What is the Most Effective Font for Legal Documents?
By Adrian Aguilera
As an attorney, you probably never imagined legal document font as an important element of your casework. However, choosing the right font for your work presents a clean, professional look for your brand while improving readability for your audience.
For example, if a client is reviewing a DocuSign agreement to hire your law firm, the font should be easy to read on all screen types—especially mobile. On the other hand, if you’re submitting a legal brief to a courtroom (for example), you’ll need a font that is readable, professional, and meets court-approved compliance measures.
In this article, we’ll cover why legal fonts are essential, law fonts to avoid, and the elements of choosing the right fonts (for clients versus court officials).
Why is it Important to Choose the Right Legal Font?
Font for legal documents (client- or court-facing) represents your brand. The best font for professional documents can leave a positive initial and lasting impression on your clients and court officials. This is based on readability, a look and feel that aligns with your brand, and compliance (for legal court documents).
What are the Best Website and Contract Fonts for Lawyers?
Website and contract fonts should align with your brand and display large enough to read on paper or any screen device (especially mobile). First, you’ll want to consider a web-safe font for client and court-facing work—so the font is supported across any browser or device.
Here is a list of universal web-supported fonts:
Next, choose a legal document font (ideally from the web-supported list above) that represents your law firm’s brand. In addition, select law fonts that pair well with your logos, imagery, and your firm’s colors.
Here’s an example of how Gomez Trial Attorneys leverages a user-friendly, web-supported font as part of their logo and web branding. The font style is consistent across the headlines, calls to action (CTAs), and the navigation tabs at the top of the page (with larger text for its carousel section). The firm also uses orange as an accent color on its website for a unique brand look and to draw the reader’s eye to certain elements on the page.
Tip: Looking to build or refresh your brand? Learn how to build a law firm brand that stands out from your competition. Also, check out our complete guide to law firm marketing for crafting a marketing strategy using your law firm brand.
For client-facing legal documents (not web-related), select a font that aligns with the rest of your branding. For example, you might consider using the font from your website news section as your contract font, as well as other client-facing materials like email updates. Below are a few serif and sans serif font options that work well for legal documents.
This popular style features tapers at the end of each letter and is more of a traditional format. This font style is typically used in newspapers, books, and magazines since they are easier to read in print form. Good serif fonts include:
- Century Schoolbook
- Bookman Old Style
Sans Serif Fonts
These law fonts are more modern, simple, and typically easier to read on digital devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile. Some of the most popular options include:
- Century Gothic
Font size also matters. A font that is too small can hurt readability and make it more difficult to catch errors. Too large a font takes up unnecessary space and looks comical (unless it’s for a specific purpose, such as enabling readers with vision impairments). While there is no standard for legal documents, start with a size 12 font and increase to font size 14 if it’s too small to read on mobile screens.
Your firm can consider licensing a font if you prefer a unique font style (particularly for your website). This approach, however, does come at a cost. Pricing can depend on how many views the website gets and the number of devices using the font.
Other Considerations When Choosing Font for Legal Documents
You don’t need extensive knowledge of design principles when selecting a law font. Below are a few fonts you should never use, as well as a few good options for client documents and court-facing work.
Legal Document Fonts You Should Avoid
Steer clear of hard-to-read fonts and novelty options such as Comic Sans (image below) as they can make your work look unprofessional. This applies to client and court-facing documents.
You should also avoid Times New Roman or Calibri fonts (examples below). These legal document fonts present a dull, boring image of your firm. In short, it shows apathy.
These fonts may also result in non-compliance. The United States Court of Appeals for The Seventh Circuit mandates lawyers avoid using Times New Roman for court-facing documents. This measure was set due to the issue of skimming and scanning the document without retaining the information.
What Are the Court-Approved Fonts for Legal Documents?
For court-facing legal documents, your firm will need to use fonts based on supreme court mandates and local jurisdiction rules. For instance, the Supreme Court of the United States requires that all legal briefs use the Century family font. Check your local bar association for specific font compliance requirements.
Easily Craft Legal Documents With MyCase
Pair your brand campaign (and font style) with MyCase law firm website services. If you need to build or revamp your site, MyCase can create one that maximizes leads and conversions.
MyCase also offers client intake forms and onboarding automation for converting more leads and legal document management to organize and easily access all case documents as soon as your team needs them. And once a client is ready to sign, the MyCase eSignature process makes it easy to create, send, and finalize all new-business paperwork.
Try MyCase today risk-free with a 10-day free trial. We offer affordable monthly and yearly subscriptions. Plus, no commitment or credit card is required, and you can cancel anytime.
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