Law school can be overwhelming. To alleviate the chaos, there are some subscriptions that will save you time, money and make law student life that little bit easier. Additionally, your newfound knowledge will give you some serious dinner conversation cred.
1. State Law Body
Your state body will have a plethora of events, handy hints and if you’re lucky, opportunities to be mentored. Sign up is usually free for students, so make it happen! Why? As soon as you start law school, networking is integral to forging meaningful connections with recruiters and lawyers, making you pop in a sea of other law students. Making a good first impression on a partner will help them remember you; it may lead to opportunities such as interviews for clerkships and graduate roles, or potentially paralegal work in the interim!
2. Law Student Society
Law student societies are boons of class notes, networking events, law ball, competitions and clerkship guides! This membership is seriously worth its weight in gold. Extra points for liking other Law Schools’ Student Society Facebook pages – they can be extremely useful for employment opportunities. When I started University, I was shy to get around the law society events. However, I soon learnt they are invaluable for the benefit of legal knowledge and making friends with classmates or seniors with a bunch of experience under their belt. Remember, you’ll eventually be working in the same industry with your fellow law students, and you never know where these connections may lead you in 5, 10 or 15 years’ time.
Let's face it: text books are PRICEY. StudentVIP Textbooks is a godsend – you can save up to 70% off the RRP and have access to interstate students selling their pre-loved books/door stops. Joining your University’s Law Facebook page is another fruitful option, and some societies have online secondhand textbook exchanges, but get in quick as books are snapped up fast!
Podcasts are a handy way to absorb information on the go. Now you’ve committed yourself to the law, you are the future of the profession and it’s important to know the issues facing the industry. The Law Report is one of the best and covers current legal issues on the weekly. Other mentions include the commercially focused Lawyers Weekly and the Castan Centre who have recently started a Human Rights podcast. To keep up with current affairs, Triple J’s Hack program comes in digestible 30-minute casts and often covers legal issues. If you are super strapped for time, the Friday edition called the Shake-Up covers all of the big stories of the week.
Yeah, I said it. But not for the reason you may think: TV can be an easy way to absorb knowledge and get that law-inspo going, especially in the early years. This author’s all-time favourite is The Good Wife, but closer to home Janet King and Crownies are excellent options. For current affairs, Q&A is a great source to keep in the loop on current social and political debate and often mentions legal issues affecting the nation – you can get watching anytime on the ABC iview app!
Keeping up with the news is important while studying and is a must in clerkship season – make no mistake, you will be questioned about it. Want to bag yourself some extra assignment marks? Inserting business, political or legal developments is an impressive way to back up arguments and to demonstrate you're in the know. The Financial Review is definitely your best bet in the quest for A+ news and analysis. They have a student discount and offer a tech version for your phone or tablet. If you want to save those precious pennies, hit up your local café on a Saturday and catch up on the week’s events by perusing through the Fin Reviews’ weekend edition. Alternatively, your University library is likely to have physical copies and may have a subscription through your online library portal. Pro tip: like their Facebook page for daily articles.
Another great publication that belongs in your bookmarks is Lexology, a legal database with over 600,000 articles written by lawyers from law firms in Australia and internationally. You can set up an RSS feed or a tailored newsfeed by e-mail based on work areas you’d like to receive updates on, from immigration to IT & data protection, and human rights to corporate finance. It can never hurt to drop some sneaky knowledge bombs in those networking conversations--and generally brush up on your commercial awareness. If you’re unsure how to navigate setting it up, head to your University library and ask for assistance!
7. Apps for productivity
Let’s be real, 99.99% of us are habitually check notifications. Although social media provides an endless supply of dank memes, these platforms are an absolute destroyer of productivity. A 2015 study at Middle Tennessee State University study found the alert tone of social media holds back the most proficient of multitaskers, with results showing considerable inefficiencies in task performance and decreased well-being of study participants. Get that notification addiction in check by downloading Freedom – the app allows you to block notifications on both your phone and laptop so you can get STUFF DONE. Once you have written all of your law notes for the afternoon, you can then check your phone while binging on 3 hours of the hottest Netflix series as a reward, promise.
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