Practice Technology

Artificial intelligence tools for brief writing and analysis are a small firm litigator's new best friend

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Nicole Black

Nicole Black.

We’re in the midst of a seismic technological shift that will reinvent workflows and radically alter the practice of law. Artificial intelligence is improving at an unprecedented pace, with new legal AI tools rolling out regularly, some stand-alone and others as features built into existing legal software platforms.

AI has great promise for the legal profession, offering the potential to streamline legal work and reduce repetitive, mundane tasks. Over the past year, some key legal functions have been impacted by adding AI functionality, including generative AI features. These include legal research, document review, and contract lifecycle management.

Another notable area of AI innovation includes document drafting and analysis. AI technology is particularly useful in this context. For starters, it can assist with editing text, improving writing, changing tone or summarizing a document—features that many legal tech companies have begun to include in their platforms.

Other use cases include document drafting, which involves creating a document from scratch, or document analysis, which assists with the review and interactive analysis of lengthy documents, such as depositions, trial memorandums, appellate briefs or trial transcripts.

These features benefit litigators and allow them to focus on higher-level tasks that involve analyzing complex legal arguments and strategizing responsive pleadings. Because of this functionality’s high value, an increasing number of brief writing and analysis tools that incorporate AI features have been released.

Below, I’ll provide an overview of this software category by featuring tools designed for solo and small law firms. You’ll learn about factors to consider when selecting a platform, along with some available tools.

Choosing AI brief writing and analysis software

Before researching your options, it’s essential that you fully understand your firm’s needs and how these tools will fit into the litigation workflow. What are litigators’ most significant pain points when working with documents? What types of work slow the team down? How can AI remove the more tedious tasks from their plates?

Don’t forget about other software that is already in use. Integrations can be very important when working with documents. Any new AI software must integrate with your company’s current document creation tools. Failure to do so could render time-tested, instrumental software essential to your firm’s workflows useless or unnecessarily clunky.

Additionally, it’s important to understand that you’ll be entrusting your firm’s confidential client data to a third party for the cloud-based tools listed below. This means that you have an ethical obligation to thoroughly vet the tech provider hosting and storing your firm’s data. This duty includes obtaining information on how the data will be handled by that company; where the servers on which the data will be stored are located; who will have access to it; and how often and when it will be backed up, among other things.

Furthermore, if the software includes AI features, you’ll want to explore accuracy rates, how the company protects your data, and whether your team’s data inputs are used to train AI models to improve responses.

With that in mind, let’s examine some of the software that falls under this category. Large companies, such as LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg Law, provide this type of software. But it is not cost-efficient for most small firms, so only tools designed for small firm lawyers will be covered.

Below, you’ll find a roundup of some of the main options available. Take advantage of demos offered and test-drive the software if that’s offered.

Generative AI brief writing and analysis tools

First up is Clearbrief, which operates within Microsoft Word and relies on proprietary AI software. Clearbrief assists with reviewing, drafting and cite-checking documents. It also facilitates the instant generation of exhibits and tables of authorities, along with the ability to easily create a hyperlinked final draft. The AI functionality enables the swift creation of timelines.

It also provides evidence suggestions obtained from litigation documents that support a factual proposition or statement obtained from a pleading, memo or other type of case-related filing. The cost is $142 per month for solo and small firms if paying annually.

BriefCatch is another Microsoft Word add-in that assists with brief writing. It is powered by an AI software system that helps legal professionals improve their writing skills and create more persuasive and effective documents.

The system analyzes written documents and gives users real-time feedback on sentence length, readability and word choice. The software analyzes documents for tone, readability and grammar. Pricing starts at $33 per month when billed annually.

EzBriefs by Benchly is also a Microsoft Word add-in powered by machine learning. Its current version automates table of authority creation and citation checking.

Later this year, it will roll out brief review and analysis features that will enable the drafting, sharing and reviewing of documents containing cited authority. Annual pricing is $600 per litigator.

A notable mention that assists with brief writing but does not rely on AI is WordRake. It works in Microsoft Word and Outlook. This editing software is grounded in sophisticated algorithms that streamline legal writing by providing suggested edits and red lines tailored to the needs of legal writing. The Word add-in costs $149 annually, and the Word plus Outlook version is priced at $229 per year.

AI tools are rapidly changing how legal professionals work with documents, making workflows more efficient and streamlined. By automating tasks such as drafting, editing and analyzing briefs, AI software saves time and reduces the burden of repetitive work. These advancements enable lawyers to focus more on strategic tasks and client interactions, allowing them to provide better and more responsive legal services.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York-based attorney, author and journalist, and she is senior director of subject matter expertise and external education at MyCase, a company that offers legal practice management software for small firms. She is the nationally recognized author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers and is co-author of Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier, both published by the American Bar Association. She writes regular columns for and Above the Law, has authored hundreds of articles for other publications, and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) @nikiblack, or she can be reached at [email protected].

This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.

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