What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

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bearsEATtrees
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What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby bearsEATtrees » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:38 pm

I'm going to be a 1L in the fall and am probably not going to get a new lap top since mine is still in working condition. But I was wondering if there is a better note taking program than simply using Microsoft Word like I did in undergrad. Any suggestions?? (btw I have a PC)

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cahesu
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby cahesu » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:42 pm

I hear good things about One Note.

Check out this post on xeoh85's advice for doing well in law school with thumbnails from xeoh85's One Note system:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=118545

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Bosque
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby Bosque » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:50 pm

This is the note taking software I had to use in a number of my classes:

Image

A little slow, but reliable. Never had it crash on me.

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studebaker07
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby studebaker07 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:58 pm

NoteBook for Macintosh FTW.

Very easy to outline and link to other documents (i.e. case briefs, charts, handouts, etc.)

pehaigllleises
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby pehaigllleises » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:57 pm

One very long Word file.

ak362
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby ak362 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:54 pm

Like many other things in law school, it really depends on what your preferences are. Some people live and die by OneNote. I used it for about all of three days, then switched to either regular pen and paper or a Word file. If you're more of the super-organized type, I can see how OneNote can be extremely useful. Otherwise, Word/pen + pad should be fine.

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deneuve39
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby deneuve39 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:01 pm

I just used Word and had a super long document for my reading notes and a super long doc for my class notes. I also took notes on hornbooks first semester (altho not second semester b/c it took too much time). Then I would have all 3 docs open when I made my outline. I know a lot of people who used OneNote and had tabs though.

Small tip that worked well for me: keep your class notes and reading notes in separate docs (i.e., don't type in your class notes for a case under where you briefed the case in your reading notes). The reason I kept it separate (and did better 2nd semester grade-wise when I kept them separate) is that it let me see what the prof discussed about in class and not just what I thought was important about the case. When I took notes in the same doc, I tended to be lazy in class and not write it down when the prof was emphasizing a certain point of reasoning in the decision or something. Keeping them separate definitely led to the same info in 2 different places, but I found it very helpful for outlining to have thorough class notes and thorough reading notes.

pehaigllleises
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby pehaigllleises » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:40 pm

I was a loser who briefed cases up until the end of 1L because I was too afraid to change. I added my class notes in the same long word document as my reading notes. If the professor emphasized something, and it wasn't in my brief, I'd add it. If it was already in my brief, I'd italicize, bold, or make it red or something to make it stick out.

You're going to hear this over and over again, but really, do whatever works for you. I've been out of school for a while and this was my first year using a laptop in class. Taking notes by hand wasn't working for me because I like notes that are copious. I also used to keep reading and class notes separate, but didn't like having to scroll through both, and wanted them all in one place. You should figure out what works for you within a week or two, and it'll be OK if you don't figure out your system on the first day.

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:42 pm

Notebook version in word.......does the same thing as one note.

Baylan
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby Baylan » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:40 am

PoliticalJunkie wrote:Notebook version in word.......does the same thing as one note.


Not really. The indexing/searching in OneNote is significantly better. Plus the linking. And the drawing/flowcharting capabilities of OneNote are much better.

Considering that the whole suite costs no more than $70 right now (http://www.theultimatesteal.com) there is no reason to use Word when OneNote offers much more in terms of capabilities.

Oh yeah, plus the ability to sync audio lectures to notes that you're taking. Now *thats* a ridiculously cool feature.

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RUQRU
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby RUQRU » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:13 am

If you are working now for just about any large company, government or other organization that has Microsoft Software Assurance, ask your IT folks or training department for the HUP code. Using the Home User Program you can get Office 2010 Professional Plus for $9.95 ! This is a download, no disc; however, you can buy a backup disk but it is not necessary.

Here is the page to enter you work email and company code:

http://www.microsofthup.com/hupus/home.aspx?culture=en-US

--ImageRemoved--

OneNote 2010 is far superior to Word as an information management tool. The OCR feature is very cool. Any text in images is INDEXED by OneNote and you can CNTL F search for it. If you are not using this tool, you are missing some very significant opportunities in organizing your material.

Here is an overview of the feature set:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/onenote-2010-features-and-benefits-HA101807936.aspx

Here is a recent review: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/software/358486/microsoft-onenote-2010

I use the program extensively and find that once you understand the organizational power it will make data management simple.
If you have the 2007 version give it a try!

Or course there are those who love Evernote. Life Hacker has a "showdown" comparison. In this case Evernote won!
http://lifehacker.com/5297409/battle-of-the-desktop-note+taking-apps-onenote-vs-evernote

Life Hacker also has a great review of OneNote here: http://lifehacker.com/5042429/microsoft-onenote-is-a-note+taking-power-tool
Taking Advantage Of Advanced Features

Microsoft OneNote is a Note-Taking Power Tool

In the advanced features arena is where OneNote really shines. There are dozens of small considerations in the construction of OneNote that make using it more efficient and pleasant. Users can tag their notes with a large list of included tags or customize the tags to better suit their own needs and style. lOneNote also supports Outlook cross-compatibility. You can zip appointments, tasks, and contacts over to Outlook with a single mouse click. While reviewing lecture notes, if you notice that something in your notes is actually a task you need to get taken care of, you can flag it as a task both in OneNote and Outlook with no hassle.

