Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Proofreading is important. Whether you're trying to catch problems with your argument or just fix an incorrect subject verb agreement, if you don't proofread, you might miss something important or just appear careless to the court and adversaries.
Ideally, it helps to have someone you trust proofread your work before you submit it to the court or to your boss. But if you're stuck proofreading yourself, the following tips can help you catch errors.
If you've just finished drafting a pleading, before you get right to proofreading, take a short break. If you can spend an hour or more on something else, great; if not, at least spend a few minutes doing something completely unrelated. Check your personal email, take a walk around the office, or check in with a colleague.
When you proofread, especially your own writing, it is easy to get carried away. You wrote it, so you might not see when an "of" or a "the" is missing. And because you wrote it and know it, your brain might just glance over the obvious mistakes all lawyers make.
If you read paragraphs one sentence at a time, going from the bottom of a paragraph to the top, you'll be able to focus on each individual sentence, and will be less likely to make the errors that happen when you get carried away by the flow of your poetic prose.
We've all seen the evening news, but not all of us know that trying to mimic a newscaster while reading out loud is a really good proofreading trick. Nightly news anchors, especially on national news programs, tend to be rather articulate and speak proper English. If you can close your door, try this trick. It's fun and it works.
Reading your pleading on a computer screen is okay if it's short, but if you have more than 10 pages, printing it out can be really helpful. Often allegations will refer to other sections, and it is often easier to just be able to flip back and forth between paper pages to ensure you have consistent language.
After you've finished proofreading, take a short break, then do it again. After all, you're filing it with the court, and while courts may not be extreme sticklers for grammar, syntax, or semantic errors, it can matter at least for your reputation. And if you push it, you can get sanctioned for making the wrong kind of mistake -- like changing your client's name on a boilerplate pleading.
If you found an error in the last proofread, take a short break, and proof it again. Keep repeating this process until you proof it through entirely without seeing any errors.
If it's late, a trick that can be rather helpful is using your computer's text-to-speech feature, or maybe your smartphone's digital assistant like Siri (email it to yourself and ask Siri to read it to you). Just about every modern computer today is equipped with text-to-speech. Basically, have your computer, in its computerized voice, read you your pleading while you follow along. Incorrect wordings will be rather apparent, and you can fix them as you hear and see them.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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