These days there's a software program for almost everything. Partners LTD (JIAN, $149, 800-346-5426) guides you through the laborious mechanics of producing offering materials and limited-partnership agreements. The basic documents required by securities regulators in most states (along with such useful documents as shareholder buy-sell agreements) are included on the program's disk (in either Macintosh or DOS versions), where they can be easily edited (using your own word-processing software).

While the program should reduce the amount you'll spend on legal fees, it's not intended to eliminate your need for a lawyer. The manual reminds users frequently -- and in bold type -- to have their materials approved by "qualified legal counsel." -- Bruce G. Posner