19 July, 2020
By Ivy Grey
Lawyers spend a lot of time working in MS Word, so there are great benefits to improving how it works for you. Here are just some of the problems that MS Word plug-ins can help with:
Typos steal focus, and the appearance of a document makes a difference. If your readers are struggling over typos, word choice, and layout, they’re not paying attention to your point—and they’re certainly missing nuance. Make your point effectively and persuasively with clear text. Improve your editing and proofreading with an electronic editing tool.
Lawyers are trained to strive for near-perfection. That pressure means it’s easy to spend nearly as much time proofreading your document as you spent to create it. But this focus is lopsided; and clients don’t feel that it provides enough value. This creates a last mile problem, where the final 10-20% of the project costs as much as the initial 80-90%, which included the “heavy lifting.” Put the emphasis back where it belongs by outsourcing to software that you control and can trust.
Clients may not see the value of legal industry requirements such as properly formatting legal citations and creating tables of authorities, but you’ve still got to do them, and you’ve got to do them right. The result is that these time-consuming tasks are often written off on client bills. Proofreading software can help you minimize the time spent on that work. Use it to ensure the time you dedicate to a document is well-spent and billable. Use tools like jEugene and American Legal Style for PerfectIt to ensure that your writing is error-free. These programs are inexpensive so you can afford to buy them for yourself. Your reputation is worth it.
Regulatory and litigation risk are increasing. That means document complexity is increasing, too. However, client expenditure has stayed the same. The result is that it takes more legal thinking and legal work to produce the same work product each year. A good place to reduce wasted time and effort so that you can still deliver the same output is in your word processing.
Nobody chose a career in law because they like proofreading, reformatting, and otherwise fighting with MS Word. Yet that’s how many lawyers spend their days. The result is burnout. But MS Word add-ins mean you don’t have to fight with MS Word at all. Legal work is more fulfilling when you cut the amount of time you spend reformatting and spend more time on substantive matters.
You want to spend your best working hours performing high-value work, so you leave proofreading and editing your documents until the end of the day. Unfortunately, you’re already tired from a long day of work, so you are less likely to proofread effectively. It takes more read-throughs when you’re exhausted than it would if you were reviewing while refreshed the next day. But the pace of legal practice and the cycle of exhaustion makes it impossible to do that. Proofreading software can ease the burden and end that vicious cycle.
You can commit to making significant, yet low-risk improvements to your legal practice with inexpensive software. Try PerfectIt with American Legal Style for proofreading and editing and you’ll find that you can: