Podcast #44: Matthew Butterick on Typography for Lawyers

Why should you care about typography? That’s like asking why you should practice for an oral argument or wear a tie to court. If you aren’t already using Matthew Butterick’s typography guide for lawyers, you’ll snap up a copy after you listen to this podcast.

Crowdfunding Lawsuits

Crowdfunding is all the rage, these days, and now it includes lawsuits. We’ve written about two crowdfunding efforts, LexShares and CrowdJustice, and now crowdfunding has hit the news. In Colorado, a court decided crowdfunders are subject to the same lending laws as payday lenders. And Wired wrote about the use of crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo to raise money to pay legal fees and fines.

So is this good or bad? We weigh in on today’s podcast.

Typography for Lawyers, with Matthew Butterick


Legal documents from briefs to contracts are uniformly unremarkable, but they don’t have to be — and if Matthew Butterick has is way, they won’t be for much longer. He argues that good typography is part of being professional in print, just like practicing for an oral argument or selecting a tie is part of being a professional in court.

On this podcast, Sam and Matthew talk about typography and address some of the big typographical controversies, like how many spaces you should use between sentences (one), whether you should put spaces around an em dash (if you want to), and why nothing says “I don’t care about my work product” like setting it in Times New Roman.

We also talk a bit about Matthew’s Pollen online-book software.

Whether or not you listen to today’s podcast, do yourself a favor, get a copy of Typography for Lawyers, and put it on your shelf next to the BlueBook and Black’s Law Dictionary.

Thanks to Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode!

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Amy Salberg says:

    Thank you for writing this book. I wish it were required reading for every lawyer I work with.

    I read it through once quickly, enjoying it like a good novel. Then, I went back to those sections that contained helpful hints or new information and digested them more slowly. Much of the book confirmed my prior knowledge and experience (e.g., how to create white space in Word), but I also learned several things I only vaguely knew about before (e.g., non-breaking spaces and some beautiful non-standard fonts).

    I know what to get other lawyers for Christmas. If It means I never receive a document from them replete with very poor typography and no easy way to fix it (because they used hard returns, spaces, and tabs to create white space, among other problems), it will be well worth the investment. Well done!

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