Thursday, March 25, 2021


 I really wanted to write this post in Garamond font, but the Blogger platform doesn't allow it.  The D.C. Circuit, which just banned the font, would be proud.  Twitter took notice.  I don't understand the dust-up as Garamond is a perfectly acceptable font.  Slate covers the scandal here:

So if a lawyer’s brief is written in a difficult font, that might make it seem more complicated than it actually is. But Schwarz says the biggest problem with Garamond is its small size, especially for older judges. He describes Garamond as “elegant” and “pretty” but “thin to print” and notes that it becomes impossible to read on your tablet or computer screen. The court’s notice nods toward this as the reason behind the change, stating that Garamond “appears smaller than the other two typefaces.” And now that most documents are digitized and printing is less common, Schwartz predicts larger fonts will continue to become more popular.
But why did the courts decide to be anti-Garamond now? Theories have abounded: As Merrick Garland traded his post as head circuit judge for attorney general last week, people wondered if Garland’s exit and Garamond’s ousting were at all related. Was Garland a secret Garamond tyrant, forcing the font on the courts? “It’s unlikely,” says lawyer Sean Marotta, a partner with Hogan Lovells. “But yeah, Merrick Garland got one vote like everyone else on the court on these issues.” Instead, Marotta thinks that the D.C. Circuit’s message was targeted at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Appellate Staff, who are known to use Garamond in their briefs.
John Elwood, a partner with the law firm Arnold & Porter, tweeted that Garamond is a popular trick used to “shave serval pages off a brief.” He said on a phone call that federal filing rules for rehearing petitions switched from having a 15-page limit to a word limit in 2016. “But, before that point,” he says, “people would file a Times New Roman opening brief, a Times New Roman reply brief, they would lose, and then they would file a rehearing petition, and suddenly it would be in Garamond.” Elwood decided after reading the D.C. Circuit’s notice to test Garamond out for himself: His 25-page Times New Roman brief became 21 pages.

I can't believe Elwood gave up a trick that all of us have used... snitches get stitches.


Stephen said...

Never knew that Garamond was a smaller font. I do appreciate it as an elegant one though, especially when other fonts are not available. And while I do appreciate legal papers in larger font, I'm not sure why banning Garamond was the move they made, rather than specifying a different font size for different fonts, which is common enough in various court rules.

Anonymous said...

NewCenturySchlbk LT Std all day baby

Anonymous said...

Scalia in his book on appellate advocacy said all briefs should be written in Centruy Schoolbook. Never mentioned a reason