It was great to present at last week’s ABA Tech show in Chicago. Britt Lorish, a legal technology consultant from Roanoke, and I gave a standing-room only presentation on information mapping. It’s pretty powerful stuff for litigators and transactional attorneys who need to quickly organize information.
The key takeway for lawyers is that information mapping helps them do what they are already doing: collect a lot of information, think about it and then present a point of view on that information. We definitely were practicing what we were preaching as we ended up ditching our “prepared powerpoint” and presented from a map.
Because an information map is non linear it helps facilitate conversation and, at the same time, gives you the high level view to navigate to key presentation points. At the show, we could focus on key points and then dive into subjects much faster. This certainly resonated with the presentation-savvy legal audience. Afterwards, I had a lineup, a dozen deep, of legal eagles who wanted to know more.
Mind Mapping Lets Lawyer Thoughts Flow in a Visual Way
by Mark Hansen
Looking for a new way of thinking about your next big case or contract? You might want to try mind mapping it.
Mind mapping, for the uninitiated, uses software to allow organization of ideas, thoughts, tasks and activities in a creative and visual way. Proponents say it helps them more easily see the big picture as well as the individual parts of a particular case or transaction.
It can also enhance your productivity by allowing you to do more in less time while communicating more effectively, better managing your work flow, conducting more efficient legal research, and brainstorming with colleagues in real time.
What’s more, it can easily be integrated with other practice-related software like Microsoft Office and Outlook’s calendar, tasks and email.
Best of all, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. (Some of the software options are free.) And you can be up and running with only 15 minutes of training—or become a real pro if you have an hour or two to invest.
Two such pros—Britt Lorish, a legal technology consultant with the Affinity Consulting Group in Roanoke, Va., and Dave Maxfield, a Columbia, S.C., litigation lawyer and avid mind mapper—demonstrated the software’s possibilities Tuesday at the first-ever ABA Techshow presentation on mind-mapping technology.
Maxwell, who started diagramming his thoughts on butcher paper while preparing for the bar in 1994, says he found graphic display helped him remember information better than a typical outline did. Mind mapping is no different, he said, except that space is unlimited and the information can be changed at will.
“It’s really just a different way of doing what we as lawyers are doing already,” he says. “It lets you see the forest and the trees at the same time.”
Lorish, who uses mind mapping to chart the status of various projects she’s managing, said the beauty of the technology is how little effort it takes to master.”How many pieces of software can you say that about,” she asked.
About Dave Maxfield:
Dave Maxfield is a guest contributor and the managing partner at Trotter & Maxfield, LLC. He is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and has served as the chairman of the South Carolina Bar’s Consumer Law section. Dave can be reached at email@example.com