On this week’s Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast, we speak with Ivy Grey, the Vice President of Strategy & Business Development for WordRake, legal document editing software. Prior to joining the team at WordRake and delving into the legal technology world, Ivy practiced bankruptcy law for 10 years. She was recently named a 2020 Influential Woman in Legal Tech by the International Legal Technology Association. Ivy has also been recognized as a Fastcase 50 honoree and has been included on the Women of Legal Tech list by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center.
We chat about Ivy’s path to becoming an attorney and then leaving practice to pursue a career in legal tech. We also discuss:
- How Scotch and Swing Dancing played a significant role in her career development (and how it can help you)
- How WordRake improves legal writing and other law firm writing like employee handbooks, blog articles, and more
- Why WordRake might be right not only for the lawyers in the firm, but staff as well
- The importance of tech security when selecting tech tools
- And much more.
Mentioned in this episode:
Davina Frederick: Hello and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking, powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick, and I’m so excited for you to be our guest today. So let’s get started.
Ivy B Grey is the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for WordRake. Prior to joining the team she practiced bankruptcy law for 10 years. Ivy was recently recognized as a 2020 influential woman in legal tech by the International Legal Technology Association. She also has been recognized as a fast case 50 honoree, and included in women of legal tech list by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. So we are so excited to have Ivy here today to talk about WordRake and technology for lawyers, and to share her experience of transitioning from practicing full time to working for WordRake. So Ivy, we’re so happy to have you here on the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast. Welcome.
Ivy Grey: Thank you so much for having me. I am excited for this conversation.
Davina: Great great. So before we get into talking about WordRake, we have a lot of questions about it. But I want our listeners to get to know more about you. And I particularly love having you on today, because I you, you are an attorney who has practiced bankruptcy law for 10 years before transitioning into this new industry. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and about kind of your journey to becoming an attorney. And what led you to bankruptcy law, and then ultimately, to move on to a different path.
Ivy: So I took a long and winding path to law. And it seems a little disjointed, if you look at it as I go, but looking back, you will see that there is one big overarching theme. And that theme is that I am passionate about creative problem solving. I love the challenge of working within restrictions and creating a solution that makes my clients happy. And and I know that sounds weird, and and it’s easy to think well, how did you get to law from that. But that was my my guiding light that brought me there.
So I started off at in IT and in journalism. And then I was in public relations and advertising. And I specialized in damage control. And I did that for about a decade before going to law school. And I was unhappy in my advertising and PR life. And people kept asking me, Well, why haven’t you quit yet? What is it that you actually like about this job. And that’s what made me think and realize that it was the aspect of creative problem solving, and project based work, where you dive into something, you do it intensely. And then you move on to the next thing. And you have a very happy client at the end, one would hope. And it turns out that that’s a lot of what lawyers do, even though that’s not what lawyers think about as their as their main as their main job.
So, so I decided to consider law. But at that point in time, I had never met a lawyer. I had never been in a courtroom, I didn’t really know what lawyers did. So I found a way to get myself into a law firm. And this was right before the new bankruptcy law was passed in 2005. So everybody in their mother was filing for bankruptcy before before the laws changed. And there was this one firm that was just hiring as fast as they could for bankruptcy, paralegals and assistance to to, to really manage that that backlog and the onslaught of cases. And that’s how I got into the bankruptcy world. And then I did that for about four or five months before law school. And I fell in love. That was how I determined that being a bankruptcy lawyer was what I want it to be. Right and, and I was just, it was so interesting. It was so creative. There were so many ways to do things, and they were real people with stories. So it was exciting. And to me it was a clear way to use the skills that I had. So So I went to law school knowing that I wanted to be a bankruptcy lawyer which is kind of an odd thing to do. But during law school, everyone told me the economy’s so good. You’ll never get to do this.
Ivy: Oh, and we laugh now caustically.
Ivy: So So I said, Okay, well, I’ll be a tax lawyer then that’s, that’s what I’ll do. I like anything with its own code book. I like to know where the rules are. And then I like to figure out how to work within those rules to, to achieve goals, I don’t want to just be creative for creative sake.
