Skip to main content

Taking notes

By February 8, 2013June 6th, 2022No Comments

Taking notes has always been a staple part of practicing law, but in the Information Age the way we do it is starting to change. Paper notes are fine for boosting your attention span, but the final product leaves much to be desired. Especially when you compare them to digital notes.

Here are three digital note-taking tools I use, and can recommend as vastly superior to the paper form.

Penultimate – (iOS – Free): If you have an iPad this is a great note-taking app because it’s simple to figure out. I love that it hooks to Evernote (they bought the company that makes it) and so it lets you sync to your iPhone. Obviously, it also syncs to Evernote, which means that your handwriting is searchable, assuming you have semi-decent scrawl.

Evernote – (Free web and iOS; premium account is $45/year): Not enough time and superlatives to explain how useful Evernote is. You can type text notes, or scan them in, or use Penultimate. But you can also take pictures with your iPhone or scan in documents, and any text will become searchable. Evernote also allows for easy and quick capture of web pages, or articles. Basically, this is where you dump anything that is important, especially research materials. Anything you might want to find later should go in Evernote. The more you put in, the more valuable it becomes. You can find anything you need with the iPhone or iPad app (Android too!) simply be entering a search. You can email someone a whole PDF document that you find on your iPhone with one click.

Notability (iOS – $1.99) – you can handwrite notes with this tool as well. The note-taking function is better than Penultimate, but it’s not going to give you the easy import into Evernote. What it does do is: (1) allow sound recording at the same time as your handwrite, and you can later click on your writing to get to the part of the recording that was made when you wrote that passage; and (2) it allows import of PDFs that you can then mark up as you would a piece of paper. You could so that with the iOS version of Adobe Reader (free), but Notability has better markup features.

So, now you know how to make your handwriting searchable, and emailable, and even synced to a sound recording. Try that with paper notes!

Skip to content