An ex-Linklaters lawyer who got sick of proofreading has invented a computer program to do it automatically.
Travis Leon, who was an associate in Linklaters' Derivatives and Structured Products group until he quit in 2009, launched 'XRef' late last year.
The IT gizmo, which is currently being trialled at four City firms, checks whether defined terms are capitalised and spelt correctly in documents. It also spots where puny fallible humans have included definitions which aren't used and capitalised terms which aren't defined. XRef may not be first date chat material, but Leon says that when it was tested on a dozen leading firms' precedents, not one was found to be error-free.
|How it might look: XRef takes over from a trainee|
Leon told RollOnFriday he was inspired after "a number of painful hours" in the office, when he decided it was "absurd" that individuals (ie him) were having to manually comb through doorstop-sized offerings until the early hours.
But ridding the legal world of his nemesis won't tempt Leon back: "if this works out, I have absolutely no intention of returning to lawyering".
Err so they found errors on all of them?
I don't think anyone is suggesting proof readers can be replaced. The site just says it helps check for defined term errors, which probably can be automated to a fair extent. Most lawyers dont get every document proof read professionally, so having a tool on your desktop to check for one type of (important error) is probably a good thing...
There is a lot of software that does things which are already available in Word for free (e.g. Workshare document comparison, Legal MacPac styles, etc) because they make it easier for the user and add on a bit of extra useful functionality besides, why not one more? If it saves time and makes life easier (especially for 900-odd page offering circulars or 500-page share agreements, etc) why would anyone be against it?