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Sweeter than ever: WordPerfect's Law Office 2000 Suite.

I last wrote about the Corel Legal Suite over two years ago. (Paul Bernstein, Corel's Suite 7--How Sweet It Is, TRIAL, Dec. 1997, at 78.) I am pleased to report that the hot-off-the-presses WordPerfect Law Office 2000 Suite is sweeter than ever.

The suite came to market earlier this year. For lawyers in small and midsize law firms, this is a perfect product for the office.

Before discussing the details of the Corel suite, it is important to know several things.

1. To my knowledge, WordPerfect (Corel) publishes the world's only legal-specific office suite. Microsoft does not publish one.

2. WordPerfect has been a law-office friend for several years, so WordPerfect users will find the new suite of products easy to use.

3. Many law firms are converting from WordPerfect to Word. I don't understand why, given that WordPerfect has always had a "reveal codes" capability that allows users to see and change the coding that creates indents, boldface, underlines, font sizes, and so on. Word has never had a similar resource and still doesn't. I have tried to reformat Word documents, but Word seems to have a mind of its own and won't "listen" to my commands. For lawyers who type their own documents, reveal codes is indispensable.

4. The new Corel Law Office suite includes some significant resources from West Group that point toward the technological future of the legal profession.

The WordPerfect Law Office 2000 suite contains a number of products. Foremost is WordPerfect Version 9, which makes it easier than ever to add graphics, charts, and tables to documents. Reveal codes, of course, allows format editing in a snap. A variety of enhanced Internet features let you create one document and publish it on paper, in electronic media, and on the World Wide Web. This is almost essential today.

The suite contains additional products that are specific for the legal profession.

* HotDocs 5.1

HotDocs has been the leading document-assembly software for several years and an integral part of the Corel legal suite for some time. Now the most recent version is available.

The ability to take client-specific information and merge it with standard text files is a great time-saver for lawyers. Although WordPefect has excellent mail-merge capability, HotDocs goes further to make merge capabilities easier to use and more powerful and flexible.

HotDocs helps you create reusable document templates or standard documents in WordPerfect. The templates can be saved in a library and even shared among others in the law firm.

Then, when client-specific information is entered into HotDocs or another database program, all the information can be merged quickly into real-life documents--even 50 pages or more of single-spaced text can be completed in just seconds. Imagine being able to prepare a complaint, summons, first set of interrogatories, request for the production of documents, and request to admit with just a couple of mouse clicks.

* Amicus Attorney IV Organizer Edition

Amicus Attorney is one of the leading case-management software products on the market. The program was created for the Macintosh platform, but Gavel & Gown Software successfully translated the fantastic graphics of Amicus Attorney on the Mac to the more commonly used Windows environment.

The single-user version of the product bundled with the Corel suite lets you organize your practice by client matter. It also has a file-management function that maintains all of your active files and reminds you when files need to be updated or when you haven't accessed a file for a selected length of time. The user-friendly calendar is intuitive and looks like a DayTimer or paper calendar. The program even contains a time-and-billing module.

Many attorneys keep Amicus Attorney running all the time. You can enter notes of conversations with opposing counsel or your client and make time entries right in the program.

Amicus Attorney works flawlessly with HotDocs and WordPerfect, so whatever data you enter in it becomes field-oriented information that can be used without any further data entry when you want to complete documents.

For example, after you have created an entry for a new client's case and entered information about opposing counsel, you might want to prepare a letter noting that opposing counsel has not responded to the interrogatories you sent over 28 days ago. With just a couple of mouse clicks, you can insert the information into a standard HotDocs letter, send the letter to the printer, and file a copy in the client's case "folder" in Amicus Attorney. At the same time, you can enter a diary notation to remind yourself to file a petition for sanctions should opposing counsel fail to respond in a timely fashion to the letter.

* DEAL PROOF SE

DEAL PROOF is a remarkable product that allows you to edit, proofread, and review complex documents. Lawyers using this document-analysis software can't say enough about its ability to identify non-conforming phrases, mark inconsistencies, and generate reports that detail potential errors.

* WestCiteLink 2.2

WestCiteLink quickly finds and marks legal citations in a WordPerfect 9 document, then automatically generates a table of authorities. For those who need these tables, this feature alone is worth the cost of the suite.

The program also automatically sorts tables of authorities into standard categories, including federal and state cases, statutes, rules, and regulations. Federal and state citations are automatically combined with these categories.

WestCiteLink also enables you to search for citations within footnotes and endnotes. The product can mark citations with hyperlinks to corresponding documents on the Web, using WestDoc or Westlaw (http:// www.westlaw.com). As a bonus, those who purchase shrink-wrapped copies of WordPerfect Law Office 2000 are entitled to 10 free online document retrievals from WestDoc, valued at approximately $100.

* NexLaw 9

This product supplements WordPerfect menus and toolbars with legal-specific tools that make creating, filing, printing, and faxing documents a breeze. For example, you can fax documents directly from WordPerfect using the fax button on the toolbar.

You can also store and retrieve up to nine related documents as a group under a single file name. This is a great resource for preparing standard discovery documents such as a deposition notice, notice to produce, interrogatories, or request to admit.

Included with NexLaw are eScribe electronic forms, with which you can create your own professional-looking stationery and forms.

* Lexicon from Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed.)

This program adds more than 14,000 legal-specific words to WordPerfect's spell checker.

* Dragon NaturallySpeaking Standard 4.0

These days, lawyers are all talking about speech technology, and you will be amazed at how far voice-to-text software has come. After you spend some time reading text to the software via the provided microphone, the software will be "trained" to better recognize your voice patterns. Then, you can create documents simply by speaking to your computer. The product will also enter information into Quattro Pro 9 spreadsheets (another program that comes with the suite).

It takes time and patience to get speech software to work acceptably well, but you will be rewarded for your perseverance. The ATLA lawyers that I know who have given Dragon NaturallySpeaking a fair trial wonder how they ever got along without it.

Suiter still

Besides the legal-oriented software, a number of other products are a standard part of the suite. They include

* Quattro Pro 9, a powerful spreadsheet program;

* Corel Presentations 9, a slide-show program like Microsoft's PowerPoint;

* CorelCENTRAL 9, a full-featured personal information manager that may provide all the calendaring, name and address storage, and to-do functions that you need;

* Trellix 2, a product that allows you to organize documents and publish them to the Web--without knowing any HTML coding;

* Paradox 9, an easy-to-use relational database program; and, of course,

* WordPerfect 9.

You can probably tell that I am a fan of Corel and WordPerfect. Happily, Corel seems to be doing well financially and should, therefore, continue to improve its legal suite and compete with Microsoft. The competition should keep prices level.

I will use Word at the insistence of a client or publisher, but I always revert to WordPerfect, because I rely on the reveal codes function to make a document look the way I want it to. And, as I continue to explore all the parts of the legal suite, I learn more ways to make my practice run more smoothly.

The suite comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you are a WordPerfect user, I recommend upgrading to this product. Talk to your local Corel representative or visit the company Web site at http:// www.corel.com to obtain current pricing information.

Internet features

A variety of enhanced Internet features let you create one document and publish it on paper, in electronic media, and on the World Wide Web.

Paul Bernstein is an attorney and law office automation consultant in Chicago. He can be reached by e-mail at paulbern @interaccess.com or through his home page at http://www.paulbernstein.com. The views expressed in this column are the author's and do not constitute an endorsement of any product by TRIAL or ATLA.
COPYRIGHT 2000 American Association for Justice
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Author:Bernstein, Paul
Publication:Trial
Article Type:Product/Service Evaluation
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
Words:1500
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