Courtney Stafford Hickey is a personal injury attorney at The Stafford Firm in Palm Beach County, FL. She recently told me about an iPad app that she uses both in her law practice and to manage her personal life called Circus Ponies NoteBook. I have heard of the note taking software before — it has been available for the Mac for a long time, and just a few days ago the Mac version was updated to version 4.0 — but I have never tried it on either the Mac or the iPad. Hickey was nice enough to write a review of the iPad app and give me permission to share her review with iPhone J.D. readers. Here is what she has to say about the Circus Ponies NoteBook app for the iPad:
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I highly recommend the Circus Ponies NoteBook app for your iPad. You can use it on a Mac as well, but I prefer to use it on my iPad for convenience/mobility reasons both at home and at work. As a lawyer, small business owner, mom, wife and the director of all social activities in my household, it’s helped me stay organized on a number of levels.
My favorite feature is the voice-annotated notes. This allows you to simply lay your iPad down and record every word that is being said, which can be very helpful in client meetings, oral statements, or simply trying to draft correspondence to clients and opposing counsel in between feeding my 1 year old. Can’t find a pen in your purse and don’t want to take notes in pink crayon – no problem. It makes things much easier when you can record rather than type or handwrite notes, memos, letters and court documents. Furthermore, when at work, I can be hands-free and fully pay attention to what someone is saying rather than concentrating on whether my handwritten scribbles are legible and make sense.
After an early morning of diapers and Mickey Mouse Club House, sometimes client depositions are long and my notes become out of control, unmanageable and illegible. Although I cannot use my voice-annotated feature during these events, I can map out details and diagrams of the things discussed during these proceedings. At a later date, I can quickly access my thoughts and perceptions, which will assist me in formulating my arguments in court. I also use this app to keep a thought map of every detail in an easy to read diagram. I can create flow charts on the go of what I need to remember and also sketch notes on the diagrams if any additional information needs to be added in the future.
Another great thing about the NoteBook app is how easy it is to stay organized with its user-friendly interface. I can customize the way my notes are filed and it allows me to choose how I view them as well. I enjoy the virtual sticky notes to flag different pages if there is a key point I want to refer back to.
In addition, the Multidex feature allows me to tag my notes with certain keywords or phrases that I can then use to search for them. It even keeps a record of when the notes were edited or last viewed so I can quickly open up any of my notes from my current case within just a few seconds. Manically shuffling through a massive stack of papers is (thankfully) not something I have to do anymore and carrying a ton of paperwork in my already overflowing “mom bag” is a thing of the past. Probably the most helpful capability of the NoteBook app with my line of work is the ability to wirelessly sync my notes via Dropbox from my iPad to my computer … in my case, a Mac. I feel relieved knowing I have a backup of all my notes saved in more than one place. It is one less headache (and Tylenol) I have to take every day.
Circus Ponies NoteBook looks exactly like you would imagine a real notebook would look. The iPad app costs $4.99 and the Mac software costs $49.95.
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Thanks to Hickey for taking the time to write about Circus Ponies NoteBook. It sounds like a useful app for taking notes and a useful organizational tool.