I recently finished reading Typography for Lawyers by Matthew Butterick. The book’s byline describes it as “essential tools for polished & persuasive documents. I agree.
// // What is typography? Basically typography is how a document looks. Lawyers and judges think about typography all the time. Ever said: “this brief looks like crap”? If so, you are talking about typography. This is the first book on typography specifically for lawyers.
Butterick explains that good typography helps the reader. Bad typography is harder to read and more likely to lose the attention of the reader—think judge.
In a mere 216 pages Butterick explains how to implement good typography into your practice. The book tackles letterhead, business cards and motions. It also gives step-by-step instructions on how to implement the advice in both Word and Wordperfect.
As expected, the book also discussed fonts. Butterick hates Arial and also frowns on the commonly used font of Times New Roman. Before even finishing the book, I changed my font in letters and briefs from Times New Roman, which Butterick says “connotes apathy.” I now use Franklin Gothic Medium.
As of this writing, the book has 14 customer reviews on Amazon. All 14 rate the book as a 5, on a scale of 1–5. Reviewers describe the book as indispensable and something that should be on every lawyer’s desk.
I suspect that five years from now this book will be on the desk of most young lawyers. If I were managing a law firm, I would give a copy to all entering first year associates and order them to read and implement the book.
For older lawyers, reading this book should be a badge of honor. If you care enough about your skills to read a book on typography, you must be a serious lawyer.
Or a total law-goob. One of the two for sure.
In all seriousness, I am glad that I found this book and recommend it for all serious lawyers. It would also be a good idea to ask your staff member who formats your documents to read it as well.