Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
TLSNYC
Posts: 509
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:38 pm

Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby TLSNYC » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:17 pm

What do people generally do and is there a reason they prefer one over the other?
I imagine the advantages of a laptop are that you can type quicker. Downsides would be a better chance of distraction and becoming a typist
What about when people brief cases? Do you also type those up or use a notebook?
I'm trying to decide if I should start learning which note-taking program I like the best.

User avatar
Kilpatrick
Posts: 1073
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby Kilpatrick » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:21 pm

I don't think there's any real difference beyond personal preference. In most classes I took notes by hand because it helps me focus more. In a couple classes that were unbelievably boring (or in one case where the professor posted notes online that I found it helpful to look at during class) I took notes by laptop. No difference in terms of grades or anything.

If you do take notes by laptop though, make sure you don't just sit there playing a game or sporcle the whole time. Not sure why the people that did this even bothered to come to class. But I did gchat. Usually to make fun of gunners.

User avatar
Verity
Posts: 1253
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:26 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby Verity » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:33 pm

I plan to take all my notes by laptop. They're easier to manipulate and edit later, and they're more legible.

KafkaLover
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:15 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby KafkaLover » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:34 pm

Personally, I think that taking notes on your laptop is going to be much easier in the long run. That way, you can copy and paste class notes into outlines and you don't have to type outlines from scratch. You can also type much faster than you can write, which is important in some classes that really require meticulous notes (ugh, Conlaw). Handwritten notes can become really disorganized really fast, but that also just might be me. :)

User avatar
swinger
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:09 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby swinger » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:39 pm

keep in mind some professors may not allow laptops. i had 3 classes that didnt allow laptops and 5 that did. no real difference in grades, but i definitely prefered the non-laptop route in terms of notes quality. maybe its just because i had no self-control, but i did not pay close attention in classes with my laptop open. it was all browsing/gchat. reading over my hand-written notes was ridiculous, i picked up on a lot more stuff. the downsides depend on your handwriting and organization. i didnt mind having to type up the hand-written stuff, just treated it as a forced review of everything. great first step for outlining for finals.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:22 pm

I tried handwriting, but my professors would jump around and not take things in order, so my notes were a mess. Onenote was much easier.

boilerplated
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:57 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby boilerplated » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:35 pm

Taking notes by hand will make you miserable come outlining time. The few people who I noticed doing it first semester seemed to learn their lesson by the spring.

User avatar
Kilpatrick
Posts: 1073
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:06 am

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby Kilpatrick » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:41 pm

boilerplated wrote:Taking notes by hand will make you miserable come outlining time. The few people who I noticed doing it first semester seemed to learn their lesson by the spring.


Or... not. I took notes by hand and outlining was just fine.

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:47 pm

Image

boilerplated
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:57 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby boilerplated » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:48 pm

Kilpatrick wrote:
boilerplated wrote:Taking notes by hand will make you miserable come outlining time. The few people who I noticed doing it first semester seemed to learn their lesson by the spring.


Or... not. I took notes by hand and outlining was just fine.


Fair enough. I would have been much less efficient without Ctrl+F at my disposal and the ability to copy and paste certain things, but I suppose styles differ.

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:50 pm

kalvano wrote:I tried handwriting, but my professors would jump around and not take things in order, so my notes were a mess. Onenote was much easier.


I've been in law school for a month but this is the reason why I switched. OP, you can do both when you get to law school and see what works for you.

071816
Posts: 5511
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:06 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby 071816 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:52 pm

Microsoft OneNote seems pretty sweet for taking notes during class and organizing outlines, briefs, notes, etc.

I took hand written notes all throughout college and, looking back on it, that was pretty inefficient and difficult to keep organized.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:05 pm

I also see a lot of attorney using OneNote in the courtroom for notes, outlines, etc.

071816
Posts: 5511
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:06 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby 071816 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:11 pm

For those of you who use onenote, what is your personal preference for organizing notebooks?

A notebook per semester, then a section group per class, and a few sections within each section group for notes, outlines, etc? A different notebook for each class? Or something else entirely?

I am a 0L and have been experimenting with a few different ways. What has worked best for you guys?

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11726
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:14 pm

I preferred a notebook per class, with sections organized by main topics, the several different sections within those topics. I saved them on Dropbox so I could get to them easily from home or my laptop.

User avatar
AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:22 pm

chimp wrote:For those of you who use onenote, what is your personal preference for organizing notebooks?

A notebook per semester, then a section group per class, and a few sections within each section group for notes, outlines, etc? A different notebook for each class? Or something else entirely?

I am a 0L and have been experimenting with a few different ways. What has worked best for you guys?


I do it one notebook for semester, one section per class, and one page per topic with the first page in the section as a running outline. Then I split the page in two with reading notes on one side and the class notes on the other so I'm basically expanding on what i got from the reading with what was from class

No Idea if it works but it basically makes each section like a outline already

bhan87
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby bhan87 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:25 pm

I think this is mainly a personal preference thing. I tried taking notes on a laptop during undergrad, but I'd get too distracted by checking Facebook and such. Taking handwritten notes forced my mind to process and compress the professor's lecture into something I can write down, which really upped my comprehension.

I also echo the problem about professors constantly switching between topics, but this can be resolved by retyping your notes later (a habit that is really useful for handwritten note-takers)

User avatar
CaptainCrunch
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 8:19 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby CaptainCrunch » Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:14 am

Obviously this is something that can be handled with self-control, but don't underestimate the temptation to fart around on facebook during class. People did it all the time in class my 1L year. Hand-written notes are tough to keep clean but I think that makes you focus more on jotting down the important stuff and it helps you to try and organize things as you take them in.

forty-two
Posts: 433
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:33 am

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby forty-two » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:45 am

Kilpatrick wrote:
boilerplated wrote:Taking notes by hand will make you miserable come outlining time. The few people who I noticed doing it first semester seemed to learn their lesson by the spring.


Or... not. I took notes by hand and outlining was just fine.

+1 I hand wrote my notes all year and outlining didn't bother me either. If anything, having to actually type everything out while outlining helped me memorize the rules and important cases.

User avatar
kapital98
Posts: 1188
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby kapital98 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:14 am

chimp wrote:Microsoft OneNote seems pretty sweet for taking notes during class and organizing outlines, briefs, notes, etc.

I took hand written notes all throughout college and, looking back on it, that was pretty inefficient and difficult to keep organized.

User avatar
Kendi
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:00 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby Kendi » Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:36 pm

AreJay711 wrote:Image

What the heck is that thing? Looks like something out of the eighties!

bhan87
Posts: 850
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby bhan87 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:09 pm

Kendi wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:Picture

What the heck is that thing? Looks like something out of the eighties!


It's a tool used to take transcriptions. QWERTY keyboards are actually pretty inefficient for typing. Courtroom clerks that need to transcribe all the testimonies need special tools like this to keep up.

03121202698008
Posts: 3002
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:07 am

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby 03121202698008 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:56 pm

I typed except for the classes where laptops were banned. Some handwrote all of them. To each their own...

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby Grizz » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:04 pm

I farted around in class on FB and whatnot sometimes. Let's be real. Not all of class is important.

User avatar
Bronx Bum
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:02 pm

Re: Note-taking in law school ...by hand or laptop?

Postby Bronx Bum » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:13 pm

LOL notes.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests