Why law firms should employ a legal proofreading solution
Digital legal proofreaders are everywhere and you’ll have heard the words “service” or “solution” used in relation to many of them. With so many companies competing to provide proofreading to law firms, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
How exactly they differentiate is not immediately apparent, as both a service and a solution will:
- Check spelling, punctuation, and grammar
- Make sure citations and references are implemented correctly
- Ensure consistent terminology
- Maintain style and tone across the document
- Ensure sentence structure and readability
Since both legal proofreading services and solutions can accomplish these tasks, we discuss the key differences between the two below. We also outline why a proofreading solution might be the best answer to your proofreading needs.
What’s the difference between a legal proofreading service and a solution?
Where a legal proofreading service might be outsourced to a separate team, department, or an outside company, a proofreading solution is something that can be brought in-house and used by everyone - from trainees to partners. This is typically in the form of software that can be integrated directly into your firm's current drafting software, such as Microsoft Word.
Having the ability to undertake the proofreading process in-house can be an important reason to choose a solution over a service. Ensuring as few errors as possible is vital to preventing problems for the firm. Proofread documents must be watertight because any errors in the proofreading process can be costly, particularly when it comes to document drafting.
For example, as reported by the Guardian, the lack of a single Oxford comma in Maine’s (USA) state laws led to a dairy company being forced to pay three delivery drivers $5 million. It stemmed from a dispute in overtime fees and the drivers’ belief that the wording of the law meant they were entitled to overtime pay. After an appeal, a judge agreed that the lack of an Oxford comma dictated they were indeed entitled to overtime. The company was forced to pay out as a result.
Errors in grammar, sentence structure, and syntax can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Although the above example is a worst-case scenario, it does make you think twice before trusting an outsourced team with document proofreading. It could end up being more trouble than it’s worth as there are too many factors out of your control. An in-house solution can ensure these errors are spotted before the document or contract is finalised.
Definely Proof, our AI-powered proofreading solution, was specifically designed to satisfy law firms’ proofreading needs. It does so in the following ways.
Fewer humans = fewer mistakes
It may come as no surprise that most proofreading errors happen because of mistakes made by the lawyers drafting them. This may be because they are under so much pressure to deliver their billable hours that their standards slip, or because that same pressure is causing lawyer burnout.
A 2014 survey by LexisNexis of over 100 top UK law firms revealed several concerning statistics regarding proofreading:
- 90% of a random sample of “proofread” legal documents contained errors
- 66% of lawyers said they could not proofread due to time pressure
- 33% admitted they skipped proofreading due to this time pressure
Crucially, the survey reported that 60% of fee earners said they would be able to accomplish these tasks if they had access to more efficient tools. Thankfully, legal tech is booming and law firms are beginning to recognise its role in the industry. But, lawyer burnout is still very much a real concern.
With this in mind, outsourcing to a proofreading service might seem like the obvious choice - it would mean more internal resources and time could be spent on higher-value tasks, and documents would become finalised with fewer mistakes.
However, proofreading services are not infallible, and if they were to miss any errors or fail to flag any issues, instead of saving time it increases your firm’s workload - and if the LexisNexis report proves anything, it’s that humans aren’t perfect proofreaders. A solution, on the other hand, would present every mistake to the document or contract user, enabling them to ensure it’s error-free.
Definely Proof is a software solution that utilises AI to automate hundreds of proofreading checks in seconds, with the click of a button. All of this is overseen by the lawyer who drafted the document. Documents can be scanned for inconsistencies with capitalisation, punctuation, quotations, and formatting. Hours spent searching through documents for errors can be reduced to mere minutes.
Maintain your reputation
According to a Travelers report, drafting is the most expensive cause of claims. Usually, these claims resulted from simple errors that a proofreader should have spotted. If a law firm is constantly battling insurance claims, its reputation suffers. Excellent proofreading can make all the difference.
With legal tech in place to ensure as few mistakes as possible, a law firm's reputation can remain intact. There will be little to no worry about insurance claims based on errors in drafting if a robust AI-powered proofreading solution is there to spot them.
Crucially, AI can proofread to a higher degree of accuracy than its human counterparts, who may miss mistakes completely. Fewer mistakes mean less cause for concern regarding litigation and lawsuits. Your firm's reputation will not be tarnished by claims and clients remain assured that they are in good hands.
Opt for a legal proofreading solution
A legal proofreading solution is an answer to the issues law firms face with drafting document errors. Definely Proof can create pristine legal documents and ensure that errors are minimal, if not non-existent. This means more time can be spent on billable hours and client-facing work.
Discover how Definely Proof can benefit your law firm with a free demo, where our legal technology experts walk you through every feature it has to offer. Protect your law firm’s reputation and minimise claims with error-free contracts and documents. Start today.