Even if you prefer writing in tools like Scrivener or Pages, eventually you will need to share or edit a document with someone who uses Word. While Pages and its ilk do a decent job saving and reading Word files, at the end of the day there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing. Basically, if you’re a law student, you need a copy of Microsoft Office.
If you’re any kind of student at most universities in the United States, you can probably get the entire Microsoft Office suite for free!
Most schools do an absolutely terrible job advertising this, and the administration of your law school likely doesn’t know it exists either.
Get Office for Free
More and more universities are signing on to Microsoft Office 365, driven in part by the cut rate licensing deals offered by Microsoft. As part of this subscription, students get free licenses for the latest version of the Office suite, including access to the full version of Microsoft’s excellent iPhone & iPad apps. Find out if you have access on Microsoft’s site.
Get Office for Cheap ($10-15)
If your university doesn’t participate in Office 365, you still have options. Many schools participate in Kivuto, an online store with heavily discounted copies of Office – normally around $10-15. Find out if your school participates in Kivuto.
If you struck out on the first two, I would recommend calling your main university’s IT help desk to see if they have any options for you. Poke around on their website until you find the number or email address. Nearly every school offers Office for free or nearly free to students, so you definitely should check to make sure you’re not looking in the wrong place.
If you’re sure that your school offers nothing, the most inexpensive (legal) option is to purchase a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student. Shop around for the best price, but you should generally expect to pay $129.