I just finished reading Matthew Butterick’s new book, Typography for Lawyers. For lawyers and law students, I have two words of advice about this book: buy it. Why? Because every lawyer is a professional writer. So the lawyer’s writing should be professionally presentable, for the same reason that the lawyer should be professionally presentable when appearing in court or meeting a client. This book will tell you how to get there.
For myself, I thought I was relatively knowledgeable about typography. I’ve read Bryan Garner’s good advice about it in his various books. I’ve read Ruth Anne Robbins’s fine article, Painting With Print. And I’ve read the Seventh Circuit’s guidelines for briefs and other papers. I even taught myself how to put real apostrophes and quotation marks in my blog posts. But after reading this book, I realize how much more I need to learn.
Yesterday I linked to a blog post by Kendall Gray, showing before-and-after versions of a court opinion, the latter based on lessons learned from this book. Today Ernie Svenson posted a review of this book and presented his own writing samples applying lessons from this book. If you haven’t done so already, check out Ernie’s review.