Organization in Law School

Organization is something that didn’t become integral to my everyday values until law school. I almost feel like I succeeded in high school and college despitemy lack of organization skills (well, I saw it as a lack). When I got to law school, organization became an absolute necessity. 1L year helped usher in this change because our schedules were very controlled and organized for us. This structure both showed me the importance of organization and set a tone of needing the organization to maintain control over my busy schedule. In the past two years I’ve discovered some processes and tools that have really helped me maintain my organization and, as a result, some shreds of sanity.

 

Find a good planner that works for you

In high school I bought trendy Vera Bradley and Lilly Pulitzer planners because they looked pretty and all my friends had them. I would write down things every once in a while but mostly just kept my “homework” assignments written at the top of my notebooks for each class. News flash: this is not efficient, effective, or helpful. When I started law school I was gifted a different (albeit still trendy and pretty!!) planner. This planner was good, but as the year went on I realized that its format and layout didn’t exactly fit my needs. So for 2L I scoured the web and stores for the perfect planner for me and found it- and repurchased it for 3L, too. This planner works for me because the days for each week take up the left-hand side of the page and each day has open space to write in all assignments. On the right-hand side of the page it is formatted with big sections for notes, to-do lists, things to remember, and goals. This format is really beneficial for me because many of my responsibilities as managing editor, for example, don’t really belong to a “day” like schedules and meetings do. I urge you to think about what your responsibilities are on a weekly basis and figure out a planner that can best facilitate keeping the tasks organized.

 

Write things down

I used to rely mostly on “brain power” to remember my assignments for each class, the activities and responsibilities for each club/group, and other miscellaneous tasks on my plate. This is a no-good, awful, terrible, very bad system. Don’t do this. Writing each task down not only helps you remember it better, it puts it in a concrete place where you can reference it easily and be reminded of it daily.

 

Utilize apps

I try to write in my physical planner as much as I can, but since phones are so ubiquitous and accessible I also have a habit of substituting various tools and apps on my phone instead. Like most people, my calendar on my phone is integral to my personal organization structure. But I often found myself using my calendar to create “events” that were really just things I needed to remember to do. Recently I was reminded of an app that I downloaded and attempted to use years ago but never found my groove with. I’m happy to report back, however, that it has now become a great tool for my law school life! The app is called Trello and it’s a great way to keep all my “to dos” organized well in advance.* The app allows you to create “boards” which I organize into categories like BU, Managing Editor, Groceries, etc. Within each board you can create lists, and within each list you can create different cards. For example: within my BU board, I have lists for homework, recurring, and groups/events. Under homework, I have cards for specific homework assignments, outlining, my final paper for my ethics class, and certing my note. Under my recurring list I have a card for blogging and within that card I have made a checklist for keeping track of how many times I’ve posted each month. And for groups/events I list different events I’m interested in, reaching out to my mentees (with checklists for each mentee), and meetings with different administrators or professors. Basically, it’s a way to breakdown your tasks and responsibilities into smaller and smaller chunks, and when you open the app and go to your “home” page you can see which tasks are immediately upcoming! It’s really helpful for personal and also joint use as you can share your boards with other people (I share my “groceries” board with my boyfriend, and we have lists for weekly groceries, Costco trips, and replenishing my baking cabinet, which either of us can check off or add to whenever we want). I highly recommend Trello if you’re looking for a way to keep all of your responsibilities (that you’ve been scurrying away in improper apps or categories) in a more centralized location!

 

*This post is not sponsored by Trello. But Trello, if you’re reading this, I have some product development suggestions!

2 Comments

Kimberly posted on October 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Hi Caroline! Thank you for sharing this post. Are you allowed to share the brand of planner you mentioned in your post?

Caroline Lambert posted on November 10, 2018 at 11:55 pm

Hi Kimberly,

The brand is Eccolo Ltd, and I have luckily gotten this brand at TJ Maxx each year.

Best,

Caroline

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