FYI: You can probably get a copy of Office for free

OfficeMacEven 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!

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Using Scrivener for your Legal Brief

I know, I know: the first question you’re probably thinking is why not just use Microsoft Word?

After all, Word files are the de-facto standard, and your professor (or hopefully in the future, the judge) will expect you to turn in your brief as a Word document or a PDF file.

While Microsoft Word is great for letters and short documents, if you try to jump around in a longer document, you’ll quickly get frustrated. God help you if you need to re-arrange different sections of text. Word works in a linear fashion: you view your entire document from start to finish, in the same manner you would view a printed paper. It just isn’t designed for crafting longer documents with multiple sections, nor is it designed to allow you to easily bounce between multiple sections of a document at the same time

On the other hand, Scrivener is purpose built for long-form writing. Authors of all types rave about Scrivener, and it’s beginning to catch on in the legal community.

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Apps for Controlling Procrastination

Admit it, we all procrastinate. Law students are especially good at it. You know it’s exam season when I have no dirty dishes in the sink and am fully caught upon Suits, Shameless, and Last Week Tonight. Heck, you’re probably procrastinating right now: reading this post instead of working your assignment.

While I can’t help you eliminate procrastination from your life, I can show you a few good tools that I use when I really need to knuckle down and get a brief written, work on an outline, or finish cite checks for journal.

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