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A Guide to the Best Fonts for Legal Documents

7 min
read

Updated

Jan 30, 2023

As with almost everything in the legal profession, choosing font styles can be somewhat complex. If you select the wrong font for your law firm, court documents' readability could be negatively impacted. More importantly, font style and size will influence how prospective clients, competitors, judges, and peers view your law firm.

In order to help you set the right tone, the team at law firm SEO agency, Grow Law Firm, has made this comprehensive guide to choosing the right attorney font for your law firm. In this guide, you will learn:

  • What the best fonts for legal documents are
  • What font is used in legal documents
  • The main elements of fonts for legal documents
  • What the best font for your law firm website is
  • Where you can find free and paid legal documents, fonts
  • If you need to license your law firm’s font
  • Why fonts for legal documents are so important

What Is the Best Font for Legal Documents?

Unless you work in a jurisdiction that has established a list of specific, court-approved fonts, you have a great deal of latitude when selecting which fonts to use. While you may be tempted to choose a unique font, keep in mind that readability should be your key priority. On that note, we suggest using a font for legal documents such as:

  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Baskerville
  • Bookman Old Style
  • Century Family Fonts

As with typeface, there is no official font size for legal documents in most cases. We recommend you prioritize readability when choosing a font size for a legal copy.

Web safe fonts

Start with a 12-point font and make adjustments as needed. If you find that the 12-point font is too hard to read, increase the size to 14 points. A quality company that provides website services for lawyers can also help!

Learn more about legal documents and Best Legal Document Management Software

What Font Is Used in Legal Documents?

The majority of fonts used in legal documents are grouped into two broad categories. These font categories include serif fonts and sans serif fonts.

Serif fonts feature decorative tapers at the start and end of each letter. These serif fonts are traditionally used in books, magazines, and newspapers. Serif fonts have a classical look and can help convey the authoritativeness and trustworthiness of the author.

What font is used in legal documents?

Sans serif fonts are simpler to maximize readability. Most sans serif typefaces have a crisp look and each letter has a distinctive beginning and end. Sans serif fonts also translate well to digital formats, such as law firm websites.

A few of the most well-known sans serif fonts include:

  • Calibri
  • Helvetica
  • Open Sans
  • Guardian Sans
  • Comic Sans MS

Serif fonts include:

  • Baskerville
  • Georgia
  • Bookman Old Style
  • Verdigris
  • Century Schoolbook

Generally, you should use sans serif fonts exclusively on your law firm's website and other digital channels. However, you can use serif fonts on printed documents.

The Main Elements of Fonts for Legal Documents

After you have chosen between sans serif and serif fonts, you will need to address the other four main elements of legal document fonts.

What Is the Best Font Size for Legal Documents?

Legal documents should be written using a font size of 12 points. This size is the standard size for most legal documents. It is easy to read and large enough to read without taking up too much space on the page. You can also increase the size to 14 points to improve readability and legibility.

Which Type of Font Attracts the Most Attention?

Sans serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica catch the most attention. This type of font is easy to read, even on small screens like mobile devices, and it is also seen as modern and contemporary.  

Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman and Georgia, are seen as more traditional and can be used to create designs that look more professional and serious. When used in digital format, this type of font can draw attention to the text and make it stand out from the rest of the design.

What Is the Best Letter Spacing for Legal Fonts?

The best legal font letter spacing varies depending on the font itself. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to use letter spacing for legal fonts between 0.5 and 1.0 points. This will create an even and legible look that is easy to read. The spacing should also be uniform and consistent throughout the document.

How to Choose the Best Line Height for a Legal Document?

The ideal line height should be 1.5 times the type size. This height is also suitable if you intend to print the document. Too much space between lines can make the document appear too wide, while too little space between lines can make it difficult to read.

What Is the Best Font for Your Law Firm Website?

You should primarily use sans serif fonts like Helvetica on websites. Sans serif typefaces are crisper and easy to read when viewed electronically. You can use serif fonts in your headers, titles, and subheaders.

Additionally, you will need to use a ‘web-safe font.’ These fonts will be displayed correctly regardless of the viewer's web browsers. A few of the most common web-safe fonts include:

  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet
  • Tahoma
  • Verdana
  • Arial

This list is by no means exhaustive. Instead, it is meant to give you a good starting point for the right font when building your website. Choosing the right colors, contrast, and pairings for primary and secondary fonts makes it look professional and easy to read. You should also take some factors into account for your legal website.

