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Why Lawyers Should Care About Fonts

Believe it or not, your font choice, or lack thereof, can tell a reader something about your writing. For example, Times New Roman has become regarded as the font of least resistance and can tell readers that the writer is simply apathetic.

However, unless a court requires a particular font, and you're not using Comic Sans or any overly embellished fonts, your legal documents, including court pleadings, can benefit from putting some thought into your font choice. For many lawyers, putting any time into thinking about font choice seems wasteful, but there are plenty of good reasons why lawyers should think about their font choice. Here are a few reasons to consider:

Readability!

The number one reason lawyers should care about font is readability. Certain fonts are just easier on the eyes and easier to read. So before you just settle on Times New Roman, you may want to scroll through your list of fonts and select one that you find more pleasing on the eyes or easier to read. 

Courts have to read your documents, so making them easier to read means the courts will spend more time grappling with the substance rather than the form. And while you can rely on what other practitioners use, beware, font is rather subjective.

It's How You Look on Paper

According to typography expert Matthew Butterick, for the same reason why you care about dress, and presentation in court, the written word is part of how you look to the court. Just like you wouldn't show up to court with a big coffee stain on your shirt, you shouldn't use distracting fonts. 

The idea isn't to make you documents look like a work of art, but rather, if your document is readable, has clear spacing, margins, heading, and emphasized words or phrases, it makes you look good, particularly if your adversary didn't put in the time and consideration.

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