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The best legal fonts help engage the audience better, leaving an impression on the reader and communicating information more effectively.

Lawyers invest a lot of time drafting contracts and documents, memos, and case briefs. Therefore, focusing on the words and their fonts in legal writing will help stand out and persuade the reader.

When writing legal documents (e.g., on a Non-Disclosure Agreement, a SaaS Agreement or an Employment Contract), something other than what works for one document might work for another.

You must also optimise legal documents for readability on any platform, as many clients will view the information on mobile devices.

On top of this, courts often apply specific rules for the best fonts for legal documents or law firm websites. With this in mind, this article will highlight the best legal fonts and sizes for legal documents.  

Most common official document font style

Times New Roman, sized at 12, traditionally serves as the go-to font for legal documents, primarily because of its compact design originally tailored for newspaper print.

Its widespread use among lawyers is primarily due to familiarity, though there are now preferable alternatives for more modern and accessible legal documentation.

Choosing the right font is paramount for crafting legal documents that are both legible and professional.

While no single font universally caters to all legal documents, specific fonts have been recognised for their suitability in various legal contexts, such as agreements, letters, briefs, and other legal texts.

Here are some recommended fonts, divided into serif and sans-serif categories for ease of selection:

Serif Fonts:

  • Times New Roman
  • Courier New
  • Century Schoolbook
  • Georgia
  • Baskerville
  • Bookman Old Style

Sans-Serif Fonts:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Century Gothic
  • Helvetica
  • Atlas
  • Concourse
  • Guardian Sans
  • Fort

These selections are esteemed within the legal community for their clarity, ensuring documents are professional and maintain their intended integrity. When selecting a font, consistency is key, along with considering the document’s audience and purpose.

Supreme Court rules on legal document fonts

You should always check to see which font is recommended by the court of that particular jurisdiction. For example, the US Supreme Court requires attorneys to use Century Family fonts for all briefs, whereas the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit suggests lawyers should not use Times New Roman.

The Supreme Court of Virginia has published a list of acceptable fonts for briefs and other papers. Also, the Supreme Court in Florida has declared new appellate rules for fonts.

These rules require lawyers to use Arial or Bookman Old Style with font size 14 to ascertain monitor readability.

Most courts don’t enforce font rules, as they only require a font of a particular size that is legible and readable. 

Best font for professional documents

When choosing the best font for professional documents, like a Shareholders Agreement, it is important to remember that the font should be clean, professional, legible, and readable.

It should not be so decorative that it shifts the reader’s focus from the content. The font can either make or break your professional documents and writing.

The best font for professional documents is Arial. It is a classic sans-serif font that is universally readable. Other acceptable fonts are Cambria, Garamond, Didot, Georgia, Helvetica, and Book Antiqua.

While legal documents have no universally mandated font size, a minimum size of 12 is advisable to ensure readability.

Opting for size 14 can further enhance legibility, particularly on digital screens. Additionally, maintaining adequate line spacing is essential for improving the readability of lengthy documents, facilitating a better reading experience.

Best font for law firm websites

The font choice for a law firm’s website is crucial, as it represents its image and can significantly impact first impressions. Two primary styles exist:

Serif Fonts: Characterised by small lines or tails at the end of strokes, serif fonts like Cambria, Georgia, Garamond, Book Antiqua, and Didot, traditionally associated with print media, convey a classic and authoritative image.

Sans-Serif Fonts: Lacking the trim lines of serif fonts, sans-serif fonts such as Calibri, Helvetica, Verdana, Trebuchet MS, and Lato are often perceived as modern and accessible, making them a popular choice for digital platforms.

Many law firms prefer sans-serif fonts for their websites to project a contemporary image that appeals to prospective clients. When designing a website, prioritising web-friendly fonts like Lato, Open Sans, and Roboto ensures compatibility and readability across browsers and devices.

Keep it professional and check the court rules

On the whole, choosing the best legal font for your legal documents or law firm’s website depends on how you want your clients to engage with the information and content you provide.

It is crucial to use a font style and size that indicates the message you want to convey to your clients. Of course, choosing a font style and size must also be by the Supreme Court rules (if any) for that particular jurisdiction.