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No. 19, September 2001 Click for PDF Version

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.

WordPerfect 10

    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 forward.

    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 resources.

    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

    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 functionality available.

PCLaw 5.5

    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 additional cost.

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Future of Case Management Programs
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Disaster Recovery Small and Medium Firms
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