Ivy: And, and that was the plan. And then I graduated in 2008. And the economy crashed. And while it was horrible for other people who graduated in 2008, it was my time to shine. And I definitely recognize that there’s some luck involved in that being the person who wanted to be a bankruptcy lawyer, who actually studied bankruptcy law and took all the UCC courses, and being there at the right time in the right place does make a difference. But there’s still more that you can do to to harness that.
Davina: Right. And so a couple things come up for me. One is that you and I have a lot in common because my first career was in marketing and working for agency. I’m a journalism major. And so I did marketing and PR as well before I became an attorney. So I find that interesting. And what I love about your story, I guess, because I relate to it, is the evolution of your career. I think a lot of times people think, you know, lawyers are people who wanted to be a lawyer from the time they were a child, and they wanted to be like Matlock, and and then they grow up, and they just follow that path.
And I also think that lawyers kind of think, once I become a lawyer, I have to stay practicing law in the traditional sort of sense. And they, they limit themselves to another evolution to their career. And so I’m really eager to hear about how you train I mean, you’ve really been honored and and you’re one of the influential women in legal tech. And so it’s really interesting to me, how did you make that transition that from being a bankruptcy lawyer, I seem you really loved doing bankruptcy? And you did that well, and you were successful? What made you decide then to transition again, and move into a different direction?
Ivy: So that was also happenstance. I’ve had a lot of random luck. But you need to be prepared to act on that luck, right. So and, and thankfully, I was, but I wasn’t successful bankruptcy lawyer. I was working on the cases that you read about in the Wall Street Journal, I worked on Dewey & LeBoeuf, Columbia House, American Airlines, Kodak, all of the things that people who want to be bankruptcy lawyers want to work on. And I was named a rising star in New York five years, I think five years in a row. If I’m remembering correctly, I’ve switched so, so strongly out of that life. What was it now?
So I was definitely successful. I didn’t pivot because I was unsuccessful. I pivoted because I had an opportunity that I was racing toward. And that came from a friendship. I am an avid swing dancer, and I have been for 20 plus years. And my swing dance friend had this great product. And he wondered why I hadn’t ever used it. And my response was a typical lawyer response. I don’t need that I’m perfect.
Davina: Right, right, right.
Ivy: So he, he challenged me, he said, you know, use this product on your bankruptcy LLM dissertation. And if it doesn’t find any errors, I will buy you a bottle of your favorite scotch. And if it does find errors, then you must buy me a bottle of my favorite scotch. And I was confident and I took that bet. Turns out, I lost, but I could not be a gracious loser. Instead, I wrote him a five page list of things that he needed to change so that it would be a better tool for lawyers. And since he’s not a lawyer, he actually took that feedback well, and he said to me, oh, really, why don’t you join me and build the product that you are imagining? And that’s how I got into legal technology.
But that company wasn’t WordRake. That company was Perfect It and what I built was American legal style for Perfect It. WordRake and Perfect It are two complimentary tools. One does proofreading the other one does editing for lawyers, and my path to WordRake was that the perfect it version of me had always looked up to WordRake and I had been using the product throughout my legal career. And I had hoped that a fabulous company like WordRake would mentor us and help us learn our learn how to succeed in the legal technology market. And eventually, they said, Yes. And after about a year of mentorship, the table’s turned and WordRake said, you know, we really need we need an Ivy.
And at that point in time, it was a good time to make the switch, allow the product that I built to breathe in the market and, and gain traction, and, and then bring my skills to WordRake, which is where I am today.
Davina: Wow, wow, that’s a fantastic story. So I have so much to discuss there. First of all, swing dancing.
Davina: 20 years of swing dancing, huh?
Davina: Wow, it’s a rabbit trail, just ask you, how did you get into swing dancing?
