Lawyers know better than most that the devil is in the details: One tiny error in a contract can upend a multimillion-dollar deal. That’s why lawyers and paralegals themselves are often natural proofreaders – they dedicate much of their time to reading reams of documents with an eagle eye.
Still, as proofreaders themselves will tell you, it’s invaluable to have an outsider’s perspective and a fresh set of eyes to catch errors you might overlook. That’s also why we have two proofreaders go through every document our clients submit – we have found that it greatly reduces the chances that a mistake will slip through.
Those details matter in more than just contracts and other highly technical documents. It’s important to have your legal firm’s website copy, marketing brochures, RFP responses, client newsletters and other written material edited by professionals who are familiar with the particular needs of your field. Even the best writers make mistakes – and when your business relies on high-quality writing, you really can’t afford to look foolish.
Marketing materials: Prospective clients, too, know that lawyers care about the details – so they’re going to take a close look at your firm’s brochures, billboards and other marketing materials. All of those materials have one essential purpose: You’re asking strangers to trust you with their business, their relationships or even their freedom. Spelling and grammar errors can cost you clients before they even reach the point of picking up the phone.
Website copy: Let’s drill a little deeper into marketing: Your online presence is one of the most important components of your marketing plan. It needs to be succinct, polished and accurate. Professional copy editors and proofreaders can help with all of those things, and those with legal expertise can help make it easier for site visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for. You’ll need a web designer for the graphics and coding, but don’t overlook the words themselves.
Press releases and announcements: If you want journalists to take note of your announcement, it had better look professional. Some reporters and editors will toss it in the recycle bin at the first typo. Copy editors know what those gatekeepers look for and can help make your news releases eye-catching in a good way.
RFP responses: When submitting a response to a request for proposals, you should make it as polished as possible. Your firm is asking for business, and it’s competing with other firms whose proposals might be as good as yours or better. All else being equal, some clients (much like newspaper editors) winnow the field by weeding out proposals with spelling and grammar errors. A copy editor can also help you get the information across without wasting words, showing the prospective client that you value their time.
Law firms have more than enough on their to-do lists. Professional proofreading can go a long way toward providing peace of mind.