For many law students, a study group is an important resource. A lot of concepts that are taught in law school are completely new to most students, and they often find it helpful to talk through rules and cases with their peers. Study group members can also help each other cover notes when one person is unable to attend a lecture. In addition to serving as a healthy outlet for commiseration, a study group can help you stay motivated and avoid procrastination on important assignments, outlining, and practice exams.
If you’re in a law school study group, there are ways to use technology to help you keep your study group organized and productive for everyone involved. At Law School Toolbox, our experienced law school tutors use some of the platforms discussed in this post to manage projects as a team and work with our students — so we can attest to how useful they are! If you’re looking for ways to maximize your time with your study group, check out these tools and propose them to your group. You might just become the star of your study group.
Trello is a free online project management and collaboration platform that allows teams to manage projects and share information. Trello is great for visual learners and those who like to map out projects and workflows. It uses a “board” and “card” system that allows teams to inform each other about who is working on what and where something is in a process. Other features include the ability to tag specific team members in comments, set reminders, and receive notifications when there are updates to a board.
It’s best to think of Trello as a virtual whiteboard, which is why it is so useful for law students and is a great tool for study groups. In fact, this is one of the primary tools the Law School Toolbox tutoring team uses with our law school students. In Trello, a “card” is like a virtual sticky note with information, attachments, and a place where you can make comments to your fellow study group members. In addition, Trello can be accessed from the web or your smartphone. This makes it very convenient for busy law students.
To give you an idea of what a Trello board for a law school study group might look like, we created a sample Trello board below:
To learn more about how to use Trello, visit the Trello website. It’s free to use, so this won’t hurt your budget.
Slack is a messaging app that helps you organize conversations by channel, send direct messages to other users, and share files. It has very effective search functionality and gives team members the ability to start threads in channels, which help prevent a conversation from going off-topic. Since Slack is primarily intended for workplaces, it has a lot of useful features that can help you stay focused when you need to tune out distractions, like the ability to snooze notifications for a period of time.
Slack has a free plan which would work very well for law students in a study group. With up to 10,000 searchable messages on this plan, it will be easy for you to reference the conversations you’ve had with members of your study group if you need to refresh your memory on a certain topic. To learn more about Slack and set up a workplace for your study group, visit the Slack website.
Google Drive is a cloud storage option that allows shared access to stored files of all kinds. Google Docs (similar to Microsoft Word), Google Sheets (similar to Microsoft Excel), and Google Slides (similar to Microsoft PowerPoint) allow multiple users to collaborate on a document, spreadsheet, or presentation at once. This can be great if you and your study group are working together on refining outlines, managing a shared task spreadsheet for a project, or creating visual study aids like flowcharts in a presentation.
Google Drive integrates with other Google products like Gmail and Google Calendar, which you may already be using for email and tracking appointments. Creating shared calendar invites and using reminders can be another easy way for you and your study group members to hold each other accountable for study group sessions and stay on top of important deadlines.
If you and your study group plan to use flash cards, check out Cram. Cram is a website and app that allows users to create and share flashcards online and via their smartphones. It integrates with Google Drive, which makes it great to use if you and your study group are already using that service to keep shared materials organized. Cram has a library of existing flashcards, although it’s always best to engage in active learning and create your own materials whenever possible. To learn more about how to create digital flash cards on Cram, visit their website.
Still Not Sure About Law School Study Groups?
These tools can help you and your study group stay organized and productive as you work together to tackle courses and prepare for final exams. If you’ve read all of this and sure aren’t sure whether a study group is right for you, be sure to listen to our recent Law School Toolbox Podcast episode on study groups.
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.