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Typography for Lawyers

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  479 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Jones McClure
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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 ·  479 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Jason Kinn
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I write for a living, and this book is changing how I do my job. I wish I had known about it earlier. And it's not just for lawyers -- it's for anybody who is responsible for how their own documents look. ...more
Amy Rhoda  Brown
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Matthew Butterick gave a talk at the Write the Docs conference I attended in Portland earlier this year. At the conference he gave out copies of this book, but I didn't get one because I was sitting up in the balcony. I collared the author and he offered to send me a copy, and it arrived a week ago.

I've read quite a bit about typography, and I've done a lot of typography, so a lot of this book covered things I already know. Which can be quite satisfying. The book is full of clever tips and usefu
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book does an excellent job of showing why lawyers should care about typography and what they should do to improve the visual quality of their written production. Through its many examples, "Typography for Lawyers" manages to show that good typesetting is a powerful tool for retaining a reader's attention and getting the message through. Then, it shows how lawyers can easily bring some of the best typographical practices into their workflows. Thanks to its concise and applicable rules, this ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Love it. Need a hard copy.
Josh Tatum
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book sits next to my Red Book, Chicago Manual of Style, and Bluebook (now outdated and replaced by the Bluebook website) as a daily resource. Learn how to make your documents readable and improve your work product. Butterick does a splendid job explaining the basics of typography and the tools word processing software provides that most lawyers don't know about (I assume, because they don't use them). This book is great for anyone, not just lawyers, who produces any kind of document. There ...more
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
adored. made me want to go font shopping.
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
i'm a typography nerd. ...more
Audrey Knutson
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a graphic designer about to start law school and I was given this book as a Christmas gift last year. I finally sat down to read it and I think it is a great resource to have on my bookshelf going into school and starting my new career!

After my brother gave this to me, it blew my dad's mind that people actually spent MONEY to BUY FONTS. He asked me what was wrong with the fonts that came with Microsoft Word and also what was wrong with the default settings on Word when he was creating docum
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of fun. I don't know how much of it I will end up using in my practice, particularly because my office and court have specific formatting requirements. Nevertheless, as a blind attorney I think it is incumbent upon me to at least familiarize myself with the visual aspects of legal writing, and this book was helpful in doing that.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Obviously a pretty specific book (though, honestly, far broader in application than attorneys - really anyone who products documents regularly needs to read this). But it is the essential reading for designing documents.
Sara Baumgardner
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A GREAT overview of how to make legal documents actually pleasurable to read. Butterick gives great how-to tips that make me excited to work on my next project for law school. 😊 I got this book because I’m interested in beautiful typography, and it was actually interesting and truly enjoyable!
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, westend
Boy, I have a lot to say about this.

Virtually each sentence in an (writing?) advice book can be placed in a two by two grid. One side of the grid is labeled ("believed this before reading" and "didn't believe this before reading.") The other side is labeled ("convinced this is the better/best practice" and "not convinced this is the better/best practice").

The most satisfying books (although not necessarily the most useful) are those in which the advice is advice you already believed and advice
Eduardo Santiago
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Eduardo by: Cool Tools blog
Shelves: favorites
“Reading Arial is like trying to have dinner on a tippy restaurant table.” To someone like me, who can barely distinguish serif from sans, that seems pretentious. But that's exactly what you want in a book like this—a perfectionist, not a dabbler. Butterick is a perfectionist, and we have much to learn from his book.

It's not just fonts. Actually, very little of it is. It's typography: the whole enchilada, the full effect of a printed page. Broad aspects, fine details. Layout, margins, spacing, a
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fantastic resource. The book was shared with me by one of my colleagues and I liked it so much that I bought my own copy to keep on my shelf at work to consult regularly. He has convinced me to break the long-standing habit of putting two spaces after periods and colons; he has convinced me to revisit the layout of documents filed in my cases. I agree with the person who wrote the forward that Butterick is wrong to suggest that brief headings should be numbered 1.1.1 instead of I. ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: legal, business
This is a superb book on how lawyers (or anyone else who publishes a lot of documents) can dramatically improved the readibility of their documents.
The book is geared to the practical - what looks good; why it looks good; how to implement it in the various word processing software we all use, including 2010 and 2007 versions of Word.
Organization of the book is geared toward jumping in and quickly finding advice on various issues, which of course is how I started it, but this subject really deser
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-reads, law
This book is essential for anybody that produces documents, especially attorneys. I wish that my previous statement was an exaggeration.

Over the past year, I've been litigating a case against another attorney who has no sense of proper formatting (or coherence, for that matter). His pleadings are comically terrible. But it got me thinking...could my pleadings be better? After reading Butterick, the answer is a clear yes.

This book now sits on my desk right next to Gardner's Modern Usage.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After reading Writing to win: The Legal Writer, this seemed a great part two (note I didn't say part II). Neatly organized into sections including page format, typography and fonts, this book arms you with information to help strike the right balance between form and function. Sprinkled with Dos and Don'ts and historical tidbits, I found myself bookmarking about 20 sections as references (kindle edition). Considering use as reference for our legal support staff. ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Way more interesting than it sounds. But his advice on system fonts was internally inconsistent. It also will not work in the jurisdictions I practice in that use page limits rather than word count. But much of the book was interesting and informative.
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent summary of the basics of typography, with many practical recommendations and techniques, as well.

I wrote a more complete review on for those that are interested.
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
It is okay to get a taste about formal writing, but it imposes so many unneeded and pedantic rules. People should be concerned with content over form, and it should be true to law and legal documents too. But it is not.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-books
This book is an absolute must for lawyers. I thought I was better than average at preparing documents. I was wrong. I look forward to being at least somewhat more competent in my presentation on paper.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A fantastic introduction to typography aimed firmly at the legal profession, but useful for anyone who spends a lot of time writing and presenting documents.
Ansel Halliburton
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for lawyers. Your work does not need to be ugly. Good typography increases the legibility, and therefore persuasiveness, of your work. Read it!
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well, I'm not a lawyer but apparently I'm a typography nerd because I found this book fascinating! ...more
Danny Green
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wish more than 5 stars was a possibility. A great reference, and FYI, the entire book is online and currently available for free at
Randy Zarate
rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2015
rated it really liked it
Dec 12, 2018
Larry Meyer
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Oct 02, 2015
Alan Kang
rated it it was ok
Dec 19, 2018
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25 likes · 15 comments
“Times New Roman is not a font choice so much as the absence of a font choice, like the blackness of deep space is not a color.” 4 likes
“Good typography can help your reader devote less attention to the mechanics of reading and more attention to your message. Conversely, bad typography can distract your reader and undermine your message.” 2 likes
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