Congratulations on getting accepted into law school! Now that you’re in, it’s time to go back to school shopping. To help you out, here is a list of school supplies for law school.
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✦ Pens and Pencils
Let’s get the most obvious out of the way: pens and pencils. Some profs don’t allow electronic devices in class and others don’t allow them during exams. So even if you’re a completely digital type of person, you’re eventually going to need an actual pen or pencil for something. Make sure you have at least a few!
I am absolutely in love with these pens! They’re my go-to for notetaking because they’re fast-drying and lefty-friendly!
For pencils, I prefer to use mechanical ones and you can never go wrong with BIC.
✦ Printer, Ink, and Printer Paper
In undergrad, whenever I’d ask a law student “what’s law school like?” They’d reply with some version of “there’s lots of reading.” And man, they were not kidding. I went from reading 0 pages a day to 100+ pages a day. While some profs assign readings in your course textbooks, a lot of them also like to provide articles and other materials for you to read. In my first semester of 1L, I blew through I think 5 stacks of printer paper and a lot of ink printing reading materials that I preferred to physically highlight and jot down notes on. So if you’re shopping for essential law school supplies, make sure to get a decent printer (preferably one with a scanner ‘coz that can come in handy too) and stock up on ink and printer paper.
This is the printer I’ve been using for almost a year now and I can’t complain. I love how it looks and the quality is top-notch!
I have a monthly ink subscription but if you don’t want to sign up for that, here’s an alternative I found that is compatible with the HP ENVY 6455e.
Recommended Printer Paper:
Any printer paper will do, but this is the one I use!
✦ Book Holder
If you didn’t catch this from the previous paragraph, let me repeat: there is a LOT of reading in law school (I cry). You do not think you need a book holder. I did not think I needed one either. Trust me, you do. You will be reading for hours. Your neck will hurt from looking down at the pages you’re reading. Your arms will get tired from holding your textbook up. A book holder will make all your problems…well…this particular problem, go away.
Recommended Book Holder: Bamboo Book Stand
✦ Notebooks or Legal Pads
You’re a law student or you’re gonna be one very soon. You’re entitled to buy a legal pad. I use one for taking notes down during interviews and it is amazing. Especially for left-handed people like me who are eternally cursed by the springs on spiral notebooks. Not a fan of legal pads? Notebooks work wonders too. Either way, you should probably have one of these for law school if you like to physically write down your notes. And even if you don’t, notebooks can still be useful when studying for exams/making CANs (Condensed Annotated Notes). You tend to remember things better when you handwrite them. I’ve tested it and it’s true (also, science says so).
Recommended Legal Pads:
Okay. This one is actually extremely useful! I think they were made for interviews. I had one for every interview and/or networking event I went to (even though all of them were virtual during my 1L year, I still had to take notes and look professional doing it). A padfolio lets you have everything in one place: your legal pad, pen, and extra copies of your resume, cover letter, references, etc. Try getting one and see for yourself just how much they rock!
Recommended Padfolio: Pacific Mailer Padfolio
I like the simple look of this padfolio and the different pockets.
Pretty standard, but binders are a must-have for any student. You’ll want to keep any handouts and printed documents organized in one place. And binders are the perfect things to help you do just that.
I am obsessed with the colours of these binders!
✦ 3-Hole Puncher
Not every document you’re given by your profs is going to be hole punched. And anything you print out is never going to be hole punched. So you gotta get a hole puncher (obviously). I used a hole puncher pretty much every day during the first semester of my 1L year since I liked to print out my readings and do worksheets or practice exams by hand.
Recommended 3-Hole Puncher:
✦ Sheet Protectors
Sheet protectors are awesome! They are super useful when I want to store documents without hole punching them, like any assignments I’d be submitting in class. If you take a few and put them in your binder, you can keep your non-hole punched papers with your hole punched papers and stay organized.
Recommended Sheet Protectors:
✦ Pocket Folders
Having at least one pocket folder is useful so you can quickly store any loose paper you receive in class that isn’t hole punched safely in your backpack.
Recommended Pocket Folders:
The designs on these pocket folders are beautiful!
✦ Colourful Highlighters
You definitely have to buy these! Remember the whole “lots of reading in law school” part? Well, having colourful highlighters help make that just a tiny bit more bearable. You’ll want to have different coloured highlighters so you can keep track of the different parts of a case you’re reading. You’re likely going to be reading cases 99.9% of the time and there are A LOT of cases. You simply can’t make case briefs for them all. So you do the next best thing: highlight. And you’re gonna need highlighters for that!
Who doesn’t love pastel highlighters?
✦ Sticky Notes and Page Flags
Sticky notes are very handy when you need to just quickly jot something down (an idea, reminder, meeting time, etc.). I like to use them when doing readings to write down additional information like the english translation to a latin phrase or the definition of a word I’m not familiar with. As for page flags, you just need them to mark the last page you read in your textbook as a reminder for next time of where you left off.
Recommended Sticky Notes:
Recommended Page Flags:
✦ Paper and Binder Clips
Sometimes, you’ll have to print off a document (maybe a case or research paper) that is just way too thick for standard staplers to bind together. Paper clips can be useful for situations like that. And I always found having binder clips convenient for holding textbook pages open while I read.
Recommended Paper Clips:
Recommended Binder Clips:
You can always find a use for a stapler so it’s good to have one lying around. If you’re not a fan of paper and binder clips, you might want to consider buying a heavy duty stapler that can staple thick documents no problem.
Recommended Stapler: Amazon Basics Stapler
A laptop or any computer is essential to have these days. Even if you don’t plan on taking notes digitally, you will most certainly need one for research and browsing IG in class (this is why I almost failed crim). In 1L, my laptop was my life. With online classes and all, I literally did EVERYTHING with my laptop. I used it to take notes, attend class, go to events and meetings, take exams, you name it. So you should get one for law school (it doesn’t have to be expensive) or upgrade the one you already have if it’s too old.
Recommended Laptop: Apple 2023 Macbook Air 15.3 Inch
You’ll survive law school without a tablet. It’s not necessary. But I highly recommend it. During the first semester of 1L, I didn’t have a tablet so I had to print out worksheets, reading materials, and practice exams and do them by hand. With the amount of documents I was printing, it just was not economically feasible and it was horrible for the environment.
So I decided to buy an iPad in December to use for the winter semester. And let me just say, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I found it super convenient to be able to annotate and sign documents on the iPad. After buying one, I stopped wasting so much paper printing out my readings because I could just do them digitally without having to sacrifice the ability to highlight and take notes by hand.
Plus, I loved how portable it was. I often preferred it to my laptop in the rare times I had to go to school for an optional in-person class. Consider buying one if you have the means to, it can only add value to your law school experience!
Recommended iPad/Tablet: Apple iPad Air 10.9 Inch (5th Generation)
✦ USB Drive
Another one of those things that you can always find a use for. I know most students today have a cloud service for data storage. But it’s still nice to have a USB for storing documents and transferring them to or from your laptop and some other electronic device. Especially when there’s no free wifi and your phone hotspot fails you.
Recommended USB Drive: SanDisk 32GB 3-Pack USB
You’re going to need one of these to store all your other law school supplies, of course! Need I say more?
Related: 2023 Best Backpacks for Law School
Ready to go back-to-school shopping? Don’t forget to download your free printable checklist of school supplies for law school below and have fun shopping!
Also check out: Law School Digital Planner
FREE DOWNLOAD: School Supplies Checklist for Law School