Any lawyers or legal practitioners using Obsidian?

I agree! That said, I haven’t tested this out yet with Obsidian either. So far I’m trying to keep each case as a separate note and I format them kind of like this:

Citation

Ratio

  • Here’s where I’ll type the ratio of the case and what principles can be drawn from it + general comments on the case itself.

  • I like to put them at the top of the file so that when I am hovering over a case in preview mode I can get a quick peek at the ratio without having to open a new window.

  • For example: The proper approach to statutory interpretation is purposive. The statute shall receive a fair, large and liberal construction as well best ensure the attainment of its objects: [[Moulin Global Eyecare v Commissioner of Inland Revenue]] followed.

Background

Facts

What happened

Procedural history

Civil/criminal procedure information.

Ruling

Chan J

What is the purpose of statutory interpretation?

I will break up the ruling section by judge and then break up their judgments by topic for easier navigation and citation across notes. I will do this for each judge’s judgment.

Smith J

etc.

Disposition

Appeal dismissed, the appellant shall pay the respondent’s costs etc.

That’s my general approach at the moment, and I still have a lot more notes to add. I haven’t tried using Obsidian exclusively to write any briefs/skeletons, but it’s really helped me think about the links between different cases and how legal rules interact. Really interested to hear what other lawyers/law students think of Obsidian, been trying to get my friends into it…

2 Likes

@LisaC117 I’m very interested to hear how it goes, please do let us know. Same to you @zwaki and @pattman!

1 Like

I am preparing an interesting article about how to use obsidian by attorneys for my website The Desk Of A Lawyer. The article will live very soon buddy.

2 Likes

I have just post an article about How Lawyers Can Use Obsidian in my blog. Everyone check it and do you have any questions please comment in my blog, please. I’ll try my best to answer all questions.

4 Likes

Visit for knowing a lot of things about obsidian and markdown in my site if you are a lawyer. https://deskoflawyer.com

1 Like

I work in-house, and have been playing around with Obsidian in single-player mode for PKM purposes. I confess I have not done much with substantive law. My content so far is mostly notes about status of matters and internal/organizational stuff. (I’ll be buying a commercial license as soon as I can figure out how to jump through the requisite hoops!)

I’m also very interested in using Obsidian to collaborate and publish an internal knowledge base, but I don’t think private sites are yet supported by Obsidian Publish. Here’s my feature request to that end: Enterprisey private publishing.

A good Obsidian web clipper would be a pretty killer feature for lawyers (also everyone else), IMHO. We read and want to save a lot of stuff. Somewhat like @LisaC117, I have used Evernote for that in the past, but I abandoned it years ago.

I’m also using Obsidian outside work to organize my thoughts, collect parts information, etc. for my latest robotics project. :robot:

3 Likes

So as a law firm, we are using the multi-user version and it is very helpful to work, and if anyone wants to know more about it then follow the law firm in dubai.

1 Like

you can use obsidian as a case reference management systen too. Here is a proof how i am using obsidian as a case reference management system?

1 Like

i saw yor YouTube videos a lot. basically i learn obsidian from you. thanks a lot. The desk of a lawyer.

There are many ways lawyers can use Obsidian as primary note-taking appObsidian Note taking.

1 Like

I’m a practicing attorney using Obsidian. Right now, I admit that my most common use-case is with Daily Notes, to which I link the day’s call notes, a work log, and some thoughts. I’m not getting a great deal out of the PKM aspect yet, but I do have a “Legalkasten” that I’m building out for concepts, terms, statutes, cases, etc. Part of the problem with going outside the Lexis/Westlaw sphere is that caselaw isn’t static. That means that you can get yourself into trouble if you rely too much on your own database when you should be using the paid databases that include continuous cite-checking features.

Nonetheless, I hate having to take notes on caselaw inside these platforms because the UX simply isn’t very good. My compromise has been to download PDFs, load them into DEVONthink, and then just create links back to the online source for future cite-checking. Of course, as I gradually use Obsidian more and more, I’m hoping to continue to transition more to actual knowledge management rather than the digital file hoarding that I’ve historically done.

2 Likes

@nickmilo, Sir, Thanks. I see your YT vids as well to learn the basics of OBS. I’m excited about Obsidian since I stumbled on this yesterday. I’m a law student I’m using Mediawiki, SimpleMind, and of course the usual Docs file and text files but I find OBS the next big thing. For me, I find this very promising while I study, .i.e. link a particular provision to each element (e.g. elements of the crime of rape) of the article then what other provisions in the law are similar to that element. I can potentially use this in case law where there is a potential related link with each other. @KnownOne thanks for the tip about Scrivener. Someday I will use that if I ever publish my own book related to my current profession as a “realtor” (in US term, I’m not affiliated, hence I can’t use it) but here in the Philippines, I am a real estate broker. (Paksiteer)

2 Likes

I wonder if you could expand more on how you keep “literature notes”? How do you manage to cite from pdf? Much appreciated

Sure!

