How legal proofreaders save you time and protect your firm
The legal industry is evolving. Lawyers are entering a time of constant flux, as legal tech becomes the norm in law firms. But even though legal tech is allowing lawyers to spend less time on repetitive tasks, meeting your yearly billable hours can still be challenging.
Drafting documents is one of the ways you’ll spend your billable time, but thoroughly proofreading these documents can take up an even larger portion of your day. However, there is some ambiguity about whether or not proofreading can be counted as billable time. Regardless of the uncertainty, it is a monotonous task that takes time away from decisively billable work.
With that in mind, understanding how you can leverage legal tech to reduce the time you spend proofreading while improving the accuracy of your documents will give you some breathing room. It’ll also allow you to put more time towards high-value, rewarding client work.
But, it’s not only about getting your billable hours in. Comprehensive, quality proofreading can help protect your law firm against claims, keeping you out of the crosshairs of an irate senior lawyer or partner. Below, we discuss how you can support your firm and further your professional career.
Why digital legal proofreaders are necessary
According to a survey by ZERO Systems, nearly three-quarters of timekeepers (of which 85% are lawyers) spend over 20% of the work week on non-billable tasks, which included “proofreading documents, managing emails, and entering time”, while 40% spend more than a third of their day managing these tasks. The report suggests that spending so much time on non-billable hours may be impeding the professional and personal success of those surveyed.
Legal proofreading software might be the solution to this problem - it speeds up the proofreading process, simplifies your workload, and ensures your contracts remain watertight.
In essence, it does the legwork for you, allowing you to spend less time proofreading and more time on high-value billable tasks.
More quality time to spend on billable hours
Billable hours are far more important to your firm than non-billable ones. The ability to automate non-billable repetitive tasks that take time away from more rewarding work will show that you understand the importance of your time and demonstrate the value you provide to your firm.
As discussed in our article “Don’t let the billable hour be the enemy of productivity”, billable hour wastage accounts for 75% of the work day. Legal tech helps to turn this into actual billable time by automating non-billable tasks that make up most of this time leakage.
If you’ve just begun your career in law, you’re most likely eager to impress and aim to put in as many billable hours as possible. Definely Proof is the perfect companion. There is no need to skimp on quality, and you’ll spend less time searching through drafts because our AI-powered proofreader automates hundreds of proofreading checks with the click of a button.
Get ahead of lawyer burnout
Minimising this repetitive, low-value work can also work to improve your mental health. Lawyer burnout is something that many lawyers suffer through. According to a survey by Legatics, 67% of lawyers said their job had harmed their mental health, while 90% said they’ve had “some form of stress or burnout”, due to their occupation.
Proofreading may be a leading cause of this burnout, according to a LexisNexis report. It revealed that 66% of lawyers believed they were under so much pressure to put their billable hours in that they were unable to proofread competently. What’s more concerning is that 33% admitted they had skipped their proofreading tasks altogether, due to a perceived lack of time.
Crucially, the report found that 60% of fee earners said they would be able to accomplish their non-billable, repetitive tasks if they had access to more efficient tools. Thankfully, law firms have begun to change since this report's publication in 2014, and proofreading software is readily available.
It should come as no surprise that remaining mentally sharp is one of the best ways you can ensure your long-term success at your firm. Preventing or getting ahead of lawyer burnout will contribute to your rise up the ranks. Utilising legal tech can be one of the best ways to do this, since it reduces time spent on repetitive tasks, and allows for more time to be spent on client work that will get you noticed.
The ease and efficiency of Definely Proof can help with this, prevent lawyers’ burnout, and improve your mental health. This also means fewer mistakes will slip through.
Save yourself in the long run
As we have mentioned, proofreading can have a massive impact on the prevention of lawsuits. By ensuring no mistakes from the start, there will be fewer complications for the law firm down the line.
In 2019, Travelers, a company specialising in business insurance, reported that 1 in 8 claims were caused by errors in the drafting process. Many of them, Travelers indicates, were simple spelling mistakes or typing errors that would have been caught if there had been more rigorous proofreading.
These claims can lead to lawsuits with wide-ranging consequences for you, your clients (current and future), and your law firm. Reputation and goodwill built up over the years can be lost in an instant, all over something that a simple proofread could have prevented.
Making a name for yourself is a worthy goal in law. Whether or not you succeed depends on your actions and sometimes, inactions. Preventing potential errors should be your primary objective when drafting any document where an error could potentially lead to years of costly lawsuits.
But sometimes these mistakes are difficult to find. LexisNexis took a random sample of “proofread documents” from a variety of top law firms and found that 90% contained errors. It is clear humans alone are simply not able to spot every mistake.
AI proofreaders can find issues that we as humans might not even be able to spot. This is due to the ways our brains process information; we want to be able to scan through documents in the most efficient way possible and that means we’ll sometimes add in words that were never there, or reorder sentences so they make more sense.
Without these biological pitfalls, AI can flag any contract-specific issue or error that needs attention, alongside providing the basic features of a good proofreader. Your contracts, agreements, and certifications can be checked, rechecked, and checked again in mere minutes, resulting in fewer claims against your firm due to errors in the drafting process.
Everything you do to show your firm how invested you are from early on will put you in good stead later in your career. Ensuring your documents and contracts are indisputable will go a long way to demonstrate your forward-thinking and commitment. The looming threat of a lawsuit should be enough to ensure you safeguard yourself from becoming part of the problem.
Legal proofreaders provide the solution
Legal document production requires a robust proofreading process; one humans cannot accomplish on their own. A digital legal proofreading solution like Definely Proof can be used to keep you on top of your game. This ensures fewer mistakes, resulting in fewer causes for concern down the line.
Definely Proof is the solution. Discover how it can assist in your professional development and serve the future of your firm by booking a free demo.