Writing Tips

Legal Writing

Our best writing tip? Edit for clarity and brevity with WordRake. It’s an automated in-line editor that checks for needless words, cumbersome phrases, clichés, and more.

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One Question Few Lawyers Ask

The Value of Concise Legal Writing

Why should I remove unnecessary words?

 

Your reader approaches your writing with one thought: This person put these words in here because she’s trying to tell me something.

But in the first sentence, your reader senses: Maybe some of these words don’t need to be in here.

 

Then your reader reverts to an automatic, subliminal, sorting-out process, trying to determine: Which words do I need to understand what this lawyer’s trying to tell me?

During that sorting-out process, your reader slows and comprehends less.

Good writers go through the sorting-out process for the reader, so the reader starts on the first sentence and flies through the words, sentence after sentence, because every word connects.

Here are edits WordRake produced while raking one of the many complaints filed against Bernie Madoff and JP Morgan Chase:

Is it possible to get some clarification clarify as to how the fund made money during times of market distress? How did they manage to get better than 3M T-Bill returns? For example, from From April to September 2002, the S&P 100 Index was down 30%, cash yielded 1%, and the Fund was able to generate generated over 6% returns.

That’s 57 words down to 46 words. Not only does the reader now have almost 20% fewer words to read, the reader also does not have to sort through them, searching for the ones with meaning.

 

Your sentences do not have to be short; you do not have to dumb down your discussion or your vocabulary; but you do have to remove words not conveying meaning. Otherwise, they obscure the words trying to connect with your reader.

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About Gary Kinder

Gary Kinder

WordRake founder Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for AMLAW 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author. As a writing expert and coach, Gary was inspired to create WordRake when he noticed a pattern in writing errors that he thought he could address with technology.

In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake editing software to help writers produce clear, concise, and effective prose. It saves time and gives confidence. Writing and editing has never been easier.

WordRake takes you beyond the merely grammatical to the truly great—the quality editor you’ve always wanted. See for yourself.

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How Does it Work?

WordRake is editing software designed by writing expert and New York Times bestselling author Gary Kinder. Like an editor or helpful colleague, WordRake ripples through your document checking for needless words and cumbersome phrases. Its complex algorithms find and improve weak lead-ins, confusing language, and high-level grammar and usage slips.

WordRake runs in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and its suggestions appear in the familiar track-changes style. If you’ve used track changes, you already know how to use WordRake. There’s nothing to learn and nothing to interpret. Editing for clarity and brevity has never been easier.