The Font at the End of the Universe by Tony Wilson

Letter to the author

The Font at the End of the Universe by Tony Wilson

I just read your piece in the most recent print edition of the CBABC BarTalk on fonts.

It’s a seemingly mundane topic that has intrigued me since I opened my practice three years ago. As you point out, it actually does matter. A lot. It is not coincidence that Times New Roman is called that, as it was developed by the Times of London and was meant to be easier to read than existing fonts.

You may have heard of Matthew Butterick, but, if not, then I thought you might be curious to read more about him. Matthew Butterick commands mountain tops on typography for lawyers. In fact, it’s what the Harvard and UCLA educated lawyer called his book: Typography for Lawyers.

There is a lot more than just fonts that goes into making something readable, as you know. It is extremely important for litigators in particular: if your written argument is more aesthetically pleasing and easier on the eyes to a judge than your counterpart’s, then the hope is that he or she will spend more time absorbing that argument than rubbing one’s eyes.

Anyway, thanks for this timely piece. Many lawyers feel hidebound to the existing fonts, as you point out, just because they are the existing fonts. It is a matter that I hope the courts consider in relaxing the rules and practice directives on fonts. This is especially true as courts move to e-filing and PDFs. As Butterick points out, a font that looks great on screen might look terrible on the printed page and vice versa.

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