Best fonts for legal documents
By Joanne Hue, Updated: 2023-02-27 (published on 2021-11-24)
Significance of legal fonts in legal documents
Best legal fonts are helpful in engaging the audience better, leaving an impression on the reader, and communicating in a more effective way. Lawyers invest a lot of time in drafting documents, memos, case briefs, therefore, focusing on the words and their fonts in legal writing will help to stand out the legal writing and in persuading the reader.
When writing legal documents, what works for one document might not work for another. Post Covid-19, clients have become more acquainted with online reading and they tend to read the documents on their mobile phones. It indicates that it is essential to enhance and optimize legal documents to make them readable on any device. Sometimes, the courts also specify rules for the best fonts to be used in legal documents or law firm websites. Looking at all the considerations and the best practices, this article highlights the best legal fonts and their sizes to be used in legal documents.
Most common font for legal documents
Times New Roman with font size 12 is the most standard font used for legal documents. Other fonts such as Arial and Helvetica are also used commonly as legal fonts. Whenever Times New Roman is used for any text, book, or document, it signifies apathy which means that there is a lack of choice. As such, there is nothing inherently wrong with the font Times New Roman. This font is a bit narrower as compared to the other texts because it was mainly designed for newspapers. The lawyers usually keep using it because they are familiar with it. However, if there are other alternatives available to choose from among fonts, it is recommended to stop using Times New Roman.
Fonts recommended for lawyers in agreements, letters, briefs, and other documents
Legal documents need to be legible and readable. Therefore, it is important to use a font style that is more professional. There is no one particular font that fits all legal documents. The fonts below are the best fonts for lawyers to be used in agreements, letters, briefs, and other documents.
Serif fonts for legal documents are Century Schoolbook, Georgia, Baskerville, Bookman Old Style, whereas,
Sans serif fonts for legal documents are Century Gothic, Helvetica, Atlas, Concourse, Guardian Sans, and Fort.
Best font for law firm websites
When looking up to develop a law firm website, it is important to note that your website creates a first impression on the clients. It is required to be designed professionally and the logo at the top of your firm’s website, letterheads, and business cards represents the firm. It is to be designed in such a way that it represents the firm’s image. Now, considering the font style for the law firm’s logo and its website, there are two categories of font styles: serif and sans-serif.
Serif fonts have tails and are mainly used for newspapers (Times New Roman) and print media whereas, Sans-serif fonts are without tails and are generally associated with websites. Sans-serif fonts usually portray a modern image of the law firm and serif fonts as being associated with newspapers represents more of a classic or traditional image. Serif fonts include Cambria, Georgia, Garamond, Book Antiqua, and Didot. Sans serif fonts include Calibri, Helvetica, Verdana, Trebuchet MS and Lato.
Most law firms nowadays use sans-serif fonts as the font style of the content written on their website as it attracts and influences prospective clients. As we know that the content written on the website is the main factor in bringing traffic and to make it look more professional, it is required to be designed and written using better fonts.
It is also worth considering that when choosing a website, the font used should be web font which includes Lato, Open Sans, and Roboto. These are majorly supported by web browsers and operating systems.
Best font size for legal documents
There is no standard font size to be used for the legal documents. However, the minimum font size used for the legal documents should be 12, and keeping the font size 14 makes a great difference in readability on monitors. Also, it is important to keep enough line spacing between paragraphs to make it easily readable even in the case of long documents.
Supreme Court rules on legal document fonts
When it comes to court rules on legal document fonts, it is always good to see which font is recommended by the court of that particular jurisdiction. To take an example, the US Supreme Court requires the 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 also published a list of acceptable fonts for briefs and the other papers. Also, the Supreme Court in Florida has declared new appellate rules for fonts to be used by lawyers. These rules require lawyers to use Arial or Bookman Old Style with font size 14 to ascertain readability on monitors.
Practically, most of the courts don’t stretch it so far because they generally require a font of a particular size to be legible and readable. However, it does not mean that you should keep using Times New Roman as your default font.
Why are legal documents always in the same font?
The legal documents are not always in the same font. As mentioned above, some courts have specified guidelines for fonts to be followed by the lawyers for briefs and the other cases. They specify the font style as well as the font size.
Best font for professional documents
When choosing the best font for professional documents, it is important to bear in mind that the font should be clean, professional, legible, and readable. It should not be too decorative that it shifts the focus of the reader from the content. If you use the font which looks distracting and erodes the underlying message then it is required to be changed. The font is something that can either make or break your professional documents and writing. The best font for professional documents is Calibri. It is a sans serif font that is universally readable and has replaced the default Times New Roman font. The other fonts used for professional documents are Cambria, Garamond, Didot, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, Book Antiqua.
On the whole, choosing the best legal font for your legal documents or law firm’s website depends upon how you want your clients to be engaged with the information and content provided by you. It is important to use font style and size which clearly indicates and sends the message you want to convey to your clients. Of course, choosing a font style and size needs to be in consonance with the Supreme Court rules (if any) for that particular jurisdiction.
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