How to type a non-breaking space
A nice use of the stress position

A suggested New Year’s resolution

A little over a year ago, Wayne Schiess posted an essay against placing too much importance on the form of citations: something Wayne referred to as “the tyranny of the inconsequential.” Wayne’s essay is the inspiration for my own New Year’s resolution: to escape the tyranny of the trivial.

Sometimes in our pursuit of excellence, we lose perspective. I’ve seen good legal writers, people who otherwise never spoke a cross word to one another, get mad at each other over trivialities like these:

  • right-hand margins (justified or ragged).
  • placement of citations (footnotes versus in text).
  • spacing at the end of a sentence (one space or two).

My resolution is to keep things like these in perspective. Make no mistake: pursuit of excellence means sweating the details. But let’s remember that good writers can disagree about things like these. More importantly, let’s remember that things like these are relatively unimportant compared to simplicity, conciseness, logic, and writing so as to be understood on the first reading.



Well, OK, but can I still be mad about the new font rule of the Virginia Supreme Court?

Ray Ward

I have to admit that the Va. proposed rule has me scratching my head. I guess they have a problem with people submitting briefs in fancy fonts, and in quashing the fancy they're going too far in the other direction.

Greg May

Just out of curiosity, what is the new Virginia rule?

Ray Ward

It's a proposed Va. Supreme Court rule to require all filings in the court to be in Courier, Arial, or Verdana. Steve Minor talks about it here.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)