- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Jones McClure Publishing; Second edition (November 2, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159839262X
- ISBN-13: 978-1598392623
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 120 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Typography for Lawyers 2nd Second Edition
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Butterick's book is for far more than litigators. A quick, thorough guide, this text offers much to typographic novices and experts alike. The book begins with a litany of sound arguments about why typography matters, and why it should be looked at as crucial to the law profession. But needless to say, nearly all the advice presented herein is equally applicable to writers or any professional services-based small business, not to mention graphic designers, students, and type mavens. --Nick Cox, Book Review: Typography for Lawyers
Butterick's premise is that typography in legal documents should be held to the same standards as any professionally published material, because legal documents are professionally published material. There's a wealth of information that I wish I had had access to long before now. ... That's why Typography for Lawyers is such a godsend. --Ernie Svenson, Typography matters, especially for lawyers
Typography for Lawyers is filled with nuggets, rationales and mechanics to make our papers look better. No, they won't make a loser appeal into a winner, but like wearing a decent suit to court, or polishing your shoes, it's one less detriment and one more benefit. Butterick's point, and mine, is that there's no good reason not to do it as well as it can be done. The book is a quick read, and one to keep on hand for reference, kinda like the Blue Book, the Essential Chester Barnard and Strunk & White. --Scott Grennfield, Book Review: Typography for Lawyers
About the Author
Matthew Butterick got his degree in design and typography from Harvard. He began his career as a font designer in Boston. At the beginning of the Internet era, Butterick started Atomic Vision, a website-design company in San Francisco. Later, he attended UCLA law school and became a member of the California bar. In 2012, Butterick received the Legal Writing Institute s Golden Pen Award for Typography for Lawyers. Butterick's other projects include Practical Typography, an online book (practicaltypography.com), the fonts Equity, Concourse, Triplicate, and Advocate, and Pollen, software for publishing electronic books (pollenpub.com). Butterick lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jessica and Roxy the boxer.
Top customer reviews
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Butterick helps you make the adjustment from the typewriter rules that you learned in school. As a result, your documents will have predictable style. Your document's style will clearly guide your reader. Will this make your document more persuasive? Yes, with surprisingly little work.
If you are still not sure whether you should buy this book, just spend a little time at the companion website: typographyforlawyers.com. The advantages of the book over the website are three: better guidance for choosing a professional font, more examples of before/after, and word processor specific advice. The only thing missing is CLE credit.
Finally, I spent about 2 hours on the website and 4 hours with the book. This included the time spent modifying my default templates, fiddling with word processor defaults, buying & installing fonts, and incorporating the advice into my workflow. Looking at documents that I create now, I feel great about the return on the time invested.
The difference, though, is that Butterick is essential for any lawyer, in any practice. Our profession seems to forever be looking backwards, and nowhere is this more evident than in the typography of legal documents. Monospaced fonts, double-spaced text, too-small margins -- the list is endless. Looking at the average piece of legal writing is to take a step back into a time where the only alternatives were longhand and typewriters. Legal reading is already too often a bore. There's no need to make it worse by making your reader's eyes suffer through fifty pages of twelve-point Courier text. We can't change the archaic court rules that frequently require us to format our documents in ways that make it harder on the judges, but we can, and should, work within those rules to make our documents shine.
Butterick offers a variety of suggestions on how to give your legal documents an extra, professional touch. He recommends fonts and margins that will make your writing easier to comprehend. He digs into seemingly every key on your keyboard, explaining how it should be used. He effortlessly guides you through using your word processor's ability to style paragraphs to make life easy on you. All his suggestions can't be summarized; you'll have to read the book. I assure you that it's worth your time.
But what really makes this book stand out is its ease of use. There are handy reference tables so you can quickly put the character you need into your document. The typesetting of the book is, unsurprisingly, extraordinarily useful. You can flip through the book while glancing at the side margins to find what you're looking for, if you haven't already gone to the index. If you've got a question about typography, then he's got an answer for you at your fingertips.
For any lawyer who takes pride in his or her writing, this book is a must-own. It's not enough to write clearly and persuasively when, through judicious use how those words are placed on the page, you can get your points across even more clearly and effortlessly. Butterick will show you how.
When I left the firm in the mid-eighties to start my own practice, the age of the PC had begun. Unlike my old firm which had separate billing and word processing computers ("If we can't bill, we can still write" was another maxim), I billed and wrote on the same PC. Billing was after all just another form of writing. Writing, even for trial lawyers, remained a central function of what we as lawyers do.
So after twenty plus years as chief cook and bottle-washer, it was time to look again at how the written word affected my practice, which is to say, my livelihood. Typography for Lawyers explains how to maximize the impact of what you write in pleadings, briefs, correspondence, billing and even email. There are rules here. some are self-evident-like avoiding system fonts (which means Courier). Others are pretty obscure-extra character spacing for All Caps and Small Caps.
Ours is a verbal profession but our work is often reflected in typography. This is a great reference tool whose lessons I will be implementing across the board over the next few month.