BriefCatch yesterday announced the launch of BriefCatch 3 to help legal professionals improve legal writing. The new version makes BriefCatch available for the first time to Mac users, features real-time editing, a rebuilt rules engine, enhanced Natural Language Processing and AI, and more.
According to the Press Release, BriefCatch now offers more than 11,000 on-demand, legal-specific writing suggestions. These recommendations will help lawyers make more persuasive arguments. It can also help judges write better opinions.
BriefCatch 3 can spot clunky clauses a lot of lawyers like to use and then substitute better and clearer language. It works by comparing the language you are asking about to a universe of well written materials from judges and top lawyers. Most of the work is done by AI, although there is still some whittling down of examples by humans.
According to Ross Guberman, founder of BriefCatch and former practicing lawyer, “This new version instantly spots and fixes lawyer-specific typos and mechanical errors, cleans up citations, cuts through the legalese, spices up word choice, trims sentences, and makes your analysis come alive.”
This launch is the third major version of the product. The original version was launched in 2018. The release–along with the features and benefits–has been well reported in excellent articles by Jean O’Grady and Bob Ambrogi. I’ll not replicate their analysis. I did get a chance to talk to Guberman about the new launch and came away with three important insights.
First, according to Guberman, the biggest surprise is that many courts have purchased the product, and judges are now using the product. Says Guberman, most of the federal Circuit courts are now using it, and a couple of Supreme Court judges have recently bought it as well. Even some state trial courts are now using it.
Guberman had thought that most judges would be reluctant to use the product and frankly would resent the suggestions. But to the contrary, a lot of judges like the product. According to Guberman, they like it because, frankly, it makes their lives easier.
He also thought courts would be hard to sell to. But he says the judges are easy to sell to. Unlike law firms who have multiple layers of decision-makers and built it dealy, Court systems seem to make up their minds pretty fast.
Tools like BriefCatch 3 will demonstrate to judges the benefits technology brings. And it may get them more interested in technology all the way around
I thought his comments about judges were interesting. I have recently written here and here about the dangers of judges not becoming acquainted with technology. Perhaps tools like BriefCatch 3 will demonstrate to judges the benefits technology brings. And it may get them more interested in technology all the way around.
Second, Guberman noted that in the new normal many associates and even partners are working remotely. As a result, they aren’t necessarily getting the hands-on training for their legal writing. The kind of training where a seasoned lawyer sits down with an associate and meticulously goes over a work product and improves. Guberman thinks BriefCatch will supply that kind of training by showing the writer a better way of expressing themselves.
I tend to agree with Guberman. I have found with Grammarly and other tools similar to BriefCatch; I would learn from the suggestions and, as time went on, would not need them as much. In addition, I found as an associate that many of the partner corrections didn’t necessarily make a better product. They just forced me to conform to the partner’s way of doing things.
Guberman agreed that his product was something like a Grammarly for lawyers. Guberman also agreed that Grammarly tries too hard to locate and change the use of the passive voice, which can be a pain with legal writing. I use Grammarly a lot, but it’s not a product specifically for lawyers. BriefCatch seems to fill that gap.
Law has historically been window and PC based. But as more and more lawyers use and get used to using Macs, that dynamic may change
Finally, the new launch now makes the product compatible with Macs for the first time, and the reason is interesting. Guberman told me he didn’t realize how many Mac users there were and that law students are now almost universally Mac users. I think this is important. Law has historically been window and PC based. But as more and more lawyers use and get used to using Macs, that dynamic may change. This fact, together with the fact that Macs can now run most programs lawyers use on a day-to-day basis, may ultimately lead to Mac dominance.
Guberman is an interesting person to talk to about legal tech and where things are going. (Guberman trains new federal judges and serves as an expert witness. He is a former law-school adjunct professor, a best-selling author, a popular conference speaker, and a frequent commentator for The New York Times and other news outlets. Told you he is an interesting guy). I always find his comments insightful and spot-on. This conversation was no exception. Congrats to BriefCatch on the new launch.
About BriefCatch. According to its marketing materials, BriefCatch is a recognized legal writing market leader. Its patented technology and expert suggestions help lawyers focus on content. BriefCatch was created by Ross Guberman, a former lawyer at a top firm and founder of Legal Writing Pro.