Essential Law School Apps – Part IV – WestlawNext

This is the fourth part of a series of posts in which I will profile the apps and services I found essential to my first year as a law student. The first semester I restricted use to a laptop. After receiving an iPad 2 for Christmas, the second semester was limited to in-class use of the iPad and free reign while at home.

“Whether you find yourself at a court bench or park bench, WestlawNext can produce results unlike any other legal platform available.”

1: Westlaw Goes ‘Next’

Learning to research effectively. That is one of the many goals all law students will have during their time in school. Effective research techniques will continue to become refined through practice. When new technologies are developed to help the research process, they are certainly welcomed.

WestlawNext is known as the “Google”-like approach to legal research.  This is because the service offers a simple, unified search bar which delivers powerful results, much like Google itself. The searches can be limited to specific jurisdictions, sources, dates, and more. A WestlawNext search is optimized for plain language as well as the classic Boolean operators. Therefore, Westlaw Classic users will feel right at home in the use of Boolean operators, while new students will become familiar with their plain language counterparts. Both are necessary and helpful in researching on WestlawNext.

Belmont College of Law – Training at the New Building

I am excited for the upcoming grand opening of the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center which will be the new home of Belmont University’s College of Law this fall. Last year was spent in a temporary building which we have quickly outgrown. The new building features three stories and a five-story parking garage.

Yesterday, I went to the school for the first time since the dedication of the building to start my training as a library circulation assistant. Below (and after the jump) you can see inside pictures. But, I also tried out a new app called 360 Panorama which will allow you to see a 360° view of the lobby! Click here to see it in full panorama view.

One of the Belmont Law court rooms.

 

Essential Law School Apps – Part III – Dropbox

Welcome to the third part of a series of posts in which I will profile the apps and services I found essential to my first year as a law student! The first semester I restricted use to a laptop. After receiving an iPad 2 for Christmas, the second semester was limited to in-class use of the iPad and free reign outside of class.

“Backing up your data is one of the most essential steps in using technology today.”

1: What Is Dropbox?

When first telling someone about Dropbox*, I explain that the service is a USB stick or thumb drive that you never have to carry with you. Dropbox and the files you choose to store with the service are easily accessible from any computer or device, provided you have an Internet connection. Dropbox is free at the base level and gives you 2 GB of storage space. I will discuss later how this can be increased.

My Dropbox folder is stored in ‘My Documents.’

I recommend starting with the installation of the Dropbox program on your main computer after creating an account. The installation will automatically create a Dropbox folder wherever you choose. I use a Windows laptop and created my Dropbox folder in “My Documents.”

Essential Law School Apps – Part II – Evernote Mobile

This is the second part of a series of posts in which I will profile the apps and services I found essential to my first year as a law student. The first semester I restricted use to a laptop. After receiving an iPad 2 for Christmas, the second semester was limited to in-class use of the iPad and free reign while at home.

For more on Evernote, see my previous post on the desktop clients available.

3: Evernote for iPhone/ Evernote for Android

Evernote is a powerful little tool to carry in your pocket. I currently have an iPhone 4S, but had an HTC Eris and had Evernote installed on that as well. It appears as though there is a new version of Evernote for Android, which you can read more about at the official Evernote blog. For the most part, I never used the phone version of Evernote during class. It just doesn’t look great to be on your cell phone during class, despite the fact you know you’re using Evernote.

Bullet list on Evernote for iPhone.

 

Essential Law School Apps – Part I – Evernote

Welcome! This is the first part of a series of posts in which I will profile the apps and services I found essential to my first year as a law student. The first semester I restricted use to a laptop. After receiving an iPad 2 for Christmas, the second semester was limited to in-class use of the iPad and free reign while at home.

I encourage you, as Apple would say, to ‘Think Different.’

Evernote.

Evernote is a note taking service that goes beyond just text input. Evernote allows for pictures, documents, recordings, and more. To start, I created notebooks for each of my courses. Evernote allows the user to save notes, but they are logically organized into notebooks for storage. Evernote saves the data to your device (i.e., your computer) while also automatically syncing throughout the creation, or editing, of notes. The best way to think of Evernote is as one of those huge spiral notebooks with the different subject divisions. Evernote provides the notepaper and the pockets to store your notes as well as any handouts or slides the professor will post or share online (along with the occasional audio or picture note you capture).

I’ve seen a lot of my peers using Word or OneNote to take notes in class. One of the most beneficial uses I find with Evernote is the automatic online back-up of my information. I don’t have to worry about losing my notes with my computer. There are a large number of other benefits which I will get to with each of the individual Evernote clients.

If you don’t already have an account, I highly recommend taking the time and setting up an account. It is FREE. Evernote offers a variety of tiers for different services, but I find the basic (free) tier to be more than enough for my needs. Evernote has a web interface, desktop application, iOS app, Android app, and plenty of extensions to further the functionality of their services.