So Noted: The Benefits of Using a Note App in Your Law Practice

Lots of information comes your way every day in your law practice. You want to record and organize the important things you've seen, heard, read, thought of, and talked about so that you're not spending time trying to remember or recreate them. In the past you would write things down on scraps of paper and drive them through a note spike on your desk. These days, you want a note app installed on your desktop computer, smartphone, and/or tablet.

Note apps can provide a simple note taking tool, or can come with a robust set of productivity-enhancing features. Regardless of whether you use an iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac, BlackBerry, Windows or Android device, there are many free apps available for download. Find and compare note apps at the Android Market, Apple app store, BlackBerry App World and other websites.

The more sophisticated note apps can help your practice in the following ways:

1. To-do lists. Remind yourself of all the tasks you need to get done, and prioritize them. Create a "to do" item, and tag its status (in progress, cancelled, etc.). Set up repeating tasks, and set alarm notifications.

2. Research. Whenever you come across a court opinion or any other piece of information that might be helpful to your case, save it in your note app. You'll be able to organize notes into folders or notebooks dedicated to individual matters.

3. Interview notes. Remember what was said at meetings. There are several note taking apps for tablets that mimic the experience of handwriting very well, if you're ready to leave the yellow legal pads behind.

4. Important e-mail and web material. A lot of information relevant to your practice comes through e-mail or the web. Save it to your note app after you've read it so you don't have to search your e-mail archive or the web for it again.

5. Voice memos. Are you not in a position to write when that thought occurs to you? Or maybe you need to preserve someone else's speech. Record voice through your note app, and get it transcribed later if necessary.

6. Photographic evidence. Note apps aren't just for words. Litigators can take photos of evidence and upload them into the pertinent case's folder in the note app.

7. Marketing. You need content for your website, blog, and other rainmaking channels. Note apps can serve as the repository for all the material that inspires and is fed into your marketing pieces.

8. Teamwork. Because note apps can be synced across all the devices you use -- desktop and laptop computers, phone, tablet, pda -- they allow you to share content with everyone you work with, and even your clients.

A good note app can be an essential tool for your law practice. Demo some different note apps to see which one meets your needs. Chances are you'll become less forgetful and more productive.