Man typing on laptopThis is the next post in my series on why attorneys should be using G Suite instead of Microsoft Office.

In this article, I’m going to look at why you should dump Microsoft Word and Excel in-favor of the alternatives found in G Suite.

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 G Suite (Google’s alternative to Office) is that it provides all the functionality a law firm needs. Not to mention, it’s far more simple to use (an important issue since most attorneys struggle with technology), meaning no more phone calls to the IT guy.

Want to make your life easier? If the answer is yes, then make this change. If the answer is no, you may want to ask yourself why you’re making things more difficult. Let’s start by looking at your word processing options; then, we’ll go over using document storage through Google Drive.

G Suite vs. Microsoft: Why Google Reigns as Champion

Attorneys will find G Suite much, much, much, much (much) easier to use than Microsoft. This, in turn, is good for your firm’s productivity. Increased productivity means increased profits.

I’ll begin by comparing Google’s word processor app to Microsoft’s. A battle between Google Docs and good-ole Microsoft Word. Since this is the main tool we’ll be using to create pleadings, it’s a great place to start.

Possibly the best part of Google Drive and Docs is its collaboration capability. You can open up your work from any computer (regardless of where you are) since files on Google Docs are stored on the cloud. This means no having to mess with remote servers or any of that nonsense.

After an initial upload time of uploading your files to Google’s cloud, everything will be available on every device with an internet connection. As long as you use Google Drive as your repository, everything will sync automatically. When you want to open any Google Doc, Spreadsheet, or other Google files, you’ll be able to do so straight from Google Drive on any computer.

No more remote logins or not being able to access documents due to server issues, like you’d run into with Microsoft Word.

You’ll also find that Docs offers a good experience on mobile devices. Opening a document on a mobile device isn’t the most ideal situation, but the Google Drive app’s mobile optimization is as good as it gets.

How to Start Using G Suite & Google Docs to Generate Pleadings

Now that we’re on the same page of why G Suite tools are superior, let’s go over the basics of using Google’s collaboration software so you can start generating pleadings — fast.

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).

Then click the “Docs” icon, and you’ll open a new document.

Here are the basic controls for Google Docs to help you get started on a legal pleading paper:

  • To name a document in Docs, 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, click the folder icon that appears next to the name of the document. Then select the location you wish to save it in.

  • If you want to re-use an old Google Doc, then doing so is simple. First, open the document. Click “File” and click “Make a Copy.” Select the folder where you want the copy saved. 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.

Cut and paste functionality works perfectly in Docs as long as you’re using Google Chrome. If you want to use an old document (that you have saved in Word) in Docs, copy the content, and paste it.

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

To make the switch to Drive and Docs for your firm, install the Google Drive client on all of your computers. This works exactly like Dropbox. To do this, upload all of your files from your local server and save them into Google Drive.

Using Google Docs & a Pleadings Paper Template

Until relatively recently, Google Docs (Google’s word processor) didn’t provide a simple way to create legal pleadings. I was going to create the Docs template you’d need to do so, but someone recently created a great template (kudos to that fine chap).

To start drafting legal pleadings, you need a pleadings paper template that works with Google Docs.

First, log into your Google account, then go here:

Once you have the template open, 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 a forms directory, so you have it handy.

Is Google Drive Secure for Lawyers?

When it comes to cloud storage, nothing can be 100% safe when it’s uploaded onto the internet.

However, Google has extensive experience when it comes to security and protecting your data, and Google Drive is ISO 27001 certified.

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Is there a reason for you not to be using G Suite for word processing, spreadsheets, and document storage through Google Drive? Sure. Maybe you love aggravation, computer problems, watching everyone in your office struggle with complicated technology, and enjoy 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 your firm’s software needs. If you’re interested, Litify (practice management platform for law firms) has a guide on how to choose the right legal document management software that talks about what to watch for and how to keep your document system secure as well.

Why do you feel so many attorneys stay married to Microsoft Office when better options are available? Please chime in through the comment form below. If you require assistance with deploying G Suite in your law firm, then contact us online.

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(disclaimer: We will receive a referral fee from Google when you sign up for G Suite through links on our website)