A Valuable Writing and Editing Tool for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Though Not Yet Ready for Mac – My Shingle

Final month, I sat by means of a demo of Briefcatch, a new word insert-in created by attorney and legal crafting qualified, Ross Guberman, who is profiled right here.  As explained in the companion submit, Briefcatch is a Term ad-on that will counsel grammatical and stylistic adjustments to a proposed quick and rating it centered on 5 different criteria.

Quick catch is rather straightforward to use. After installing Briefcatch, it appears as a tab in Term. Customers basically click the tab and can decide on a single of four options: catch, very clear, stats and report. Catch will clearly show and explain modifying options that customers can take or reject. And the program will also rating the draft and problem s summary report with a brief overview of overused terms and assessment of strengths and weaknesses.

Below in Part I, you will come across screenshots from my examination operate of Briefcatch. My critique of the merchandise follows in Part II.

I. Test Run of Briefcatch 

Below is an illustration of how Briefcatch performs in action, working with the briefs in the current Supreme Courtroom final decision in Hall v. Hall  as an illustration for the reason that it is a modern day-day Cinderella tale of a solo attorney pulling out a 9- victory at the court.  As a bonus, the Petitioner was represented by a single of my friend and colleague, Andy Simpson – also MyShingle’s very first Shingular Feeling  while the Respondents were being represented by Neil Katyal of Hogan Lovells, a business that I’ve long gone up in opposition to quite a few periods and dependably turns out some of the finest legal crafting about.  If you’re interested in observing the genuine briefs, you can come across them at SCOTUS Blog site.

The display shots under clearly show how quick catch performs on each the Petitioner’s quick (on the left) and Respondent’s quick (on the suitable).

These screens clearly show how Briefcatch scores the briefs. Quick catch examines predictable attributes like sentence duration, but also much more functional ones that make a variation to the reader: looking at pleasure, punchiness, basic English and stream.  After all, a quick may well have fantastic grammar but still demonstrate boring as nails to read. Below, as may be expected at the SCOTUS level, each the petitioner’s and respondent’s briefs gained roughly equal, higher scores. The greatest variations were being on stream, in which Respondent’s quick scored 91 to Petitioner’s 65, and on Basic English in which Petitioner gained a 91, 9 points much more than Respondent’s 83.

These final screenshots clearly show the summary report. Not surprisingly centered on the over scores, the Report suggests that Respondent lower out some of the jargon to simplify the language. For Petitioner, the Report compliments the quick for “relatively quick sentences,” – a component that may well have also contributed to the decrease stream rating.

I. My Evaluate of Briefcatch

So now that you have seen how Briefcatch performs, right here are some of my thoughts:


  1. I’ve attempted quite a few standard modifying tools as perfectly as those purportedly for the legal profession. Briefcatch exceeds those tools for the reason that of its multi-dimensional performance. In other terms, Briefcatch doesn’t just look at grammar and sentence duration, but also at the doc in its entirety. Briefcatch also features possibilities for edits so that you can choose the a single that performs finest.  A record of Briefcatch’s capabilities can be found here .
  2. Due to the fact Briefcatch was created by a seasoned legal writer who also reads A Lot of briefs (Ross can identify some judge’s basically by the catch-phrases they sometimes use), I had a higher level of self confidence in the effects. With some of the other tools that I’ve attempted, it did not seem like the excellent of the doc enhanced all round.
  3. Briefcatch serves as a precious resource for solos and smalls for various reasons. Initial, quite a few solos don’t have colleagues who can give opinions on briefs, so Briefcatch can fill that void. Second,  solos can also use Briefcatch to enable regulation clerks and young associates make improvements to their crafting techniques. Many periods, when I obtain a memo or motion draft from a college student clerk or young affiliate, I don’t have the time to do substantially much more than frantically edit it into useable duplicate. Regrettably, even though my associates may well see the doc scarred with pink ink, they don’t know why I manufactured the adjustments.  Briefcatch describes the adjustments that it proposes and the weaknesses in a doc and hence, it can serve as a teaching resource for chaotic lawyers.
  4. Finally, Briefcatch is readily available as an affordably priced membership services.


Perhaps the most important disadvantage of Briefcatch suitable now is that it is only readily available for Macs. That explained, even though I am a Mac person, I favored Briefcatch so substantially that I plan to invest in a Computer so that I can use it.  As explained in his interview , Ross has designs to make the merchandise system agnostic, but for now, Briefcatch’s availability only as a word insert-on is an regrettable limitation to an normally fantastic merchandise that really should be element of every lawyer’s crafting arsenal.

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