In the last post, we went over an overview of what we’ll be discussing during this series. Now, it’s time to continue the talk on how law firms can get more out of the G Suite.
I decided to discuss how lawyers could better leverage Google’s productivity software after receiving several requests to write on the subject.
These requests came from those who had read my earlier discussion on why attorneys should use G Suite instead of Microsoft Office. In this post, I’ll look at how using Google Keep, a note-keeping app, can take your life from looking like this:
To a situation that looks a little more like this:
Let’s get to it.
Google Keep is a “quick note” application from the big G. It bears some similarities to the “notes” app on iOS. It displays notes in a “post-it” or card style format and includes several neat features.
Let’s look at why it’s suitable for a G Suite user to utilize Keep and how to go about doing so.
Google Keep: A Digital Post-It Note Replacement for Attorneys
According to an ABA survey in 2019, the percentage of law firms using cloud computing technology increased to 58%. That percentage is only going to increase from here.
If you don’t have your notes hooked up to the cloud, you’re missing out on major organizational advantages.
Ask yourself how often you’ve written something down on a post-it note only to either:
a) Lose the note.
b) Forget to follow up on the note.
If your answer is: “Oh, I do that all the time!” then you’re not alone, like most other attorneys.
If your answer is “I don’t do that,” then you’re probably lying.
Keep is a fantastic tool for making sure you don’t lose those notes, and then ensuring you take action on them. This allows you to be more organized and to save time as a result.
Google Keep’s Handy Features
Amongst Keep’s great features, one of the nicest is that you can “label” your notes and view them according to a label.
So next time Joe Client calls you, you can quickly take a note and assign it a brand label with Joe’s name. Then, you can quickly view any notes assigned to Joe whenever you may need it.
The handy dandy search box right at the top of Keep can be used to find anything quickly, and it will search both the title of the note and the contents.
Finally, you can set a “reminder” on your note.
The reminder then appears on your Google Calendar and will automatically adjust itself until you complete the task. In other words, if you have a note which says “call Joe,” and you set a reminder for tomorrow, then a calendar entry will appear for tomorrow, which says “call Joe.” If you don’t check that reminder off tomorrow, the calendar entry will automatically move itself to the next day and will keep doing it until you mark the task complete.
It’s a great tool for making sure things don’t fall through the cracks. Now let’s look at how this can be put to use.
Putting Google Keep to Good Use in Your Practice
During your workday, simply leave a browser tab open for Google Keep. When you need to jot down a note, simply put it in Google Keep rather than writing it on a post-it.
And don’t forget to assign a label. If it’s something you need to follow up on, set a reminder too.
While taking quick notes on your computer or phone may seem a little odd at first (for those who are used to jotting things down on post-its), you’ll get used to it real fast; and once you do, life’s going to be a whole lot easier.
I suggest using Keep to replace post-its, but it’s not so great at replacing more extended notes or paper files.
A feature not included in Keep is the ability to attach documents or files. Personally, I think Google sees Keep as a “quick notes” and “reminder” app and not as a competitor to OneNote or Evernote.
I’ve written before on how attorneys can leverage Evernote in their practice and believe that you should be doing so. Keep, and Evernote are great compliments to each other. The former is excellent for replacing post-its and quick notes but is not a file replacement solution.
By contrast, Evernote is great for replacing files and more extensive records, but not as much for any quick note-taking. Using each of these apps for their strengths will make your life much more accessible.
Keeping Legal Notes With Google Keep
Another great feature from Google is the recent integration of Keep with Google Docs.
(If you haven’t yet, check out my post on why you should use Google Docs over Microsoft Word.)
A Google Docs feature that is really cool? On the right sidebar, click the Keep Notepad icon. A sidebar will open with your Google Keep notes.
This allows you to keep relevant information handy in the same screen as a brief you’re writing. Having your notes on the same screen as a document prevents you from switching windows, hunting for written notes, and other issues that might waste your time.
When performing the legal research for the content writing side of our law firm SEO services. I’ve quickly come to love the Keep-Google Docs combo.
Tools to Help You Better Utilize Google Keep
Google Keep is such a simple-to-use app that there’s not a lot you need to make it work well.
And if you have a G Suite, then you’ve already got easy access to it.
From your Gmail menu, simply click the menu box in the upper right-hand corner. Keep will be in the list of apps that you can quickly open.
If you’re using an Android phone, Keep should already be installed. But it’s always easy to just download it from the Play Store in case it’s not. (Or from the App Store if you’re on iOS.)
A final tool worth installing is the Keep browser extension for Chrome, which allows you to save a web page in your Keep notes and annotate it.
There are a few other functions in Keep that I didn’t cover, but since I think it’s best as a quick note-taking app, you shouldn’t need much more than what we’ve already covered today.
Want to make your life easier? Start utilizing Keep in your practice.
Want to know another way to take your law firm to the next level? These Content Marketing practices can transform your firm.