Word Perfect and Lawyers.

Why don’t snakes bite lawyers?
Professioanl courtesy.
Oops, wrong thread.
Do law firms seem to prefer WP and why?
Mrs. Plant’s been involved with some (professionally, not…employment-wise, not prof…never mind) and they have WP. It was also mentioned in a thread.

In my own experience, a lot of law firms do use WP. Many bought WP way back when and are now switching to Word so they’ll be compatible with the rest of the world, and they ain’t happy with it. I used to field support calls from many disgruntled lawyer’s secretaries who wanted to know why “you can do this in WordPerfect but not in Word”…

WordPerfect has always made it a point to market to law firms and their product has always been considered better for law firms because it is supposedly easier to format legal documents in WordPerfect and WP also has better legal templates. Now Word is making a push to take over the legal market. My law firm is switching from WP to Word soon.

I worked in lawfirms for 11 years and we always used WordPerfect. I made a concentrated effort to switch the secretaries to Word at my last firm as our largest client used Word; I’ve never seen a bunch of women so frightened in my life. Needless to say, I don’t think the firm every switched over.

WordPerfect had a MUCH better macro language early on with its DOS based products, which made forms a snap to create by linking to database information. One of my law firms created a proprietary system that linked some long since forgotten database software with WordPerfect and we were the creme de la creme in our specialty for a while. There was simply no way to do it with Word.

I, of course, laughed at the firm, because I was a Mac user and Word for the Mac made WordPerfect for DOS look like an imbecillic choice. :wink:

FWIW, the firm i work for now uses Word. They used to use WP though, a couple of years ago.

I’ve heard this about lawyers, too.
FWIW, my firm uses Word. I think we switched over from WP in 1997, just before I got here.
Personally, I always used WP throughout my edumacation, and I miss it.


I think it’s just because law firms got used to using WP, and it’s a pain to switch over. “WP works great; why change?” is the basic philosophy. Blame it on inertia.

I’m a legal secretary of 20 years experience. I used WordPerfect for years, but have been using MS Word for the past year. Unequivocally, WordPerfect is a more user-friendly, intuitive program. In WP, the ability to “reveal codes” so you can look and see what the hell is screwing up your document is a godsend. It enables you to fix problems in a snap. Other features are simple, one or two step procedures to create a desired effect. Word is entirely different; if a document is goofy, and you can’t fix it, you’re screwed. If you can’t see the codes, you probably can’t fix the problem, no matter what kind of deadline you’re working under.

The reason law firms are switching to Word is because our clients have it. Word came free with their computers, and they see no reason to spend money on a different word processing system. We e-mail documents back and forth with clients, and the work involved in converting and reformatting documents back and forth to Word/WordPerfect makes putting up with using Word the lesser inconvenience.

Here is an illustration of why large corporations (Microsoft) should be prevented from trying to unfairly eliminate competition. A superior program (not to mention new, innovative programs) should not die simply because a big corporation wants to make more moolah.

God, I miss WordPerfect!

IMHO, lawyers use WordPerfect because many of them (the older ones especially) are word-processing maroons who barely know where the “on” switch is. They also, as a group, do not deal well with frustration. WordPerfect is MUCH more user friendly than Word and much easier to use if you want to just sit down and type and not necessarily learn the intricacies of word-processing.

Around here, firms are slowly switching to Word because that’s what the courts are beginning to use. (Why, I have no idea.) It just makes sense, if filing electronically, to file in the same format you know the court has.

I have both WordPerfect and Word and I NEVER use Word.

Not to get off-topic, but Microsoft does not tie Word with computers. They might have an agreement with the computer manufacturers to load Word, but most computers don’t come with Word, especially computers bought in bulk for large companies. With all the accusations against Microsoft in the antitrust case, tying Word was never alleged.

I guess now I’m going to sound like a hack for Microsoft, because I use WordPerfect at work and used Word in school and I prefer Word (though I wish they had a reveal codes option.)

To take this slightly off topic … Word for Macintosh has a Reveal Formatting option on the View menu: You turn it on, then click on the text you want to see the formatting for, and you get a box telling you the font and paragraph formatting for the point in the document where you clicked.
Word for Windows has this too, but the name is less obvious - it’s What’s This on the Help menu.

Word does not have a Reveal Codes option because Word does not use codes. WordPerfect’s codes are similar to HTML - you turn bold on, you turn it off, etc. Word’s method of storing character, paragraph, and document formatting is different from this. I’ll hold off on saying more about it until I find out whether that’s proprietary information.

Now, to get back to WP and law firms:
The US Court of Appeals encouraged law firms not to use Word 97 in this article: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/5912.html
because it was not counting words in footnotes of selected text.[sup]*[/sup]

This was fixed in Mac Word 2001 - I suspect it’s being taken care of for the next version of Word for Windows. In the meantime MS made a template available that added that functionality for Word 2000.

I’m not claiming that the word count issue was the entire and absolute reason why law firms seem to prefer WP, but it might have been a factor.

  • If you have a document containing footnotes and you do an overall Word Count, you have the option to include text in footnotes and endnotes in the total. However, if you select a block of text containing footnotes and Word Count only that selection, it doesn’t let you include the text in the footnotes. In some legal documents, there is a maximum number of words permitted, but only certain parts of the document count toward that limit. I believe what was happening was that the people were selecting the parts of the document that needed to be counted, but because they were counting in a selection, it wouldn’t allow them to include the text in the footnotes.

but my agency uses WordPerfect. I have Word at home because it came free with my computer. If it wasn’t for the fact that my girlfriend (who is away at school) sends me all her papers to review (English is her second language) in Word, I would punt Word so fast Bill Gates’s head would look like Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist.

WordPerfect is much easier for me to manipulate and use. Especially, as mentioned above, with “Reveal Codes.” I do a lot of cutting and pasting between documents; grabbing stuff off e-mail and the net. I’ll be typing along and all of a sudden I’ll get bolding, or Helvitica 11, “Heading 3” or something. AAAAARGH!

And then, Word has the annoying habit of trying to guess what I want to do. It will indent for me, seemingly on a whim. It will continue a numbered list after I want it to stop. I’ve turned off as much as the auto-format-as-you-go that I can, but it still trips me up sometimes. And I can never get it to tab right when I’m nesting a list or bullets.

All (well, most, anyway) would be forgiven if I could just go into the codes and get rid of all the junk. I know there is a way to see what “codes” are in effect for a given place in a Word document, but you can’t do anything about them except block out the text and try to override what is already there. That can lead to some of those sudden and unexpected font changes later.

I’ve read a little about how Word stores the codes. Proprietary or not, it just seems stupid.

Another devoted WP user checking in. It was the first word processing program I learned, while working for lawyers.

Where I work now, we’re all on a network. I’m the only one in the place who uses WP. I get no support, but I don’t need any. They keep sending me to Word classes, and telling me that WP will “soon” be taken off the network.

Word can’t do some of the sort functions I use, and no one has been able to get Word to format labels as slick as WP does.

They can have my WP when they pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.

Does anyone pronounce “Corel” as “Coral”, as in cows?

Corral as in OK Corral.

Zoff: All major computer companies (Gateway, Dell, Compaq) have some sort of deal that you can buy Microsoft Works (a super stripped down version of Office with Word and I can’t remember what else) with a new computer. I know that with some Gateway and Dell combinations, you don’t have a choice. So yes, Microsoft has used its influence on computer manufactureres to push Word on people.

I still weep for F7.

I did like the DOS WP and F7 help.

Not F7 help, but the way you could easily indent entire paragraphs, just by hitting that key. It was beautiful.