Ivy: So I, okay, the real story is that I really like geeky guys. And I tried all sorts of other hobbies, and, and, and learned all sorts of other things to attempt to meet these geeky guys. And they were just not having it. So I asked myself, well, what are they doing? That I could go do too so that I can put myself in the position to meet the sort of people that I want to meet? And the answer was that they were swing dancing. This is in the heyday with the Gap, Lindy Hop commercials, etc.
Davina: So, so you’re swing dancing. I would never have thought of that. That’s fantastic.
Ivy: Yes. But actually, from that story, I think there is a, there is a point and there is a value that I that I think your listeners could could take from that. And it’s to put yourself where the people are. And, you know, I I wanted to meet a certain type of person. So I, I studied who they were, and I studied what they did. And I figured out where my place could be in that world so that we’d have something genuinely in common to build from.
And while it took nearly 25 years of dancing to meet my long term partner, I finally did, and I’m incredibly happy. But that sort of approach also works for developing really strong client relationships, and high value client relationships, need to survey your interests and skills, and figure out where those client opportunities are, and then put yourself there. And I don’t think that enough people do that.
Davina: Right. I think that’s great advice.
Ivy: And I also do think it’s disingenuous to bolster something that you were only somewhat interested in before, I think there’s nothing wrong with that people grow and change over time. And, for me, I became a scotch aficionado, because it worked well for clients. But it’s not that I had no interest before. I just developed the interest and the knowledge that I could speak about it, and engage clients in a, in a knowledgeable, helpful, fun way. And, and I, I would say that anybody who wants to be successful really needs to figure out what they can learn, and what communities they need to be in so that they can leverage those communities to build their network and build their book of business. And it’s amazing how far those things will go.
Davina: Absolutely, absolutely. And I, you bring up a good point, you know, so many. And I think this pandemic, actually, if there’s an upside has actually helped with some of this, because people are having to think in different ways about how they’re going to connect with other people. And a lot of us are doing it around our passions and things that interest us, whereas before, you know, especially in something traditional, like the law industry, you do certain things, you you know, network with other lawyers, you go to professional lawyer conferences, you, you know, go to the maybe chamber meetings and things and, and everybody hates that everybody.
And everybody’s like that, you know, I hate going to networking meetings because they feel like such a waste of time. And I’m always telling my clients the exact same thing you are applying that, that connection point of something you’re interested in. That will also be a place where your clients or your best prefers, hang out, so you don’t have to go do the things that you know checking off some box about what you’re supposed to do. And I and wow, the what the situation we’re in now is really changing the way people are connecting.
Ivy: Oh, it’s so true. That said, You know, I don’t think that those traditional networking things are necessarily bad. You can make them fun that is totally within your power. And making them fun is part of being fun yourself, and having a lot of diverse things to talk about. So, you know, if I, you know, you can throw something out there. And if people like scotch, then you talk about scotch, if they don’t like it, then you move on to the next thing I talk about swing dancing, and jazz music, which my grandparents loved, and I grew up with. And I was a major rock music, music aficionado into obscure stuff.
But when people when you find other people who love that, then you can talk about it, and you have this instant, deep lasting connection. And, and I played ice hockey, you know, it’s all of these random things that you can just keep tossing out in the course of a conversation, until you find the thing that clicks. So the more that you do, the more that you’re passionate about, the more fun that you can have at these things. And the more likely you are to, to build a deep connection that will actually lead to business later.
Davina: Right. And it actually makes you memorable too that’s the other part of it. It makes you memorable, because people are like, oh, yeah, you’re the scotch drinking swing dancer. Like, they have some frame of reference, besides oh here’s, just another attorney in a blue suit. Right.
Ivy: Right. Right. And clients want to be around the person that they that that they want to be around that are the people that are interesting. Yeah, I definitely recall bringing a client to, to a rock concert, and getting the business because they simply liked to be around me. And I brought other clients to hockey games. Because I enjoyed it, I knew that they enjoyed it, bring their kids along. Those are the sorts of genuine networking things that that lead somewhere, you know, cramming yourself into this box where you think you’ve got a goal for something, if you hate golf, and you’re yawning and struggling to get through the client outing, you know, those things aren’t gonna help you.
