The legal research company Casetext is today introducing an add-in for Microsoft Word that enables legal professionals to use its Compose automated brief-drafting technology directly within documents on their desktops.

The add-in includes all the motions and features available in the online Compose application, including click-to-add arguments and Parallel Search, an AI-driven concept-search tool that uses a sentence to find matching case law, even when the case includes none of the same words.

It is available immediately to all Casetext enterprise customers and will be more widely available in the coming months.

Launched by Casetext last February, Compose is a first-of-its-kind product that helps automate the creation of the first draft of a litigation brief, significantly cutting the time the draft would normally take.

At the time, cofounder and CEO Jake Heller said the product was “poised to disrupt the $437 billion legal services industry and fundamentally change our understanding of what types of professional work are uniquely human.”

Initially, the product covered a limited set of core motions related to federal civil procedure and discovery. Last month, Casetext introduced a collection of employment law briefs for Compose. It plans to roll out other collections over time.

How It Works

The Word add-in provides the same drafting and research functionality as the online version. Clicking the Compose button on the home ribbon opens a right-hand panel in Word from which the user can select from among all the available arguments for that motion type. As you find arguments you wish to make, you simply click Add and Compose inserts them into your brief.

As noted, the add-in also includes Casetext’s Parallel Search. Highlight a sentence in your brief and click the research tab in the Compose add-in to find cases relevant to that sentence. When you find a case you want to use, one click adds the citation to your brief.

As I’ve explained in my prior posts about Compose, Parallel Search is a powerful tool in its ability to find precedent that is conceptually relevant to the arguments you are making in your brief, even when the cases do not use the same language. Because I’ve described in previous posts how Compose works, I will not go into detail here. But if you are interested, see:

The Bottom Line

“Sometimes really great technology, in the right place, is ten times better than that technology alone,” Heller said in a preview demonstration earlier this week.

He drew an analogy to taking digital cameras — great technology of themselves — and putting them in cell phones. That made them more accessible and more useful and made photos easier to share.

The same is true, he argued, of adding Compose to Word. “You take Compose, you put it in Microsoft Word, and, all of a sudden, you have something that is more accessible, more useful and helps attorneys focus on what matters.”

It is more useful, Heller said, because adding Compose to Word expands its functionality. Originally, it was a tool to create a first draft of a brief. But in Word, an attorney could start with an existing brief from a prior matter, and then use Compose to add new arguments, update the law, or retemplate the brief for a different jurisdiction.

I have previously described Compose as “a breakthrough technology for legal professionals” and said that “it enables lawyers to create a first draft in substantially less time than they would otherwise require.” Since Word is where so many legal professionals live and work, today’s announcement means they will have easier access to Compose and therefore be more likely to use it.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.