Center For Practice Management, Management, Productivity, Technology

Product Watch: Notion: An All-in-One Solution?

What is Notion? Notion wants to bring the “duct-taped” tools that include email, document editors, databases, task management and more into one product. Notion lets you collaborate, annotate, store, search, generate and manage tasks, documents, workflows, and information. It can be used by an individual or as a team. They further describe it as a toolbox of building blocks to let you manage work and life in whatever way you find most useful.

The minimalist interface belies the complexity. You can do a lot with Notion, which is both a boon and a curse. It helps to have a reason to use it, but likely you or your firm may not be seeking to replace or disrupt the tools you already use. The question is, could you reduce the number of tools the firm uses and have it all in one place? That is the problem Notion is trying to solve.

About Notion

Headquartered in San Francisco, the pandemic and need for a single collaborative workspace catapulted Notion. They went from 2 million users in 2019 to 20 million users by October 2021. Eighty percent of their users are outside of the United States. Their team grew from 40 to 200 and they were valued at $10 billion––unicorn status. Notion’s primary competition comes from Microsoft Teams, followed by Slack. They acquired the automation tool, a Zapier competitor, to connect users with tools specific to their work. There is an API in BETA, though the integration with other products is still quite light.


There is a free personal version of Notion to “organize every corner of your life.”  You get unlimited pages and blocks and can share with five guests. Personal Pro is $4 per month and includes unlimited file uploads, unlimited guests and a 30-day version history. Team is $8 per user per month and includes collaborative workspaces, permissions, and admin tools. There is an enterprise version with single sign-on, advanced security and controls and a dedicated success manager.

Each version includes web, desktop, and mobile apps, as well as a web clipper. All versions also include 50-plus starter templates. While there is no support for the free version, there is a robust Reddit community as well as guides and tutorials.

Get Ready

Notion combines elements of Microsoft Teams, Google Docs, project management apps like Asana and Trello, Evernote, and OneNote. Notion does not have chat, video calls or audio calls like Microsoft Teams or Slack, though you can integrate with Slack. Notion is based on a writing model, like a mash-up of a wiki and Google Docs, without the sometimes confusing and often hectic communication in chat via Teams or Slack.

Sign up for a free account to get a sense of whether Notion would work for you or your firm. You can use it through any browser or install the download on a Mac or Windows desktop and get the mobile app for iOS or Android. There is a web clipper for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox to let you add any page you see online to Notion. With the clipper you grab the page and add notes or turn it into a task.

Get Started

Once you have your tools in place go to Notion and add a page. You can give the page a title and then just start typing. You can add formatting like headings and bullets. You can add comments, or other users can comment. Other users can add text anywhere in the page, like a wiki.

Each page has blocks. In addition to text-based content you can add a table. Tables are like smart spreadsheets or simple databases, like Microsoft Lists. You can also add a Kanban-style board, a calendar, a timeline, images, video, audio or embed a link to a document or upload a document from your computer. You can also add a to-do list.

Boards, lists, timelines, tables, galleries, and lists all are database elements. Each of these elements are extremely configurable and you can filter, sort, and search them. You can also create custom views. These elements can be duplicated, shared, or saved as their own page, and locked.

You can create pages and sub-pages and organize them any way you like them to appear in the left column. You can also link pages and sub-pages to each other.

You can tag content or use the @ symbol to add deadlines to any text, call out a person or call attention to another page. To easily see all your options just type the / (backslash) and the menu pops up.


Sounds a bit overwhelming, right? Fortunately, you can get some ideas and some pre-configuration help with templates. In the left column of the Notion interface click “Templates.” There are no templates for legal professionals but there are for marketing, human resources, sales, or personal use. Under the “Other” templates you will find samples for Docs, Team Home, Team Task, and a Task List. You can choose a template and then edit it to suit your needs. If you are feeling generous you can even share one that you develop.

If you are just kicking the tires with a free version of Notion look at the personal templates. You can add task lists, a journal, goals, a travel planner, a habit tracker, a weekly agenda, or others.

Want to create a task list? Choose the Task List template. The default view is a Kanban board configuration but if you prefer a list just go to View and choose “List.” You can toggle between the Board view and the List view. You can also add a Calendar view.

When you add a new task you will give it a title, a status (the Kanban “swimlanes”) and then you can add additional fields or properties. You can add Due Date, assignments, drop-down menus, files––pretty much as many as you like!  Then you can add comments with attachments and @ mentions for people, pages, or dates.

You can organize where your task list is located, share it with others, look at the page history, export it as HTML or PDF, connect it to a Slack channel and more.

If you are already using tools like Google Docs, Evernote, Trello, Word, or you have CSV (spreadsheets) you can import them as a page. Just open a new page and click the ellipses at the top right and choose Import.

Law Firm Use Cases

While there are no legal specific templates, law firms can certainly come up with ways to use Notion. For instance, there is a Sales CRM (customer relationship management) template under the Sales grouping to track leads and customer interactions. You can change views to identify high value deals and add as many fields to the database as you want. You can use the Blog post template to share ideas and work on posts in draft. You can keep your meeting notes. You can create trial strategy pages. You can store articles of interest and legal research. You can create a content calendar for marketing. Create a firm wiki or cookbook to document processes. Develop a new hire onboarding page. The notion behind Notion is that you have one very flexible space to track, document and share everything without the stress of email or messaging.


In the settings you can control how you receive notifications – via app push notifications or email. You can connect to a handful of apps including Slack, Google Drive, Trello, Evernote, and Asana under “My Connected Apps”. You can also add integrations with Zapier,, and IFTTT.


In addition to the need for an all-in-one collaborative and flexible workspace brought on by the pandemic, people and businesses are ready for new ways to work. Using poorly designed tools, products that do not allow for flexibility, and the constant strain of checking for new messages or feeling like you are out of the loop has caused an upheaval in application development. One of Notion’s major rivals is ClickUp. Another San Francisco start-up, ClickUp includes time tracking, email, mind maps and more. ClickUp is more focused on project management, while Notion is stronger for writing, planning, and organizing. Microsoft is developing Loop, formerly Fluid, the new Office app for the hybrid work era. It includes blocks of collaborative Office content that can live independently or be shared/copied/pasted. The product has been in development for nearly 18 months and components are slowly rolling out in Teams, Outlook, and OneNote.


Whether your team is mobile, hybrid or just needs a better way to collaborate in a single space, there is a great appeal to Notion. The hardest part about using the tool is breaking out of the preformatted and rather stiff structure that has been the pervasive model of software and app development. Given almost infinite flexibility is intimidating but based on the adoption and valuation they may be onto something. Come up with a use case or two, get a free account, share it with your coworkers, family or colleagues and see if Notion is right for you.





©2022. First published in Law Practice Magazine Vol. 48 Issue 3 May/June 2022 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.