As a legal professional, you know that legal writing can be time-consuming, dense, and just plain boring at times! Of course, it’s also an unavoidable part of litigation. Whether you’re naturally verbose or fond of short, concise sentences – there are tools that you can use to help you improve your writing and increase productivity.
In this article, we’re going to look beyond basic spell check programs and explore some lesser-known tools for legal writing. We have not received any sponsorship deals or financial incentives to promote these providers, so you can feel confident that you’re receiving unbiased suggestions.
American Legal Style
The first tool on our list was designed by lawyers, for lawyers. It is an optional function for the mass-market editing tool: PerfectIt. Used together, they are a powerful tool in the arsenal of any attorney.
American Legal Style scans your writing for legal-specific errors that other programs won’t catch. For example, you can use it to confirm consistent capitalization of defined terms or correct transposed or missing letters in court and reporter names. Ultimately, this simplifies the proofreading process. It’s like having your own legal editor, available on your schedule!
If you’ve seen the ads for Grammarly, you may already know a bit about this service. As the name suggests, Grammarly was originally meant to help correct errors in grammar and spelling. Using powerful artificial intelligence, the program scans your document and offers corrections and suggestions for more professional writing.
Recently, Grammarly has also rolled out tools that allow users to review their work to ensure it has a consistent tone that’s appropriate for the intended audience. Grammarly offers basic services for free, while Premium features can be accessed with an annual payment plan.
While Google Docs isn’t exclusively marketed for legal professionals, it still offers some valuable tools that you might not expect. One of the primary benefits of Google’s free service is the ease of online collaboration. If you’re working on a document draft with another attorney, both of you can access the document and work simultaneously.
When you’re working online, Google automatically saves your progress in real-time, but you can also download your documents for offline work if you’re going to be out of service. Google Docs does have some major formatting limitations, but we’ve found that it’s relatively easy to apply the correct formatting when you’re finished collaborating. (Plus, the power of Google Docs can also be combined with Grammarly, simply by installing their browser extension!)
If you’re not already using Scrivner, you could be working harder than necessary. Many law firms and attorneys love Scrivner because it offers support for complicated documents. From appellate briefs to summary motions, you’ll be able to organize your work and navigate easily between documents.
Although it’s not the default viewing format, Scrivner allows you to use a tree-based approach to simplify navigation. When you’re reviewing a 60-page judicial opinion or annotating a brief – this can help you stay organized and present the information visually. Some people retain information more effectively using visual aids, so this navigation is an invaluable bonus for visual learners.
Thanks for reading! Have you tried any of the tools we mentioned? Did we forget to mention your favorite legal writing aid? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share it on social media!