From office to home office: Mitigate the risk of manual proofreading

From office to home office: Mitigate the risk of manual proofreading

 

Never has remote working been as common across the legal industry as it is now; more lawyers, operational and support staff than ever are homeworking, creating a real shift in the professional dynamic.

Whether you’re flourishing or finding it more of a challenge, there are common themes relating to the work of all lawyers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Relying on new channels for communication with colleagues and clients, whilst trying to ensure high levels of productivity in a home setting, can be a real challenge for individual lawyers and the wider business.

 

The risk of human error

 

Sudden and unplanned change increases the risk of human error, especially when it comes to more mundane but essential tasks, such as the proofreading and drafting of documents.

Human psychology dictates that when working under increased levels of pressure, the natural tendency, conscious or otherwise, is to focus more effort on activities that require the most attention. Simply put, lawyers spend the majority of their time and energy on the tasks they find the most challenging, and consequently the level of focus on transactional tasks reduces.  

This is underpinned by some logic of course. However, the fact remains that the quality of more repetitive tasks can suffer. As lawyers balance the different challenges that come with homeworking, such as childcare, and with changing expectations of employers and clients, it’s now more crucial than ever to mitigate against the risk of human error whilst providing support to individuals in uncertain times.

 

Proofreading and citation checking

 

Lexis Draft, the solution that enables proofreading, citation checking and access to practical guidance, offers piece of mind and clarity for lawyers, whilst increasing efficiency and reducing risk across the board for Law firms.

It benefits individual lawyers, the wider business, and crucially their clients; enabling lawyers to operate more efficiently, deliver maximum value, and reduce the risk of error. In recent weeks, our work with legal clients has highlighted several key challenges associated with drafting and proofreading documents from home – further exacerbated by the crisis. Here are some of our key takeaways:

 

Working in Word – Many lawyers that are accustomed to large, dual monitors are now working on smaller laptop screens, making it harder to switch easily between content when working in Word – where naturally, they tend to spend so much of their time.   

Lexis Draft clients can access citation checking in the Word environment without having to open other windows or log in and out of applications. Similarly, the integration between Lexis Draft and  Lexis PSL provides access to practical guidance, which allows the user to not only check, but to also insert clauses with ease whilst working on a document.

Dividing the workload – Remote working also impacts the opportunity for collaboration with colleagues – a crucial part of the drafting process for many teams. Firms have realised just how much dialogue usually takes place face-to-face, whether in an arranged meeting or very often informally in the corridor, at the printer or when grabbing a coffee. Increased homeworking has reduced opportunities for this interaction, as individuals are far less likely to approach a colleague for advice online.

Lexis Draft enables lawyers to maintain effective dialogue and share proofreading tasks. For example, the checking of editing mistakes and numbering issues can be delegated to administrative staff, allowing fee earners and more senior lawyers to focus on the more technical elements of drafting, including checking definitions, citations and references.

Paperless drafting – Lastly, a further challenge involves lawyers who are used to proofreading from paper copies (there are still many out there!) However, this option has proved trickier in recent times, with reduced access to office resources, such as printers and paper.  

Lexis Draft provides an effective way to proofread documents without the need for paper copies, and actively encourages efficient drafting in a standardised way across a firm. And even where lawyers are still able to print and proofread from paper copies – GDPR is a real issue, especially when away from the office, and where access to safe disposal of confidential documents is less likely.

 

Increased homeworking has highlighted the value that  Lexis Draft delivers to individual users, the wider firm and their clients. With unprecedented levels of homeworking – a trend that will continue after the current pandemic has subsided – now is the time for those law firms that have not adopted drafting technology to reconsider their strategy.

 

Find out more or request a quote here

 

 

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About the author:
As an Engagement Manager at LexisNexis UK, Brad focuses on pre-sales for Lexis Draft, helping Law firms and In-House teams leverage and deploy technology effectively. This involves helping clients build the business case and on-going strategy to drive usage as well as overcoming any associated challenges. Prior to LexisNexis Brad worked with legal services firms and tech providers looking to differentiate their brand and gain competitive advantage through various activities including digital marketing, thought leadership and events sponsorship.