Using Microsoft Word as a Legal Business Professional
Updated on July 2, 2021 | by Austin
Microsoft Word is one of the most widely used computer applications among high school students, copywriters, and lawyers. In other words, if you need something written, Word does it best. As you know, lawyers do a fair bit of writing, making Microsoft Word a very relevant program.
Think about it, briefs, memoranda, communication with clients and other legal professionals, and so much more. If you’re not a bit of a writer, you’re probably not a lawyer. However, as you can imagine, lawyers have very different requirements from high school students, copywriters, and professionals in other fields.
For starters, lawyers like to utilize best practices through the use of templates. It makes sense; you really don’t need to write every single contract from scratch. Why spend more time on writing when you can just use a template, right? While that’s a lot more convenient and less time-consuming than writing a contract from scratch, it comes with its own limitations. Let’s talk about how lawyers can use Microsoft Word for free to overcome these limitations!
Microsoft Word Add-Ins
While Microsoft Word boasts a lot of useful features that lawyers can utilize, the real gold is stored in Word add-ins. Get these extra programs to make the best of your time proofreading, editing, and writing.
Loio is a useful tool for contract editing. Often, the process of editing contracts is so dreadful because there are too many elements at play. You have to make sure there are no typos, which is the easy part. At the same time, you have to keep track of the formatting to avoid any inconsistencies. Finally, the text has to provide accurate information every step of the way. The terminology used cannot be vague or inconsistent.
That’s where Loio comes in! It’s a Microsoft Word add-in that makes editing documents easy and quick. For starters, the program will highlight any potential mistakes in the text. Then, it will do the same with formatting inconsistencies. The best part is, you don’t have to go back and change everything manually. The program makes suggestions and allows you to implement them with just one click. Finally, it will highlight all the little details that may need double-checking. Think phone numbers, addresses, bank account numbers, names, and so on. Using this tool can save you hours of contract review. What would take you an hour will take software no longer than a few seconds.
Grammarly is another useful tool you should invest in. Unlike the tool mentioned above, Grammarly gives you suggestions while you’re still working on the document. It’s an automatic tool that doesn’t require any input from your side. Just download it and it’s good to go!
What it does is essentially check for spelling and syntax mistakes. Grammarly will tell you if your sentences are too wordy, if you’re using too many adjectives, and if you should delete something altogether. Though Word has a built-in grammar checker, it’s not as powerful as Grammarly. The tool will help you sound professional at all times and avoid any silly mistakes.
Microsoft Word Track Changes
When you’re collaborating with your colleagues on a document, you need to be able to see all the changes someone implemented. Even more, you should be able to reverse those changes and provide comments. Microsoft Word enables you to do all the above! With the Track Changes feature, you can keep track of all the changes made to a document.
Without this tool, your suggestions are difficult to spot, let alone compare to the original version of the text. Track Changes highlights all the changes and presents them as suggestions rather than changed text. The next person in line can see your suggested changes and approve or disprove them. This is incredibly useful in the process of contract review.
Microsoft Word Styles
One of the most basic, yet incredibly helpful features of Microsoft Word is Styles. Putting together a legal document and making it look appealing is a difficult task that many lawyers dread. Manually selecting chunks of text and changing their formatting can take hours, if not more. With Styles, this concern is no longer relevant.
Styles allow you to apply a pre-selected number of features to a piece of text. For example, if you choose to format your heading as Heading 1, it will automatically change the size of the text and make it bold. You don’t need to conduct two separate actions; just apply the style of your choosing.
There is a number of standard styles you can use for any standard text. Title, Subtitle, Headings, and Body are all Styles you can utilize in almost any document. If you have a set of requirements that surpass the standard Styles offered by Microsoft Word, you can modify them and even create your own. This will come in handy next time you’re creating a document in Microsoft Word.
Of course, creating your own Styles is a bit more advanced and definitely not necessary for a casual user. However, if you often find yourself applying a selection of formatting changes to pieces of text, it’s worth looking into. Styles can save you lots of time!
And the Winner is…
There is a reason that in the fight of WordPerfect vs Microsoft Word, the latter walked away as the winner. Even though WordPerfect was presented as a solution made specifically for the legal field, it failed to accommodate most lawyers. Microsoft Word is easily integrated with other legal solutions, making it the perfect addition to your workflow. Use these tools to make your legal practice even more efficient.