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The title of this article probably isn’t very fair. Some law schools actually require students to bring a computer to school, and you or some of your fellow students will be using laptop computers in the classroom. But there are some uses of your computer and the Internet that your school may not want you to know about. THE WEB OF POSSIBILITIES � Computers and the Internet are changing every facet of our lives, and law school is no exception. We no longer have to count each individual space to get our footnotes exact, because our handy word processors take care of everything for us. (Some of you reading this column may not even remember having to use an electric, or even, heaven forbid, a manual typewriter.) But technology only helps make our lives easier if we take full advantage of its possibilities. The Internet holds so much information that many people I talk to are just confused, or mind-boggled to the point where they throw their hands up in frustration. But you can make it easier for yourself by taking just a little time out of your busy first-year schedule to peruse the Internet and bookmark some helpful sites to use in the future. For example, the Legal Information Institute (http://www.law.cornell.edu) at Cornell is a great place to find general information about various legal topics. They also provide good, navigable access to the United States Code, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the U. S. Constitution. Findlaw.com has a great Legal Subject Index located at (http://www.findlaw.com). There you can find general information, message boards, and links to other good sites about certain topics. This is just a mere sampling. There are many other sites on the Web geared toward specific subject areas, to law students, or even to law school experience in general. Start a collection of these sites for yourself so you can get to them in a flash — like when your professor wants someone in the class to tell him what Article III, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution talks about. THROW AWAY YOUR LIBRARY CARD! I used to tell people that I carried the entire contents of my school’s law library under my arm in my laptop. Again, to be fair, there is no replacement for your school’s law library. It’s where people meet to sweat through difficult problems and issues. But unless you like that musty, stale smell that comes with just about every library book, consider doing things the digital way. During my first year, we were required to do “hands-on” research in the library in order to learn how to use those books — we didn’t receive passwords for Lexis or Westlaw until later. This was very beneficial because libraries aren’t going anywhere for quite a while. We still need those page-turning skills. But once you’re familiar with online research, be good at it. There are many Web sites that provide tips and tricks for doing effective legal research. The Internet provides many free sites, such as the Legal Information Institute, that you can refer to online instead of hefting around a big fat paper volume of code or cases. Some textbooks today even come on CD-ROM. I used one in school myself. While it did take a little time to get used to not having a piece of paper in front of me, I could go straight to a certain section, or perform a search in my book, while others were flipping pages back and forth. And when my digital book referred to another section, or a section of code, I had a hyperlink that took me right to it. WHY TAKE NOTES ANYMORE?? I can hear my professors take a huge, collective gasp at this question. I’m DEFINITELY not telling anyone to slough off their classes. There is NO substitute for taking your own notes, and attending your own classes. However � IF you don’t have a chance to develop your OWN outline for a class, please find the emergency exits in all areas of cyberspace. There are many places online where you can download and view outlines from any number of students at different law schools. It’s a crapshoot because different professors obviously cover different subjects at different schools. But if you’re really in a bind and need some additional help, consider looking online. MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR DIGITAL SITUATION The introduction of computers and the Internet into the law school environment can be very interesting. Who knows what the next development will be? I knew students in school that would instant message each other during class to help each other out with questions while they were being grilled by professors. It only took a little while before the professors caught on. Enjoy exploring the wonderful world of technology and law school. Who knows? — maybe you’ll discover a new way of using the digital world to your advantage. Just don’t forget how to use an ink pen. Brett Burney graduated from University of Dayton School of Law in May.

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