Davina: Right, right. It is so limiting and confining. To think that, you know, we have to go do something we don’t enjoy doing. And that’s the only way we can get get business and connect with other people. I want to shift back and talk about WordRake. And what it is because I think I think people are going to be curious about what it is. So start with kind of telling us what it is what it can do for us. And, and maybe the origin story how it sort of came about?
Ivy: Sure. So WordRake is a clear and concise editor for lawyers, it runs within Microsoft Word right from the ribbon. It is it can be part of your drafting workflow. Just like running, spellcheck would be part of your drafting workflow. You click the button, it ripples through your document making suggestions for how to improve what you’ve actually written. And it will show its suggestions in the familiar Track Changes form.
And just like that changes you can accept or reject anything that you like, I love it, because it tightens and tones my writing makes me a lot clearer. Add some punch and pep to my writing, and helps me to focus on serving my readers, I play a little game for myself called beat the rake. So I tried to write so concisely that WordRake doesn’t have any suggestions. And it only happens maybe once a month or so. But that effort, that constant effort keeps me focused on writing as clearly and concisely as possible, which produces documents that my clients want to read. Understand, and, and trust. When clients can understand what you’ve written, they actually think that you’re smarter.
I know that lawyers think writing in in gibberish and legalese and putting up this wall between themselves and their clients. It makes them smarter, but it doesn’t. What it really does is make the clients not trust you. And then they get really frustrated when they have to pay you to interpret what you’ve written. So so we’re great, we’ll help you get past that and and to do a better faster job than you’d be able to do on your own. And for $129 it’s to me a no brainer.
Davina: Right. Right. So can attorneys use it for other types of writing? Like blog writing or book writing or something like that, if they’re trying to do things to promote their business, will it work for them in that sense as well?
Ivy: Definitely. So WordRake started as a legal writing tool at first because our founder, Gary Kinder, was a, he taught over 1000 legal writing courses, he was one of the top trainers in the country when he came up with the idea for WordRake. So naturally, you build a product around what you know. But over time, we’re great has expanded to, to provide edible suggestions for all types of writers. So it will work if you’re a marketing, it will work if you if you’re a blogger. And in fact, if you’re writing for the internet, you have even higher standards for clarity and concision than you will if you’re writing for just something that would be read on paper, people don’t have that tolerance, things need to be shorter and WordRake will certainly.
WordRake also has an add in for Outlook. So you can you can edit your emails, just like you can edit the rest of your Word documents. I love that because I would never edit an email otherwise, you know, you you, you spill it out, and then you press it. But with WordRake, you can actually improve those emails, reduce the back and forth and get better results. You can write an email where you’re where whoever you’re negotiating with, wants to say yes, and then you get the quick Yes. And then you move on with life. And that’s good for clients. It’s good for you. It’s good for everybody.
Davina: Right, right. And I can see people, women, law firm owners, using getting this for their teams as well, because some of the things that I have heard some of my clients, as a coach for women lawyers, some of my clients have said, you know, I have this great employee. But one of the issues that I’m having is, perhaps English is somebody’s second language. And so while they are proficient in English speaking, sometimes it creates an issue with writing. And so they’re looking for some way without having to constantly play teacher and mark up somebody’s stuff in red ink. So this might be a great tool for team members that you’re trying to help develop professional writing skills, right?
Ivy: Yes, so WordRake will certainly help with that but, if their English writing skills are remedial, not, not just less fluent, then WordRake is, I’m sorry to say not going to be the product for them. WordRake assumes that you’re a sophisticated writer, and that you mostly know what you mean to say, if you are entirely missing the mark, then you’re gonna need some additional coaching. And, and, and then you can use WordRake after that.
