There are four types of editing, and each requires different skills. They are:
3. Hard editing
4. Technical editing
Proofreading is carefully checking a document for punctuation and spelling. It also requires looking for consistent usage of terms, and language (e.g., British or American English). This is the most common editing people think of when the word editor come to mind.
Copyediting involves reviewing a document for grammar usage, but also for a consistent read and pacing. Take for example a law journal or magazine in which every page reads the same. In some cases, such as large firms, government organizations, etc., a copyeditor may be asked to produce documents to the specifications of certain guidelines. If this sounds familiar to you, it should. This is typically what paralegals and attorneys do every time we edit a motion or brief.
Hard editing is rewriting whole paragraphs and sometimes even an entire document. This is standard practice when we are writing briefs for the first time. It can also occur when any writer is having a difficulty expressing his or her ideas clearly and succinctly.
Technical editing requires fact checking a document, finding flaws in logic or fallacious statements. All scientific, academic, business and legal writings need technical editing skills.
If all four types of editing sound familiar to you, that is a pretty good sign, you already use them. If you already uses these editing techniques, but you still find errors in your legal documents, don’t be too hard on yourself—it is tough to edit your own work and catch everything. If you use all four of the editing types listed here, you should be proud of yourself. They all require attention to detail, time and a high level of skill. Even if you are not a master of all four—just the fact you are implementing them puts you in the group with all the skilled attorneys and paralegals who do use them.