SC Lawyer, September 2009, #5. Mind Mapping for Lawyers.

AuthorBy Dave Maxfield and Michael Deutch

South Carolina Lawyer


SC Lawyer, September 2009, #5.

Mind Mapping for Lawyers

South Carolina LawyerSeptember 2009Mind Mapping for LawyersBy Dave Maxfield and Michael DeutchFew events in the life of a lawyer can compare with the stress of preparing for and taking the bar exam. Fifteen years later, I am still struggling to repress my remaining memories of it (most of them, anyway-I still like the part where I learned to my great amazement that I had actually passed).

There was one great lesson that I learned in the process of getting ready for the exam, however, and that was the power of mind mapping. mind map: a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.- wikipedia As suggested by the above definition, a mind map is simply a diagram used to represent information and the connections between information.

As I studied for the exam, I created maps for each exam topic, with subtopics radiating out from the central topic like spokes on a wheel. Thus, from a central topic of torts, for example, came two subtopics-intentional torts and negligence-and from the subtopic of intentional torts came assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, etc. From each of these subtopics came their respective elements, and so on, into greater and greater detail.

Needless to say, creating these maps on huge sheets of butcher paper (and the embarrassment of walking around with them rolled up under my arm like Amerigo Vespucci) was a bit of a burden. While the results proved the value of the method (like many things that actually "worked" from our educational days), I abandoned mind mapping. That is, until a few years ago when I discovered mind mapping software.

To understand the power of such software, some greater detail about mind mapping (and why it seems to work so well) is in order. Again, mind maps are diagrams that represent words, ideas, tasks and other items arranged around a central key word or theme. Mind maps allow one to rapidly generate, structure, classify and visualize ideas. The "visualization" aspect is key.

Humans tend to think and learn in three primary ways-auditory...

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