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More on Brief Readability and Formatting:

A reader sends this along:

Since you've blogged several times about font and layout standards for briefs, I thought you might be interested in (or maybe just interested in posting about) what I think is a very clear and informative article about how typography and layout affect readability in the context of legal documents. The article is Ruth Anne Robbins, "Painting with print: Incorporating concepts of typographic and layout design into the text of legal writing documents," 2 J. Assn. L. Writing Dirs. 108 (2004): http://www.alwd.org/JALWD/Robbins.pdf

Seems like a potentially useful and practical article on a topic we probably don't think about as much as we should. As one person on an earlier comment board suggested, in the past brief formatting questions were resolved through specialization and the division of labor, so they knew the answers to all of these questions. But now we do it ourselves, and we may not think about some of these practical questions.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More on Brief Readability and Formatting:
  2. Supreme Court Briefing Rules:
  3. 7th Circuit Rules on Brief Formatting:
Craig Oren (mail):
I feel remiss in not being the first to praise Ruth Anne Robbins' work. She is a colleague of mine here at Rutgers-Camden. I recall that one of the circuits posted a link to her work on their web site, and it seems to me that the Seventh Circuit's rules largely follow her suggestions.
7.13.2005 10:16am
Mase:
A somewhat related, an equally neglected issue, is case citation. Many courts (and briefs) are now putting citations in footnotes and not in the traditional bluebook format after the sentence. Personally, I find it a worse way of citation for actual practicing attorney readers as it 'breaks' the flow of reading forcing the eye to the bottom of the page and back up to learn the citation. For the lay reader, however, it is probably superious as they likely do not care as much about the citations.

(An even more neglected issue but one I find fascinating is te use of underlining vs. italics for case citations -- I find the former better as it highlights the case more easily for the eye).
7.14.2005 1:26am