Deal Proof—A Document-Analysis and Proofreading Tool

I said in this blog post that I planned to do a post about Deal Proof. Well, here it is.

Deal Proof is a Thomson West product; click here to go to the relevant page of the Thomson West website. It’s a document-analysis and proofreading tool that many of the big firms subscribe to. It checks for inconsistent use of defined terms, creates lists of open items, and performs various other proofreading and summarizing tasks.

I had access to Deal Proof in the waning days of my big-firm practice, so I didn’t have much opportunity to put it through its paces, and I’ve always been curious about how useful practitioners find it and whether they actually use it. I recently had the opportunity to speak about Deal Proof with Fred Fulton, a partner in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight. Here’s what he had to say:

Deal Proof is a great tool that frees up brainpower to be used on matters that are more productive and interesting than checking for consistency in the use of defined terms and similar mind-numbing aspects of document drafting. I use it regularly and expect those working for me to do the same. I consider it as essential as spell-check, and am disappointed when I am reviewing documents submitted to me if I find an error that would have been caught by Deal Proof.

If you’ve used Deal Proof, I’d be interested to hear what you think of it and how it compares with any other tools that perform some of its functions.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

5 thoughts on “Deal Proof—A Document-Analysis and Proofreading Tool”

  1. I have looked at Deal Proof in the past and I agree with Fred that it can be a valuable tool. I’m not aware of any other tool that does what Deal Proof does.

    It can help to catch some of the errors (e.g., cross-references and numbering) that tend to creep into a contract draft as it goes through the negotiation and editing processes. Since many lawyers don’t use automatic numbering, and few lawyers use automatic cross references, these kinds of errors are introduced all the time, and they are often overlooked in the haste to get a deal done. Deal Proof would catch many of them.

    The other place where I think Deal Proof can add value is in reviewing a contract that was drafted by someone else. It doesn’t take the place of manual proofreading, but it can catch many of the little things that are easy to overlook when you’re trying to understand a lengthy contract you’ve never seen before. Something like inconsistent use of definitions can be hard to spot in a long document, and Deal Proof does a decent job of finding those kinds of errors.

    The biggest problem I see with Deal Proof is not a problem with the software itself. It’s that it’s one more software tool that people have to take the time to learn and then take the time to use it routinely. In my experience, most lawyers are simply not going to spend the time to adopt another software tool, even if it would save them time in the long run.

    You could give Deal Proof to an assistant and let them use if for a first pass at proofreading, but much of the value of the tool would be lost since someone will still have to make a judgment call on many of the issues Deal Proof will spot.

    I applaud Fred for using Deal Proof to help in improving the quality of his firm’s contracts, but I don’t think most lawyers will adopt anything like this until, like spell check, it’s completely integrated with word processing or a contract assembly tool.

  2. Based on your blog, we asked our West representative to come do a demo of the product for us. Gov’t agencies, such as ours, were not aware of this tool. I think it would be a great tool to use in drafting our 300 page managed care contracts, or even some of our non-contract documents with similar features. I love the cite checking ability, as our contracts are rife with federal and state laws and regulations. That’s a chore that takes hours to do by hand.

  3. I cannot find the price for West’s Deal Proof. The website only refers me to a sales rep. I assume this means three things: the product is expensive due to the added cost of the sales rep; the product is so expensive that West is embarrassed to say how much it costs; and the sales rep is supposed to try to cross-sell me to other West products. I am not interested in any of that.

    This is a small utility program for MS Word. Tell me the price, let me do a demo (by myself, with the full version) and don’t waste my billable time with sales reps. Sorry, West.


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