When I made that comment, almost a year ago, linking to headings wasn’t a possibility. Now in regards to laws I can just link to a heading that refers to a specific article/chapter/etc. Same goes for notes on academic articles or any short document (short as in, not a book). The first thing I do when creating a new “resource” note is to create headings according to table of contents of the document.

That’s just one way in which Obsidian has evolved. With the Dataview plugin, I can use metadata to sort all different files. Using the Templater plugin, I also have the file metadata as for when I created this file and when I last modified it. I haven’t been making good use of tags yet, but I plan on eventually implementing them to sort through topics.

Once I have the headings in place, I have a structure for the note. Within the heading, I start taking notes in usually bullet points, because that’s easier. Most of my PDFs are formatted in a way that simple copy/paste is a solution when I want to directly cite, but I try not to do that too much (I’m guilty of taking notes by “highlighting”, which isn’t very effective for me).

My files are named “SURNAME, Title”. My template (inspired by great examples on the Dataview Snippet Showcase) for any resource I find looks like this:

---
creationdate: <% tp.file.creation_date("dddd Do MMMM YYYY") %>
creationdatetime: <% tp.file.creation_date("HH:mm") %>
lastmodified: <% tp.file.last_modified_date("dddd Do MMMM YYYY") %>
lastmodifiedtime: <% tp.file.last_modified_date("HH:mm") %>
aliases: []
tags:
  - 
type: book/article/caselaw/notes
source:
author: SURNAME, Name
title:
yearpublished:
---

And then on an Index note I put this, using the Dataview plugin:

```dataview
TABLE author as Author, title as Title, yearpublished as Year, tags as Topics, source as Source
FROM "FOLDER"
where type = "book (for example)"
sort author asc
```

Which shows all the notes that fit that criteria.

2 Likes

Thank you for your thorough reply! Helps a lot! :wink:

I come from a civil law tradition as well, and I am considering obsidian to publish a knowledge base. Can you please tell me how you are dealing with the legislation? I am new to obsidian so please let me know, if possible, all resources you consider useful. Thanks a lot.

@amilcar Hi! Sorry it’s taken so long to reply to this. I’ve been refining my process and now I think I’m at a point where I’m comfortable with the workflow.

I love the idea of publishing a knowledge base. Obsidian is a great tool for linking positive law, case law, principles etc. I hoped to at some point be able to do that, but I realised I can link many different interests that probably wouldn’t be as interesting to other people, so that project’s on hold for now :blush: maybe someday.

If you DO publish, or wish to talk more about this, feel free to reach out! I’m fascinated by all the possibilities.

In regards to how to deal with legislation:

I’m keeping one file per law/rule/regulation. Link to blocks is a very valuable resource to linking back between articles, paragraphs, etc. Another tool is Internal link to Link to Headings, for example, a legislation might be separated into titles and chapters that you format as a heading, making it easy to link in other files.

In order to keep direct quotes separate from my own annotations, I use the Admonition Plugin. However, community plugins don’t work on Publish, so you’d have to accomplish something similar with CSS. People have shared different CSS Snippets with pseudo-admonitions on the Discord server, so you might want to check that out!

One thing that’s useful for me to keep in handy, usually within an “info” admonition or otherwise at the top of the note, is how to cite that resource. Easier than to keep referring back to Zotero!

I use (nested) tags for classification, which is a controversial topic but works for me :wink: For example, I have “t/entity/LLC” which is “t” for Type, “entity” for genre (as opposed to, say, “authority” or “law” or “principle”) and “LLC” relating to a specific sort of entity. The “t” part isn’t really needed but it helps clean up the tag pane. For example, a law regulating LLCs would have both the tags “t/law” and “t/entity/LLC”.

I hope this helps a bit! I hope to eventually do a more detailed write-up if there’s interest.

4 Likes

Just curious whether you have made any headway with this. I am hoping to implement a workflow where I first import PDFs generated via Westlaw, then annotated, into Zotero or Juris-M. Then, using Zotfile and mdnotes, pull those notes into Obsidian. Just curious whether anyone has been able to get caselaw metadata to pull into Zotero.

1 Like

Anyone adapted Obsidian to being a Case Management System?

I’m moving all my legal notes to obsidian I use it for research and academy