Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 124 / DECEMBER 1990 / PAGE 91


Many of the most important decisions you'll make require expert legal assistance. Unfortunately, legal advice can be expensive and hard to understand. To the rescue comes Home Lawyer from Meca Ventures, a user-friendly expert program that helps you create simple legal documents and special letters.

Home Lawyer generates documents in plain English from your responses to simple questions. You can respond directly onscreen or first print a paper work sheet and then transfer information from the work sheet to the screen. To help you out, the program offers response choices (sometimes samples); these appear on the screen and in the very clear and complete manual provided with the program.

With Home Lawyer, you can create simple legal documents, including wills, powers of attorney, residential leases, promissory notes, bills of sale, and independent contractor agreements. Special letters the program helps you write include demands for money owed, bad-check notices, and requests for credit reports.

The public has always had the right to create legal documents without attorneys; but the legalese that comprises most laws, forms, and instructions makes writing legal documents an arduous—and sometimes dangerous—task. Home Lawyer's greatest strength is the fact that it's user friendly. It allows you to do for yourself much of what you once relied on lawyers to do for you.

Consequently, Home Lawyer carries various disclaimers, including an initial comprehensive one which states that the manufacturer does not guarantee that the program is valid when used, will lead to the desired result, or will carry out the intentions of the user. It also includes a directory of State Bar Associations and notes when to consult an attorney.

Home Lawyer allows no customizing of documents other than in response to its questions. I found this particularly frustrating because its durable power of attorney provides consent for medical and personal care. Powers of attorney for medical care are valuable documents that should be left for babysitters, neighbors, and schools responsible for children when the parents are unavailable. However, Home Lawyer's version incorporates the right to make decisions regarding personal care, support, maintenance, and living arrangements, as well—virtually giving custody to the caretaker.

At a list price of $119,1 would've expected more choices or more ability to customize. Perhaps future versions will correct these problems by expanding the types of documents which can be created. Then you could truly say that you had a lawyer in your PC.


Ease of Use ****
Documentation ****
Features **
Innovation **

IBM PC and compatibles, 256K RAM,
DOS 2.0 or higher—$119

327 Riverside Ave.
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 226-2400