Rocketbook – the Smart Notebook for Lawyers

rocketbook for laywers

The practical, cloud-connected notebook for lawyers.

I recently started using the Rocketbook Everlast. Its pretty cool, and I definitely see it being useful for all business people, maybe especially lawyers.

Full disclaimer: I’m a bit of a notebook geek. I’ve been a long-time fan of Moleskin notebooks, and even used the Evernote-branded Moleskin (that had some nifty “integrations” with Evernote). So while my colleagues might say, “Dennis, you’re always on some new notebook or productivity kick,” and they might be right… this time is different. (Really.)

This notebook is different. It’s pretty amazing.

Old School vs. New School

I’m a big believer in using note-taking and note-keeping software to keep your work, your meetings, your thoughts and your life organized. I’d be lost without Microsoft OneNote. Other professionals swear by Evernote (which I also used for a time, and liked a lot).

Related: 5 Reasons Every Lawyer Needs OneNote

But:

There still something very satisfying about physically writing down notes, whether it be in a meeting, on a call or just thinking on paper. Maybe it’s the tactile nature of physical note-taking. Maybe it’s that I can jot down notes or daft a quick diagram instantly, without the need to click this, right-click that, maximize this window, etc.

In any case, New School Me loves to use technology to stay productive and organized, share data with others, access it from anywhere… but is wrestled by Old School Me who still loves a notebook I can hold, keep on my desk, and conveniently bring to a meeting.

The Rocketbook notebooks bring these two worlds together in really practical way. The physicality and efficiency of a pen-and-paper notebook, the security, organization and accessibility of cloud-based technologies.

What is Rocketbook?

Rocketbook is the company that makes a line of (mostly) reusable, technology-centric notebooks.

Yes, reusable notebooks.

Each notebook in the Rocketbook line has two things that make the products unique:

  1. Their notebooks (save one) are reusable, which helps keep you lean and mean.
  2. The notebooks connect to a number of cloud services and apps, making it easy to store, share and organize your notes–and keep them forever without amassing a law library of old notebooks.

They describe their products as a “Cloud-connected Notebook.” Or a “Smart Notebook.” Or “Notebook 2.0.” Any of these are fair descriptions–the notebook, and companion app, work well without trying to be too fancy, or implement too much technology for technology’s sake.

Their first product, the Rocketbook Wave, was a notebook that you use, copy notes to the cloud (more on this shortly), then… pop it into a microwave to clear, or “reset” your scrawled-in notebook to a blank one.

I’m not kidding.

It’s actually quite innovative, and a great way to build credibility when meeting a new client. (“Nice to meet you. Before we get started I have to microwave my notebook, I’ll be right back.”)

The company was famously laughed off of Shark Tank for the crazy idea. Well, maybe “laughed off” is an exaggeration, but they did not get an investment that day. (It’s considered a classic “Shark Tank Deals that They Should Have Done.”)

My write-up here will focus more on the Rocketbook Everlast, which I think was their second product. It’s (probably) a little more practical and approachable than the microwavable model.

Rocketbook Everlast – How it Works

The Everlast is essentially a dry-erase notebook. You use a special pen (which you get with the notebook, and can buy replacements on Amazon), write notes, and can erase sections or entire pages pretty easily. The notebook has 35 total pages, each of which are sturdy and have a nice laminated feel. The notebook itself is about half the size of a standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper, a nice size to fit into your work bag or take into a meeting.

The “setup” is simple:

Step 1: Buy a notebook. You can get one on Amazon for about thirty bucks.

Step 2: Install the free app for Android or iPhone. This is what you’ll use to store and share your hand-written notes.

Step 3: Setup your Rocketbook “destinations” in the app. This is all of the places you may want to send your notes to. More on this in a second.

You take notes. About anything: Client intake notes. Meeting notes. Deposition notes. Case law notes–whatever. And you take them like you would with any other physical notebook. The only thing special about the note, other than its on dry-erase paper and reusable, is a series of 7 little icons a the bottom of each page.

When you’re done with your note, you use the Rocketbook app to quickly scan the note with your smart phone. And this is the cool part.

Remember those 7 icons I mentioned? They’re 7 fairly generic but identifiable icons: An apple, a bell, a star and so on. Each of these represents an action, or a destination, that you can send any note to. And you decide what each one does.

RocketBook Notebooks, as of the writing of this article, connects to a number of cloud services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. It also connects to cloud-based notebooks such as OneNote and Evernote. And it connects to messaging services such as email and Slack.

So, you define up to 7 destinations, or actions, each represented by an icon. For example, you could setup the following destinations:

  1. Email to Me (send this note to yourself).
  2. Email to John (send this note to John, your law partner).
  3. Email my Wife (send the note to your wife).
  4. Send to OneNote > This Specific Notebook and Folder
  5. Send to Evernote > This Specific Notebook and Folder
  6. Send to Slack > This specific person or channel

You can get sophisticated here (especially if you use a lot of these apps or have a lot of different people you may want to send notes to), or keep it simple, and just have a single action to email the note to yourself. I split the difference.

Each of these icons, which you’ve now defined as one or more actions, appears at the bottom of every page. You’re meant to check or ‘X’ over your indented action on the note itself. So when you go to scan the page with the Rocketbook app, it sees what action (or actions) you’ve selected, and simply does it.

What I really like about this, in practice, is how quick and easy it is. Yes, I could buy a regular notebook, take notes, snap a pic with my camera and email it to myself… then later file that email/note appropriately. But the Rocketbook Everlast removes a lot of friction in that process with its simple icon/destination system and pre-defined actions.

What’s more, the Rocketbook scanner app itself is fast: I hover my phone (a Google Pixel) over the note and it very quickly see’s that its looking at a Rocketbook note, automatically scans it without my having to press a ‘scan’ button, then executes the action (IE: Send to OneNote) based on the icon I checked. And if you didn’t mark an icon–the app will prompt you for a destination.

Easy.

Sidebar: Connecting to Your Practice Management or Document Management App

Some Legal Practice Management applications, such as Clio, or Document Management applications such as LexWorkplace, allow you to email files directly into the system via a static email address. Something like [email protected] You could set this unique email address as a destination in your Rocketbook as well, making saving to your case management app quick and easy. Assign that to the star icon, for instance, and label it “Send to LexWorkplace.”

Other Products

In addition to the Everlast (which I use), there’s the aforementioned Wave, as well as the Rocketbook One, a non-reusable notebook that you can use with their app (Notebook 1.5?), and their Rocketbook Color, which is aimed at creative types and schools (I’ll probably get my kids one).

Closing the Loop

The Rocketbook Everlast is a great notebook on its own. It’s sturdy, reusable and has a nice dry-erase mechanic. Add to that the “cloud-connected” capabilities, such as the way to quickly send notes to your favorite apps, in a simple, easy-to-use process makes this, possibly, the last notebook you’ll ever need.

The practice of law is, and may forever be, in that middle ground between New School and Old School–a place this notebook lives and thrives in.

I recommend the Rocketbook Everlast to anyone who lives and works in this place.

Onward and Upward.

Epilogue: Manage Your Notes, Documents and Email

Looking for a matter-centric system to organize and manage your notes, documents and email?

Check out LexWorkplace, our cloud-based, matter-centric document management system built exclusively for law firms.

Get organized. Work anywhere.

Learn about LexWorkplace