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Apps for Android

Note-Taking Apps for Android Lawyers: The 2.0 Update

By Jeffrey Taylor

The first thing to know about note-taking on any mobile device is that it’s not perfect. Another thing to know: If, like me, you’re accustomed to writing in microscopic chicken scratch for post-session translation, you probably won’t like note-taking on an Android device … at least at first. However, if you’ve decided (or, more likely, your secretary or co-workers keep complaining) that you need to “modernize” your paper output, you will find satisfaction in moving to a more robust digital note-taking system.

My first post on this topic for Attorney at Work featured a number of note-taking apps. Since then, some of my preferred apps have changed significantly, though others remain the same. In a recent post on The Droid Lawyer, I listed 51 of the top apps for Android lawyers, which included some of the originals and a few newcomers.

The 2.0 Update Change Log

It’s probably easier to start with the staple note-taking apps that I continue to recommend. The “hallowed two,” Evernote and Microsoft OneNote, are still around, of course. (Refer to my “1.0” post for specifics about each app.) I use Evernote more than its Microsoft competitor because I never really got into OneNote. That said, I still don’t utilize Evernote as much for legal work as I do for personal matters. If you need OneNote advice, I refer you to Ben Schorr, who literally wrote the book on OneNote for lawyers.

Google Docs is still a great resource for simple note-taking, but it has received a slight branding modification. It’s now called Google Drive. The online and mobile app purports to be the go-to replacement for Microsoft Office. It’s not quite there, but I do a fairly significant amount of work using the app (I wrote this post on Google Drive), although I probably use it online at a desktop more often than with an Android device. I hesitate to use Google Drive for “secure” work because its broad end-user license virtually grants Google an ownership interest in your materials. I think with this broad license, you’re probably violating Rule 1.15 to store confidential information in the Google Drive cloud.

For my go-to handwriting app, I’ve switched from PenSupremacy to Quill ($1). Ultimately, I grew tired of waiting for a usable workspace and removal of the offline restriction. Quill provides what the other app couldn’t. Incidentally, it also competes with the Asus-only app, SuperNote.

Quill is my go-to suggestion for any handwriting on Android. Period. However, like any other writing app, Quill does require a good (if not excellent) multitouch device. Really, you will be disappointed if you use any handwriting app on a substandard device.

If you’re more type-centered, you’ll want to check out the free apps AK Notepad and Notepad, which I suggested in my original post. The problem is that any significant typing on an Android device only works great with a keyboard. That’s why the paper note-taking method has remained stable for 2,000-plus years.

Overall, Android’s digital note-taking isn’t going to totally replace the paper method, but you’re going to find some pretty solid challengers.

I’ll discuss dictation apps in part two of this three-part series. Check out my upcoming reviews on dictation and voice automation at The Droid Lawyer as well.

Jeff Taylor is the author of The Droid Lawyer, a blog for lawyers using Android devices. You can follow Jeff on Twitter (@jeffrey_taylor) and on Google+.

More Note-Taking Tips

This Is How We Get Things Done by Dan Gold

The Droid Lawyer: 2012’s Best Apps for Android Lawyers

Mac Note-Taking and Dictation Apps for Lawyers by Paul Unger

Developing an Online Research Workflow: Evernote by Tom Mighell

 

Getting Started with Evernote by Joe Bahgat

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Jeffrey Taylor

Jeffrey Taylor is an attorney in Oklahoma City, focusing on personal injury, small business litigation and immigration issues. He is the author of the The Droid Lawyer blog, which gives tips and tricks for lawyers using Android devices in their law practice.

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