In the continued explosion of documents and work we push out the door, it is imperative to make sure that your clients will not judge you solely on any errors.

Last month I read an article that researched errors in documents. I’ve thought for some time that the ability to produce documents more rapidly in the digital transformation has led to more errors being made and some that can materially change meaning or outcome. Those errors can even be made in a court opinion. Errors like this occasioned the article by Professor Wolf as it involved other cases citing the original error and stare decisis. The Supreme Court actually now devotes a part of its website to decisions that have had typographical errors fixed.

This topic is an interesting one to our industry and I asked our President of Content to write a piece that we hope you will enjoy on the difference between proofreading and copy-editing and the need for a specialist in this environment of ever-increasing workloads.

Your clients engage you for your education and expertise in your field of law. Our content division specializes in copy editing and proofreading for our profession with impeccable work and academic credentials. When you look for an industry-experienced, impeccably educated copy editor, our content division is here to help you as that is their specialty.

The Reign of Error

You’ve managed to meet unbelievable deadlines despite a day of tasks requiring you to complete another brief, motion, opinion letter, complaint, appeal, or other critical documents for your client and your law firm!

While you’ve got one obstacle down, another appears to take its place: the editing process. Due to the data volumes present in today’s workplace, it seems impossible to make the necessary job of copyediting and proofreading one of the priority tasks of your day.

Overall, editing can be a confusing process due to the numerous types of editing that exist. From proofreading to copyediting and manuscript critiques, determining which process is right for your copy can seem daunting. You might ask yourself, “is editing necessary for my law firm’s documents?” The answer is a resounding yes! The editing process is crucial in ensuring that your story is told the way you want.

In this article, we take a closer look at two important parts of the editing process for law firms: legal proofreading vs copyediting. Read on to learn what proofreading and copyediting entail and which process is right for you.

The Difference Between Legal Proofreading vs Copyediting

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is one of the last steps your copy will encounter in the editing process. Once your copy is close to publication, you’ll want to hand it over to a proofreader for one last look. This is because proofreaders are focused on ensuring the quality of your copy before it is sent off for publication or distribution.

Overall, a proofreader will check your copy for minor edits, such as typos or grammar issues. As this is the last read-through before being published, a proofreader does not do as much editing as a copyeditor might. Nevertheless, if a proofreader finds that your copy has numerous edits to make, they may send it back for additional copyediting.

What is Copyediting?

Unlike proofreading, copyediting will likely be one of the first steps you take in the editing process. While the definition of copyediting differs from one professional to another, the overall goal remains the same: a copyeditor is your partner that helps you create a consistent and impactful copy.

A legal copyeditor will examine your documents for a variety of edits, including grammar, syntax, and punctuation. Additionally, a copyeditor will technical consistency by looking at your font usage and citations along with other factors like spelling. By using resources such as The Bluebook and experience in the legal industry, a legal copyeditor can ensure your copy reads as professional, impactful and without errors that might distract from your unique storytelling.

Proofreading vs Copyediting: Which to Choose?

When it comes to choosing proofreading vs copyediting for your documents, it is likely you will need both. After all, both processes are part of the larger editing process and thus, both have an important role to play in creating an impactful copy.

In the end, hiring a skilled individual to review your documents is a must when creating copy for your law firm. While you can try to tackle the task of editing on your own, chances are you are blind to your own typos. Because you know the meaning you’re trying to convey—and expect that you have done so in your copy—you can end up missing typos and other errors. Thankfully, with a second set of eyes, you can ensure the meaning you wish to convey is clear in every document you create.


About Tara Athlyn Thompson:

Tara leads the content division of Kairos Strategy Group. She is a multi-award-winning writer and prolific author of poetry and stories with her first work published at age 11. Her work was also honored in ASU’s Prestigious Canyon Voices. She holds a double-corded Summa Cum Laude English Literature degree from ASU and Barrett, The Honors College, finished in the top of her class at USC with her MMLIS, and is currently pursuing her dual Masters in English Literature back at her alma mater of ASU. Tara is highly regarded as one of the most detailed and effective copyeditors and proofreaders in the industry, with nearly a decade of experience.