How to Become a Legal Proofreader

Lisa JacksonMay 6, 2021

What is a Legal Proofreader?

Proofreading is the job role that requires the written material to be given one last overall check to look for inconsistencies, typos and errors. If legal proofreading is your career choice, read on.

Becoming a Legal Proofreader

You have several options for starting out in your legal proofreading career.

Online

You could freelance, set up your website and market your skills, you get to pick and choose your work and clients. Your work schedule is flexible and you aren’t bound by your location. It gives you the freedom to take your work with you.

Join a Legal Firm

Another option is to of course simply join a legal firm. Any legal firm would have a tower of paperwork and court transcripts to go through. It’s the proofreader who checks the end-product and ensures it is grammatically correct and otherwise free of errors and inconsistencies.

How much does a legal proofreader make?

A legal proofreader’s average salary, according to  ZipRecruiter, is $48,000 annually with highest earnings recorded at $70,000.

Skills Legal Proofreaders Need

As with any professional field, you’ll need a certain skill set that qualifies you for the job.

  1. Know your terminologies

As the legal profession, like other professions, comes with its own jargon. To be able to proofread legal documents you would first have to be aware and knowledgeable of their terminologies.

  1. Read well

You need to read, read, and read. Any good writer, editor or proofreader would need a well-developed eye for good writing and error detection.

  1. Develop Computer Skills

You will need basic knowledge of computers, with an internet connection and writing software to type up your work.

  1. Style Guide

Every written document comes with its own format and writing style. You will need to comply with the required style guide for legal proofreading. Add to that the technical complexity of legal writing, it makes this skill a must for anyone wishing to work as a legal proofreader. The good news is, it’s a learned skill and with practice can be perfected.

  1. Reference Library

Build your reference library with all the dictionaries, thesaurus and reference material that is specialized to the legal profession.

  1. An Eye for Written Errors

You can learn and practice this skill, but it does help if you naturally have an eye to catch errors in writing. It will also make your job quicker.

Proofreading Training

You could create your foundations in the field through formal training. There are courses, and even online classes, that can teach you the basics of legal proofreading. It doesn’t even require any other qualification as long as you can train yourself in this area.

Practice makes perfect so practice on anything you read. Practice and experience is the only way up the ladder of success, once you gain the basic knowledge and skills. 

What tips can you add here for legal proofreaders?

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