Bench & Bar

MAR 2018

The Bench & Bar magazine is published to provide members of the KBA with information that will increase their knowledge of the law, improve the practice of law, and assist in improving the quality of legal services for the citizenry.

Issue link: https://kentuckybenchandbar.epubxp.com/i/956835

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 48 of 87

47 BENCH & BAR | 1. Professor Jennifer Jolly-Ryan teaches writing at Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University. She was a law clerk for Judge S. Arthur Spiegel of the United States District Court, S. D. of Ohio. She practiced law with Dinsmore & Shohl and Jolly & Blau before joining the law faculty. anks to Sean Ryan for his perspectives as an associate attor- ney and judicial law clerk. He practices with Frost Brown Todd and clerked for United States District Court Judges, Honorable Gregory Stivers, W. D. of Ky. and Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood, S. D. of Ga. I also thank my proofreading buddies, Chase law students Jeff Rosenberger and Marchesa Peters. 2. People continually take sensory messages and subconsciously change them to what they expect to see. See generally Kathryn Schultz, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Errors (Harper Collins 1st ed., 2010). 3. See Joe Patrice, Roy Moore's Lawyer Pens Demand Letter as Embarrassing as his Client, Above the Law, https://abovethelaw.com/2017/11/roy-moores- lawyer-pens-demand-letter-as-embarrassing-as-his-client/ (Nov. 15, 2017). See also Debra Cassens Weiss, Roy Moore's lawyer threatens website with 'utterly incoherent' letter, ABA Journal (Nov. 16, 2017), http://www. abajournal.com/news/article/roy_moores_lawyer_sends_utterly_incoher- ent_letter_to_website/. ENDNOTES 4. Karin Ciano, Legal Writing Notebook: Roy Moore's Lawyer Advised to Proofread, Minnesota Lawyer (November 30, 2017), http://minnlawyer. com/2017/11/30/legal-writing-notebook-roy-moores-lawyer-advised-to- proofread/. 5. Id. 6. Andrew Jay McClurg, Letz Here it for Juge Jakeup Hurt of the Oster Disstrict of Pensylvinia!, Lawhaha (Nov. 27, 2011), http://lawhaha.com/letz-here- it-for-juge-jakeup-hurt-of-the-oster-disstrict-of-pensylvinia/. 7. Id. 8. Ciano, supra note 4. 9. Anne Enquist & Laurel Currie Oates, Just Writing (4th ed. 2013) contains great suggestions on how to proofread and on most grammar topics in general. Other proofreading ideas in this article are from the following sources on the internet: Ivy B. Grey's Legal Writing: Five-Step Checklist for Better Editing and Proofreading, available at http://www. intelligentediting.com/resources/legal-writing-five-step-checklist-for- better-editing-and-proofreading/; and the University of North Carolina Writing Center, available at https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/ editing-and-proofreading/. • Give yourself some distance. Wait at least a day or more after finishing the draft before proofreading. Hopefully, you will forget some of what you wrote so you will not know what to expect to read on the paper or computer. • Make technology your friend and run spell-check. Those colored, squiggly lines spell-check generates on the draft mean something important Spell-check does not catch all errors, but it is a good start. • Proofread in addition to using spell-check on the com- puter. Spell-check will not catch mistakes like "statue" for "statute," "it's" for "its," "there" for "their," "to" for "too," or citation errors. Nor will it catch misspellings of a client's name. If the lawyer has a history of making such errors, the lawyer might find it helpful to use "control" "F" on the computer as a double check. • Proofread on a hard copy that can be marked up, in addition to proofreading the document on the computer screen. The proofreader has many advantages when reading on a computer screen because he or she can alter the text's font size, color, or style. Altering the way the document looks tricks the brain into thinking it is seeing an unfamiliar document. A font can be enlarged 470% on the lower right-hand side of most computer screens, which is a huge help to the proof reader's eyes. But most of us learned to read on paper, and for many lawyers, there is no substitute for a hard copy of a long document that the lawyer can mark up in red pen. • Proofread in multiple, short blocks of time. In a long document, do not proofread the entire text in one sitting as you will not be able to focus your mind enough to trick your mind and catch errors. • Slowly read out loud, record, and play back, if possible. Slowly reading out loud may help the lawyer detect missing words, incomplete sentence, and other writing sins. This process takes the reader's mind out of what he expects to see on paper or on the comput- er screen. In addition, the reader gets to hear how the words sound together. • Read the document multiple times, focusing on a distinct task each time. It is difficult to concentrate on content, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and citation all at once. Slow it down and trick the brain. For example, highlight only citations in yellow on one read through. Circle punctuation on a separate read through if you have a history of making errors. • Jump around. Begin near the beginning, near the end, and in the middle of the draft on separate reads. The goal is to trick the brain into thinking it is looking at a different document than the one you wrote. • Check for consistency. For example, make certain that the same term is capitalized or hyphenated throughout. Make certain that quotation marks or parenthesis are not mismatched, with an unclosed mark at the beginning or end of the quotation or parenthetical. • Review titles and headings separately. Titles and head- ings are placed in a high position of emphasis in legal documents. Computer spellcheck features often do not catch errors in headings. • Read backwards. Trick your mind into seeing spelling errors by reading the last word on the last page to the beginning. Because the content won't make sense, your mind will not be distracted from the task of proofreading.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Bench & Bar - MAR 2018