Davina: That’s good to make that distinction. The case I was thinking of was, it’s somebody who’s just not, you know, they’re just not professional as professional and writing. And oftentimes, there are people who are a staff members who might be more, you know, in our texting world, now, people have kind of gotten a little lazy about how they capitalize and punctuate and all that kind of stuff. And so, sometimes I’ve heard attorneys saying, I’ve hired this assistant, and she just doesn’t write professional, you know, like, she doesn’t punctuate properly, or write clearly or something. And so that’s kind of what I was thinking is it might be something, run it through that first and improve the, you know.
Ivy: Definitely. So WordRake. We’ll help you to write more professionally, get the right tone, all of those things that, that you need to compete in today’s business world. I know that a lot of people think, Oh, well, these standards, they’re, they’re old school, they’re outdated, you know, they’re even possibly racist, etc. But the world that we live in still requires those standards, and you don’t change them by simply ignoring them. And WordRake helps to bridge that gap between the people who know that we still need to write in a certain way and to be professional and have the right tone and follow all of our punctuation, grammar and style rules.
And with those people who think that language is whatever you make of it, and on one hand, yes, language changes and it and it is whatever you make of it. But in the legal world, we don’t accept that yet. And you need to play the game that you’re actually in and WordRake will help you do that to the best of your ability. And it will make you clearer and more concise, so that you, you can be even better than some of the people who think they’re playing the game the best.
Davina: Right. So I want to talk specifically about WordRake for legal writing, because one of the things being being a journalism major, like I mentioned, I learned how to write as a journalist. And when you learn to write as a journalist, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a very clear way to write. Because you’re trying to attract, you know, your audience, and you kind of, we were taught, eighth grade level is really what you’re writing to when you’re writing as a journalist, and then going to law school, of course, you still want to write clearly and concisely, but it’s going to be more scholarly, let’s say. So, there are many different writing styles. That’s one of the things I often discuss with attorneys. You know, when they’re blogging, a blog is going to be a different writing style than a legal memorandum. How is it that WordRake is able to sort of deal with the complexity of something like a legal memorandum where, where it might require a higher level of writing skill? Can you explain that?
Ivy: Sure. So WordRake is an incredibly sophisticated problem, the engine that runs problem, I’m sorry, program. The engine that runs behind WordRake is based on a series of algorithms. And those algorithms, look at the words that you actually use, and refer to a dictionary of all of the words in the in the English language, and then make recommendations based on what you’ve what you’ve said, it’s not a simple finding, find and replace that can be unsophisticated and clunky and change things to to stuff that you didn’t mean. So with all of those moving parts, WordRake can actually recognize the type of thing that you are writing, and what you essentially mean to say, and then provide suggestions based on that. So for instance, actually, before I go to go to that part, WordRake will recognize legally operative words and phrases.
And we try to only change the things that have no place where are in legal English or are unnecessary for legal English, and they’re just arcane. So for instance, WordRake will delete the the additional here tos you can say that something is attached, you don’t need to say that something is attached here to there’s no point in that. So we’ll leave the attached so that you are bringing in your exhibit or telling people whatever that you need to tell them is attached. But it will get rid of the arcane language here to also with the signature such as, by and through, you don’t need the by and through part, you just need the by. And that will indicate that the person signing is signing on behalf of a corporation because corporations aren’t people, they can’t sign for themselves.
So you do need the distinction that this human is signing for this corporation. But you don’t need the extra words and WordRake will respect that. And the same with with in order to versus pursuant to, we don’t necessarily need pursuant to it’s not a stronger legally, it’s not a stronger or more legally operative phrase. And then to so we can reduce those words. And we recognize we recognize those rules and how people use the English language. And we finally tune out our algorithms to to match those needs.
And it only shows up based on what you’ve written, we don’t have some sort of set list of recommendations that we make that are irrelevant. So if you’re writing a blog post that actually looks like a memo, you’re probably going to get suggestions that look more like memo suggestions. But if you’re writing a blog post that looks like a blog post and has more natural language, then you’re going to get suggestions that are more natural and that are better suited to blog post.