OneNote has built in OCR (optical character recognition), which means that you can scan documents or take photographs of text and OneNote will automatically index the text in the photographs and allow you to copy and search it. I tested the OCR with business cards, literature handouts, and even the back of a toothbrush package. OneNote grabbed the text off all of them with minimal recognition errors.

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truthypants
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby truthypants » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:28 pm

I just never had time to sit down and learn all the OneNote features, so I just had one big Word file--worked perfectly fine. Less complex is better for me.

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Geat27
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby Geat27 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:27 am

I took handwritten notes like Bosque and actually recommend it. It focuses your mind when you have to be selective about what you write down (because you can only write so fast).

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:52 am

0L, but I've used OneNote for work projects and such since UG, and I am addicted.

I will likely be getting a Macbook though before classes start, so I may have to find something for Mac. Or I may use Parallels or whatever to use OneNote on the Mac, but I'd rather just find something that is Mac compatible.

Any ideas for the Mac, folks?

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RUQRU
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby RUQRU » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:01 pm

Not a Mac User; however, many seem to like Circus Ponies:

http://www.circusponies.com/notebook/features

--ImageRemoved----ImageRemoved--

Seems to have some similarity to OneNote - BUT - it is not OneNote :wink:

The do advertise trial management as one of their target markets:

NoteBook helps you create a smooth and seamless presentation at trial by helping you stay organized. NoteBook is the most trusted organizing software available on the Mac.

Organize your whole trial in NoteBook. Compose your opening and closing statements. Create a page for each witness' direct or cross. Link questions to exhibits pages for instant access. Integrate images, charts, even video deposition snippets directly into your notes. NoteBook makes it easy to concentrate on what you need to present, rather than on how you should present it.


http://www.circusponies.com/attorneys-using-notebook/electronic-trial-notebook
Last edited by RUQRU on Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Bustang
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby Bustang » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:46 pm

As an ex-Circus Pony user, I can confidently say that while it was a decent program, it doesn't hold a candle to OneNote. I've been using OneNote to make an itinerary for my upcoming trip and it is absolutely phenomenal. The search feature, subpages, the ease of making lists and so much more make it the superior note-taking program.

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megaTTTron
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby megaTTTron » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:08 pm

Word. LEEWS split column method. Found OneNote and all those programs unnecessary. It's such a personal preference, just like studying. But you can do FINE without the fancy software. #1 in my 1L class took notes by hand.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby Stanford4Me » Tue Jul 06, 2010 3:29 am

jcgolf88 wrote:tag

I got banned for doing this, granted I did it twice in the same thread to be an ass...

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orangetigerorange
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby orangetigerorange » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:03 pm

There's not really any point to using OneNote in law school, in my opinion. I can see how it would be really useful for someone who's studying math or something and needs to make a lot of diagrams/shapes, but if you're just taking straight-up notes then Word is better.

I've had problems printing/formatting from OneNote, and it's a huge pain if you're trying to trade notes with someone who doesn't have it, because you need to mail it to them as a webpage.

Then again, I kind of suck at computers so maybe there are useful features on there that I just haven't figured out.

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RUQRU
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby RUQRU » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:23 pm

orangetigerorange wrote:
Then again, I kind of suck at computers so maybe there are useful features on there that I just haven't figured out.


TITCR

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bk1
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby bk1 » Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:37 pm

After using OneNote in UG, I can say that its features are helpful, though of course not necessary.

If you feel like taking some time to learn to use OneNote to have some nifty stuff then go for it. If you don't want to spend that time then just go with a Word document.

It really is a matter of preference. Some people feel overwhelmed by options and prefer simplicity, others like having them.

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orangetigerorange
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby orangetigerorange » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:15 pm

RUQRU wrote:
orangetigerorange wrote:
Then again, I kind of suck at computers so maybe there are useful features on there that I just haven't figured out.


TITCR


I read your list of options/reviews and I can see how they'd be useful to other people, but they would not be useful to me in my law classes. I don't get handouts, images, etc. - the optical search function is cool, but not that helpful to me personally.

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steve_nash
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby steve_nash » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:48 pm

I really like OneNote. Very easy to turn my class notes into outline format.

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leobowski
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby leobowski » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:06 pm

megaTTTron wrote:Word. LEEWS split column method. Found OneNote and all those programs unnecessary. It's such a personal preference, just like studying. But you can do FINE without the fancy software. #1 in my 1L class took notes by hand.



OneNote is better for the split column method because you can drag briefs or chunks of class notes around. The search function across multiple tabs also makes cold-calling a bit easier. Outlining is also easier. Etc, etc, etc.

Once you get used to Onenote and figure out the functions, how to organize classes/tabs etc, it is a huge improvement over Word.

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CFC11
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Re: What is the best note taking software to use in law school?

Postby CFC11 » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:25 pm

I plan on using OneNote this Fall. Started messing around with it recently and it seems pretty awesome thus far.

I think it would be helpful if any of you guys who used it could put up some screenshots of your layout. I checked out xeoh's but would like to see some other ways of organizing it.

Thanks in advance to anyone who decides to share.

Edit: Here's a thread I found about OneNote which includes a screenshot. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=87977




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