WP 10, Word XP, Amicus, Time Matters
The never-ending cycle of upgrades
has produced a number of new releases. This summary will examine Corel’s
WordPerfect 2002, Microsoft’s OfficeXP, Amicus V, TimeMatters 4 and PCLaw 5.5.
Corel’s Office 2002 /WordPerfect 10 ("WP 10") and Word XP
hit the streets about the same time late this spring.
Beginning with WP 9, Corel offered a "publish to PDF"
functionality, which has been significantly improved with WP 10. This lets you
avoid the entire conversion issue by sending people PDF files that will look
exactly like your documents. Best of all, they cannot be edited by opposing
counsel (or even clients).
WP 10 offers a new "variable" feature that lets you create
place-holders for a value to be filled in at a later time. For example, if you
were drafting a contract or settlement, you could use a variable for the amount
involved, and then have it update automatically throughout the document when the
amount was changed or finalized.
The WP merge functionality, already
dramatically superior to that offered by Microsoft, has been further improved,
allowing more fields for each record and an improved keyboard merge dialog.
Both WordPerfect and Word have improved
their ODMA integration, so that they work better with products such as DocsOpen
and iManage. Merges and graphics now work with ODMA in WP 10.
There are also a variety of other
usability improvements. Overall, WP 10 is an incremental upgrade with respect to
version 9. However, if you are currently using a version earlier than 9, the
dramatically improved conversion of Word files could be a key issue in
upgrading, as well as PDF functionality and improved stability. Unfortunately,
Corel has abandoned the Legal Suite, but the legal elements of version 9 can be
installed and used with WP 10. The new release has some very specific problems
that are serious if they involve a function you use all the time (such as
printing multiple copies of justified documents, such as this newsletter). As is
typical with new releases, you would do well to put off upgrading until the
first major service pack is released toward the end of this year. A service pack
aimed at increased compatibility with Word XP documents was released in August.
Microsoft Word XP
The Microsoft legal propaganda machine has
been in full swing, claiming that Microsoft has finally responded to the needs
of the legal profession. At the top of the list, of course, was "Reveal Codes."
Due to its backward-looking page layout structure, Word cannot match the code
streaming typical of all Internet formats (HTML, XML, SGML) and WordPerfect for
flexibility and heavy-duty document production. But XP introduces a "reveal
formatting" feature that displays the format for a given paragraph in a pane to
the right of the document. Click on a formatting element such as font size,
bold, paragraph indent, or page layout for a given section of the document and
Word brings up the dialog box to change that element. This is indeed a step
Word XP has made it possible to eliminate
"metadata" stored in documents which frequently allowed recipients of a document
to track all the changes a firm had made in Word. Previously an add-in utility
was necessary to do this. Many of the changes touted by Microsoft are either
aimed at eliminating serious problems with previous versions or, as Michael
Kraft notes in the August issue of Law Technology News, "new ways to
access features that have been available in previous versions" of Word.
One of the leading Word gurus, Woody
Leonhard (whose weekly e-zine "Woody’s Office Watch" goes to over 600,000 users
– see www.woodyswatch.com) announced that he stopped using XP for
production because it was too unstable. In addition, there are serious issues
with the Outlook 2002’s draconian security settings, which prevent it from
integrating acceptably with 3rd party products such as PalmPilots. A
fix can be downloaded from www.slipstick. com/files/ attopt2. zip. More
utilities are at the main slipstick site. In addition, apparently Word sometimes
modifies web addresses without telling you, so that links don’t go where you
thought they would (gives new meaning to "Where do you want to go today?").
So even more than usually, you should hold
off upgrading to Office XP at least until the first service pack is out.
Amicus Attorney V
Amicus Attorney V represents a substantial upgrade from
Amicus IV in several areas. First, it offers e-mail integration with Outlook,
GroupWise or other full-MAPI enabled programs. You can see, respond to and send
e-mail through your e-mail client directly from Amicus and all e-mails relating
to the Jones matter can be saved and indexed through Amicus. You no longer have
to scroll through your e-mail program or folders to find a particular e-mail. In
addition, if you use Outlook you can set up full integration so that the Amicus
calendar is synchronized with the Outlook calendar. This is ideal for legal
departments or firms where one practice area uses
Amicus but the rest of the company uses Outlook calendaring.
Amicus now links with any Internet service through the
"Library" function. This enables users to save Internet searches to a particular
area, as well as an easy way to bill clients for Internet research. It also
allows firms to standardize in-house precedents, boilerplate, or other
In addition, Gavel & Gown has made a number of usability
improvements which taken as a whole are substantial. In particular, the Group
Calendar function has been dramatically improved. A default group calendar can
now be accessed at a single click of the mouse. You can also set defaults for
which users will be associated with new contacts and calendar appointments (as
well as a similar default for files that was available in IV). The integration
with Worldox has been improved so that it is now seamless: new clients added in
Amicus are added to Worldox.
TimeMatters 4 now has its own document management system.
Although it offers stripped down functionality in relation to full-fledged
systems such as Worldox, it may be sufficient for firms not wanting to invest in
document management. TimeMatters also makes opening and saving documents much
easier by putting a button on your word processor button bar that lets you
access document functions directly, instead of having to start from TimeMatters.
The document management functions dramatically expand TM4's conflict search,
since it searches your document base as well as information entered directly
into the program (unlike Amicus, which searches only the program even when
integrated with Worldox).
TimeMatters now has improved label and envelope printing
directly from the program, which may eliminate the need to pass through merging
data with your word processor if your needs are relatively basic and flexible.
PalmPilot synchronization is also improved, enabling the
user to select which fields will be synched up.
TimeMatters Outlook synchronization, which already existed
in version 3, has been improved so that you can now automatically match incoming
mail to your contacts. However, as with the similar feature in Amicus, you may
well want to turn it off so as to avoid cluttering up the program with personal
and/or junk e-mail.
TimeMatters has a version of the program with built-in
links to Lexis-Nexis. As with Amicus, you can perform your legal research
through TimeMatters and save a record of it to a given client/matter.
All in all, both TimeMatters 4 and Amicus V are must
upgrades for users of those programs, especially if you plan to use the new
PCLaw has issued version 5.5, a free
upgrade for users of PCLaw 5. This version adds a calendar and contact list, as
well as calendar integration with Microsoft Outlook. The calendar functions as a
"pre-time entry" in that most of the time entry data for a given appointment can
be entered at the time the appointment is made. For users who are not
integrating PCLaw with a case management program such as Amicus or TimeMatters,
this is a no-brainer addition, since it expands the program’s capabilities at no