Man typing on laptopThis is the next post in my series on why attorneys should be using G Suite instead of Microsoft Office. My last article looked at setting up Gmail for your law office. This came after my discussion on why lawyers should use Gmail instead of Microsoft Outlook. The short and skinny of it is that G Suite (which is Google’s alternative to Office) provides all the functionality a law firm needs, is far more simple to use (an important issue since most attorneys struggle with technology), and means no more phone calls to the IT guy. In this article I’m going to look at why you should dump Microsoft Word and Excel and favor of the alternatives found in G Suite. Want to make your life easier? If the answer is yes then make this change. If the answer is no……..then……well……..you may want to ask yourself why you are making things so difficult. Let’s start by looking at your word processing options and then we’ll dive into spreadsheets. I’ll wrap up this article by looking at document storage through Google Drive.

Until relatively recently Google Docs (which is Google’s word processor) didn’t provide a simple way to create legal pleadings. As part of this series I was going to create the Docs template you would need for doing so but someone recently created a great template (kudos to that fine chap). I’m going to give you a quick run through of how to start generating pleadings in Docs. Let’s first run over a few of the differences between Docs and Microsoft Word so you don’t struggle with the transition.

Attorneys will find Docs much, much, much, much (much) easier to use than Word. This, in turn, is good for your firm’s productivity. This increased productivity will then increase profits. To open a new Google Doc simply click the apps launcher which appears in the upper right hand corner of your Gmail account (or from many other Google related screens). Click the “Docs” icon and you’ll open a new document. Here are a few of the differences between Docs and MS Word:

  • To name a document in Docs simply click where it says “Untitled Document” in the upper left. Then type in your desired name. There’s no more going through the “save as” option found in Word.
  • To move the document you just created to another folder simply click the folder icon that appears next to the name of the document. Then select the location which you wish to save it in (you’ll be using Google Drive, which I’ll explain below).
  • If you want to re-use and old Google Doc then doing so is simple. First, open the document. Simply click “File” and click “Make a Copy.” Select the folder you want the copy saved in. Again, you’ll be using Google Drive. You can then rename the document using the method I just described.
  • When you click the Docs icon, from the apps launcher, you’ll notice that the items you’ve been working on most recently immediately appear. To continue working on something simply click on it.

There’s also the issue of drafting pleadings. First you need a pleadings template that works with Google Docs. First, log into your Google account (you need to be logged in) then check out this legal pleadings template for Google Docs. Once you have the template open then you just go to the “file” menu, make a copy and move it as explained above. There you go – you now have a template for generating pleadings. I’d suggest saving the template into some type of a forms directory so you have it handy.

Cut and paste functionality works just fine in Docs as long as you’re using Google Chrome. If you want to use the substance of an old Motion (that you have saved in Word) in Docs simply copy the content and paste it. You’ll also find that Docs offers a good experience on mobile devices, on tablets, and that you can open up your work from any computer (regardless of where you are) without having to mess with remote servers or any of that nonsense.

Opening and creating a spreadsheet in G Suite works much the same way as described above. Simply click the “Sheets” icon from the apps launcher. As with the word processor, you’ll find this much easier to use and more light weight than Microsoft Excel.

Finally, install the Google Drive client on all of your computers. This works exactly like Dropbox. Simply copy all of your files from your local server and save them into Google Drive. After an initial upload time everything will be saved on every machine, regardless of where you are. As long as you use Google Drive as your repository everything will sync automatically. No more remote logins or not being able to access documents due to server issues. When you want to open a Google Doc or Spreadsheet you’ll also be able to do so straight from your computer’s file folder for Google Drive, just as you would any other folder.

Is there a reason for you to not be using G Suite for word processing, spreadsheets, and document storage through Google Drive? Sure. That reason would be the fact that you love aggravation, computer problems, watching everyone in your office struggle to use overly complicated technology, and that you like writing checks to the IT guy. If, for reasons I can sure understand, you don’t like these things then you need to switch over to G Suite for these software needs.

Why do you feel so many attorney stay married to Microsoft Office when better options are available? Please chime in through the comment form below.