Observant little ...

I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...

Correcting documents - my system

I was reading this blog and one of the posts is about one of the bosses making corrections in red pen and someone having a go at her. I added my comments to the blog, but thought I'd share on my blog as well... because I'm just a sharing sort of a person! ;o)

The comments on the other blog were more about the fact that some people find red pen all over their documents confronting. I tend to agree - red pen all over a document looks pretty bad, less so than does blue, or black, or green. But I have no real aesthetic problems with the use of red pen, it's just doesn't fit my system.

First a brief background for any overseas folk reading this - a solicitor is a lawyer, an article clerk is like a trainee solicitor. In Queensland, to be admitted as a solicitor, you need to do one of the following:-
- complete your law degree, then work for 2 years as an article clerk full time; or
- complete your law degree part time, while working at the same time as an article clerk for 5 years; or
- complete your law degree, then do the legal practice course, which is like a post-grad course which is supposed to provide the practical knowledge that articles provides.

When I first started working in a law office, I was a 21 year old articled clerk and, other than the junior, the youngest and lowest paid person in the office. It wasn't a big office, I was one of two article clerks and the other one was in his fourth year of five-year articles; there were about 7 professional staff all up and maybe 15 support staff. So I learnt office procedure from the secretaries - they taught me how to dictate properly, how to mark corrections so that they would understand what I wanted them to do, and to make corrections in blue pen - not black as that was too hard to see against the black type, not red, because they ticked off the corrections in red as they went to show that they'd made them all. They always gave me back the draft with the corrected document so that I could see easily that the changes had been made (and that they'd been able to read my handwriting correctly) without me having to re-read the entire document.

After I changed offices, I found that this wasn't always the case in other firms, but I liked the system, so I always taught my new secretaries, or any solicitors/article clerks under my supervision the same system.

And when I went to Europe for seven months and worked in Dublin as a legal secretary (I couldn't be bothered going through the hassle of getting admitted in Ireland when I wasn't going to be working there for that long, and working as a temp suited my lifestyle seeing as I wanted to do lots of travel while I was there) I followed the same system working for the solicitors over there. And the more I used it, the more I liked it - especially when working as a secretary in Dublin - you were constantly interrupted by the phone, or by one of the solicitors wanting something done urgently and putting a document aside when only half the corrections were done. By ticking them off in red as I went, I always knew exactly where I was up to.

And now that I work with contracts and policy documents that are hundreds of pages long, I like the system even more. When you are correcting someone else's work, so they need to see the changes you've made, and you only have maybe one alteration every 2 or 3 pages in a very long document, it makes sense to tick them off as you go. Of course, I work in government now and don't have a secretary to do my typing for me, but I still follow the system so that my drafts on the file show clearly what changes were made and when. Of course, we have versions (usually by date or version number) and can always do electronic comparisons, but I still like my handwritten changes in blue ink, ticked off in red.

Guess I'm old fashioned that way.

Listening to: Tamas Wells - A mark on the pane


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