Generating pleading paper with the pleading macro in WordPerfect

July 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm

All versions of WordPerfect since 1992 have included a pleading paper macro. It is very easy to use.

The simplest way to run the macro is via the Legal Toolbar.[1] If you don’t display that toolbar as a matter of course, you can open it by clicking the View menu, Toolbars, checking “Legal” (you might have to scroll down to locate it in the list), and clicking “OK.” The icon for the pleading macro is the first one at the left side of the Legal Toolbar — unless you are using a very old version of WordPerfect, in which case it might be the second icon from the left.

Clicking the icon invokes the “Pleading Paper” dialog. You can tinker with the margins and other formatting from this dialog before running the macro; you also have the option of changing the formatting after you generate the pleading paper. Typically, the only formatting options I tweak prior to running the macro are the settings for left and right margins (both are set by default to 1″). To change the margins, click the “Margins” button, then use measurements appropriate for your jurisdiction. For California, I set the left margin at 1.5″ and the right margin at .5″; your state and local rules might dictate different settings.

Note as well the “Stop number,” which is the last line number that will appear at the left side of each page of the pleading paper. The default is 28. Because California uses 28 numbered lines, I never change that number, but again, you might need to use a different setting depending on your jurisdiction.

Even though I often have to change the bottom margin (i.e., make it smaller) to accommodate the pleading footer that is required by the Judicial Council, I don’t change the margin before running the macro. The reason is that doing so could alter the distance between the line numbers when the pleading paper generates, possibly making it difficult to align the text with the line numbers. By contrast, if I leave the top and bottom margins set at the default of 1″, the text usually aligns perfectly with the line numbers — requiring only slight manipulation if I need to switch between single-spaced quotes and double-spaced body text.

Once you have changed the left and right margins, click “OK” to save your settings, then click “OK” a second time to generate the pleading paper. In recent versions of WP, the line spacing in the body of the generated pleading is set at double. To change that to single spacing for the attorney name, firm information, and case caption, leave the cursor at the very top of the document and simply press Ctrl 1 (if you use the Windows keyboard; Ctrl 1 doesn’t work with the DOS-compatible keyboard) or click Format, Line, Spacing, 1, OK.

At this point, you might be wondering, “Why not just change the line spacing to 1 before running the pleading macro?” Good question! The answer is that if you do so, the line numbers in the left margin of the pleading paper, as well as the text of the pleading, will end up single-spaced. Thus it’s better to adjust the line spacing (and the bottom margin) after generating the pleading paper.

If you prefer, you can run the pleading macro by clicking the Tools menu, Macro, Play, and, when the Play Macro dialog appears, double-clicking the macro labeled “Pleading.” Then follow the steps outlined above for configuring and running the macro.

Note that you can re-run the pleading macro — and modify the settings — at any time. So if you inadvertently change, or fail to change, a particular setting the first time you invoke the macro, just run it a second time, using your preferred settings. The newly generated paper will overwrite the previous draft.

Recent versions of WordPerfect also come with a utility called the “Pleading Expert Designer,” which you can use to fill in the court information, set up a case caption, and insert a document name and other such details. (It works something like Word’s Pleading Wizard.) I’ll explain how to use the Pleading Expert Designer in a subsequent post.

[1] The Legal Toolbar is a handy device. It also displays icons for working with a Table of Contents and a Table of Authorities, for inserting redlining and/or strikeout marks, for comparing document drafts, for adding a watermark, for applying an outline or automatic paragraph numbering, and for saving a document without metadata. In addition, there’s a button for saving in EDGAR format (I haven’t used this feature, so I’m not sure how — or how well — it works).

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