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  1. #1
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    Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    My law firm has used WordPerfect for many years, but since the world is moving to Word, we've been using Word as well for the last couple of years now, i.e., we're a dual-platform firm.

    A litigation partner here asked me how our litigation documents will be affected if we go exclusively to Word. He has heard from several firms that litigation departments are resisting giving up WordPerfect because many people apparently believe that WordPerfect works better for litigation documents.

    I don't really have enough experience in preparing litigation documents in Word to make a fair comparison.

    I'd be grateful for any thoughts on the matter. Thanks.

    Russ

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    I support a number of different law firms and have worked with law firms in many different practice areas make the transition. My experience is this. IF well designed templates with appropriate styles are implemented, and users trained on the styles, Word can be a better system than Word Perfect for doing litigation documents. One of the things I have done with a brief template for example is to
    a) have the multiple sections in the template for title page, TOC, TOA, body, etc. with page numbering done. The TOC section already has the TOC field code in it so it only need to be updated to have the TOC.
    [img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] make sure the styles are set the way the practice group wants with numbering, indents, etc set for Headings 1, 2, 3.
    c) I build a "styles" toolbar/drop-down into the template which is displayed when the template (documents based on the template) is displayed. This includes the various styles used for the brief: Heading 1, 2, 3, body text, bulleted list, numbered list, quotes, and a button to Update TOC.

    When users see how easy it is to generate the TOC without marking any text, this is a good first step to getting them to like Word. It is a big thinking switch from the type-write like code approach of Word Perfect to Word. However, I believe strongly that properly implemented, styles and templates lead to more consistent and more efficient document production.

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    HI Russ,

    Yes, Word is the way to go. Don't be mislead though, it will be a difficult transition. It will be worse if you don't properly convert all your documents to Word. Microsystems can help with the conversion. You might also contact The Payne Consulting group in Seattle for a macro package.

    Kyle

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    I'm a lawyer and have used both. I started with WordPerfect when I was a schoolteacher in the 80's (actually, I started with PC Write, but that's dead now), then to the US Ct. App for the 9th Cir which used some weird unix-based program at the time, moved to a law firm that used WordPerfect, transitioned to Word when the firm did, and am now with a state agency that uses Word, although other agencies in the state use WordPerfect. My view based on this experience:

    Word works just fine for litigation, although as the other responses indicate, the transition will not be easy, mainly because the Word paradigm is so different from the WordPerfect paradigm, so that the learning curve is sort of steep. That said, so many folks still use WordPerfect (e.g., the federal courts) you will not want to lose your WordPerfect experience or license, because collaborating on docs with those folks wil be difficult, and even converting WordPerfect to Word docs just to view is a problem. We, for example, use Word, but the state dept of justice uses WordPerfect. Collaborating with them on cases (which we do a lot) is a real pain because we do not have a WordPerfect license (we're either cheap and stupid or economical and prudent depending on your point of view), and repeatedly converting stuff back and forth from Word to WordPerfect is a recipe for disaster..

    Note that you will NOT be able just to convert your old WordPerfect docs to Word format. Conversion is especially problematic if you've got line numbering, fancy formatting with headings, and footnotes. But anything you can do with WordPerfect you can do with Word.

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    One feature of Word that creates problems for "pleading paper" templates is getting all your styles to use the proper type of paragraph spacing. Maybe proper isn't the right word: the least aggravating kind. See this thread for a discussion of this point. You might also search for other posts containing pleading on this board.

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    In 2001 Woody's Office Watch had a series of articles on Word and Word Perfect-related issues for legal writing, including conversion from Word Perfect and templates. I did a quick search and found two of them, but I recall there were more. Probably searching for issues beyond #21 will bring up more results.
    http://www.woodyswatch.com/office/ar...ate.asp?v4-n20
    http://www.woodyswatch.com/office/ar...ate.asp?v6-n21

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    Thanks, Darryl. I'll pass your info along. Forgive this quick reply, but I was swamped all day with work and have just now had a chance to check here for responses.

    Russ

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    Thanks, Kyle. I'll pass your info along. Forgive this quick reply, but I was swamped all day with work and have just now had a chance to check here for responses. (This thread is going to look odd with the same response to every person who replied, but I like to be sure each person gets an email notification.)

    Russ

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    Thanks, Michael. I'll pass your info along. Forgive this quick reply, but I was swamped all day with work and have just now had a chance to check here for responses.

    Russ

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    Thanks, Jefferson. I'll pass your info along. Forgive this quick reply, but I was swamped all day with work and have just now had a chance to check here for responses.

    Russ

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    Thanks, DenGar. I'll pass your info along. Forgive this quick reply, but I was swamped all day with work and have just now had a chance to check here for responses.

    Russ

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    For what it's worth, that thread you refer to was initiated by me. I think it's just a matter of understanding what the two different ways to create line numbers do and how they work. We've ultimately settled on the text-box thing, not because it's better, but just because I understand how to deal with it better (my job's being a lawyer and not doing this Word stuff, so who knows?). I've looked at a bunch of documents that folks have emailed to me in Word format, and it seems that about half the law firms represented by this completely unscientific sample use the text-box approach, and about half use the table approach, so I can't imagine that the table approach actually is significantly inferior.

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    Russ, my law firm switched from WP 5.1 DOS to Win95 and Word 97 about 5 years ago. Our firm did not feel the need to purchase anything in the way of document conversion so it has been and remains to be a problem. The main problem I see is that the users want to continue with direct formatting rather than use styles, even though I have created styles toolbars in the pleading templates. We still have too many people using their computers like typewriters. I wish you well if you make the switch. I am the person in our firm who handles all of the problems with documents and, as an added benefit for me, I purchased a copy of Cross-Eyes. If you are not familiar with this program, it provides reveal codes in Word just like WP has. Their web address is www.levitjames.com I highly suggest this program.

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    Re: Word v. WordPerfect for litigation (Word 2000)

    Thank you, Jan. Most of what you say is very familiar! I, too, am the person in my firm who gets called whenever someone has a Word problem. But I like that responsibility -- it's the best way to learn.

    I hadn't heard of Cross-Eyes. I'll take a look. One of the biggest complaints I hear from WordPerfect users is the lack of Reveal Codes in Word.

    I appreciate your input.

    Russ

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