WordRake Offers Students Innovative Editing Tool

Suffolk Law first school in the country to provide students with WordRake, cutting-edge legal editing software

Suffolk University Law School will be the first school in the country to provide its students with WordRake, cutting-edge legal editing software that offers suggestions to reduce wordiness, improve awkward phrasing, and increase clarity.

Nearly 360 incoming Suffolk Law students in the school’s #3-ranked writing program (U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools 2020) will receive a free license for the software as a result of the school’s collaboration with WordRake.  WordRake’s suggested edits appear as an add-on in Microsoft Word through Word’s track-changes feature.

The students have to decide, edit by edit, whether each change makes sense contextually, says Suffolk Law Professor Kathleen Elliott Vinson, Director of Legal Writing, Research, and Written Advocacy.  “Our goal is that after seeing the same types of edits flagged repeatedly, students can improve on the basics and focus more attention on substantive legal analysis.”

“WordRake is a great fit for the Law School,” says Dean Andrew Perlman.  “We’re always looking to find innovative tools that help our students learn and grow and enable them to do their work more efficiently and effectively.”  Suffolk Law is regularly listed on shortlists of the nation’s most innovative law schools.  It houses the nation’s first Legal Innovation and Technology (LIT) concentration, and was ranked number one in the country for legal technology by National Jurist magazine.

Jim Figel, CEO and President of WordRake, says the software’s complex, patented algorithms help students produce clear and concise legal writing and avoid ‘legalese’ before it becomes a bad habit.  The software flags common phrases that lawyers use such as “pursuant to” and “in accordance with” and suggests omitting or simplifying them.

“I use WordRake on my own writing, and it’s easy to see how students would benefit from it, too,” adds Professor Dyane O’Leary, Associate Professor of Legal Writing and Co-Director of Suffolk’s LIT Concentration.  “As someone who learned from WordRake founder Gary Kinder early in my law firm career, I’m excited to bring his editing expertise into the classroom and to make this collaboration a reality.”