Affinity Consulting Blog

There is a reason law firms continue to use Microsoft Word in the face of less expensive (sometimes free) alternatives like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and WPS Office. Those alternatives work well enough for general document drafting. WPS Office can be configured to look and work remarkably like MS Word. However,many great add-in programs work only with MS Word. A great add-in program designed especially for lawyers is WordRake.

WordRake isn't cheap at $129 per year per license, but it is well worth the price for lawyers who want their documents to be as well-written and persuasive as possible. If you are unsure if the investment is worth it, there is a 30-day free trial.

When I am not writing for the Affinity blog and monthly email newsletter or teaching law practice management at Stetson University College of Law, my main gig is researching and writing appellate briefs in Michigan family law cases. I spend more time writing than any other professional activity. When I first learned of WordRake, it sounded like a product designed especially for me. So I downloaded the 30-day free trial. WordRake installes as an add-in to Microsoft Word. Once installed, a new WordRake tab appears at the top of your Word window.

When you have written a paragraph, page, section, or entire document, select (highlight) the portion of your document you want "raked." WordRake will go through the document and present you with suggested changes in standard "tracked changes" format for you to accept or reject. On average, I reject about one of out every ten suggested changes because it would alter the meaning of what I wrote. But for the vast majority of suggested changes, they greatly improve the conciseness, flow, and persuasiveness of my document. Occasionally, if I am really good (or lucky), WordRake will make relatively few suggestions. That is when I know I am having a good day as a legal writer.

If you are a lawyer who writes for a living, you will find the WordRake add-in for Microsoft Word a valuable tool and well worth the $129 annual cost. It so good that those few WordPerfect holdouts would find WordRake a possible justification for finally switching to MS Word. WordRake does not work with WordPerfect.

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