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Hate Wordy Memos?

For 25 years, Gary Kinder has taught a tough crowd—lawyers—to write better and eliminate useless words. That prompted an idea to create patented software that takes about 30 seconds to suggest trims to a 10-page document to make it clearer and more concise. Now his WordRake software, launched last July and installed by nearly 1,000 law firms, is finding a wider audience that includes consultants, accountants, colleges, government agencies and more.

“I see WordRake software becoming as ubiquitous as spell check,” says Nancy Locke, who, as purchasing director for the city of Seattle, has persuaded some departments to start using the program. “It takes the bureaucracy out of our writing.”

Here’s an example from an actual legal document:

“In any event, a SAM’S CLUB ‘lowest level’ manager cannot possibly stand in the shoes of, for example, the Store Manager of a hundred-million-dollar Wal-Mart Supercenter.”

Jim Figel, president and CEO of WordRake, says it “helps anyone who writes by removing useless language that you didn’t even know you wrote.” It works on contracts or whatever you need to improve. When asked whether it’s been used on marriage proposals, Figel laughed. “Haven’t heard of that one.”

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