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Every week, I’ll drop the most popular Legal Office Guru posts into your inbox to help you do your job faster and easier. Like these:

  • Fixing funky text spacing in Word
  • Making your Outlook emails un-ignorable
  • Autonumbering discovery requests … in five keystrokes!
  • Using and formatting a Table of Authorities or Table of Contents
  • Setting tabs without tearing your hair out
  • Using Sections to customize headers, footers and page numbers

And many more!

How to recycle your [legal] briefs safely

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In my observation, if there’s one thing you lawyers love, it’s repeating yourselves. No, not when you speak (except when you walk around the office repeating the same war story about your latest court appearance to anyone who’ll listen); it’s when you write. Y’all recycle so much old material from briefs and other documents, it puts Ed Begley, Jr. to shame.

Some of the problems with all that cutting and pasting are pretty obvious—another client’s name being left in (oops) or funky formatting that doesn’t match the new document. But others aren’t. What sort of evil stuff lurks in that text you just pasted over from your last magnum opus? And how’s it going to undermine your next court filing?

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Keeping Word Commands at Your Fingertips

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When Microsoft Word 2007 came out, users lamented the introduction of the Ribbon. Replacing the familiar menu system of Word 2003 with a newfangled, visually-oriented system of buttons and drop-downs went over like the proverbial lead balloon. It all came down to one thing: “How am I ever going to find anything on here?”

Nobody wants to waste time scrolling through a menu system looking for commands or functions they use frequently. Here, I’ll show you three methods for keeping your most common commands within easy reach so you can create documents faster and with less frustration.

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From the Comments: A Better Way to Embed Paragraph Numbers

Recently, I wrote about a technique that I’d stumbled across for embedding the current paragraph number within the text of a paragraph, like so:

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However, one reader popped up in the comments with what looks like an easier solution:

There’s an easier way to do this! At least in Word 2007 and later. Rather than messing with fields, on the Ribbon you go to References>Cross-reference, select the paragraph you want, and voila! Instant reference. You can even have it insert the full context for your subparagraphs (e.g. para. 7(c)), rather than having to have 2 fields.

What do you think? Will this help you in your work? Let me know in the comments below.

Google Docs user alert: You can now use Pleading Paper there, too!

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Quick shout-out to The Droid Lawyer, who has somehow come up with a working template for pleading paper for Google Docs. It’s specific to California, and it costs $10 (as of the time I’m hitting the Publish button), but if you have to do pleadings in this format, it’s arguable worth more than $10.

Of course, if you’re sticking with Microsoft Word, you can always take my free Pleading Paper e-course (which includes links to the current Microsoft templates and shows you how to use and alter them) by clicking on this link right here.