Books published by companies like Harper Collins always have striking cover designs, and impeccable typography.
You might consciously notice the slick cover design, but you don’t tend to pay attention the font choice, letter spacing etc.
But that doesn’t meant that the typography doesn’t matter.
Subconsciously, we all recognize bad typography even though we’ve had no formal training in design.
For example, look at the two road signs below and you’ll instantly recognize the one that looks out of whack.
Yes, typography matters in every day life.
But for lawyers, who want their sophisticated legal documents to look exquisitely polished, it matters a lot too.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hire an expert typographer to polish all of your briefs and memos? And while they’re at it…
create a snazzy letterhead, and eye-catching business cards.
It’d be wonderful if to have document templates that not only produced stunning pleadings and briefs, but also conformed to local court rules.
Finding a “dream typographer” like that would be impossible, right?
And even if you could, all that design work would cost you a fortune. Right?
Well, not exactly…
Your Dream Comes True!
Let me introduce you to Typography for Lawyers.
It’s an amazing little book written by Matthew Butterick, a Harvard trained designer who later went to law school and started a successful solo practice.
Butterick fills a huge knowledge gap in the legal profession because, among other things, it will help you do all the things I mentioned above, and more.
But don’t worry…
Butterick is not obnoxious about typography. He’s sensible, and keeps everything in proper perspective.
For example, here’s his take on how typography matters:
“I’m not here to tell you that typography is at the core of a lawyer’s work. It’s not. But typography can optimize that work. All writing necessarily involves typography. And good writing is part of good lawyering. So good typography is too. If you ignore typography, you’re ignoring an opportunity to improve both your writing and your advocacy.”
Butterick’s book is based on at least two premises:
- Legal documents are professionally published materials and should be held to the same typographic standards as other professionally published documents.
- Any lawyer can master the essentials of good typography.
I can personally attest that any lawyer can easily, and quickly master the essentials of typography—i.e. the ones that relate to the documents you work on every day.
And after you put his recommendations into practice your briefs will immediately more polished, and more professional. People will notice, even if it’s just at a subconscious level.
Butterick has done us a huge service, and he’s getting rave reviews from every sphere of the legal profession.
The well known legal writing instructor Bryan Garner called Typography for Lawyers “bold, fresh and original” and said that it “sets the standards for document design in law offices.” A powerful testimonial from someone not known for easily dispensing praise.
So besides illuminating the relevance of typography, what are the nuts-and-bolts benefits of this book?
In short, Typography for Lawyers provides step-by-step explanations on how to create templates for briefs, motions, memos, letterhead, business cards, grids of numbers, and contracts.
Doesn’t matter if you use a Windows computer or a Mac, Word or WordPerfect. Butterick provides an easy to follow recipe for every variation of computer or word processing software.
He explains which printers will make your documents look sharp, and which paper is best.
And the best part?
After you’ve used the book to create your document templates you’re all set. You’ll never have to fiddle with them again.
Automation, is powerful and modern lawyers should take advantage of it wherever they can. Especially when creating document templates.
If you want your briefs and memos to look exquisitely polished every time, automatically, then order the book right now from Amazon (it costs mere $30, which is hundreds or thousands of dollars cheaper than hiring a professional designer).
Oh, and by the way…
Then, while you’re there do the obvious thing and buy the book, so your all your legal documents look crisply polished from now on.