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Notes & Learning the Law

Posted by Library Blog on 09/30/2016 at 09:27 AM

Note taking is an essential part of the law school experience and is often one of the most difficult skills to master. No matter your preferred style for taking notes, there are ways to make the task a little easier.

Photo credit: Florian KlauerA lot of students opt to take notes electronically. As a result, note taking has a new technology based friend: Apps! Many note taking apps exist to help improve your organization and save your notes automatically. Many of the apps have similar features, but different looks and feels. Finding the best fit is important, so compare the options and decide what is more intuitive to you. Evernote and OneNote are two options with free platforms that can be used on both Mac and PC systems.

If you are interested in learning more about Evernote, the Prepare for Practice Certification Program offers an online session about the platform. The Prepare for Practice Certification Program is a free online program designed to refresh and enhance students' legal research skills. In the Evernote session, you will learn how to add different types of content to Evernote, how to organize your content in Evernote, the basics of searching Evernote, how to share your content with others, and what resources exist to help you use Evernote to its full potential. During the class, you will create a free Evernote account and be able to start putting these skills into practice immediately!

For those that prefer to avoid the distractions of electronics during class and take notes by hand, customizable notebooks such as Arc may help streamline the process. Such reusable notebooks allow you to mix and match pages and accessories to suit your needs (and come highly recommended from a current RWUSOL 1L).

Whether you prefer typing or handwriting your notes, it’s the content that counts most. RWU School of Law’s Academic Success Program hosts many events and workshops to encourage and support law student success, including workshops to improve note taking and outlining skills. The objectives of the Academic Success Program include “helping law students discover their particular needs and learning styles, equipping them with the academic tools they need to meet the challenges of law school with self-assurance, and encouraging them to monitor their own progress as they adjust their study practices to achieve their personal goals.” For more information on RWU School of Law’s Academic Success Program, email Kathy Thompson, Director, at kthompson@rwu.edu.

Additionally, former law students have peppered the internet with tips for incoming students, including:

Remember: find what works best for you and stick with it.