BigLaw firms still employ summer interns and summer associates to do a lot of the grunt work associated with editing and proofreading, but solo and small firm attorneys don't usually have that luxury. What do the smaller guys do when there's not enough money to go around?
These days, more and more small firms are employing software to do the editing for them. These robot editors are getting cheaper, too. Some robots are even questioning the hallowed words of Supreme Court justices. This sounds great, and you may even want to get your very own. But where do you start?
Software Editors Replacing Humans
Humans need breaks and often develop attitude. Plus, they might need a fair bit of editing themselves. As for lawyers, we can all use as much writing and editing help as we can get.
Enter the robot editors that are now available for lawyers. The ones that lawyers frequently use are WordRake and PerfectIt. For the moment, put aside your fears about robots taking lawyer jobs. These robot editors can seriously come in handy.
It's best to think of PerfectIt as Microsoft Word's spell check and grammar check on EPO. It's purchased as an add-on to MS Word and contains a library of style sheets tailored specifically for lawyers. This is nice for persons who really have editing and formatting issues because the program automatically accounts for these styles based on Black's Law Dictionary and the notorious Bluebook.
The latest update added about 5,000 corrections to the program. It's price tag is about $100. And this modest sum makes it one of the best investments you can make into your firm.
Another add-on for Microsoft is WordRake.
The first version of this program came out several years ago and version 3.0 is soon to be released, which will feature two main functions. The first, called Plain Writing, basically applies simple English to your writing and strips your text of all legalese so that even Posner will give it the thumbs up. The other function, known as Clear and Concise, will do what WordRake has done for years: "rakes" your document of unnecessary and confusing terms and words.
The beta is still in testing, so it's not out for purchase yet. In the meantime, you can satisfy yourself with using current version 2.0. Also, you can use PerfectIt just to remove stupid errors from your pleadings and client communications.