Davina: Good, good. Okay. So I know that I can imagine one of the I’m sure you’ve heard this and had to explain this and deal with it. But I can imagine attorney saying, well, you know, in something like contract law, you know, well, any legal writing words are words have meaning. So they have meaning in the legal landscape that they would not normally have to the lay person and I can see people being fearful saying I’m going to use this I’ve read this thing, I’m going to use this and it’s going to strip out some key word that I know has to be in here, because it’s a, you know, it’s the law of the land in contract law to use this this language here. Have you had people you know, have fear around that and say, well, I don’t know if I want to use this because of that.
Ivy: Yes, I mean, I definitely hear that. So three things. One, Ken Adams who is drafting who is contract drafting guru uses WordRake, so you can use WordRake, too. Second, we do care about the magic words, that’s how I refer to them. And since I’ve been with WordRake, I’ve been working to include more of those magic words in our dictionary so that we recognize them faster, and don’t change them. It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting better. And if you if users want to help with that, they can report bad edits, saying they shouldn’t change because it’s a legally operative phrase or magic words.
And then finally, WordRake is a collaborator, by providing its changes, or its suggested changes in the track changes form, you must go through and accept and reject each of those changes, which means that you need to look at the sentence, you can’t just accept all there is no accept all button. Yes, there are hacks and ways to work around it. But it’s designed so that you participate in the decision making process. So you are unlikely to accidentally accept something. And if you do accidentally accept something, you can just click undo. All of those features and functionalities that are part of the Microsoft world are part of the WordRake world.
Davina: Oh, that’s fantastic. So yeah, I think that’s that’s the way you answered that is wonderful, because it’s going to help people understand that, you know, you don’t have to, it’s not like a permanent thing. Just adopted this, you know, it’s not going to magically automatically change everything. And you’re going to have to go back and rewrite it because it’s screwed it up.
Ivy: Right. I mean, you see everything right there. There’s no black box, part of WordRake ripples through your document, you see it getting marked up, you can stop it, you can undo it, you can undo anything you can toggle back and forth. You can write twice. I mean, it’s it’s it’s very interactive. And I think it offers more control than any other writing tool, legal or otherwise that I’ve ever seen in the market. Oh, can I actually stop for a moment and talk about the the security issues with some will see on the market, because I think a lot of people don’t think about that. They just think oh, well, it’s free.
And I want a free tool. And so with that, clearly I’m talking about Grammarly. But if a tool is free, that means that you’re the product and the thing that you’re using it on is is what they’re selling. So you definitely want to you want to think about that. When you are running the the commercial version, or I’m sorry that the consumer version of Grammarly. It is tracking every change that you make. It’s reading all of your documents so that I can give you your feedback. It knows what you accept and don’t accept it knows what you’re typing and adding all of that information is stored on Grammarly servers, and you really can’t do anything about it. The only way that you can delete that information from Grammarly servers is to delete your account and send a request. And there’s as the last time I checked, there was absolutely no purge protocol. So you even after you’ve deleted your account, you can’t be sure that that the information that Grammarly basically collected from or harvested from your use would be gone in 30 days or 45 days or even a year. There’s they haven’t made any promise to you about when that information goes away. And to me, that’s an obvious violation of model rule 1.6 that requires you to protect your client confidentiality.
Now compare that with WordRake. WordRake collects zero user information. We never read your document, we don’t know what you’ve accepted or not. We create an entire wall. In fact, it’s not even part of our functionality to do that. So it’s not that we could do it and we choose not to. We literally cannot do it. Your privacy is protected by design. And it is the number one thing that we have that we’ve chosen as part of our company guidelines and our commitment to our users is that we do not collect your data ever. So so you need to care about those things when you’re choosing what tools you’re going to use when working with your clients and your clients’ documents.
Davina: Yeah, that’s that’s great to know that that WordRake doesn’t collect information, because I think that’s, that’s one of the, you know, issues that it’s definitely one of the issues that’s coming up for lawyers and being discussed with lawyers are the use of different tools out there that do collect information and what kind of, you know what that does to attorney client privilege and confidentiality, you know.
