You work all night on an awesome brief, submit it two minutes before the deadline and put your feet up. Suddenly you realize your introduction has an extra space after a period.

You can either learn how to proofread better or try out a program like CleanHaven to quickly clean and polish your writing.

How it works

CleanHaven works for Mac OSX, Windows, Linux and it is free to download. The program has a variety of helpful features that act as a second set of eyes. For example, you can use the program to search for, and remove, extra spaces or excess returns. While these may seem like obvious errors, they are also things that spell check tends to miss. They are also errors that tend to cause a lawyer to curse when they notice them after filing a brief.

For style perfectionists, it can also search for minute details, like whether you use “curly” or “regular” quotation marks. Sure, your word processing program might catch these errors, but CleanHaven is specifically designed to search for these types of errors.

Is it useful?

Absolutely. As noted above, CleanHaven can search for errors that spell check will probably not catch. If you are a solo attorney, you do not have the luxury of asking your co-worker or associate to read your brief and proof it.

While you might think you are the world’s best editor, everybody makes mistakes. In addition, if you are stickler for certain stylistic preferences, CleanHaven can help ensure your brief is properly formatted.

  • Damien Riehl

    For those who use Word or OpenOffice, CleanHaven seems a lot more cumbersome than simply creating macros. In Word, to use your examples:

    (1) Two Spaces: Macro for global “Replace [space] [space] With [space]”
    (2) Smart Quotes: Macro for global “Replace [“] with [“]” (If you have your Word preferences set for smart quotes (Tools > AutoCorrect > AutoFormat > Straight Quotes), this will fix them all automatically.
    (3) Extra Returns: Macro for global “Replace [^p^p] With [^p]”

    I have these three steps — as well as about a dozen others (e.g., non-breaking spaces after paragraph and section symbols) — perform in one keystroke, making everything tidy. I would bet you can use the same technique in OpenOffice, since it’s built upon the same programming logic as Word macros.

  • Yes, OO.o will do the same autocorrecting. I can see the benefit of CleanHaven, just the same. While it could be cumbersome for some documents, it could make some tasks—cleaning up a list of contacts, for example—much easier, especially because it looks like it recognizes characters and document features that Word and OO.o do not.