WEEKLY ACADEMIC SUCCESS TIP - Staying Organized

Being organized is essential to being a good attorney.  Law school is a great place to learn better organizational skills.  Here are some tips that can improve your organization:

  • Keep all of your law school study materials in one place in your home rather than scattered in many areas.
    When you have finished with study materials, return them immediately to that designated place.
  • Before you go to bed at night, sort out the materials you need to take to school the next day and put them together.
  • Keep student organization materials in folders or notebooks separate from your course materials.
  • Keep materials for your part-time work in folders or notebooks separate from your course materials.
  • Keep the syllabus, case briefs, class notes, and handouts for a course together in a 3-ring binder.  Designate a separate 3-ring binder for each of your classes.
  • If color helps you organize, use different colored folders or binders for school courses, work, student organizations, etc.
  • Read your syllabus carefully; highlight due dates and transfer them immediately to your calendar.
  • Always date your class notes.
  • Have as many consistent abbreviations as possible to use in your notes and outlines for all classes.  For each new subject, decide on special abbreviations for that class to use in your notes and outlines and stay consistent.
  • If bold, italics, underlining, all capitals and/or font changes help you learn, use them consistently in your outlines.
  • Have a consistent system to indicate material that your professor emphasizes in class.  For example:  insert a star, underline the material, highlight the material in a different color, etc.
  • Have a consistent system to indicate material that you have questions about.  For example:  “Q”, “?”, red asterisk, red ink, etc.
  • If flow charts help you, use a large dry erase board for formulating a flow chart before you finalize it on paper or on your computer.
  • Regularly back-up your computer files on a thumb drive or CD.