Typography for Lawyers.
As my friend, @charlesroper tweeted me this morning, “design is fundamental, *even for lawyers*” — hear, hear, Sir Charles! Indeed it is! :)
http://www.typographyforlawyers.com/ is a wonderful web site designed by Matthew Butterick, an attorney who began his career as a designer/typographer (designed the font, Wessex for the Font Bureau, Inc.), later moving on to obtain a law degree from UCLA School of Law — now a practicing litigator at http://www.buttericklaw.com/ — his Southern California law office.
This is a beautiful example of how design can enhance a field completely outside traditional notions of what design is, who it’s for, by whom it’s practiced, what it applies to and whom it benefits.
We’ve just begun to scratch the surface of design — the recent awakening by the business world that design is something they should be thinking about (or thinking along the lines of) represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of the positive impact design can have on so many aspects of the human experience that have — to this day — suffered due to serious shortcomings in our education system and a lack of cultural appreciation for design beyond the creative space.
Here’s to a new age of enlightenment — one designer and one industry at a time.
My name is Matthew Butterick. I’m a civil litigation attorney in Los Angeles. I run a law office, Butterick Law Corporation, where I do civil litigation.
But before I had the idea to become an attorney, I got a degree in art from Harvard University, focusing on graphic design and typography. After college, I worked as a digital typeface designer. Then I started and ran a website development studio.
Even though the legal profession depends heavily on writing, legal typography is often poor. Some blame lies with the strict typographic constraints that control certain legal documents (e.g. court rules regarding the format of pleadings).
But the rest of the blame lies with lawyers. To be fair, I assume this is for lack of information, not lack of will. This website tries to fill that void. There are numerous guides on typography for generalists available but none specifically aimed at lawyers. So as one of the few typographers-turned-attorneys in America (yes, there are others) I figure that if I don’t do it, nobody will.
This website is an ongoing work, with pieces being added as I write them. Comments have been enabled on most pages. If something is unclear or incorrect, please post your thoughts and I will respond, or you can email me directly at email@example.com. Note that I do not dispense individualized typographic advice—after all, the point of the site is that you learn to make those decisions yourself.
— Matthew Butterick, June 2009