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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The Warm Glow

"You Write Like a Lawyer" Isn't a Compliment

You know the feeling: You write “codified” or “assuming arguendo” or “inter alia” or “vis-à-vis,” and just above that little bump at the back of your head, you feel this warmth, like if a neurosurgeon cracked open both layers of your skull, she would see, shining through the dura mater, a soft purple light, pulsating.


That’s The Warm Glow. We get The Warm Glow when we write this stuff, because writing this stuff makes us feel like an inside member of a very tiny, select group of people (not very well liked, but respected) called lawyers. Anytime you feel The Warm Glow, you know there’s a problem.


Occasionally, I get to teach to a group of Summer Associates at a large firm. I love working with this group because it is the perfect time to tell them the most important thing anyone will ever tell them as long as they practice law:


Writing like a lawyer IS the problem.


You don’t want to Write-Like-A-Lawyer. You want to Think-Like-A-Lawyer. But you want to write like a warm, logical, compassionate, intelligent, fair-minded human. Removing or replacing the words and phrases that produce The Warm Glow is an important step in that direction.


So the next time you’re working on a memorandum or brief and suddenly feel like people can see your aura, check the words you’ve just written, and try to delete or replace them. And, yes, that includes your favorite: "pursuant to."

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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.