Even if you prefer writing in tools like Scrivener or Pages, eventually you will need to share or edit a document with someone who uses Word. While Pages and its ilk do a decent job saving and reading Word files, at the end of the day there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing. Basically, if you’re a law student, you need a copy of Microsoft Office.
If you’re any kind of student at most universities in the United States, you can probably get the entire Microsoft Office suite for free!
I know, I know: the first question you’re probably thinking is why not just use Microsoft Word?
After all, Word files are the de-facto standard, and your professor (or hopefully in the future, the judge) will expect you to turn in your brief as a Word document or a PDF file.
While Microsoft Word is great for letters and short documents, if you try to jump around in a longer document, you’ll quickly get frustrated. God help you if you need to re-arrange different sections of text. Word works in a linear fashion: you view your entire document from start to finish, in the same manner you would view a printed paper. It just isn’t designed for crafting longer documents with multiple sections, nor is it designed to allow you to easily bounce between multiple sections of a document at the same time
On the other hand, Scrivener is purpose built for long-form writing. Authors of all types rave about Scrivener, and it’s beginning to catch on in the legal community.
Admit it, we all procrastinate. Law students are especially good at it. You know it’s exam season when I have no dirty dishes in the sink and am fully caught upon Suits, Shameless, and Last Week Tonight. Heck, you’re probably procrastinating right now: reading this post instead of working your assignment.
While I can’t help you eliminate procrastination from your life, I can show you a few good tools that I use when I really need to knuckle down and get a brief written, work on an outline, or finish cite checks for journal.