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Tuesday, September 26, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: PIHRA
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By Robert Klein; a law practice to devoted to helping personal injury victims

How many solo or small firm practitioners do you know who can afford a full time editor for their writing, whether it is a letter to a client, a letter to opposing counsel, or a brief submitted to court? I looked at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that the median wage for a law related editor is slightly lower than $90,000 per year or $43.28 per hour. Frankly, I do not even think a midsize firm, let alone a solo or small firm, can hire an editor at that rate. Fret not. There are some terrific, inexpensive software tools for a fraction of the price which can be used to enhance and improve writing. Consider this as having a private in house editor. (By the way, I am not affiliated with any software mentioned in this article and receive nothing in return.)

One program is WordRake (www.wordrake.com). Full disclosure, I use this program. It will edit any Word document or Microsoft Outlook email. Unfortunately, it does not work with WordPerfect.  Although I use WordPerfect, when I want to edit a document, I simply cut and paste it into a Word document and run it through WordRake. WordRake is an editing program which goes beyond simply checking grammar and/or spelling. The algorithm removes unnecessary words and literally edits to improve clarity and meaning in any written document. The cost is approximately $130 per year with a reduction when you purchase a multi-year license. The program downloads to your computer and, as of now, is not available on Mac or on web only Office 365.

A second tool is CorrectEnglish (www.correctenglish.com). The program provides proofreading, writing tools and tips, and a writing evaluation. There is also an option to join a writing group for peer review and collaboration. You must be online for the service to function. They offer a low cost 30 day evaluation. The initial license is $120 and renewal is currently $20.00. I called to get additional information and customer service picked up right away and was very helpful.

Another product is called Hemingway App (www.hemingwayapp.com). The program allows you to “format your prose.” The program looks for hard to read sentences, complex words or phrases, and passive voice. It also calculates the number of sentences, words and a readability score. There is a desktop version for Mac or PC which is $19.00 to download. There is also a free online version that works like an online word processor.

Finally, I want to mention Slick Write (www.slickwrite.com). This is an online editor and acts like a word processor. The algorithm looks for grammar, structure flow, function words, adverbs, pronouns and uncommon words. It provides feedback on reading time, vocabulary variety and a readability index. It does not provide any auto correction features, but it analyzes your writing with a view to its readability. This is a free online program.

There are other products and online services available. Here is my idea. Let’s try and learn from each other. If there is a program you are using or a question you have, send me an email at robert@rkleinlaw.com. I will add a postscript in next month’s ePractitioner.


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