The CALI Pre-Law Blog recently discouraged law students from buying a legal dictionary: What Legal Dictionary Should I Buy For Law School?
I generally agree, mostly because of the availability of online law dictionaries.
My Approach. I bought a pocket dictionary for my backpack and the full Black’s Law Dictionary for my desk. I didn’t use the pocket dictionary after the first few months. However, I did use it in the first semester until I learned how to use the legal dictionary on WestLaw. Also, the pocket dictionary was handy when I didn’t have a laptop next to me, like when sitting in a large comfortable chair at the coffee shop. As for the large Black’s Law Dictionary on my desk—I still have never used it.
The Better Approach. If I could do it all over, I would
- not buy the large Black’s Law Dictionary that I never use
- only buy the pocket dictionary if I planned to study without my laptop
- use online legal dictionaries
Online Dictionaries. Here are the online legal reference websites I found most useful: Law Dictionaries.