Tech Tips, Part III: Experts Share Best Note-Taking Apps and Tactics

Nora Regis and Jim Calloway

This article originally appeared in Attorney At Work on March 27, 2015: www.attorneyatwork.com/tech-tips-note-taking-digital-dictation-apps. An excerpt of the article (Part III) has been reposted here with permission. Read Part I and Part II.


Nora Regis: Never Miss a Word with Livescribe

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!

Jim Calloway: Dictate + Connect

Many lawyers have made extensive use of voice dictation and some still do. But you cannot carry your handheld recorder with you at all times, so check out the app Dictate+Connect, which allows your mobile phone to function as a handheld recorder.

Unlike many mobile voice-recording apps, Dictate+Connect allows you to easily rewind, listen and overwrite your dictation if needed. Then you can instantly send the sound file to a transcriber or to anyone as a verbal memo. It can also be used to record a meeting with its voice-activation feature. The price: $9.99 for Android or $16.99 for iOS. A free version allows you to test the apps with sound files limited to only 30 seconds instead of the 24-hour maximum for the paid version.

About the authors:

Nora Regis (@NoraRegisCBA) is Trainer & Coordinator, Law Practice Management and Technology, for the Chicago Bar Association. She is a former paralegal, specializing in litigation and bankruptcy. Prior to working in legal, she was a technology help desk agent at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jim Calloway (@JimCalloway) is Director of the Management Assistance Program for the Oklahoma Bar Association and is the author of several ABA books. He blogs at Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips and co-produces the podcast The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology.