Back in 2018, I reviewed Briefcatch, a supercool word add-on editing tool invented by legal writing guru Ross Guberman that that makes intelligent proofing and style suggestions and assigns a grade to your writing. While I raved about the product in my original post, alas, as a Mac user, I was never able to actually use Briefcatch in my practice because it only operated in Windows.
So I was over the moon when I learned earlier this month that Briefcatch would launch a version for Mac on April 12. I was so excited to test drive the Mac version of Briefcatch that I unboxed it late last night and shared my live review of one of my own briefs here:
Unboxing BriefCatch – A Live Demo on a Real Brief!!! – Watch Video
In addition to being available on Mac, Briefcatch has added a bunch of features since I last demo’d it in 2018. Briefcatch still grades your writing and makes word choice suggestions – but now, offers multiple options and explanations for its suggestion. But for me, the piece de resistance are the examples of suggested language drawn directly from Supreme Court justices and other judges. That’s just crazy – it’s like having a judge sitting shotgun with you at your desk, offering helpful advice on word choice. This is one of the most innovative and creative pieces of technology that I’ve seen in a long time.
As you can see from my unboxing, Briefcatch isn’t perfect for every scenario. I found myself overriding Briefcatch’s suggestions in the section of my brief demonstrating jurisdiction which involves technical writing and term of art phrasing. And Briefcatch failed to catch a sentence fragment – though I noticed it because Briefcatch made me more focused. But those are pretty much my only criticism of an otherwise stellar product.
For me, proofreading documents has always been loathsome, hurried work. Briefcatch actually made proofing and fine-tuning enjoyable by teaching me new things about writing and grammar even as I edited. As a result, I found myself a more engaged reader, really noticing what I was reviewing. I can also see that Briefcatch will prove indispensable for my student law clerks -because while I can correct their writing, I can’t always articulate my reason for changing it – something Briefcatch can do.
At $299/year, Briefcatch is a no-brainer and something solo and small firm lawyers will use in their practice over and over again. I certainly will.