Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 8: Processing Words

At the very bottom, the law is just words. Hopefully, those words are just words, but at its core, the law is just words. To mix the metaphor, words are the cells that build the organs that compose the systems that allow civil society to function.

Words matter.

In this episode, Annie and Ben discuss the programs they use to turn pixels into words, words into sentences, and sentences into motions and briefs—documents that, they hope, will turn into justice for their clients. Annie is experimenting with Scrivener, Ben is stuck in Microsoft Word, and they both rave about TextExpander. Also: Ben talks a little about typefaces and typography.   

Show notes for Episode 8: Processing Words

The first thing to remember about word processing: the files are in the computer...

Annie has been working with a Mac-only word processing application called Scrivener. If Annie's brief overview piques your curiosity, there is a whole Mac Power Users episode about Scrivener and David Sparks writes for MacWorld about why and how he uses Scrivener for his business writing. 

[CORRECTION: A listener wrote in after the show to note that Scrivener is available on Windows as well as Mac OSX. Gotta love listener feedback.] 

Text Expander is what both Ben and Annie use to save (lots of) time. It really is so cool once you get into it. 

Brett Terpstra has made an amazing chart to help you choose from among many of the most popular iOS text editors. Ben recommends Byword for beginners and Editorial for people who want their minds blown. 

Ben mentioned a great Mac Power Users episode about "cooking ideas". This is how David Sparks describes the creative process for many of his best projects. It moves from mindmapping with Mindnode to an outline in OmniOutliner to (sometimes) Scrivener or other text editor.  

The font Ben uses is called Equity and it's designed by Matthew Butterick, who is a lawyer and typeface designer and author of Typography for Lawyers, which is an awesome book. You should totally read the book, but in case you want some of the "best of", Ben wrote a short article summarizing some of the book's most important points. 

Two things that Ben did not mention in the show but wants to link to: Editorially is a web app that allows people to collaborate on writing projects online. It looks really, really cool. Also, if you're writing a lot for the web, consider learning about Markdown

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.


Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

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