I love the printed word. How the word is printed, how it looks, how it appears on the page. The first impression I get of a piece of legal writing is not what the words say, but how they look on the page. If a legal writing is visually appealing to me, the content will begin from a position of advantage.
I am not alone in my focus on how the word is printed. In California we have law that is on point. Law that controls from the Oregon border to the north to the Mexico border to the south; from the Nevada border to the east to the Pacific Ocean to the west. Allow me to share the content of this law so that your words and your pleadings will look right under the law.
The law on legal print starts with California Rules of Court, Rule 2.100, et seq. The rules are absolute, and cannot be modified a local court rules. Rule 2.100. Your words must be printed on recycled paper. Rules 1.6, 1.22 and 2.101. Double sided printing is not allowed. Rule 2.102. Your paper must be white, unglazed, unbleached, and at least 20 pound weight. Rule 2.103.
Now for the more fun requirements, at least as defined by my nerdy, tech side. Your print cannot be smaller than 12 point. Rule 2.105. Your font must be Courier, Times New Roman, or Arial (or similar thereto). Rule 2.105. Your ink must be black or blue-black. Rule 2-106. Your pleadings must have a one inch left margin and a half-inch right margin. Rule 2.107. Your pleadings must be one and one-half spaced or double-spaced, except for descriptions of real property, footnotes and quotations which can be single-spaced. Rule 2.108. Each page of your pleading must be numbered consecutively at the bottom of the page. Rule 2.109. At the bottom of each page of your pleading, directly below the page number, you must include a footer that contains the title of the paper (examples: "Complaint," "Memorandum of Points and Authorities") or some clear and concise abbreviation. The footer must be at least 10-point type. Rule 2.110. What's great about all of this, is that our computers make it a snap to be in compliance. Just get in the habit of defaulting all of your docs to these requirements. Voila!
In case you were wondering, these rules do not apply to Judicial Council forms. Rule 2.119. They get to look any way the Judicial Council decides they should look. That is also why you can get away with smaller than 12-point type to make content fit on the form.
There are also all kinds of rules relating to binding, hole punching, etc. within the same chapter of the rules. Take a look, are bet there are some requirements that you never thought of?
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