Ivy: And it’s part of the duty of technology competence, which is model rule 1.1, comma eight, where you must know what it is that you’re using, and what the risks are for what you’re using. So when you use a consumer tool, and especially if it’s a free one, you should consider what it is that they’re collecting, to make it worthwhile for them to make it free to you. There’s always something nothing is ever truly free.
Davina: Right? Right. So you have to and what you say is absolutely true. If something’s free, you’re you’re the product. So and I think we’ve all learned that with some big name, social media people out there, that we shall remain nameless. If you don’t know that. I’m sure someone can tell you. So you’re, let’s talk about ease of use of this. Because I think, you know, one of the things that I find frustrating sometimes I’ll hear about a really cool tool, or, you know, something that I think, oh, that’s really neat, I’d be great to help me in my business. And, but I’m not the most. I mean, I guess I’m fairly tech savvy, but I’m married to a technology consultant. And between the two of us, I’m definitely not tech savvy. And I think of things in terms of ease of use, can you know somebody who does not feel they’re tech savvy, use this tool with ease?
Ivy: Absolutely. So I’m one of those people who I’m tech savvy, but I never read the directions.
Davina: That’s me. O just jump in and say, okay, how does this thing work? I want things to be intuitive.
Ivy: Right? Right. So WordRake is absolutely intuitive. And for somebody who never reads the directions, it was easy for me to see what was going on. And, and, and that was even before I got into the to the legal technology world, I remember that I used this in my practice. And, and I and I use it every single day. So it is it feels just like running spellcheck, you go to the tab in in Microsoft Word, or in Outlook and just like you would click the button for running spellcheck, and then it does it for you. You do the same with WordRake. And, and just in case you didn’t know you can actually put those things on the same tabs, so you don’t have to flip back and forth. But that’s for the more tech savvy people. Still, if you’ve ever used track changes, which I think most lawyers have, then you already know how to use WordRake, it was developed in that familiar style, so that there wouldn’t be a learning curve.
Davina: And it’s easy to install?
Ivy: Oh yes, you just click one button, it runs and you install it. There is a license key that after you buy that you’ll need to copy and paste from an email. But about a month or two ago, I designed some gifts to actually show you exactly where to put it. And so it should be even easier now than it was before. We do everything that we can to make the user experience as intuitive as possible. But also to provide backup in case it’s not intuitive to you. We want to meet you where you are not wagging our fingers about where you should be.
Davina: Right, right. Do you feel like it’s made you a better writer?
Ivy: Definitely. There are things that I think about now that I never thought about before. And and WordRake, using WordRake every day discourages me from falling back into those old traps. I also think that there was a point in time, where and where Greg would have gotten rid of that phrase. But there was a point where I had become a worse writer because my imposter syndrome was just getting worse and worse and worse. As I moved up the ranks in law, I put more pressure on myself to be better. And I was even more worried that I was undeserving of the opportunities and accolades. And so I lost trust and faith in my own in my own writing abilities.
So I started shoehorning in all that legalese and stuff that I had never used before and it just got worse and worse. Right and WordRakesaved me from that. You know, never ending death spiral. WordRake reminded me that I could write clearly like I used to, that I could write documents that clients and judges actually wanted to read. And now I’m back to doing that. And people regularly comment on how clear my my writing is. And, and I think that once you switch to an editor, like word reg, that will help you with the actual words, you can shift some of your time to creating better structure.
That is, you know, a more thoughtful thing that no no program can help you with, and, and more structure in your documents and the order that you approach things will matter to and so now that I have more time for that, I use many more subheadings, I do a lot more introduction of this is about x. And I can summarize it like it’s a commercial in that in that two line blurb right at the top. And it makes it a lot easier to digest everything else that’s in the document. So, so yes, word rank will actually help improve those words. But it also frees up time to do things that lawyers probably wouldn’t have the time to do, because they’re just racing to meet the deadline to start or time.
