Law School Note Taking Part II

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

Last week in the 1L Life cafe, we talked about law school note taking strategies. This week we are following that up with a rundown of my absolute favorite ever all-purpose app – Notion. (remember, it’s free for students!)

If you think this particular note-taking setup would work for you, you can click here and duplicate the template into your own workspace.

Here’s how I have it set up:

I start with a school dashboard that has my to-do list for the week along with a sub-page for each class and activity I am involved in. I update my assignments on Sundays. It sometimes takes a while but having everything right there is so much easier than flipping through the syllabus ten times because I keep forgetting my planner and also what page numbers I am supposed to read.

School Dashboard

Each class sub-page has the info for the course, every assignment thus far, and a sub-page for each week, case briefs, vocab, rules, syllabus, and of course, the BARBRI outline. I use a unicorn cover photo for every Contracts page, because contracts, like unicorns, feels mystical and elusive to me.

Contracts

The Resources pages are mostly spreadsheets, within which each entry exists as a card. I became obsessed with this system of tables a few years ago when I started using Airtable. I am hooked. I use the provided emojis to give myself a little memory jog about the contents of cases without even having to click on them.

Ever-Time Roofing Corp V. Green

Contracts BriefsAs you can see by the sparseness of emojis, I have been a little behind on filling out my Contracts case brief chart. That’s okay, though, because I have a three-step process for interacting with cases. I take hand-written notes, so I do a very short (usually 3-4 bullet points) handwritten brief of each case. Right before class, I transfer my hand-written notes over to my weekly notes document, which refreshes me on the facts. Then, at the end of the week, when I am tidying everything up and making note of what I need to review, I transfer my in-line case notes into my table.

At this point, you are probably pretty impressed by my perfectly refined system but you should know that even though I have successfully tested this system to ensure it works well for me, there has yet to be a single week where I complete the whole process for all of my classes. There have definitely been weeks where I didn’t complete it for a single class. Also, I am fairly certain the case brief up there in that Ever-title Roofing case is actually from Lexis.

Contracts Final Plan

One last little note.

I just started mapping out my Finals plan, which only a little bit terrifying, of course. I have not gotten very far but included it here as well.

2Ls and 3Ls, I beg you for your sage exam-prep advice! If you try out the template, I’d love to know what works or doesn’t work for you. If your law school note taking system is better (or less complex) than mine, let me know! Reach out on Instagram and Twitter @the1lLife.