Down to the letter: How typos can harm your firm

Proper drafting is essential for lawyers, but many are ignoring this step, which can result in serious consequences.

Six out of 10 New Zealand lawyers estimate that proofing and checking over documents can take up to two hours per day, according to one industry specialist.
 
John van Rooyen, head of solutions development at LexisNexis New Zealand spoke to NZLawyer about the issues that arise from skipping this time-consuming task.
 
“Over a third of lawyers don’t do these labour-intensive checks as they are under increasing time-pressure to become more efficient, driven by competition and customer demands,” he said.
 
The effects of this behaviour have wide-reaching implications within the legal industry.
 
For instance, a recent LexisNexis report entitled Dodging the Draft found that 90% of all legal documents still contained errors regardless of whether they were proofread or not, van Rooyen said.
 
This then has further repercussions to a lawyer’s reputation, he added.
 
“A well prepared document is crucial to achieving the result that the client wants.  This in turn influences reputation as well. In the worst case scenario, improperly drafted documents can lead to losing cases and clients.”
 
This goes beyond simply having correct spelling and grammar, van Rooyen advised. Lawyers should also remain consistent when using defined terms, numbering, internal references and citations.
 
Since these are all details which are easy to miss with the naked eye, he recommended the use of digital drafting solutions instead. These typically come with “a range of tools for preparing accurate and precise legal documents efficiently, giving back more time to do what matters most.”
 

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