In movies, books and even documentaries, the legal profession is often glamorized: high-powered attorneys in well-tailored suits and couture heels, the sound of the judge’s gavel echoing in the courtroom. The truth is, many attorneys don’t even set foot in court and most would agree that Hollywood rarely chronicles the real behind the scenes: meetings, research and endless paperwork.

Whether settling a dispute or overseeing a business transaction, the practice requires meticulous attention to detail which from a practical standpoint, often translates into countless hours of note taking and review to refine information into relevant data.

It’s no wonder that one of the ubiquitous tools of the profession is the humble legal pad and pen. During conference calls, meetings or online research sessions, most attorneys rely on note taking for capturing key points to review and flesh out further.

With technology, the note taking process has certainly become more efficient; you can easily search online and most companies employ a centralized document management system for version control when there are multiple collaborators.  Email, laptops and even note-taking apps have also streamlined the process, but there hasn’t been a simple solution for taking, saving, sharing and reviewing notes, until now.

Smart Technology to Save Time

Most notes are taken via paper notepad or laptop. Both are portable, which is essential given the multitude of meetings that occur away from the office, and each has unique benefits. The laptop allows for fast note taking (many people type faster than they write) and you can also access the internet and email on the same device. However, recent studies support the idea that while keyboard typing may trump handwriting in terms of speed, it doesn’t necessarily equate to accuracy, which in this profession is essential. Additionally, when taking notes during client meetings, there is the risk of seeming disengaged; the click of keys overshadowing and sometimes serving as a distraction during an interview or meting.

As for old-fashioned handwriting, the upside, per research, is greater memory retention, but the downside is the cumbersome task of flipping through hundreds of pages or even multiple notebooks when searching for specific information.

With this in mind, the Bamboo Slate and Bamboo Folio are two new products that merge the benefits of handwriting with the power of technology. The two styles, one with a folio for smartphone or tablet and one without, allow users to take notes on regular paper and save the files digitally. With the push of a button, notes can be uploaded into the Inkspace app for light editing. The Inkspace cloud app also offers several paid services that save even more time, including quick word or phrase searching, handwriting to text, or vector (.SVG) output.  Plus with Inkspace, you can access and share files from anywhere and with anyone.

Bamboo smartpads smart notebook

Intrigued? Below are a few ways the Bamboo Folio and Bamboo Slate can help make the rigorous process of note taking that much easier:


Note taking and Memory

In a study out of Princeton conducted by Pam Mueller, a researcher in the psychology department, researchers found that when note taking, those who used handwriting instead of typing not only had better memory retention but increased comprehension as well.  The study also argues that handwriting allows for more active listening, which can translate into better, more cohesive long-form writing¹.

Sketching and Drawing

Notes help capture specific information, but sometimes words aren’t the best way to communicate an idea. Often, this needs to be illustrated via a drawing or diagram and is where a laptop can fall short. With the Bamboo Slate and Bamboo Folio, you can easily sketch or draw diagrams, graphs or charts. This can be especially valuable when asking a client to outline the details of a traffic accident, to help visualize the passage of time or even to graphically explain relationships between different parties. The best part is that you can save these drawings digitally to review, edit or share later.

Review and Refine

Notes are most valuable when they can be used for reference: fact-checking with another party or as basis for further research. Since litigation can take months, there could be countless pages of notes to comb through, searching for a specific phrase, date or other significant piece of information that needs to be called upon quickly. After taking notes in a Bamboo Slate or Bamboo Folio, just open the Inkspace app and with a paid subscription, users can quickly search for words or phrases, highlight content add annotations or other markups. Users can also save handwritten notes to text for easy emailing or archiving.  Digital notes can also be reviewed later or shared with colleagues.

Access Anywhere

Today’s work environment often means having a mobile office; research while commuting, off-site and after-hours meetings. Fortunately, digital notes taken with the Bamboo Folio and Bamboo Slate can be exported to leading note-taking apps like Bamboo Paper, Evernote® and OneNote® as well as file-sharing programs like Dropbox so you can access, edit and share your files anywhere and anytime with ease.

A Productive Outlook

The demand for legal services remains strong across multiple industries and employment in this field is expected to grow about 6 percent (from 2014 – 2024), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  However, with growth comes a more competitive marketplace, so those looking to get—and stay– ahead need to ensure they are working as effectively and efficiently as possible. Luckily, the Bamboo Slate and Bamboo Folio may just be the right tools for the win.


¹ The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking