What to Buy Before Starting Law School

In our opinion, it’s never too early to start preparing for law school. Add some law school must-haves to your wish list (or treat-yo’-self-list) and stock up before you start 1L. The items below are law school essentials that will help you be prepared to conquer 1L before day one.


If you don’t have a fast laptop, now’s the time to invest in one. In law school, you’re going to be taking a lot of notes. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Taking notes on your laptop versus writing your notes by hand makes it easy to organize, search and keep track of your outlines and class notes come final exams. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly. 

Once you’ve got your laptop, make sure to get acquainted with a cloud storage provider (iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox). Don’t risk your computer breaking or getting lost and losing your notes and outlines. That is a literal law student nightmare. 

Gift Cards 

Spoiler alert: law school expenses add up quickly. Holding on to gift cards until the fall will help you immensely when it comes to your 1L budget and new law school expenses.  

Any gift card will make a difference; Amazon, grocery stores, IKEA, Target, you name it. Whatever you can apply to your day-to-day expenses or living expenses will make an impact on your overall stress level come summer. 

Heavy Duty Backpack 

You don’t truly understand how important a heavy-duty backpack is until you carry multiple law school textbooks to and from class across campus. It’s not enjoyable. Investing in a good backpack will alleviate a lot of strain on your body, which will most likely already be running on empty.  

Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a backpack: 

  • Look for one with thick straps, you’ll need the cushion 
  • Keep in mind that legal pads and some textbooks are tall 
  • Don’t risk smashing your laptop/tablet, get a backpack with a laptop pocket 
  • Look for something with a water bottle pocket to stay hydrated and keep your books safe from potential spills 


Speaking of strain, do your neck and back a favor and get yourself a bookstand. You’re going to be spending hours of your time huddled over a textbook and reading cases repeatedly until your eyes turn red. Getting a bookstand will make a huge difference in your overall comfort level and make reading cases a little more bearable.  

Office Supplies 

Who wants to receive office supplies for the holidays or birthdays? Probably only a handful of people (including me). But trust me, you’ll appreciate it come your first semester in law school.  

Here are a few specifics to add to your list:

  • For organization: planner, paperclips, sticky notes, sticky tabs 
  • For notetaking: notebooks, loose-leaf paper, binders, pens, pencils, highlighters 
  • Tech: USB, hard drive 

Bicycle or Longboard 

Okay, this one might not directly affect your law school grades, but it will help your overall health and well-being, which is good to keep top of mind during the most stressful year of law school. Plus, having a bike or longboard can serve as a convenient mode of transportation if you want to avoid traffic (and make the world a little greener).

Water Bottle / Thermos  

Another nod to your health: stay hydrated. As a law student you’re running on fumes; lugging textbooks across campus, getting cold called in class, staying up all night briefing cases. It’s exhausting. Invest in a high-quality water bottle to keep your water cold and within reach all day. Want to take it a step further? Get a water bottle that doubles as a thermos and fill it with coffee or tea to help give you some extra energy throughout the day. 

Law Preview 

Want to set yourself up for law school success? Check out our online and live law school prep courses. I know what you’re thinking; I prepped for the LSAT, now I have to prep for law school? The answer is yes.  

Our courses are built to teach you everything from core 1L material (Torts, Criminal Law, etc.) to proven exam taking strategies and outlining best practices. Don’t just take our word for it, check out our testimonials to see how Law Preview has helped thousands of incoming law students conquer law school. 

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