This is the second post in my series on using Microsoft’s OneNote software in a law firm. My last post provided an overview of topics I’ll be looking at and stressed the need to be using some type of digital note taking software in your practice. It’s important to understand that using such software will greatly increase your efficiency which, in turn, increases the $$$$$ you have in your pocket. In this post I’m going to dive into specifics as to why this type of software can greatly benefit an attorney. Lawyers can use OneNote to make sure that they look like this:

Happy lawyer

and to prevent themselves from looking like this:

Cluttered inbox

Let’s look at what OneNote is and why you should be using it, or something similar, in your law firm.

Attorneys can use OneNote in place of paper files and notes

OneNote is a system for setting up paperless notebooks and files. By this I mean that it takes the idea of a tabbed notebook and puts it into digital form. Think of a three-ring binder with dividers. You can label each divider to create a section in the binder for a particular topic. You can then place as many pieces of paper as you like in that given section of the binder. OneNote works much the same way. The software creates a digital notebook, which can be equated to a binder. Inside of that notebook you can create a “tab,” which can be equated to a divider. Under those tabs you can then insert as many digital notes, which can be equated to a piece of paper, as you like. These “notes” can contain information which you type in directly, items which you attach to the note (such as a pleading or a hand written note), and more. You can create as many tabs as you wish in a notebook and you can insert as many pages as you wish under each tab.

The use for this type of software in a law office is obvious. Imagine if you didn’t have to flip through paper files to find a pleading, a note, or a piece of correspondence. By using this type of software you can, instead, do a quick search and find what you are looking for. Using OneNote can also help lawyers to greatly reduce the amount of time they spend looking for items which have been lost. Consider how much time you spend looking for notes taken on a legal pad, on a post it, or some random piece of paper. Using this type of software in your office can go a long way towards making life easier.

Lawyers can use OneNote to increase profits

Lawyers who use OneNote, properly, will increase their profits. The reason for this is simple. Every minute you spend looking for something is a minute less you spend performing a task you can bill for. The less time you have to perform billable work then the faster you are to hire someone to generate more billable hours. This means that you’ve now taken on payroll due to the fact that you spend time looking for papers. The sad part is that the person you just hired will also spend time looking for papers, pleadings, and notes. This creates a snowball effect which destroys your efficiency and drains profits. Using a system such as OneNote can help you stop this snowball from ever gaining any momentum. This, in turn, helps to increase profits.

Should you be using OneNote or something similar in your practice? Yep. My next post will look at how you can use OneNote to create a paperless law office.