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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!

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:


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!


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.

Buy a plugin, help a child

Buy a plugin, help a child post image

I’ve been an admirer of Standss – Outlook Productivity for a while now, but I wasn’t aware of their pro bono work, particularly the project with a children’s hospital. Standss has developed a database to help ensure that children in Fiji affected by Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) get the antibiotics they need (provided free by the Fiji government) on a regular basis. The database helps track an affected child’s course of treatment by reminding parents that antibiotics are due:

We approached the Children’s Hospital in Suva with the idea of creating a database that allows the hospital to track compliance down to the individual patient level. The aim of the database is to identify children who are not complying with the medical treatment necessary to control the disease. This enables the hospital to identify which patients are missing injections and to intervene early by calling their parents.

The first version of the database has already been developed is currently being trialled at the main Children’s Hospital in Suva. We hope to eventually link this system to mobile phone companies so that parents get reminded of as their children’s appointments (by SMS text) are due. This should further increase compliance while reducing the workload of the overworked nurses and doctors at our hospitals. The data from the database will also be submitted to Government to aid with decision making that will hopefully save unnecessary operations, cost and even lives.

Click here for more information on the project. (You’ll notice, as you scroll down, that these kinds of charitable endeavors are something Standss engages in frequently; other projects including supporting a home for the elderly and helping children with school supplies.)

We’ve spent a lot of time and emotional energy in the United States arguing about health care in recent months, with little to show for it. Here’s an opportunity to support a program that actually seems to be helping children live longer, healthier lives while conserving resources. Find a plugin of theirs that solves your biggest Microsoft Outlook problem and help fund this worthy cause!

How to create numbered headings using Styles

Number three made of white paint dots

I seem to make my best discoveries about Microsoft Office when I’m annoyed. (See my last post, for example.) It’s that kind of annoyance that says, “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” For some reason or another, this time it was paragraph numbering. But not the normal kind where you have the paragraph number indented about half an inch on the same line with the start of the paragraph. The document I was working on (a will) had the paragraph number floating centered above the paragraph. While I was drafting the document, I just knew the attorney I was working for would be moving paragraphs all over the place, and I didn’t want to stop to renumber them when he did.

I remembered one of the paralegals I work with telling me that it was possible to embed numbers in Styles. So I went nosing around in Styles, looking to modify my Heading 1 so that it had an automatically incrementing Arabic numeral and a period, like so:

Click here to see what I mean …

In praise of text expansion (or, how to keep from typing the same thing 100 times)


Here in the last several weeks, I’ve been busy. And when I say “busy”, I’m not talking your run-of-the-mill “I have a nice steady flow of work” level of busy. I’m talking “so overloaded I’m farming out scut work to other people”, “oh my gosh, I just had that piece of paper in my hand a moment ago”, “I wonder if I can still get that Xanax prescription filled” level of busy. It was insane.

So naturally, I was looking for every time saver I could get my hands on. If something could save me even a few seconds (especially on a repetitive task), it was worth it.

One of the things I found myself doing was typing the same long complicated phrases over and over and over again. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly love typing. (As proof of that, I’m using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to write this article. I’m all for letting the computer do the work.) And when my brain gets a little overloaded and the pace starts getting on my nerves, my already sketchy typing skills go to pot. So I have no patience whatsoever for typing the same long complicated phrase 100 times.

So if you find yourself stuck typing “Brief in Support of American Amalgamated Consolidated Widget Corporation’s Second Amended Motion for Leave of Court to Conduct On-site Inspection” for the umpteenth time, I’m going to show you how to get out of all that repetitive typing. It’s a concept called “text expansion”, and you don’t even need extra software to do it (although there is software that will do that).

Click here to find out how to do more typing in less time