Image © Thomson Reuters 2012

Friday afternoons are the highlight of the week at W. Green. Not only is the weekend within sight, but 3pm also brings special reason for cheer. For at this time, everyone in the office gathers as a group, brought together by a love of one thing—cake.

‘Cake o’ clock’ as it is affectionately known by the staff epitomises the friendly working atmosphere at Scotland’s biggest legal publisher. Far from a roster of strict and overbearing personalities that one may expect from those working with legal texts, the team at W. Green have been exceptionally kind and welcoming to me as a placement student.

Set up in 1875 and subsequently acquired by UK legal publisher Sweet & Maxwell in 1956, W. Green is now part of the Thompson Reuters brand, and creates a wide range of products for both legal professionals and for students of the law, such as books, looseleaf publications, CD-ROMs and online material.

The diversity of this output has allowed me to try my hand at a wide variety of tasks within the company—from creating by-lines for new marketing material to updating proofs and editing journal articles. The latter of these have perhaps been the most interesting to work on. As the majority of the company’s authors are practicing lawyers, the texts require copy editing but the majority of editorial work is in ensuring legal accuracy, ease of readability and bringing each text or article into line with the 200 page behemoth that is W. Green’s house style document, which details the minutiae of how a text should be laid out, from heading formats to capitalization and correct forms of citation.

Carrying out tasks like these has not only given me an excellent insight into the creative processes behind a range of diverse products, but has also hit home the diverse nature of the publishing industry in the UK. Publishers are experts at finding niches in the market and excelling within them, as W. Green effectively demonstrates. They are willing to adapt as technology and the market demands, releasing content across a wide variety of formats. They are some of the friendliest people you’re likely to come across. And perhaps most importantly of all, they can be counted upon to serve cake at regular intervals.