My 1L School Supplies

In a few short weeks, I will be starting law school. I have been working towards this goal for over a year, so I am excited, though trying to manage random bouts of anxiety when I realize how much I still have left to do! I move in to my apartment three days before classes start. I still have to order furniture and housewares, set up utilities, and register my car in my new state.

Moving out of state is already pretty stressful, so I am trying not to lose sight of the reason why I am doing all of this: to get that JD, baby! I know that I want to set myself up with the best tools for my studies. Plus, I am pretty sure that it’s a proven fact that shiny new school supplies make you work harder and be more organized (at least for the first month or so). I managed to get most of my school supply shopping out of the way, so that I can spend the last few days before school starts focusing on the logistical nightmare that is moving. Here is what I will be using this year:

Backpack

In undergrad, I used a small, cutesy backpack with super thin straps that dug into my arms. This is law school, so it’s time to get serious. I expect to be lugging around my laptop and heavy books everyday. This backpack is bigger than my old backpack, and has thicker, more comfortable straps. It is fairly inexpensive, but seems to be very good quality. I love the color, and it is a bit more mature-looking than my undergrad backpack. It also has some nice features like an anti-theft combination lock, a compartment to connect an external phone battery, and a water bottle holder. I am happy with it so far, and can’t wait to put it to the test once school starts.

Binder and dividers

I want to minimize the volume of books and supplies that I will be carrying around, so I will be using only one binder with a divider for each class. Though I have not bought my binder yet, I will likely buy one that is 1.5 – 2 inches. I think that size will be sufficient since I plan on typing my notes (if the professor allows laptops). I bought these dividers because they are very durable and have pockets where I can store any miscellaneous handouts for each class.

Pens


In undergrad, I bought the cheapest pens that I could find. Since I began working, I have seen the light. My office always had these pens in the supply closet and it wasn’t long until I was hooked. They are very inky gel pens that write super smooth. They are simply delightful. It’s the little things.

Post-it flags


These are another luxury item that I grew attached to in the office. I used them a lot when I was highlighting relevant portions of hundreds of pages of deposition transcripts. I’m not sure yet exactly how I will use them in law school, but I am sure they will come in handy.

Highlighters


If there is one thing that I have learned about law students, it’s that they love their highlighters. I hear a lot of students use several different colors when reading cases. I ordered this this pack because the price was right. Gotta love Amazon Basics.

Mug


My brother got me this mug as a present, and it quickly became my favorite. The perfect balance of cute and obnoxious. Treat yo self.

Laptop


Thankfully, my laptop is only about two years old and is very reliable. However, if yours is on its way out, you should probably invest in a new one before school starts. When my laptop finally kicks the bucket, I think I will go for the Microsoft Surface Pro. It’s fast, lightweight, versatile, and pretty sexy.

Tell me what is on your back-to-school shopping list in the comments!

It’s quitting time!

Many law students have full-time work experience before starting law school. If you are working full-time and have made the decision to go to law school, it has probably dawned on you that you will need to quit your job soon. Maybe you hate your job and cannot wait to get out of there, or perhaps your goodbye will be more bittersweet. Regardless, telling your employer that you are leaving can be a very awkward conversation.

How do I put this?

Have a sit down conversation with your boss. Don’t do this over email or phone call! Explain to them that you have chosen to pursue law school, and will be leaving the company. Express how much you love working there, but law school is the next step for you. Hopefully your boss is happy for you, but be prepared for the possibility this news may stress them out or make them upset. There is nothing you can do about their reaction. Just remain confident in your choice, and know that you have not done anything wrong. You are going to law school for you. If your boss is inconvenienced by your dreams, so be it.

Your boss should be the first to know that you’re leaving. Perhaps you have told a couple of close coworkers about your plans to go to law school, but your boss is still blissfully unaware. Definitely keep this on the DL. Your boss would likely feel disrespected if they find out they were the last to know about your plans.

How much notice should I give?

Many people are under the impression that they are legally required to give at least two weeks notice before quitting a job. The truth is, most states in the U.S. are “at-will employment” states, so you can quit whenever you like. However, the general etiquette is give a minimum of two weeks notice before you leave.

Deciding how much notice to give is a very personal decision, as it comes with the risk of losing your job. You really have to know your employer to determine the best route. Though I had my Letters of Recommendation done before I gave notice, some applicants want to get an LoR from their supervisor, so they have to let their employer know about their plans almost a year in advance.  

I work in a law office, and I gave my employer six months notice. It worked out well, as my boss was able to hire my replacement four months before my departure. I helped train her, and she is now ready to take on my responsibilities when I leave, minimizing any disruption in workflow. My boss is thankful that I gave her so much notice, which allows me to leave on a positive note and maintain a valuable professional connection in the legal industry.

Of course, giving six months notice is very risky, as my employer could have decided to terminate me at any time. I considered this risk and determined that based on my relationship with my employer, it was unlikely, and that the benefits outweighed the risk. However, if you believe that your employer may terminate you, certainly give less notice. You need to prioritize your best interests over those of your employer.

When should my last day be?

Once again, this is up to you and depends on your financial situation. I am leaving at the end of July, so I will have about six weeks off before school starts. I am using this time to have some quality time with the fam, and go on a Euro trip with the ole ball ‘n chain. You may also need some time to move and get settled into a new place. However you choose to spend your summer, I hope you are able to take some time to relax and recharge before school begins.