Power Your Paperless Law Office with Evernote

Industries are moving away from paper filled offices and into the cloud. Even the legal profession. Get there quickly with Evernote, a simple, FREE application that simultaneously syncs across your desktop, mobile and on the web.

Installing Evernote

Download Evernote to your Mac or PC. With its robust interface, this will be home base for managing all of your notes.

The first time you launch the Evernote application, you will be prompted to enter a username and password. Create a free user account.

Download the mobile application and login using the same username and password.

Syncing

Using Evernote as a desktop note-taking application allows for a rich user interface, but its true beauty is the ability to sync across devices and platforms.

All of the Evernote applications are in regular contact with Evernote on the Web. Whenever a new note is created or edited on any of your Evernote-capable devices, the note is uploaded to the Evernote on the Web where all of your other devices will download it the next time they sync.

Use Notebooks, Notes and Tags to organize your information

As you might quess from its name, Evernote is all about notes, and folder-like Notebooks used to organize them. Click “New Note” in the top menu bar and start typing. You’ve just created your first document, or “note” as it’s called here. You never have to manually save the note as it’s automatically saved for you.

In fact, there’s no “save” button or function in Evernote: no more losing information because the battery died or even if the Evernote application shut down.

To further organize your notes, use tags. I have a Notebook called “Clients”. Each client is assigned a tag representing the client’s name. When I perform a task, I make a quick note in that client’s file. When the client calls, I open the note before picking up the phone and take notes as the conversation unfolds.

Daily Intake

Another way, or a compliment to having individual client notes is to create a daily diary Notebook.

When I power up my laptop in the morning, one of the first things I do is open Evernote and create a note with the current date as the title and leave it open all day. These notes are stored in my “Daily Intake” Notebook. When I’m working on something, I jot it down. When I’m on a conference call, I take notes there. When my creative juices start flowing, I record them there.

I’ve dispensed with the dog-eared moleskin notebook.

You can use tags here, but it’s not always necessary due to the robust search functionality.

Store information across a range of file types

Chances are, if you can see it or think of it, Evernote can help you remember it. Type a text note. Clip a web page. Snap a photo. Grab a screenshot. Evernote will keep it all safe.

Among the many items you can store in Evernote, are:

  • Word processing documents and spreadsheets
  • Receipts and invoices
  • Emails
  • Photos
  • PDFs
  • Web pages
  • Video and audio clips

Write articles, blog posts and presentations

I composed this blog post on Evernote. I started out at my home office, then had to leave for a breakfast meeting. Powered it up again and continued writing in an area with no internet access. Then during my trek to another office location across town, a thought occurred to me so I opened the Evernote app on my iPhone, jotted it down in the note which had already auto-synced.

This is where tagging becomes useful. Tags, if you’re not familiar with them, allow you to assign multiple categories to your information. In this instance, if you contribute to more than one blog, create a Notebook called “Blogs”, then create and assign tags for each different blog you write for.

For example: this blog post is a note, assigned a “Legal Productivity” tag and housed in the “Blogs” Notebook.

When a blog post or article idea strikes, I start a new note, enter a tentative title, assign a tag and it’s saved for when I’m brainstorming with the gang at work. When I come across relevant blog posts or Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn references, I paste the URL in that note as a reference for when I’m ready to write. This has proven to be much more useful than bookmarking those web references.

These are just a few of the basic functionality, efficiencies and processes that Evernote facilitates. We’ll be doing more on this — like capturing web content, creating to-do lists,  and sharing and collaborating on projects – so stay tuned!