  1. Color: Using colors to highlight text can make it easier to read and draw attention to specific elements. Colors should be used sparingly and muted to not distract from the main font. 
  2. Contrast: This is important to consider when selecting web fonts, as it can make the text easier to read. Bold and italic types can also help to create contrast. You should keep it to a minimum to ensure a professional look.
  3. Pairings for primary and secondary fonts: Primary fonts should be used for the main body of text, while you can use secondary fonts for headings and titles. It is important to consider how well the two fonts work together and how different they are. For example, you can pair a serif font with a sans-serif font to create contrast. 

Where Can You Find Free and Paid Legal Document Fonts?

Free fonts are available via Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Each of these platforms has dozens of different fonts available- don't stick with the default font. They have a good selection of both serif fonts for legal documents and sans serif fonts for website copy. But they definitely don't contain every single font available.

Additionally, you can check out Google Fonts. The font styles on this platform have "open source" licenses. This licensing means that they are free to use on your social media posts, websites, and legal documents.

If you are interested in using a unique font on your website, you may have to pay for it. Premium fonts are available via Linotype and Adobe Fonts. The former allows you to purchase font licenses individually. On the other hand, Adobe requires you to sign up for a paid subscription but provides you access to thousands of fonts.

After you have chosen a font, make sure to reference it in your law firm's style guide. This guide ensures that third-party marketing firms or in-house staff represent your brand consistently when creating advertising materials.

Do You Need to License Your Law Firm's Font?

You will need to license your law firm's font style in some scenarios. However, you will not have to license your font if you choose to use a free font, such as those available via Microsoft Word or Google Docs. These fonts have open-source licenses.

On the other hand, if you choose to use a unique font from one of the sources outlined above, you may need to license your font. Font licensing fees will vary based on several factors, including:

  • How popular the font is
  • How much traffic other font licensees are generating
  • How many people have licensed the font

If a font is extremely popular and appears to be helping other users generate a large volume of web traffic, the license will be more expensive. Generally, font licensing fees can range from as little as $50 to as much as $250 or more per year.

Licensing a font style can help your law firm stand out in the crowded digital marketplace. Therefore, you should strongly consider using a unique font style instead of a free version that is available through your word processing software.

Why Fonts for Legal Documents Are so Important

Court font utilization requirements

Legal document fonts are essential because they help maintain the document's professionalism and clarity. Proper font selection ensures that all parties can easily read and understand the document. Fonts also play a role in creating a visual hierarchy, which makes the document easier to navigate and makes it easier to find specific information.

In addition, fonts chosen for legal documents should:

  • Follow supreme court rules
  • Be clear and readable
  • Display your law firm's brand identity
  • Show your professionalism

Best Lawyer Fonts: FAQs

  • Can I Use a Size 11 Font, or Is It Too Small?

    Size 11 font is appropriate for some applications, such as legal documents. On the other hand, it is too small for writing website copy. A size 11 font will be difficult to read when viewed digitally, especially if your audience is accessing the content from a mobile device.

  • What Is the Minimum Font Size I Can Use?

    The smallest font size available on word processing software is 6 points, but you will never use a font that small. The minimum font size for any legal application is 11 points. The minimum font size you will use on your website will be 16 points or even 18 points, depending on your font style.

  • What Font Can I Use for a Resume?

    In font style, you should use sans serif for resumes to optimize readability. You can use a font as small as 10.5 points when writing a resume. You can also use 11-point or 12-point fonts, but you should not make your text any larger than that. Times New Roman and Cambria are a few serif fonts you could use on your resume if you are interested in something more traditional.

  • Which Font Is the Best for Accessibility?

    The best font size for accessibility will vary depending on the application. You should use a font size no smaller than 16 points on websites. Legal documents can use a font size as small as 10.5 points, provided your style lends itself to optimal readability.

  • What Font Size Should I Use for the Visually Impaired

    When preparing content for the visually impaired, use a font size of at least 16 points. If a 16-point font is impractical, you can reduce the size to 14 points, but you should not go any smaller. Also, stick with sans serif fonts so your audience can read the content more easily.

  • What Is the Best Font for Email?

    You should write an email copy in a 10.5-point, 11-point, or 12-point font. There are several standard email fonts, including Arial, Calibri, Georgia, Lucida, Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Verdana. If your law firm has a standard email font, use that. Otherwise, select a font that is easy to read, professional, and crisp. Avoid using emphatic elements, such as bold, italics, and underlines, whenever possible. These elements can negatively impact readability.

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