The Best Way to Take Notes in Law School

by Mr. X on July 17, 2008

Yeah, I know it’s a bold statement, but I swear by this program.  Microsoft OneNote allows students to organize multiple notebooks, sections, and subsections in one application, with instant, database-style save capability so you’ll never lose your notes.  You can create tables and charts, take notes in easily formatted bullet or numbered outlines, drag and drop pdfs and then take notes over them, highlight on-screen over pdf text, or take class notes in color.  You can export OneNote files into PDF or Word formats, or hit Cntl+E and OneNote will automatically add that section to your email client as an attachment.

I’ve thrown together some screenshots below, click on the image to expand.  Microsoft offers a 60 day free trial here or PSU students can spend $80 and get the full 2007 Microsoft Enterprise Package which features a poorly redesigned version of Microsoft Word (that other kids will be using).  The computer store will probably have a student software discount at your school.

I make the “Get As in Law School” boast because OneNote organizes your notes, saves time, and allows for easy file transfers.  You’ll be thanking the search function when your prof asks you what case that you’ve studied this year is analogous to this one.  The screenshots below include examples of cut-and-pasting the text of the FRCPs into OneNote (using Cornell’s great LII website), adding live links to the UCC provisions, and creating case history charts using the easy format options.

So go download yourself a competitive advantage.

Interesting Criminal Procedure Article by Professor Kit Kinports available on the Social Science Research Network.