Management Assistance Program

The Power of Microsoft Word Templates

By Jim Calloway

Last week in this space OBA Practice Management Advisor Julie Bays passed along a warning from consultant Barron Henley that if you don’t exercise care, Microsoft’s AutoSave feature can overwrite your form before you can click “Save as.”

Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Center for Practice Management, did a lengthy post related to this topic titled Avoid Overwriting Documents. But Catherine goes into detail about how lawyers need to be using Microsoft Word templates. If you are a lawyer who has never created or used a template, this is strongly recommended for you. If the first thing you do when opening a new blank document is manually change the font to something you like better, you need to modify your Normal template (Normal.dotm ) so the font you prefer is the default. When you file your first pleading in a litigation matter likely to generate many filings, then create a template named “ClientX Pleading” with the case caption, appropriate signature block and certificate of mailing. Place that template where everyone in the office can use it to speed up the drafting process. If there is a substitution of counsel, then amend the template. Catherine’s post is good to share around your office.