Test driving DevonThink

I have downloaded DevonThink and am considering switching to it from Evernote. Here’s some information about me: I am an attorney practicing in criminal defense. I currently use Evernote as a project/case management platform and to store information that is helpful, but not specific to any case.

I played around with DevonThink over the weekend and found it rather overwhelming.

Any other attorneys on this forum? If so, do create a datebase for each case/client or have one called “clients” and then create separate files of some sort for each client within it?




I am not an attorney (nor do I play one on TV :smiley: ) but my suggestion is to just test and go with what feels good for you. I dealt with a law firm in Spain last month and discussed this very issue because how I see data may not be how they see it.

(That probably makes it seems even more overwhelming. I felt that way when I started with DEVONthink too. :slight_smile: )

Start a database based on one style. Try it out - putting data in, searching, etc. Tweak to fit your style. Don’t like it? Start a new database with another style and drag the data from the old database - deleting the old one if you want - and get a feel for that one. DEVONthink is very adaptable to one’s personal style. I hope this helps.

That is helpful. But, I have a follow-up question. Say I have database for each case. If I do not have the database for client A open, but have an issue with client B and need to search all my databases for an article I clipped and placed into client A’s database, can DevonThink search closed databases?

If not, it makes more sense to have one database called “clients” and then have notes and/or groups (for larger cases) setup. I could then use tags to note which cases are active and which are former clients. Make sense?

Next question, if I have an article in a database called “reference” will DevonThink allow me to setup a link to the article within a note/entry in another database without duplicating the file (thus keeping database storage space down)?

No, you can’t search a closed database.

I think it makes sense to you, and that’s the important part. I would make a database with things I’ve clipped that may refer to any case and link or duplicate to other case files as the apply. But again, that’s how I think.

Yes, you can link to other documents noting that linking is not available in all fileTypes. If you are working with an RTF file you can create links. Also, you can use link annotations in PDF files too. (Again, how I think…) I would duplicate the items into the casefile database so I would have everything gathered for archiving when I closed the case. A document link would not include the resource.

Like Bluefrog, I’m not a lawyer though I often do impressions of lawyers :smiling_imp:

I am also a great fan and daily user of DevonThink Pro , and think it’s one of the best information management/research software programs available. Having copped to that bias, I do think that there would be some difficulties if your intent is to use it in a courtroom environment for immediate referencing, etc., during testimonies, rebuttals, precedent references. If that is one of your intended uses, you might find Circus Ponies Notebook better meets that need. I used Notebook prior to DTPro, and obviously made my choice, but there is an avid legal fan base for Notebook and its ease of use for case management. Might be worth a look. At the very least, you might glean some useful tips from the lawyers on the forum about ways you can structure things in DT if you, like me, prefer DT.


JRPars - Thanks for the tip. I was mainly thinking of using it in the office to keep myself organized and have a good database of frequently used resources. For in court stuff, I tend to like to use paper since it is the most reliable, especially in older courthouses not equipped with good courtroom technology.