Software news by Peter Frankl 14 January 2013

Last month, while Australia was on holidays, there was some client-uptake news for a new grammar-checking tool that is an add-in to Word. The tool is called WordRake and it has been specifically developed for lawyers and legal writing. 

It was developed in North America. I asked a spokesperson for the product whether it was suitable for Australia? As you know, water spins around the drain in a different direction in the Southern Hemisphere. The message I got back was she’ll be right mate. 

Microsoft through Word, and Google through its word processer (whatever it’s called) have solved the world’s spelling problems. However, they only do a so-so job with grammar. That’s given rise to third party grammar-checking tools such as Grammarly.

I am completely paranoid about my grammar because I am so hopeless at it. I don’t take grammar for granted and often have to edit and read a piece of writing many times over until it sounds right.

My own experience of working with law firms in Australia leads me to believe that we have a significant proportion of English-as-a-second-language lawyers and paralegals. A tool like WordRake would be of great benefit to both writers and readers.

I have been trialling WordRake and have found that it does identify my grammar shortcomings, or should that be grammatical shortcomings? While I don’t accept every suggestion it makes, I do appreciate the feedback and it is an excellent learning tool.

WordRake was released to the market in mid-2012. It has been developed by someone at the top of the field of legal writing. According to the company, by the end of 2012, hundreds of North American law firms had adopted the tool.

A user, Jeff Sharp, managing partner at Chicago’s prestigious intellectual property firm, Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP recommends WordRake:

“I am a big fan of WordRake software and I use it to edit briefs, memoranda and other documents. As an IP lawyer, I write a lot  and my documents must be clear and persuasive. Good writing comes from strong editing – shorter is usually better. I am recommending WordRake to others in our firm, both lawyers and administrative staff. It is an excellent tool that is useful for any professional” states Jeff Sharp.

  WordRake is a lawyer’s friend as per the product’s website:

  

At present, pricing is US$79 to US$99 per annum with further volume discounts. One downside to the pricing is that it is tied to an individual computer, although it can be moved to another computer with the assistance of the company’s help desk.

Here are a couple of recent reviews of the tool: 
LawSites Blog and Attorney at Work Blog

Find WordRake at 
www.wordrake.com