When people type . . . they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can." Students who took longhand notes "were forced to be more selective" since they were unable to write as quickly as they could type. "And that extra processing of the material . . . benefited them." 05 of 12 Colored Pens & Highlighters Richard Sharrocks / Getty Images Jotting down notes in different colored ink will help you find important information you need to refer back to later and it can also be a great tool for organizing your calendar. Highlighters are essential for several tasks, including case briefing in a book. By using a different color for each factor (e.g., yellow for facts, pink for holding, etc) you'll be able to reference items quickly and efficiently. You'll likely need lots of highlighters each semester, so buy more than you think you’ll need. 06 of 12 Sticky Notes in Several Sizes Evgeny Tchebotarev / Getty Images Sticky notes are extremely useful for both marking off important cases or discussions and writing down pertinent questions. The index tabs are especially useful in the Bluebook and in codes like the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). 07 of 12 Folders/Binders Jorg Greuel / Getty Images Folders and binders are great for keeping handouts, outlines, and other loose papers organized. Even in the digital age, professors sometimes hand out hard copies in class so it is best to be prepared. 08 of 12 Fasteners Creative Crop / Getty Images Paper clips and binder clips, along with a stapler, staples, and a staple remover are all standard equipment for law school. While staples and standard paper clips are fine for smaller documents, binder clips are the best when you're dealing with something that has lots and lots of pages. 09 of 12 Day Planner Utamaru Kido / Getty Images In law school, it's crucial to keep track of assignments, status updates, class schedules, and personal engagements. Whether you decide to use a paper planner or prefer to organize your life on your computer, if you start keeping track from day one, you won't wind up missing something important—like that big test. 10 of 12 USB Drives and Cloud Storage Yuyudevil / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain There's no worse feeling than losing hours, days, or even an entire semester's worth of data. The reality is, laptops get stolen or damaged and you need to be prepared. Back up your data and do it often. If you're going to be swapping information with classmates, USB drives still come in handy but you should consider using cloud storage as well. You can create and save documents in an online suite of dedicated legal software from Microsoft Office, or if prefer, you can use Google Docs or upload your classwork to an FTP (file sharing protocol) site such as Dropbox. 11 of 12 Bookstand Dougal Waters / Getty Images Whether you're the kitchen following a recipe or perusing a hefty textbook, a book stand will hold a heavy tome open to the pertinent page while keeping your hands free—to chop onions or take notes. 12 of 12 Healthy Snacks Westend61 / Getty Images Law school students put in long hours and while living on caffeine and ramen noodles can't always be avoided, it's better to have healthy alternatives available to keep your body's defenses up and your mind sharp. Remember: Fresh fruit is your friend, as are nutritionally sound microwavable meals and protein bars. Sources Law School ToolboxMueller, Pam A., Oppenheimer, Daniel M. "The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Notetaking." Sage Journals, Psychological Science. April 23, 2004Rider, Randall. "Backing Up Law Students' Data." Lawyerist.com. October 31, 2011 View Article Sources Burgess, Lee, and About Lee BurgessLee Burgess. “How to Brief a Case in Law School.” Law School Toolbox®, 11 Sept. 2013, lawschooltoolbox.com/how-to-brief-a-case-in-law-school/. Burgess, Lee, and About Lee BurgessLee Burgess. “Top 5 Mistakes Students Make Preparing for Class.” Law School Toolbox®, 24 Sept. 2014, lawschooltoolbox.com/top-5-mistakes-students-make-preparing-for-class/. Monahan, Alison, and Alison MonahanAlison Monahan. “Tips for Take-Home Law School Exams.” Law School Toolbox®, 6 Oct. 2014, lawschooltoolbox.com/tips-for-take-home-exams/. Salzer, Ariel, and Ariel SalzerAriel Salzer. “How to Organize Your To Do List in Law School.” Law School Toolbox®, 13 Mar. 2015, lawschooltoolbox.com/how-to-organize-your-to-do-list-in-law-school/. 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