Sunday, August 24, 2014

Writing and Reading

This post is a book recommendation. I am going to tell you about the book before I reveal the title; otherwise some of you would stop reading at this point. But you should read on. This is a very good book, and important to what we do. 

Lawyers write. We write for an audience. We want that audience to understand what we write. The easier it is to read, the more likely the audience will understand. Writing well is not only about substance, but about presentation.

Presentation is more than just font or formatting. To be an effective writer, we must pay attention to typography. Typography is "for the benefit of the reader, not the writer." 
Typography can optimize [our writing]. All writing necessarily involves typography. And good writing is part of good lawyering. So good typography is too. If you ignore typography, you are ignoring an opportunity to improve both your writing and your advocacy.
That quote is from Typography for Lawyers: Essential Tools for Polished & Persuasive Documents, by Matthew Butterick. Butterick is an attorney and has a degree in visual arts from Harvard. He also has this website.

This book is easy to read (because the typography is so good, no doubt). Butterick explains why there is only one space between sentences instead of two. And do not underline in a printed document, "[e]ver. It's ugly and makes the text harder to read." Sample documents are included. 

If you aren't sold on it yet, read the forward by Bryan Garner.   

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