Typography is Power
Law Aritao

Matthew Butterick in Typography for Lawyers emphasizes that all professional writers and publishers- including lawyers- must use typography well.

As the visual component of the written word, typography helps you tell the story of your argument persuasively and effectively.

In the Philippines, the Supreme Court’s guidance is generously flexible. The requirement is only a readable font. There is a wide space to maximize good typography, and a wide space for abuse. You've all seen out-of-place fonts in pleadings. I don't think you grew as a human being from the experience.

I joyfully pass on these principles from Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers. They are evergreen:

  1. Good typography reinforces the meaning of your text.
  2. Many solutions exist for the same problem- you will have choices to make.
  3. To make good choices, build the theory of your case and craft your arguments well before considering typography.
  4. Good typography facilitates clear communication. Highway signs are in bold letters so that fewer drivers get lost. Wedding invitations use ornate typefaces because the visual experience enhances the message. In each case, the decision pivots not on aesthetics, but on function and purpose.

Practical tips: While Times New Roman is probably fine, it has a lot of baggage. Consider how Jose Mari Chan’s vocal ubiquity at Christmas time causes his song to grate for some (I am not in that number. I think he’s pretty cool, but I digress). The lesson: Don’t be the lawyer who “succumbs to the font of least resistance”, as Butterick puts it. 
 Your options: Plantin, Starling, and Equity. Each of these fonts can replace Times New Roman with less impact on spacing, so the onboarding is quick. See the accompanying images for these fonts and the ones below. If you cant get any of the three, Book Antiqua is a solid fallback.

image of fonts

If you like Arial or Helvetica, consider these alternatives: Concourse, Hermes Maia, Neue Haas Grotesk (my fave in the sans serif batch), or Atlas.

other fonts

If you wish to continue studying typography, a must-read is Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers, or in the alternative, Practical Typography.

Those who want to go deeper down the rabbit hole must absolutely read The Fundamentals of Typography (so incredibly good), by Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris.

When you’re hooked to the point of being unsalvageable, you can reach your final form by obtaining The Visual History of Type, by Paul McNeil.