In our previous post, A Guide to Plain Language Writing, we offered some tips to avoid the pitfalls described in “The Dangers of Bad Legal Writing”. In addition to your writing approach, there are tools that can help. And several of them are free. In this post, we offer a guide to our favorites.
“Which” vs. “That”?
Grammar Girl answers many common grammar, usage, and spelling questions … and some of the more subtle ones, too. It’s hosted by Mignon Fogerty, a former faculty member in journalism and producer of an English grammar podcast. Her explanations are simple, to the point, and include examples. Enter “grammar girl” + [your grammar question] in your browser search bar.
“Do It with Style”
For a guide to lucid writing, it’s hard to beat Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style”. This classic just as relevant today as it was when first published in 1918. And it contains my favorite mantra – “omit needless words”. It’s a slim book packed with everything you need to draft correct and comprehensible text.
A Final Grammar and Style Check
Looking for a quick check of your finished draft? Grammarly can help. The free version provides a comprehensive spelling and grammar check along with an assessment of your writing’s clarity, engagement, and delivery. Click “Overall Score” for an assessment of readability. Note: Grammarly stores your content on U.S. servers, so if this is a concern, exclude portions of your document that contain personally identifiable information.
Designed for Lawyers
Our last tool, document automation software, is not free but well worth considering if you’re not already a user. Hundreds of firms across Canada have already discovered its value. It’s a template-driven approach to creating legal documents that saves time, improves accuracy, and increases your firm’s productivity.
So, there you have it – four go-to tools that can help improve your legal writing. We hope this series has been helpful and we welcome your comments or questions in the Contact Us section of our website.
Korbitec’s ACL5 is a document automation system designed specifically for Canadian litigators. In addition to the benefits noted above, it includes a library of the most common Ontario, Alberta, and BC court forms.
About Michael Sauber
Michael Sauber leads the marketing program for Korbitec, producer of Automated Civil Litigation Software (ACL). He has worked with document production technologies and professional services for over 30 years and is a frequent blogger on these topics.