Law Technology News
April 2002
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On the Mark

Editor:

I could not agree more with [Mark Voorhees] regarding Macs in the law office. I'm a computer consultant in the San Diego area, a town where there are more lawyers than people. Unfortunately, Mac's trials throughout the years have proved too little too late. With their latest operating system and their new mushroom computer they are doing some real cool stuff. However, as you mention in your article, it's not the best that wins.

This brings me to my second point, Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect. Speaking from a well-trained background in both Word and WordPerfect, as well as an authorized reseller/trainer of both, I would not count WordPerfect out of the picture.

You see, in order for Microsoft Corp. to be "King of the Hill" in the legal arena, they must have the installation base of Word users. This is not the case. Corel without a doubt leads the legal industry with a better than 66 percent margin.

I'm not sure where you got your facts on this, maybe from the same folks that said Mac has 25 percent of the legal market?

In any case regardless of the debate which is the better word processor (and we know that WordPerfect is) Word still has a way to go in order to take control of the legal market.

You do raise a valid point though, what do firms do when their clients are using something different, i.e., Word? In most cases documents convert easily back and forth between both Word and WordPerfect.

To get around the problem there are always HTML formats that help to get around these types of issues.

Let me leave you with something to chew on. Just a few short years ago the computer industry with big hype said we all had to migrate to Microsoft's NT. Fast forward to today and you will find that any network consultant that is worth his or her weight in bytes will concur that was a huge mistake and many are reverting back to Novell.

What we learned from this is not to jump ship and re-invest in the latest and greatest, but to seek the industry standards and position yourself in a way that will benefit you in the long run. I think it will be a while before the powerhouse of Microsoft can take over the world.

Keep up the good work,

David Ready
Davelle Consulting
San Diego

* * * *

Editor:

Mark Voorhees recently exercised his first amendment right to excoriate the Macintosh and WordPerfect in your rag as irrelevant to the legal market. Unlike a number of lawyers who use a Macintosh to earn their daily bread, I did not immediately call my friend Vinnie to put out a contract on Mr. Voorhees.

That remedy wasn't really appropriate because, in the end, Voorhees didn't say anything that hasn't been obvious on both sides of the aisle for 10 years: Macintosh has a minuscule share of the legal market and it does not run as many legal applications as Windows. Big deal. I won't even argue that the situation is changing. It doesn't matter.

What does matter is that there is a not insignificant number of lawyers out here who are perfectly satisfied with the systems offered by the Macintosh. Lawyers from sole practitioners like myself to big firms like Adams & Reese in New Orleans or Chapman & Cutler in Chicago. Lawyers who practice in every area of law imaginable. Lawyers who would happily endorse a testimonial for the platform.

But what is most important is that by venting in the public forum of your newspaper, the headline and the tone of his article gives credence to the lie. It gives succor to the Windows bigots in I.T. positions who claim, without really knowing, that the Mac is more expensive or that it cannot live on the firm's network or that Microsoft Word isn't available or any one of a hundred other misperceptions about the Macintosh.

Voorhees hasn't said anything in his article, but it sounds like he has. And that's enough for the bigots. It adds another bent arrow to their quivers. Unfortunately, Voorhees' article was kind of a journalistic fart. It didn't serve any real purpose, but it sure smelled up the place.

G. Edmund Siebel Jr.
Solo Practitioner/Consultant
Balboa Island, Calif.

Editor's note: Ed Siebel is a member of the LTN Editorial Advisory Board, and his consulting clients have included Apple Computer Inc.

* * * *

Editor: Editor:

Your March 2002 Mac Corner column [by Mark Voorhees] is simply a waste of space. As you are aware, your Mac and WordPerfect rant attacks a straw man. Any Mac user in a law firm will use Microsoft Word and all Word documents can be used either on a Mac or a Microsoft PC.

Your notion that lawyers who use Macs are "zealots" is pathetic -- you might as well say a lawyer who prefers a Porsche should drive a Ford because more people do. Keep it to yourself and use your space intelligently.

L. F. Brooks
city etc.

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