Learn From Kobach's #FAIL: Proofread Your Filings Before Filing

By George Khoury, Esq. on April 25, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, has made one of those blunders that the internet world labels #FAIL and every attorney dreads: A draft pleading, complete with caps-lock notes and empty bullet points, actually got filed with the court.

Though a corrected version of his post-trial pleading was filed, the level of embarrassment that comes from such an epic blunder is not solely relegated to the legal community. In addition to the grief Kobach is getting from Twitter lawyers over his likely failure to proofread, during the actual trial, he was repeatedly lectured by the court on proper trial procedure.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

While it is entirely possible that a draft of the filing was accidentally filed by a subordinate, at the end of the day, it is Kobach's fault. He is his own lead attorney which is another issue entirely.

Had he even done a cursory skim of the document, he likely would have seen the caps-lock notes questioning whether the standing argument was worth making, and for the missing citation. Additionally, just looking at the doc would have revealed an empty bullet point, which certainly was not used for "effect."

Kobach is making headlines and being called incompetent because he failed to proofread the document that was filed. It also doesn't help that he was held in contempt of court last week.

Tips for Proofreading

If you don't have time to proofread something before filing it, then ... well ... you should make time to proofread it more than once because you were probably on a time crunch and may have rushed through certain parts. Don't blow your deadline, but also, if you have to stay at work later than you'd like, well, that's what you have to do. Your reputation is important and not proofreading is an easy way to tank it.

Really, the easiest way to look sloppy and incompetent is to not proofread. While typos, or other little errors, are bound to get by everyone, the really bad glaring ones won't if you even bother to skim the document.

If you have plenty of time, like you should plan to have, proofread each sentence, starting from the bottom of the document, after you've taken a short break.

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