Person looking through paper files

Previously, we covered exactly how an attorney can go paperless using a program like OneNote. In that article, I discuss how OneNote is an excellent tool for lawyers who want to stop using paper notes and create an organized system for their files. We also covered some of the limitations you’ll have if you decide to go the paper-free route.

However, even with the limitations in mind, I think most attorneys would agree that digitizing your notes and pleadings will increase efficiency by magnitudes. But here’s the thing: OneNote isn’t the only program you can use for this. It might not even be the best program for the job.

Today, we’re going to be covering whether OneNote is the best paperless application for attorneys, or if its competitor — Evernote — takes the top spot from it. And in my humble opinion, the clear answer is Evernote. Let’s get into why:

Evernote vs. OneNote: A Comparison

There are two vast differences between these two programs that put Evernote in the lead:

The First Reason: Organization

The first of which is that Evernote is a “total solution” of sorts. It doesn’t just include ways to take the paper out of the equation; it offers a full suite of features that should work well for any law firm.

For one, there’s no good way to integrate a paperless correspondence file with OneNote. Evernote, on the other hand, makes it easy.

The second reason for Evernote’s superiority is its efficiency.

See, OneNote is designed much like a traditional tabbed notebook, just in digital form. 

For each client in OneNote, you’ll need a separate “digital notebook.” In each of those notebooks, you’ll need various tabs for things like “correspondence, notes, etc.”

SHOULD ATTORNEYS USE ONENOTE OR EVERNOTE

While this might not seem like a huge deal, it only becomes more inefficient as you get more clients.

Evernote was designed with the digital world in mind, though. 

In Evernote, rather than a separate notebook for each client, you have one centralized notebook, organized to make it easy to access each client via tags. Overall, Evernote’s design allows for much more streamlined workflows, as opposed to the extra hassle it takes to work around Onenote’s rather limited design.

SHOULD ATTORNEYS USE ONENOTE OR EVERNOTE

A quick view of the simpler, sleeker design of Evernote.

Organizing your files in Evernote isn’t hard by any means, either.

The Second Reason: Simplicity

Let’s be honest. If your file organization system isn’t simple, it’s going to take quite a bit of time to get used to, and even once you’re used to it, the complexity is bound to hamper your efficiency rather than help it — especially if you ever have to train anyone to use said system.

And Evernote is by far the simplest to get a straightforward system going with. It allows you to go paperless with your correspondence in addition to all of your other files. You can create a correspondence file containing your written letters, faxes, emails (both sent and received), and any other necessary documents.

It’s also simpler to integrate third-party tools into Evernote; we’ll use Powerbot as an example. Powerbot is an app that lets you save incoming emails into your own notebook app as you read or send them. For Evernote, it’s simple to keep both incoming and outgoing emails.

With OneNote, saving outgoing emails isn’t as straightforward, meaning you’ll have to take extra steps to get OneNote working optimally.

I’m a big believer that “digital clutter” can be as harmful to your efficiency as if you’d thrown paper all over the place in your own office. Ever been to a law office where the computer network has a million, zillion, trillion folders for each client? They tend to spend forever just hunting to find anything at all!

The simpler your paperless process is, the less hassle you’ll have to deal with — and the more efficiency you’ll have — when you work with your computers.

Conclusion

I’m not saying that OneNote is worse than a paper system because it certainly beats one. What I am saying, though, is that Evernote blows OneNote out of the water when it comes to efficiency.

And if you want to operate your law firm like a well-oiled machine, efficiency is critical. (Another critical piece to the puzzle? Getting your marketing right.)

Have you tried Evernote or OneNote for your office? Which one do you prefer? Please let us know in the comments below..