Note-taking Tips with Attorney at Work

The folks at Attorney at Work invited Catherine and I to join a team of legal technology experts and weigh in on our favorite tip for taking notes in meetings and making them actually usable. Here’s what we had to say:

Catherine Sanders Reach:  I try on note-taking apps like a little girl trying on Easter dresses. I might stick with one for a while, but soon enough I’ll want another.

The one note-taking tactic that has never let me down is pen and paper. I can write faster with a pen, paper lets me free-hand in the margins, and I can doodle (because doodling makes you think better — it has been proven). Yes, I’ve tried Penultimate and many other iPad apps with a stylus but it just doesn’t feel the same. However, I have learned that to organize and share the notes, or refer to them again, I can scan the notes with my Android phone with Evernote Premium and annotate them further with Skitch or use the new iOS scanner app from Evernote. Since my initial notes are hardly ever in a state to share them with someone else, when I need to email them out, I retype the notes first, then save the email in the folder with the scanned original. That activity takes extra time but helps me solidify the information and organize my thoughts.

However, even though I may walk into a meeting with trusty pen and paper, I always have my phone out to check my calendar and add events, tasks and important items as the need arises in the meeting.


Nora Regis: I swear by my Livescribe 3 smartpen. It’s a ballpoint pen with a computer and audio-recorder embedded. The pen’s microphone records audio of your meeting or deposition while also recording what you write on its special Anoto digital paper, and it syncs and indexes them together. After a meeting, tap your notes and the audio will begin to play to the exact moment you wrote your note.

The secret is the special Anoto paper that features an imperceptible dot design the pen reads. Livescribe sells notebooks with this paper, but you can also print it out with a laser printer capable of at least 600 dpi. The notebooks feature calculator cards so the pen works as a calculator as well. You can share your notes with others in a “pencast” via email, Facebook, Google Docs or Evernote. Your notes can be saved as an interactive PDF with Adobe Reader (version 10 and higher), too. Never miss a word again!


Visit to see what the other experts had to say. We’ll be contributing to this series each month, so be sure to check back!