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Minimum Font Size for Contracts

Although courts often require the text to be set at 12 points – and sometimes more – this is not the most convenient size to read. If you compare a court case to an average book, newspaper or magazine, you will find that the text of the filing is larger. If lawyers have earned a reputation for anything typographical, it`s their legendary affection for small print. The fine print is synonymous with escape and deception. I`m a little afraid to point out that “the dot size of your text may be smaller than you think” because I don`t want to encourage fine print. You know who you are. (“Did you hear that? Butterick said we could boost it even smaller! Fun fact: Serif fonts tend to be better for printed legal documents, while sans serif fonts are easier to read on screens. In this article, we`ll go over the different legal forms of your legal and marketing documents, why it`s important, and tell you what the court recommends. The opposite rule applies: enlarge the text. For websites, I recommend continuous text between 15 and 25 pixels. Larger font sizes are more comfortable on the screen because we read the screens from further away (see Considerations for reading the screen). New York courts require a certain font size for subpoena and trial.

They also have rules regarding margins and more. Section 2101 of the Act and the Rules of Civil Practice states: You could spend your entire legal career without thinking about fonts. But now you know why you should at least care about your writing choice. New York courts have declared the contracts invalid and ruled against creditors whose B2B contracts contain tiny fonts, small policies make it nearly impossible for a customer or customer to read the contract, let alone accept the terms of the contract. Understanding the difference between sans serif and sans serif fonts can help you decide which legal fonts to use in your legal documents. Serif fonts have a decorative taper at the beginning and end of the letter. On the other hand, this is not the case with sans serif fonts. Serif fonts are traditionally used in newspapers, magazines and books. They exude a more “traditional” look and convey reliability and reliability. On the other hand, sans serif fonts are more modern and simpler. They are also easier to read on screens. If you use a sans serif font, your law firm`s trademark may seem more accessible and understandable to a younger audience.

There`s nothing wrong with using default fonts – think Times New Roman and Arial. These are standard fonts on the internet for a reason. To be clear, all word processing and authoring software comes with free fonts that you can use in legal documents. Online content management platforms also have a good set of web fonts that you can use on your law firm`s website. However, you may want to switch to a single professional policy that better fits your company`s brand and image. In this case, you must purchase the font you have chosen with the appropriate end-user license agreement. The agreement should describe the types of licenses offered, as well as the rules and restrictions you must follow when using the fonts. But that doesn`t mean judges want it that way. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, for example, advises lawyers against using Times New Roman. (See pages 3-5 here) The Connecticut Court of Appeals actually requires that the memoirs use Arial or Universe. And the U.S. Supreme Court has long required lawyers to use a “Century family” typeface (e.g., Century Schoolbook). I thought it was common knowledge that lawyers should avoid using Times New Roman as a font for their legal documents. But I had a conversation with an experienced lawyer about choosing the police in calls, and this experienced lawyer tried to tell me that the police didn`t matter. “Leave it to Times New Roman,” the veteran lawyer said. “That`s what judges are used to; That is what they expect.

There is no reason to shake it. And that may be true. Perhaps, after seeing thousands of court records, judges simply get used to it and “expect” these pleadings to look a certain way. “So if I use a larger font like Sabon in a dish that requires a 12-point font, do I have to set it to 11 points?” No. Their judicial rules replace the vagaries of the points system. Accept the larger size or choose a font that looks smaller at 12 points. Web-safe fonts adapt to any browser on any device. This ensures that your website visitors experience your website design as you intended. Think about your favorite brands and the products you use regularly. If all the content on your website, labels, and marketing materials were in a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial, how would your brand perception change? There is a good chance that the brand will become much more boring and less appealing. Similarly, you should use legal fonts that reflect your law firm`s brand in your legal documents.

Ideally, you already have law firm policies that you can work with based on your firm`s brand. But in general, when writing briefs, contracts, memos, etc., you should use a clean font that looks professional, easy to read, and fits your brand. You could spend your entire legal career without ever thinking about design elements like fonts or company logos. But you`d miss out on strengthening your law firm`s engagement and brand. When choosing a legal policy, think about how your reader will read your legal document. What works for a court request may not work for a contract that your client signs through a digital app like DocuSign. In addition, more and more lawyers, lawyers and even clients are working from anywhere, even on a mobile device. This means it`s more important than ever to streamline legal documents so that they`re easy to read on any screen.

Using Times New Roman or Arial in font sizes that are too small is no longer enough. Butterick offers several policy recommendations for legal instruction. Personally, I love Century Schoolbook – to me, it just has that federal court feel. I also like Adobe Caslon Pro and Sabon. The trick is to choose a font that looks clean and professional. It may not be like all the thousands of other court cases that judges expect to look some way like. But that`s probably not a bad thing. Your font is important for readability and clarity. Using decorative or hard-to-read fonts can make you look unprofessional and, at worst, incompetent. The dot size can be even smaller in professionally defined materials such as publications and stationery. Text on business cards is often only 6-8 points. At these sizes, all uppercase and lowercase letters are equally legible.

Take a look at how Dennis and King use their stack of fonts to grab readers` attention on the page. You have more freedom in choosing a modern and interesting font for your company`s website than for legal documents. But there are some best practices. The size of the dots in your text may be smaller than you think. The optimal dot size for continuous text in printed documents is 10 to 12 points. If you are not bound by the court`s rules, do not treat 12 points as a minimum. Try sizes up to 10 points, including half-point sizes. This conveys apathy on your part because you don`t consciously choose one of these fonts. You don`t make a choice, really. In a legal environment, a clear and legible font is essential.

And while there`s no official list of allowed fonts, some are used most often. You can also highlight text by applying bold or uppercase letters, and then slightly reducing the size of the dot. It sounds strange, but it works. CPLR 4544 is very close to my heart because about three and a half decades ago I won my first solo lawsuit based on this provision in a case involving the refund of the entire $25,000 bond (a lot of money at the time) that my client provided at the location of his daughter`s wedding. which was cancelled a few months ahead of schedule. The reverse provisions on the amount of the deposit, which the caterer could withhold at different times, were recorded in the fine print. I had a professional printer testify and won the case on the spot! I was a very happy beginner. And my client received a refund of his entire deposit. The lawyer representing the hospitality industry immediately had his form contracts revised to comply with CPLR 4544.

It was the first restoration contract case he had lost. Both are fine, but we recommend starting with size 12 and enlarging them if you find the font too small. What should you do without the guidance of the New York courts on the minimum policy required for B2B agreements to be enforceable in New York? Paperless law firms use many digital document services such as DocuSign, and more and more lawyers are seeing them on their mobile devices. Choosing a readable font can make all the difference in these scenarios.

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