Davina: Right. I’m thinking about law firm owners too. And a lot of the people listening to this podcast are law firm owners who are in the building stage of their law firm, and they are maybe creating policy manuals for their own law firm or training materials, and things like that. So I can see where it can be useful in just many different ways. With with helping to create, to say what it is that you’re really looking to say, without you in a very, in a very clear and direct way.
Ivy: Yes, and I mean, that’s the thing about employee manuals, employees can’t follow them if they don’t know what they mean. And, and if you rake your employee manual, then you’re going to have a clearer document which employees can actually follow. And I’m going to go ahead and say this, which maybe my boss might hate, but if you’re writing an employee manual, and you don’t think that you’re going to use WordRake any other time, you can still take a free trial and apply it to your employee manual, do that one document, it’s okay we don’t mind, do all the documents, you have seven days I, I am more interested in putting better documents out into the world than I am, you know, forcing people to spend $129, here and there. So you have a seven day free trial, use it, use it on every document that you can.
Davina: Right. And and you’ve since you brought up the cost, give us an idea of how much it is. So people will be able to put that in perspective.
Ivy: Sure. So the standard version of WordRake that you can go online and just buy for yourself and not talk to anybody about is $129 per computer per year. We have volume discounts. So the more you the more you buy, the less it costs. If you decide that you also want the version of WordRake for Outlook, then you can buy the bundle of WordRake for Word and WordRake Outlook for $129. Or I’m sorry, $199 per computer per year. If you buy the three year version, for word only, it’s $259. And a for word and outlook is $399. If you were buying for a firm, then you really need about 10 people for a three year term, to get to our enterprise threshold. And that price threshold is $3,500. At least for 2021. We recognize that COVID is tough for people. And, and the benefit of enterprise.
There are lots of benefits of enterprise. But the number one one is that it cuts all of the administrative burden of having a having a tool. It’s keyless licensed activation, which means you don’t have to keep track of a bunch of license keys. You don’t have to go from computer to computer, putting the license key on and and then checking where it went. When there’s an update, you can just push the update out to everybody it doesn’t. It doesn’t require your involvement. And if you say are running your own firm and you don’t have in house it and you wouldn’t really even know where to start to keep track of those sorts of things, then you definitely want to get up to the enterprise level so that you don’t have to worry about that stuff.
The other nice thing about enterprise is that it is per user licensing, not per computer licensing. So if you have a laptop at home and a desktop as Davina the only we just count Davina as one user. And it doesn’t matter if Davina has five computers, when when we’re at the enterprise level, so it can actually save you money if your firm has this sort of firm where people have several different computers.
Davina: Right, right. Yeah, yeah, Davina does have several different computers so that so you know, when you’re looking at what it can do for you, in improving your communication, ability, and also maybe the ability of some people on your staff. It really has sounds like it has a great return on investment, especially for it’s kind of a nominal investment when you’re when you’re looking at, you know, the big scheme of things running your practice.
Ivy: That’s absolutely true, I think. And people really do find the value in it. 98% of our enterprise customers renew. So to me, that shows that they’re happy with their choice and and they do believe in the value of WordRake. We also have a money back guarantee. So if you buy and you don’t like it, we’ll give you the money we’ll credit you for the person that you use.
Davina: Yeah. Okay, great. Great. Well, thanks so much for being here today and sharing this with us because I think a lot of people get a lot of benefit. And I also think many of our listeners, most of our listeners are really going to be interested in hearing your story and your journey. So I appreciate you sharing that with us. And so tell us how we can find out more about WorkRake and where we can reach out and connect with you if that’s what you want to do.
Ivy: Sure. So you can learn more about WordRake at www.wordrake.com. That’s word like the words that you write and rake like you rake leaves. So wordrake.com. And you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s I V as in Victor Y G is in Grey @ wordrake.com. I’m also incredibly active on Twitter, and I’m Ivybgrey on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Davina: All right. wonderful. Thanks so much. And thanks so much for being here. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Ivy: Thank you. I had a really good time.
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