How to Save Your Law Practice Money: Part I
Here’s an easy way to save your law practice several hundred dollars in the next few months. The next time you have to purchase a new computer do not buy a copy of MicroSoft Office, MicroSoft Word, or WordPerfect. Even basic versions of these programs can run several hundred dollars per computer.1 You don’t have to purchase these programs!
Try OpenOffice instead! I have been using OpenOffice on my home and work computers for the last three years and have been extremely happy with it. I have given copies of this program to family, friends, and colleagues who are also all very happy with it. I’ve used it for simple correspondence, legal pleadings, spreadsheets, and presentations.
Here are a few “real world” benefits:
OpenOffice is totally 100% free open source software
Free as in free. Give it to your friends. Install it at home and on your kids’ computers. Don’t worry about software piracy. Its totally, completely, free.
OpenOffice has better document recovery
Its important to know that OpenOffice is much more stable than anything MicroSoft or WordPerfect has to offer. It is extremely rare that OpenOffice crashes on me. If you’re using MicroSoft Word and you haven’t saved your document at least once, a single crash will completely erase all of your progress. The very few times that OpenOffice has crashed on me I have gotten all of my data back – even when I haven’t saved the file once.
OpenOffice has everything you need
OpenOffice has all the features of MicroSoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and WordPerfect. You can also use the OpenOffice suite of software to open, edit, and save to MicroSoft Word and WordPerfect formats. It won’t automatically open the MicroSoft Office 2007 formats yet, but you can find plugins and software to do this for you (also for free). OpenOffice has spell check, grammar check, autocorrect, macros, and templates (even legal pleading templates!).
OpenOffice can do more than its competitors
OpenOffice can save as, open, and even edit a PDF. Editing a PDF requires a plugin, but it is very easy to install (and also free!). Just being able to print to a PDF is going to make your documents easier to share with others and, hopefully, one day easier to share with EAMS too.23
If you’re not convinced to make the leap with your next computer purchase, then download OpenOffice now and give it a shot on your current computer. Here’s their website link: