How much does your work get edited?

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How much does your work get edited?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:52 pm

I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(

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unlicensedpotato

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby unlicensedpotato » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(


lol one year is nothing. Chin up.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:03 pm

Third year corp associate. My reviews have always been stellar. I have one partner who hardly touches my work product and another partner who barely uses what I wrote at all. Just depends on the partner.

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MKC

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby MKC » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(


If your work product was actual shit, the partners wouldn't waste their time editing it.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby Nebby » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:07 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(


If your work product was actual shit, the partners wouldn't waste their time editing it.

Exactly.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby Nebby » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(

Think of a final litigation document as a painting. The junior's purpose is to gather the supplies, ready the studio, line up the proper tools, stretch the canvas, and set up the easel. This allows the partner to begin painting the finished product.

You appear to be doing exactly what you're supposed to do. You'll never be a good enough writer to be free from critique because such a writer doesn't exist. You can however be competent enough to put the partner in a position that makes their life easier and makes their job more focused. They already acknowledge you do good work--they have zero incentive to flatter you or lie to you.

If you weren't good at your job, then the partner would stop letting you set up the canvas and easel.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby mjb447 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:18 pm

Editing isn't necessarily a commentary on whether the original draft was "good" or "correct" - often it just means that the person doing the editing would say something differently. If you work with the same people long enough you may get a sense of some of their stylistic preferences, but not necessarily, and a year's not a huge amount of time to make that adjustment.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby encore1101 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:04 pm

I wouldn't worry too much about it if the editors are making mostly grammatical or punctuation corrections, or even organization of the materials. If they're changing the entire substance of an argument, then you may have some issues (or lack thereof, apparently).

Like others have said, the number of edits depends largely on the person doing the editing. I rotate between four different editors, depending on what the assignment is, and they each have their own nuances and style. I could hand in an edited draft to a different editor, and that editor will edit out some of the other edits that the first editor made.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby Pokemon » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:15 pm

encore1101 wrote:I wouldn't worry too much about it if the editors are making mostly grammatical or punctuation corrections, or even organization of the materials. If they're changing the entire substance of an argument, then you may have some issues (or lack thereof, apparently).

Like others have said, the number of edits depends largely on the person doing the editing. I rotate between four different editors, depending on what the assignment is, and they each have their own nuances and style. I could hand in an edited draft to a different editor, and that editor will edit out some of the other edits that the first editor made.


I am a corporate bro but would reverse this advice. Substantive stuff are things that a junior can miss and partners do not rely on juniors to get correctly. Grammar and punctuation is an attention to detail problem which juniors are expected to know.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby Vincent Adultman » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:17 pm

I have my work constantly savaged by all but maybe one or two partners.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby Nebby » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:21 pm

Pokemon wrote:
encore1101 wrote:I wouldn't worry too much about it if the editors are making mostly grammatical or punctuation corrections, or even organization of the materials. If they're changing the entire substance of an argument, then you may have some issues (or lack thereof, apparently).

Like others have said, the number of edits depends largely on the person doing the editing. I rotate between four different editors, depending on what the assignment is, and they each have their own nuances and style. I could hand in an edited draft to a different editor, and that editor will edit out some of the other edits that the first editor made.


I am a corporate bro but would reverse this advice. Substantive stuff are things that a junior can miss and partners do not rely on juniors to get correctly. Grammar and punctuation is an attention to detail problem which juniors are expected to know.

OP is a real lawyer tyvm

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby jd20132013 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:20 pm

I don't do work important enough to get edited :)

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby lolwat » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:53 pm

It depends. Edits to style, grammar, sentence/argument structure is all generally fine, but if it's being marked up heavily you have to rely on the partners' statements as to whether it's still good work or not. I've had partners significantly mark up, restructure, and sometimes partially rewrite my work thru numerous rounds of edits (usually on appellate briefs) and they still think i do great work. I've also seen other partners mark another assoc's motion up heavily and then tell them their work sucks ass and here's how to write a motion.

Truly substantive edits will probably not come in a redline but in a comment box where they tell you that you missed argument xyz and should work it in, or whatever. That is generally more of a problem. Even a junior associate should not be missing any substantive arguments (although sometimes it is more of a pet argument that doesn't do much to advance the document but the partner wants it in anyway).

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby Nebby » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:16 pm

lolwat wrote:It depends. Edits to style, grammar, sentence/argument structure is all generally fine, but if it's being marked up heavily you have to rely on the partners' statements as to whether it's still good work or not. I've had partners significantly mark up, restructure, and sometimes partially rewrite my work thru numerous rounds of edits (usually on appellate briefs) and they still think i do great work. I've also seen other partners mark another assoc's motion up heavily and then tell them their work sucks ass and here's how to write a motion.

Truly substantive edits will probably not come in a redline but in a comment box where they tell you that you missed argument xyz and should work it in, or whatever. That is generally more of a problem. Even a junior associate should not be missing any substantive arguments (although sometimes it is more of a pet argument that doesn't do much to advance the document but the partner wants it in anyway).

I loathe these arguments

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby beepboopbeep » Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:53 am

Nebby wrote:
lolwat wrote:It depends. Edits to style, grammar, sentence/argument structure is all generally fine, but if it's being marked up heavily you have to rely on the partners' statements as to whether it's still good work or not. I've had partners significantly mark up, restructure, and sometimes partially rewrite my work thru numerous rounds of edits (usually on appellate briefs) and they still think i do great work. I've also seen other partners mark another assoc's motion up heavily and then tell them their work sucks ass and here's how to write a motion.

Truly substantive edits will probably not come in a redline but in a comment box where they tell you that you missed argument xyz and should work it in, or whatever. That is generally more of a problem. Even a junior associate should not be missing any substantive arguments (although sometimes it is more of a pet argument that doesn't do much to advance the document but the partner wants it in anyway).

I loathe these arguments

God yea. The "ok I know the case law is completely clear that this argument is going nowhere and we're already 2000 words over, but what if we say it like this?" comment bubbles from pratner are the worst.

Inb4 "but they're trying to make an atmospheric point with trial themes / to tee up a future spoliation motion / etc that a mere junior can't see"

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby elendinel » Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:09 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(


If your work product was actual shit, the partners wouldn't waste their time editing it.


Agreed.

Also a lot of editing (once you get the hang of things) will be based on personal style. If one partner savages your work but the rest only give you grammatical edits here and there, chances are that one partner is just hyper specific about how they want things done, and it's just something you're going to have to learn to deal with (either by learning to match his style or by finding work from other partners whose expectations are more typical/easier to understand).

In your first year I don't think either grammatical or substantive stuff matters as much as whether or not it just generally seems like you're picking up what the partner/associates are trying to teach you. Grammatical stuff/organization can often be a matter of personal choice/style, and you can't be expected to know a ton of substantive stuff in the first year. As long as it looks like you're quickly absorbing the lessons they throw at you and not repeating the same mistakes over and over again, you'll generally be fine.

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MKC

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby MKC » Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:12 pm

elendinel wrote:
MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(


If your work product was actual shit, the partners wouldn't waste their time editing it.


Agreed.

Also a lot of editing (once you get the hang of things) will be based on personal style. If one partner savages your work but the rest only give you grammatical edits here and there, chances are that one partner is just hyper specific about how they want things done, and it's just something you're going to have to learn to deal with (either by learning to match his style or by finding work from other partners whose expectations are more typical/easier to understand).

In your first year I don't think either grammatical or substantive stuff matters as much as whether or not it just generally seems like you're picking up what the partner/associates are trying to teach you. Grammatical stuff/organization can often be a matter of personal choice/style, and you can't be expected to know a ton of substantive stuff in the first year. As long as it looks like you're quickly absorbing the lessons they throw at you and not repeating the same mistakes over and over again, you'll generally be fine.


I disagree on one thing here, and it may be different for me since I'm at a small firm: I am absolutely not allowed to be wrong or miss substantive issues. I can be uncertain, but if I tell a partner or another associate that X is the rule of law, it goddamned well better be, because literally no one is going to check my work in that sense.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby filibuster » Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:45 pm

In my experience, juniors are responsible for making sure a document "works" and that there are no grammatical/punctuation errors. Most partners I work for set the expectation that (as a junior) you aren't going to identify all the substantive issues, and that is okay. Partners want to focus on the high level issues and not waste time making sure a capitalized word is defined.

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Re: How much does your work get edited?

Postby elendinel » Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:05 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
elendinel wrote:
MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm at my current firm for almost a year now. First job out of law school. Very nice litigation boutique, former big law people. But I feel like I'm failing. My work is still getting heavily edited. Strange enough, I'm still getting "good work" from my supervisor and the partner. If they think I'm doing good a job why do they edit the crap out of my draft? Does anyone else feel that way? How much does your work get edited? I used to think I'm a good writer but not any more. :(


If your work product was actual shit, the partners wouldn't waste their time editing it.


Agreed.

Also a lot of editing (once you get the hang of things) will be based on personal style. If one partner savages your work but the rest only give you grammatical edits here and there, chances are that one partner is just hyper specific about how they want things done, and it's just something you're going to have to learn to deal with (either by learning to match his style or by finding work from other partners whose expectations are more typical/easier to understand).

In your first year I don't think either grammatical or substantive stuff matters as much as whether or not it just generally seems like you're picking up what the partner/associates are trying to teach you. Grammatical stuff/organization can often be a matter of personal choice/style, and you can't be expected to know a ton of substantive stuff in the first year. As long as it looks like you're quickly absorbing the lessons they throw at you and not repeating the same mistakes over and over again, you'll generally be fine.


I disagree on one thing here, and it may be different for me since I'm at a small firm: I am absolutely not allowed to be wrong or miss substantive issues. I can be uncertain, but if I tell a partner or another associate that X is the rule of law, it goddamned well better be, because literally no one is going to check my work in that sense.


In biglaw I don't think anyone gets to do anything that won't get reviewed by at least one other person (and if that person is suspicious of the rule you're using, they'll generally ask for you to explain/support your argument before they sign off on it; they don't generally just trust your word on it, at least not in the first few years). You're also usually not getting a lot of work in your first years that your supervising attorney hasn't already seen a lot before, which is why they can do this. I do agree this is different in smaller offices where there may not be anyone who has the free time to lord over your work this closely, or where they may have work to give you that they themselves have never done.

Obviously in no job is lying about how confident you are about your being right acceptable under any circumstances. If you thought you understood the substantive stuff but ultimately didn't, that's forgivable in biglaw, but if you had no absolute clue what the substantive stuff was and lied and said that your made-up rule/analysis was kosher, that will be bad no matter what kind of law you're in.



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