Typography (Or Why Your Briefs Should Be Visually Appealing)

I trust that anyone who reads my blog would also read the much more popular Ernie the Attorney. If you do not, I urge you to go subscribe to Ernie’s blog right now. Ernie is one of the pioneers in the legal blogging world and consistently posts well written, topical, and useful posts. This week, Ernie is talking about things that he learned from Matthew Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers. This looks like a fascinating book. I have ordered my copy, but I am waiting for it to arrive (Amazon was temporarily out of stock when I ordered it).

While waiting, however, I have had the pleasure of reading Ernie’s posts about lessons that he learned from the book. Thus far, he has posted the following:

If you have any interest in making your briefs more readable, you must read these posts from Ernie. You also might want to check out the book. I am waiting with bated breath for mine to arrive.

If you are not a typography nerd (there’s no shame in that) and you are wondering what all of the fuss is about, let me just say that how you format your document both affects the reader’s ability to read the documents, as well as the reader’s perception of you.

I was recently on a call with one of my clients and we were working through some discovery issues that had been raised by opposing counsel in a letter. This attorney clearly does not put a lot of thought into formatting his documents and one of the things that my client told me was that the letters from the opposing attorney are hard to read because of the way in which he formats them.

Even if you don’t want to study this issue, you should spend a little time just figuring out if there is something you can do to make your documents more effective.