Why font selection is important for lawyers

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If you think font selection is hard, spare a thought for lawyers who have to deal with different official rules, recommendations and accepted practice for court submissions.

Jason Steed at JDSupra sets out the complications for US lawyers.  The D.C Circuit court started ‘discouraging’ use of Garamond font but no change in the actual rules.  The only rule that applies is just for using a 14 point Serif font, which covers a lot of fonts.

The court is right about Garamond, see our examples below.  Garamond at the same point size (14pt) is noticeably smaller than other Serif fonts.

Here’s examples of some common Serif fonts mentioned in Jason’s article.  All the same size, 14pt.  In some cases we’ve used the near equivalents available in Office (Palatino and Courier).

All examples using fonts available in Office for Windows/Mac, 14pt.
Thanks to the late Sir John Mortimer QC for the Rumpole quote.

All this might seem petty but font selection is very important in legal matters.  As explained in Requirements and Suggestions for Typography in briefs and other papers

“ Judges of this court hear six cases on most argument days and nine cases on others. The briefs, opinions of the district courts, essential parts of the appendices, and other required reading add up to about 1,000 pages per argument session.

Reading that much is a chore; remembering it is even harder.

You can improve your chances by making your briefs typographically superior.

It won’t make your arguments better, but it will ensure that judges grasp and retain your points with less struggle. That’s a valuable advantage, which you should seize. ”

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